Sundance Film Festival 2023
Nate Bolotin, Jonathan Bronfman
Andrew Bronfman, Michael Solomon
Joe Apollonio, Cory Lipman, Dean McDermott, Stephen McHattie, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Amandla Stenberg, Scott Thompson, Heidi Von Palleske
Photon Films & Media
“Transformation is not only a physical change. It includes reworking how a person engages with themself, and that’s where MY ANIMAL, a werewolf coming-of-age film, resides”
– Dark Sky Lady, NIGHTMARISH CONJURINGS
Heather (Bobbie Salvör Menuez) isn’t like other girls. It’s not because she wants to be a goalie on an all-male hockey team in her small town; it isn’t because she’s queer, either. The awkward and quiet red-headed teen is kept under watch by her alcoholic mother, Patti (Heidi von Palleske, DEAD RINGERS), because Heather has a hereditary ailment, lycanthropy, passed down to her by her father, Henry (Stephen McHattie, PONTYPOOL, WATCHMEN). Every full moon, she’s chained to her bed — for the safety of herself and those around her. She’s set her sights on Jonny (Amandla Stenberg, BODIES, BODIES, BODIES, THE HATE U GIVE), a beautiful figure skater dealing with a nasty boyfriend and overbearing father seeking fame and fortune with his daughter’s talent. Finding love with Jonny is too hard to resist, and Heather finally embraces her desires at the risk of revealing her shape-shifting secret.
As a first feature for director Jacqueline Castel and writer Jae Matthews, don’t let the slow-burn pace fool you. From the opening scenes of MY ANIMAL with shadowy visuals by cinematographer Bryn McCashin, we know danger lies ahead — secrets, primal emotions, and the supernatural lurk within the confines of small-town bigotry while exploring LGBTQ2IA+ themes in horror. Undeniable chemistry bubbles with Stenberg and Menuez. They both give powerfully understated spins on small-town girls discovering their sexuality, strength and identity in a hostile environment, and adding icons McHattie and KIDS IN THE HALL’s Scott Thompson makes a true Canadian mark on this werewolf tale. With a dreamy synth score by Augustus Mueller, Castel and Matthews take a coming-of-age story and give it a unique vision — incorporating classic horror folklore and an ’80s aesthetic that flips the script on any sugar-coated John Hughes teen romance you’ll ever see. – Carolyn Mauricette
Kent’s ground-breaking 1965 film, the story of a housewife imprisoned by her domestic world, is uncommonly perceptive about the contradictory condition facing the independent woman in a sexist society.
Fran (Daisy Ridley), an isolated office drone, strikes an uneasy friendship with a new co-worker. A dark, moving drama about stepping out of one’s shell.
A year after graduating, five inseparable girls who had begun drifting apart are brought back together by a stray cat, in Jeong Jae-eun’s classic coming-of-age debut.