Presented by High on Love

Canadian Premiere
Selection 2019

Paradise Hills

Directed by Alice Waddington

Hosted by Director Alice Waddington


Official selection

Sundance 2019


Alice Waddington


Brian DeLeeuw, Nacho Vigalondo, Alice Waddington


Awkwafina, Eiza González, Jeremy Irvine, Mila Jovovich, Danielle Macdonald, Emma Roberts


Samuel Goldwyn Films

Spain 2019 94 mins OV English

“A stunning, vibrant fairy tale packed with riveting ideas… One of the most visually spectacular movies of the year”
Ben Pearson, SLASHFILM

“Bizarre and often delightful.… An explicit statement about how gender roles for women are often absurd, infantilizing, and repressive”
Adi Robertson, THE VERGE

The dystopian, pink-toned Paradise Hills is where young women are sent to be reformed. Some are groomed for marriage, while others to be more feminine or compliant. It is a catch-all conversion centre for unconventional and aberrant social behaviour conditioned by strict gender expectations. Milla Jovovich with a dead-eyed smile is the headmistress, and the student body is an all-star cast including Emma Roberts, Eiza González, Danielle Macdonald and the gravel-voiced comedienne-rapper Awkwafina who stole the show in CRAZY RICH ASIANS last year. In this feature debut from Alice Waddington, whose richly textured short film fantasy, DISCO INFERNO, played in the inaugural edition of Fantasia’s own BORN OF WOMAN showcase, nothing is as it seems and the soft pastel veneer conceals deep, dark and unexpected secrets.

With a script co-written by Nacho Vigalondo (COLOSSAL and TIME CRIMES), PARADISE HILLS uses strong allegorical influences to create a rich dystopian fantasy world through rapturous production design. Waddington, who has experience as a fashion designer, and as an 18-year-old one of the youngest photographers for Harper’s Bazaar in Spain, has a keen eye for detail. With an extensive scouting process, she chose to shoot on location at a variety of modern, brutalist homes in Barcelona and the Canary Islands. Blending that architectural futurism with the soft-lush fantasies of art deco-inspired costuming creates a totally unique vision of oppression and expectation in a genre-bending allegory about femininity and social norms. With shades of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and THE HANDMAID’S TALE, PARADISE HILLS is a soft and beguiling nightmare about the cost of living the life you choose, rather than the life that is expected. – Justine Smith