Zelda Adams, John Adams and Toby Poser’s Fantasia and FrightFest-winning horror film “Where the Devil Roams” will open the fourth edition of India’s Wench Film Festival (Feb. 9-March 3). The festival was founded in 2020 by filmmaker Sapna Moti Bhavnani (“Sindhustan”) to “bridge the gender gap in India by driving opportunities and conversations through the gaze of a woman inclusive of BIWOC (Black, Indigenous and Women of Color), LGBTQ+ women and non-binary in art, fashion, and film powered by tech,” per the organizers. It specializes in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres.
The team, which also includes artistic director Uma da Cunha, programmers Heidi Honeycutt who is the co-founder of the women-focused Etheria Film festival, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, director of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, “The Lunchbox” producer Vivek Rangachari, have curated a lineup of 29 films, including 14 India premieres and 10 Asia premieres.
Highlights include Ariane Louis-Seize’s “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” Jenn Wexler’s “The Sacrifice Game,” Isabel Herguera’s “Sultana’s Game,” Yashaswini Nath’s “Entanglement” and Roshni Bhatia’s “Sister.”
The jury this year includes Lisa Dreyer from Fantastic Fest; Indian filmmaker Vishal Furia; Jongsuk Thomas Naam from Korea’s BiFAN; Lisa Ogdie and Irene Soriano from Sundance; Mitch Davis from Fantasia; journalist Aseem Chhabra; and Imani Davis from American Cinematheque.
ELLIOT PAGE SCREEN TALK
Elliot Page will deliver a Screen Talk during the BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival in March. The award-winning actor, writer, director and producer will discuss his career alongside a special presentation of his latest film, “Close to You,” which world premiered at Toronto Film Festival.
“Close to You” was written and directed by Dominic Savage with Page starring, producing and co-writing. The film will hold its European premiere at BFI Flare on March 14, with Page’s Screen Talk taking place on March 15.
“Simmering apprehensions surround a family get-together in ‘Close to You,’ as Elliot Page’s Sam returns home for the first time since transitioning,” the film’s official description reads. :Sam moved to Toronto from his small town on Lake Ontario, Canada and finally decides to return home to visit his family for his dad’s birthday as the grown-up children are gathered back into the fold. On his journey, Sam has a chance encounter with a close friend from high school, Katherine (Hillary Baack) with whom he had lost touch, a moment that sparks old feelings. It is on this trip home where Sam can finally confront long-buried feelings, a first love that was never properly resolved, his relationship with his family, and a newfound love and confidence in himself.”
Tickets are on sale here, starting on Feb. 19.
Germany’s ZDF Studios and the film, drama and documentary programming center of the China Media Group have collaborated for the first time on two-part documentary “Time: A Journey Through Thousands of Years” (2×50’). The show, in association with Arte and global distributor ZDF Studios, explores the discovery of time, the history of time measurement and the effect it has on lives today. It is by Jens Monath and Heike Schmidt (“Anthropocene – The Rise of Humans”).
King Records has set a May 17 theatrical release date in Japan for “Das Lehrerzimmer,” (aka “The Teacher’s Lounge”), the Ilker Catak-directed German film that is nominated for an Oscar. The film premiered this time last year at the Berlin festival and was snapped up by the company shortly after. In the U.S., its release was handled by Sony Pictures Classics.
FRIDAY NIGHT MOVES
Rakuten TV, itself one of Europe’s leading streaming platforms, has launched its FAST channel Freitag Nacht News on Amazon Freevee in Germany. the channel is also available on Rakuten TV in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is a single-IP comedy channel and features an array of programming and sketches framed as fictional news, presented by German comedians. It takes its name from a popular primetime German adult comedy series that aired from 1999 to 2006. The channel is distributed by a collaboration between Rakuten TV and Tiberius Film.
India’s Excel Entertainment, led by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, and Harman Baweja‘s Baweja Studios are collaborating for the third time, this time for an action-adventure film. The previous two projects, a courtroom drama and a vigilante action series, are underway. No further details have been revealed. Akhtar and Sidhwani said: “Our collaboration is focused on bringing together our unique perspectives and creating an exceptional cinematic experience for our audiences everywhere.” Baweja added: “Our upcoming projects promise to be nothing short of extraordinary.”