What The Fest!? Genre Film Festival Coming to NY IFC Center

New genre fest will feature every kind of movie, from the odd to the bizarre and beyond, at What the Fest!?

Genre films get a grudging respect in the film community. The Godfather is a gangster picture that won every award and some people say its sequel is even better. Horror flick The Shape of Water is now drenched with accolades, but most are relegated to artistic ghettoes by serious critics. This critic takes nothing seriously so any festival promising a “Devil’s Dozen of Eleven Unique Events, with Bizarro World Premieres, Cinematic Oddities and Unforgettable Moments of Onscreen Mayhem”  hits a spot only popcorn and junior mints can fill.

IFC Center announced the full slate for the upcoming film festival What the Fest!?. The four-day showcase of “outrageous content, ranging from horror, sci-fi, documentary,  thrillers, and beyond” will run from March 29th through April 1st.

What the Fest!? will feature premieres, including one world premiere, one American premiere, many New York premieres and the world premiere of a new digital restoration of a film never before released in the U.S. The fest will also screen under-the-radar cinematic finds.

The Creative Director for the festival is Maria Reinup, a veteran film programmer who has worked in the film industry for the past decade in her native Estonia and around the world. She worked for several notable film festivals. She was the director of the Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival for seven years. She also programs the Black Nights Film Festival, which is the only A-list art house festival in Northern Europe.

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Much of the most innovative and exciting cinema on screens today comes out of the universe of genre films, which “upend conventional limitations to help us escape reality and harbor deeper ambitions to thrill smart audiences.”

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Opening night will feature the New York Premiere of Revenge, Coralie Fargeat’s thriller about a mistress who exacts “revenge” on her married lover and his friends, turning their “annual hunting trip into a decidedly deadlier adventure.”

The festival’s closing night film will be The Ranger. Directed by Jenn Wexler, the film is about a “group of teen punks on the lam, who hide out from the cops in a remote cabin… only to run into bigger troubles. Wexler will appear at the Q&A, along with producer and co-star Larry Fessenden of Glass Eye Pix.

It’s a thrill to celebrate the opening of the festival with a powerhouse film and filmmaker like Coralie Fargeat. Equally exciting is our closing with The Ranger, the feature debut of producer-director Jenn Wexler,” Reinup said in a statement.

“And with the diverse, fun, delightfully scary, slightly crazy, and entirely awesome movies that round out the rest of our lineup, we are happy to say that What The Fest!? is here to stay.  Now join us for a feast for your eyeballs!”

What The Fest!? is for the creative and curious looking for a community in which to share experiences and have a blast together. From cerebral shockers to singular cinematic experiences to unforgettable special events, What The Fest!? is more than just movies, it is an experience.

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More What the Fest!? programming highlights include the World Premiere Of Boiled Angels: The Trial Of Mike Diana, a documentary chronicling the obscenity trail of the eponymous comic book artist Mike Diana, directed by cult favorite Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case); Henenlotter and Diana will appear in person.

There will also be a sneak peek of an unseen episode from the new AMC series The Terror, with star Jared Harris of Mad Men in person for a Q&A, the critically lauded horror film Ghost Stories starring Martin Freeman, and the World Premiere restoration of the never-before-seen-in-the-U.S., Curse Of Snakes Valley, a.k.a “The Soviet Indiana Jones.”

Here is the full WHAT THE FEST!? Lineup:

REVENGE (NY Premiere)

Thursday, March 29th, 7:00PM

Synopsis: Three wealthy, married men learn the hard way that you should never bring your mistress along on a guys’ getaway, especially when there’s hunting involved. A Neon release. Written & Directed by: Coralie Fargeat. Starring: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, & Guillaume Bouchède. Country: France. Language: English; French (with English subtitles)


Friday, March 30th, 7:00PM

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Synopsis: In this mesmerizing Scandinavian Gothic fable shot on 35mm, a small boy sets out into the deep, dark woods in search of a mysterious creature. Filmmaker Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A. Directed by: Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen. Written by: Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen & Clement Tuffreau. Starring: Adam Ekeli, Kathrine Fagerland, Jørgen Langhelle, Jone Hope Larsen, & Lennard Salamon. Country: Norway. Language: Norwegian (with English subtitles)


Synopsis: Two brothers (played by co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, of Spring and Resolution) return to the cult they fled years ago, only to discover that the group’s beliefs may make much more sense than they once thought. A Well Go USA release. Benson and Moorhead will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A. Directed by: Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead. Written by: Justin Benson. Starring: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Tate Ellington, Callie Hernandez, & Lew Temple. Country: U.S. Language: English.

