Cannes' Fantastic Pavilion To Debut With Seven International Genre Screenings

The legendary festival will celebrate genre diversity with Spanish vampires, invisible Brits and a Ted Raimi thriller.

By Amber T · @hornbloodfire · May 9, 2023, 3:48 PM EDT
Richard V. Somes' TRIGGER (Courtesy of the Fantastic Pavilion)

We've been eagerly awaiting the offerings at Cannes Marché du Film's first ever Fantastic Pavilion, and Variety have today exclusively revealed the seven Gala screenings that will screen at the festival's new hub for the genre community.

Originally conceived as a way to "both accelerate and symbolise the now significant role that genre plays in international market dynamics", between May 6 - 21, Fantastic Pavilion attendees will get to appreciate the diversity of genre offerings coming from all over the world, as well as being able to create new alliances and acquire titles from companies like Raven Banner, MPI Media, Screenbound and Mantícora.

And there's certainly no skimping on genre diversity; proudly playing at Fantastic Pavilion are a slate of features including Spanish vampires, invisible Brits and Pinoy action. Horror legends Ted Raimi and Javier Botet will also be making big screen appearances to fright and delight, and we're even being teased that one of the features (Clare Cooney’s Departing Seniors) is being described as "Scream for the next generation."

Read on to find out more about the super seven that will mark the inaugural Fantastic Pavilion!:

The Fantastic Pavilion Galas:

Boogeyman: The Origin of the Myth (“El Hombre del Saco”)
Director: Ángel Gómez Hernández
Producers: Alvaro Ariza Tirado, Ignacio García Cucucovich
Production Companies: AF Films, Bowfinger International Pictures, BTF Media

A new take on the established myth, starring Macarena Gómez and Javier Botet. “As a producer and fan of genre films, I dedicate myself to developing scary stories. The more universal they are, the better,” says Cucucovich. “We realized that ‘El Hombre del Saco’ or ‘El Viejo de la Bolsa’ – as it is known in Rio de la Plata, where I come from – is spread all over the world. [Which meant] we already had all the ingredients!”
Teases director Ángel Gómez Hernández: “That unsettling and inescapable sensation of any child who, after having misbehaved, is certain that a terrifying monster will come to take them away.”
Produced by Ariza Tirado (The House of Snails”) and García Cucucovich (“Lobo Feroz”) for a powerful combination of Frank Ariza’s AF Films,  María Luisa Gutierrez and Santiago Segura’s Bowfinger International Pictures (“Father There Is Only One”), and major Latin American film-TV company BTF Media (“Maradona Blessed Dream”). 
The Bystanders
Director: Gabriel Foster Prior
Producer: Gabriel Foster Prior, Alex Fidelski (co-producer)
Production Companies: Waggon & Horses Productions

The movie, featuring Sean Walsh and Scott Haran, portrays bystanders as immortal beings who were once human but now remain invisible. They are assigned the task of secretly guiding and improving the lives of their human subjects. However, their interference can lead to severe outcomes. Feature debut of Gabriel Foster Prior, who co-wrote the script with Jack Hughes.
Departing Seniors (pictured below, courtesy of the Fantastic Pavilion)
Director: Clare Cooney
Producers: Clare Cooney, Jose Nateras, Kelly Parker, Dashawna Wright
Production Companies: Divisionist Films, Queensbury Pictures

In this “darkly funny love letter to classic high school slashers,” Javier and Bianca are outsiders and proud of it. “Growing up as a far-too-tall gangly kid with a speech disorder caused me to feel different for much of my life,” admits the director, who wanted to relate to bullies as well. “It’s a mark of our hero’s strength that he is compassionate towards those who harm him. I wanted to be just as compassionate in our storytelling.”
Clare Cooney teases: “When I first read it, I was struck by how a script that’s so undeniably fun can also contain such complexity. Part thriller, part dark comedy, part slasher, part whodunnit – it’s a fresh, unique mix of a lot of things, and that’s what made me so excited to work on it."

Failure! (pictured below, courtesy of the Fantastic Pavilion)
Mexico, US
Director: Alex Kahuam
Producers: Alex Kahuam, Marco De Molina, Kayli Fortun, Ted Raimi, Jose D. Rodriguez.
Production companies: Promotora NAE, SpaceBrain Entertainment

“Filming Failure! was challenging because the tension in this thriller is built around 87 tight pages shot in one single take. No cuts, no tricks – one mistake at minute 86 and we would have to start all over again,” says star and producer Ted Raimi, cast as a man who finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Or, rather, between financial ruin and murder. “[Luckily] I had a talented production team and a great director behind me. They made it all possible.”

Sign Here (“Firma aqui”) (pictured below, courtesy of the Fantastic Pavilion)
Director: Enrique Vázquez
Producer: Mónica Lozano; Eamon O’Farril, Maria Torres, Enrique Vázquez
Production Companies: Alebrije Cine y Video, Pasajero 

Starring Regina Blandón and Leonardo Ortízgris, it sees a couple who attempt to “defeat the tyranny of the algorithm” and fight for their feelings. “It’s not only refreshing, but also exciting to present a film that intertwines science fiction with a story of love and heartbreak. As funny as it’s bittersweet, it will shake everyone’s mind and make them think about the present and the future of human relationships,” promises producer Mónica Lozano, behind Amores Perros and Instructions Not Included.
Vázquez notes: “I couldn’t be happier that this film is a part of the Fantastic Pavilion Galas. I’m thrilled to share this sci-fi dramedy that shines a light on our obsessions with love and technology."

Trigger (“Topakk”)
Director: Richard V. Somes
Producers: Ria Atayde, Wilfredo Manalang, Fernando Henna, Michaelangelo Masangkay, Sylvia Sanchez, Richard V. Somes
Production Companies: Fusee, Nathan Studios, Raven Banner Entertainment

A security guard, previously discharged from the military due to PTSD, finds himself embroiled in a different kind of war when a young woman seeks his protection against a corrupt police death squad. “It’s my dream to show the world what pure Pinoy action cinema is all about,” says the director, who will be joined in Cannes by his producers and stars Arjo Atayde and Enchong Dee. 
While the Masters Sleep
Director: Santiago Alvarado Ilarri
Producers: José Manuel Jara Nava, Rafael González Vallinas, Alejandro Sugich, Joaquim Vivas
Production Companies: Magno Entertainment, Media Solutions Partners

Married servants Samuel and Lourdes keep taking care of an ancient vampire. They are used to the routine, as well as the bloody mess, but the arrival of his relative upsets the entire household. “We have garlic, we have silver crosses, we have coffins. Master Víctor has vineyards, which is funny when you remember that famous Dracula’s quote: ‘I never drink…wine’,” says the director, delivering his own take on upstairs-downstairs dynamics.
“I have always loved vampire films. This fight between good and evil, the vampire’s magic, its house or its cave – all this stuff wouldn’t allow me to divert my attention from the screen. I was dying to tell a story like this,” director Santiago Alvarado Ilarri told Variety.