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Fantastic Film Festival Australia 2023 Programme

Top-Bottom, L-R: 'Holy Sh.t', 'Evil Dead Rise', 'Blur', 'Beaten To Death'
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Fantastic Film Festival Australia (FFFA) brings a treasure trove of weird and wonderful curiosities to Melbourne and Sydney.


Daring, unconventional, cutting-edge cinema – it’ll all be there throughout the festival this April as it showcases the best of local filmmaking talent, alongside a carefully-curated selection of international films which push the boundaries of cinematic subversion.

There are 27 features as part of this year’s festivities – promising to be FFFA’s biggest programme yet. Animated cowboys, queer magical realism, deathtraps, outback horrors. . . It’s a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful, plus there’s a slew of special events, including Q&A screenings, live performances, a world-first scratch-and-sniff screening, music video blind dates, and nude sessions!

“This year's programme pushes the limits of storytelling and challenges conventional notions of reality,” Festival Director Hudson Sowada says. “We're excited to showcase such an eclectic range of films, and we encourage audiences to take risks and embrace the strange. We're thrilled to be back and we can't wait to share these daring and unconventional films with our audiences.”

Things kick off with ‘Polite Society’, a genre mash-up which premiered earlier this year at Sundance. It follows Ria Khan, a martial artist-in-training, on a mission to save her sister from an arranged marriage.

Then things go beyond traditional – with the world’s first scratch and sniff session ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Stink-O-Vision’ where audiences are taken on a scent-sational journey through the sewers of New York City. Accompanied by a menu of bespoke scents, simply scratch the corresponding number on the scent card, when the icon flashes on the screen.

The wildly popular nude screening returns with ‘Zoolander’.

FFFA EndOfHistory
'The End Of History'

There are four local Australian films: ‘The Survival Of Kindess’, ‘Beaten To Death’, ‘Blur’, and ‘The End Of History’. Plus, ‘Text Messages From The Universe’ is a cinematic blend of text and dance action, inspired by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead and featuring live accompaniment.

There’ll be huge international films getting their Australian premiere at FFFA too. ‘Zillion’, the biggest grossing film in Belgium last year, is set in 1997, following a computer genius who creates the biggest discotheque in the world. ‘Holy Sh.t!’ is a gross-out comedy and survival thriller set in a portaloo packed with explosives. . . And the newest entry in the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise, ‘Evil Dead Rise’, will enjoy a midnight screening.

FFFA is calling the next film – which had its premiere at Toronto Film Festival – ‘An Untitled And Perfectly-Legal Coming-Of-Age Parody Film’. It’s so courted in controversy that it can’t even be named in the programme. It’s a secret presentation giving audiences a rare chance to be among some of the only people in the world to see it.

Closing FFFA is ‘LION-GIRL’, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film about the last defender of humanity against a new species which emerged after a tsunami of meteors.

Fantastic Film Festival Australia takes place at Lido Cinemas (Melbourne) and Ritz Cinemas (Sydney) 14-30 April.

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