BLUE MY MIND (NY Premiere)

Saturday, March 31st, 1:15PM

Synopsis: As if adapting to a new town and a new life weren’t enough, 15-year-old Mia faces an overwhelming transformation when her body starts to change radically. Written & Directed by: Lisa Brühlmann. Starring: Luna Wedler, Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen, & Regula Grauwiller. Country: Switzerland. Language: Swiss German (with English subtitles)


Saturday, March 31st, 4:00PM

Synopsis: Jailed for comics?! The true story of Mike Diana, the only American artist ever convicted of obscenity, directed by cult filmmaker Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage, Frankenhooker). Henenlotter and Diana will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A, along with producers Anthony Sneed and Mike Hunchback. Directed by: Frank Henenlotter. Featuring: Mike Diana, George A. Romero, Neil Gaiman, Peter Bagge, Jay Lynch, Stephen Bissette, Peter Kuper, & more. Country: U.S. Language: English


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Saturday, March 31st, 7:00PM

Synopsis: Arch-skeptic professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across three long-lost cases of unexplainable “hauntings.” Filmmakers to appear in-person for post-screening Q&A. Written & Directed by: Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman. Starring: Martin Freeman, Andy Nyman, Alex Lawther, & Paul Whitehouse. Country: U.K. Language: English


Saturday, March 31st, 9:45PM

Synopsis: A hit at Rotterdam, acclaimed director Joko Anwar’s (Modus Anomali, A Copy Of My Mind) remake of a beloved 1982 Indonesian horror classic (reputedly itself inspired by PHANTASM) is a delightfully terrifying haunted house movie — and the country’s biggest box office smash of 2017. Written & Directed by: Joko Anwar. Starring: Bront Palarae, Tara Basro, Endy Arfian, & Dimas Aditya. Country: Indonesia Language: Indonesian (with English subtitles)

CURSE OF SNAKES VALLEY, a.k.a. “The Soviet Indiana Jones” (World Premiere Restoration)

Sunday, April 1st , 12:30PM

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Synopsis: This unseen 1980s Eastern Bloc-buster presents the Soviet answer to Indiana Jones in a tale that combines snakes and jungle traps and the “classic weirdness” of Polish sci-fi! Never released in the U.S., CURSE OF SNAKES VALLEY screens in a beautiful new digital restoration by the Estonian Film Institute. Directed by: Marek Piestrak. Written by: Wojciech Nizynski, Marek Piestrak, & Vladimir Valutskiy. Starring: Krzysztof Kolberger, Roman Wilhelmi, & Ewa Salacka. Country: Estonia, Poland. Language: Russian (with English subtitles)

LOWLIFE (NY Premiere)

Sunday, April 1st, 3:00PM

Synopsis: The sordid lives of an addict, an ex-con, and a luchador collide when an organ harvesting caper goes very, very wrong. An IFC Midnight release. Director Ryan Prows and co-star Mark Burnham will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A. Directed by: Ryan Prows. Written by: Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson, Shaye Ogbonna, Ryan Prows, & Maxwell Michael Towson.  Starring: Jon Oswald, Nicki Micheaux, Mark Burnham, & Ricardo Adam Zarate.

The Terror (Episode Sneak Preview)

Sunday, April 1st, 5:30PM

Synopsis: Join star Jared Harris for a sneak preview of AMC’s new series based on Dan Simmons’s 2007 bestseller, the true-life tale of a group of sailors confronting certain death at the frozen ends of the earth. Jared Harris and Executive Producers Soo Hugh and David Kajganich will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A. Starring: Jared Harris, Ciarán Hinds, & Tobias Menzies

THE RANGER (NY Premiere)

Sunday, April 1st, 9:00PM

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Synopsis: Teen punks on the run from the cops hide out in a remote cabin, only to find out that the forest has its own law. Writer/director Jenn Wexler and producer/co-star Larry Fessenden will appear in-person for a post-screening Q&A. Directed by: Jenn Wexler. Written by: Giaco Furino & Jenn Wexler. Starring: Chloe Levine, Jeremy Holm, & Larry Fessenden

Tickets for the opening night screening party of Revenge are $25, $20 for lucky IFC Center members. If you just want to see the film, it costs $15 with a $10 price tag for IFC Center members. You can get tickets online at WhatTheFestNYC.com, or in-person at the IFC Center box office, 323 Sixth Avenue, at West 3rd Street.