5:00pm Opening Night Feature: XX

XX is a new all-female helmed horror anthology featuring four dark tales written and directed by fiercely talented women: Annie Clark (St. Vincent) rocks her directorial debut with THE BIRTHDAY PARTY; Karyn Kusama (THE INVITATION, GIRLFIGHT) exorcises HER ONLY LIVING SON; Roxanne Benjamin (SOUTHBOUND) screams DON’T FALL; and Jovanka Vuckovic (THE CAPTURED BIRD) dares to open THE BOX. Award-winning animator Sofia Carrillo (LA CASA TRISTE) wraps together four suspenseful stories of terror featuring a cast including Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool and Christina Kirk.
View Trailer Here
Origin: USA/Canada

Filmmaker Roxanne Benjamin will be available for post-screening Q&A.

The Birthday Party

Filmmaker: Annie Clark
Description: A harried housewife tries to keep her daughter-and the nosy neighbors-from discovering a dark secret the morning of her daughter’s eighth birthday party.

Her Only Living Son

Filmmaker: Karyn Kusama
Description: 18 years after narrowly escaping Manhattan, a narcissistic actor husband and a cult with designs on her unborn child, “Cora” finds herself face to face with a son who can no longer deny his monstrous heritage. 

Don't Fall

Filmmaker: Roxanne Benjamin
Description: A group of adventurous friends get into trouble when they venture off the beaten path and trespass on someone -or something-else’s land on a camping trip.

Filmmaker Roxanne Benjamin will be available for post-screening Q&A.

The Box

Filmmaker: Jovanka Vuckovic
Description: After peering into a shiny red gift box on a commuter train, seven-year-old Danny Jacobs inexplicably stops eating. When his father and sister also begin to waste away, Danny’s mother Susan struggles to make the connection between herself, her dying family and the mysterious box before it’s too late.

7:15pm: Opening Night Reception with Food and Beverage

Sponsored by Chicago Climate

8:30pm Shorts Program: Midnight Shorts

Panic Attack! (3 min)
Filmmaker: Eileen O’Meara
Origin: USA
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: You know the nagging thoughts that start with ‘did I leave the coffee on?’ and turn in to ‘what if I give birth to Satan’s baby?’ This hand-drawn animation explores anxiety, obsession, and one woman’s slippery hold on reality.

When Kids Grow Up (9 min)
Filmmaker: Shahaub Roudbari
Origin: USA
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: When Kids Grow Up is a short action drama exploring the harsh pathology of violence. With her car broken down on the side of the road, soft-spoken Mackenzie takes refuge in a bar nearby. Approached by a group of men offering help, pleasantries quickly escalate to savage aggression. Much to their surprise, Mackenzie soon reveals her own brutal intent.

Spin Cycle (5 min)
Filmmaker: Adele Franck
Origin: USA
Description: A trip to the laundromat that two best friends just might not survive.

Filmmaker Adele Franck will be available for post-screening Q&A.

Schizophrenia (10 min)
Filmmaker: Yuri Muraoka
Origin: Japan
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: Self-portrait conducted in the filmmaker’s 7th year of treatment for schizophrenia. An obsession by the name of “odd-numbers” torments me in daily life. A death sentence was being pronounced. With the sound of the scaffold coming down, the fear of self-destruction that “the reality” collapses into pieces from my foot.

Domestic Affairs (14 min)
Filmmaker: Alexia Muiños Ruiz
Origin: Spain
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: Full moon on a Friday night. High heels sound in the distance in a lonely street. Àgata runs away from her past just to crash into her future. Nighthawks are bound to meet each other, but that is not necessarily for a good reason. Domestic Affairs is kind of a threesome. A love horror triangle, a cruel tale that happens on a summer night where the full moon drives everyone’s destiny.

Stranger Danger (5 min)
Filmmaker: Annique Arredondo
Origin: USA
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: Whistle Girl fears the world itself, and she’s not afraid to show it… through her “stranger danger” whistle. But, everyone is weirded out by her, her pathetic sounding whistle, and her odd behavior instead of her whistle-blowing powers! So, when Whistle Girl unexpectedly encounters a young man of similar qualities, will she whistle him away, or find something much more kindred?

Fox in the Fan (7 min)
Filmmaker: Carol Brandt
Origin: USA
Premiere Status: Chicago Premiere
Description: A lonely radio DJ finds a mysterious tape recorder that contains a cryptic message.

Filmmaker Carol Brandt will be available for post-screening Q&A.

Wolf (17 min)
Filmmaker: Magdalena Staneva
Origin: Sweden
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Description: Elin works as a social worker at a drug rehab clinic in Southern Sweden. Her day is already taking a bad turn, when someone from her past reappears in her life. As it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish memories from reality, she needs to find a way and save her life in the present.