Along with virtually everything else impacted by the pandemic, film festivals have had to pivot and find a way to bring us all the wonderful films that are still getting made. No longer can we gather and enjoy the company of other like-minded fans while watching premiers and cult classics. Festivals like Nightstream are inventing new experiences that create digital communities and events that still bring us all together if only through the web.
Five of the most inventive and diverse festivals, Brooklyn Horror, Boston Underground, North Bend, Popcorn Frights, and the Overlook, have joined forces to become the most anticipated festival of 2020. The lineup is a cool mix of hotly anticipated premiers like Run from genre royalty Sarah Paulson and unbelievable conversations with some of the hottest directors, writers, and producers working today. It will be the event of the year, and a can’t miss for horror and sci-fi fans.
One of the coolest aspects of Nightstream is the artist and community forward nature of the event. All proceeds are given back to the filmmakers, charities, and local businesses the festivals would have taken place at. It is a way for the communities and the original festivals to recoup some of their COVID-19 losses while bringing the spirit of genre festivals to our homes in a safe manner. Here are all the events you can’t miss in Nightstream opening October 8th, 2020, and running through October 11th, 2020. The tickets are a steal, especially for everything you get. You can get full schedule details and purchase your festival badge here.
The festival opens with Hulu Original Run starring Sarah Paulson. It is billed as a Hitchcockian thriller with more than a little existential dread. A wheelchair-bound teen leads an isolated life. Her world becomes even smaller and scarier when strange things begin happening around her house.
Black Bear starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbot, and Sarah Gadon, tells the story of a filmmaker who travels to a rural retreat and finds the idiosyncratic guests will be the inspiration for her best work yet. All three stars give outstanding subtle performances, and the Kaufman-Esque absurdity of the circumstance layers metaphor and weirdness in the best way possible.
Darkness by Emanuela Rossi is the perfect timely claustrophobic movie about three siblings forced to stay inside with all views of the outside world cut off. It is a smart and creepy movie about abuse and the toll it takes.
The Doorman with Ruby Rose(John Wick 2, Batwoman) is brutally gory and devilishly unrelenting. Rose does violent action well, and this one is no different. A woman must outsmart a ruthless group of art thieves while simultaneously protecting her sister’s family.
Rounding out the list of must-see films are the US premier of Come True, Reunion, a body horror chiller, The Queen Of Black Magic by screenwriter Joko Anwar(Impetigore) and director Kimo Stamboel(Headshot), The Night from IFC Midnight promises a motel from hell with punishing amounts of neverending tension. A new take on the horror of extreme grief An Unquiet Grave.
The list of guest speakers and interviews is equally impressive. Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is on everyone’s mind. While we wait for theaters to open safely everywhere, Nightstream is lucky enough to snag DaCosta. She brings a fireside chat about the state of filmmaking and remaking Candyman. Horror Stories: Genre Masters Discuss Crafting Their Literary Scares with Paul Tremblay(A Headful Of Ghosts), Sarah Read(The Bone Weaver’s Orchard), Tananarive Due(African Immortals), and Nathan Ballingrud(North American Lake Monsters) discuss how they are redefining the new horror landscape.
The most exciting conversation is Benson and Moorhead’s Home Movies. Filmmaking team Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead(Spring, The Endless, Synchronic, Resolution), along with Issa Lopez(Tigers Are Not Afraid), share their early movies with real-time commentary about the highs and lows of young careers. For fans of these filmmakers, it is a geek’s dream!
Each night of the festival, a virtual happy hour called Evening Rituals is presented by IFC Midnight. A parade of the most diverse and amusing hosts, including SpectreVision’s Elijah Wood, Greener Grass’ Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe, and fan favorites Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden liven the party. The one-of-a-kind-event will kick off each evening with cool drinks, engaging conversations, and laughs.
That’s only a tiny portion of the events and films that Nightstream will bring into our homes. The festival will bring seven World Premiers and seven US premiers, and a whopping nine North American Premiers. If shorts are more your thing, there is a staggering 164 slated films. Access to film screenings will be geo-locked to the US with ticket bundles on sale on the website ($65 for 5 features or short film programs and $99 with 10 features or short film programs, both bundles come with unlimited access to events and panels, while event-only badges will be made available worldwide ($25). A virtual festival social hub will be freely accessible to all. To order a badge, visit: https://nightstream.eventive.org/passes/buy
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.