Emergence from pandemic lockdowns and the promise of in-person festivals has excitement brewing for the future of film, and the genre industry is no exception. The official selection of the 2022 Frontières Platform at the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes is in, and it displays bullish trends for the future of genre.

“There’s a lot of horror, and it kind of goes back to practical effects, and I love that,” says Frontières executive director Annick Mahnert. “Practical effects are coming back, which is great.”

Highlighting this trend is potential standout “Gnomes!” from the Netherlands, a horror film about gnomes who murder curious humans and turn them into sausage while they’re still alive. The film boasts producer and art department master Richard Raaphorst (“Frankenstein’s Army”), who brought the gnomes to life.

Other possible standouts of practical effects are “Requiem for a Robot, “Street Trash” and “Serial Kitten,” which blends costumes and CGI.

The Frontières Platform has also seen increased submissions as well as new countries of origin. “This year we got double the submissions that we did last year,” says Mahnert. “And the quality is just amazing, and from countries where we’ve had few submissions in the past in terms of genre.” In particular, South and West Asia and North Africa are well represented among the official selection, including “In Flames” (Pakistan) and “Roqia” (Algeria), which has already been selected by the Maskoon Fantastic Festival in Lebanon.

In addition to a broadening of the definition of genre, Mahnert spoke to the importance of the return to in-person festivals and platforms. “I think the entire movie business is based on relationships. There’s only so much you can do online. So we’re going to make sure that the participants who come to Cannes will be able to meet and mingle with professionals from the film industry.”

Here is the official selection for the 2022 Frontières Platform at the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes:

Buyer’s Showcase

“A Guide to Living for the Dead” (Turkey)
Turkish filmmaker Baris Fert (“Farah”) brings an action thriller filled with femme fatale violence and dark comedy. Produced by Ipek Erden and Emre Pekçakır, “A Guide to Living for the Dead” plays a violent crew against itself in a campy parable of betrayal, neck snapping and murder.

“Cult Hero” (Canada)
This action horror flick directed by Jesse T. Cook (“Monster Brawl,” “The Hoard”) follows the hilariously over-the-top Dale Domezar as he infiltrates and destroys cults from the inside. Co-produced by Cook, Liv Collins and Craig Shouldice, “Cult Hero” plays with cult cliches and serves laughs for the price of deprogramming.

“Falling Stars” (U.S.)
Writer-director Richard Karpala (“Iris,” “Deadbox”) returns alongside Gabriel Bienczycki with dramatic horror thriller “Falling Stars,” a dark exploration of witchcraft. The film follows a group of American men who venture into the desert to dig up the corpse of a witch and pay a price for their desecration.

“In Flames” (Pakistan, Canada)
Directed by Zarrar Kahn and produced by Anam Abbas and Shant Joshi, “In Flames” follows a young woman who is haunted by the ghost of her partner. Her journey to learn the truth about his passing brings culture-clash to the psychological horror genre in this Pakistani-Canadian co-production.

“Junction Row” (Canada)
Canadian director and photographer Ashlea Wessel (“Tick,” “Weirdo”) brings her newest feature “Junction Row” to Frontières. The snowy sci-fi horror film follows a frozen town besieged by a mysterious many-legged monster. The film is produced by Pasha Patriki, James Fler, Michael Paszt and Andrew T. Hunt. Raven Banner Entertainment is handling sales.

“Kidnapping Inc” (France/Canada)
This fast-paced dark comedy, directed by Haitian Bruno Mourral, follows two hapless kidnappers in Haiti tasked with what appears to be a simple job only to find out that it’s anything but. Produced by Yanick Létourneau and Samuel Chauvin, “Kidnapping Inc” weaves genre with comedic action and political conspiracy.

Proof of Concepts

“Gnomes!” (The Netherlands)
Director Ruwan Suresh Heggelman (“I Can Fly,” “Dutchtown”) has teamed with producers Monique van Kessel and Richard Raaphorst (“Frankenstein’s Army,” “Black Book”) to bring life to “Gnomes!” and death to anyone unlucky enough to be hunted by them. Filled with gruesome practical effects, this fantastical horror film shows not all gnomes are content with the garden.

Lazy loaded image
Gnomes Credit: Frontieres

“Night Town” (Ireland)
Irish TV and film director Imogen Murphy (“Dead Still,” “Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope”) showcases her newest feature “Night Town” at Frontières. This gothic period drama, produced by Ruth Treacy and Julianne Forde, follows a young woman’s haunted escape from a brothel in Dublin.

“Requiem for a Robot” (Austria, Germany)
Director Christoph Rainer’s passion project, “Requiem for a Robot” is a live-action science fiction fairytale following a clumsy robot lost in a city that never sleeps. This Austrian-German co-production (produced by Loredana Rehekampff, Andreas Schmied and Josef Redinger) leans on generous heart and practical effects to inspire and impress.

“Roqia” (Algeria, France, U.S.)
Algerian writer-director Yannis Koussim (“Khouya,” “Alger by Night”) presents “Roqia,” an exorcism-style horror film which explores bisected timelines. The film, which has already been selected for the Maskoon Fantastic Festival in Lebanon, is a co-production between Farès Ladjimi, Christophe Lafont, Armen Aghaeian, Abhi Goel and Tara Ansley.

“Serial Kitten” (France)
Equal parts fun and disturbing, Cédric Hachard’s newest fantasy “Serial Kitten” follows the dangerous exploits of a monstrous cat. Blending practical effects with CGI, this French production (Alexis Perrin) has humor and heart.

“Street Trash” (South Africa, U.S.)
South African actor and director Ryan Kruger (“Fried Barry”) brings gruesome horror and over-the-top humor with “Street Trash.” The international co-production (Justin Martell, Matt Manjourides, James C. Williamson, Ryan Kruger) follows a group of homeless misfits who must fight for survival when they discover a plot to exterminate every homeless person in the city.

“The Portal” (France, Syria, Germany)
Science-fiction fantasy film “The Portal,” directed by Chadi Abo, follows a wartime journalist as well as an orphaned refugee in the Syrian desert, her stellar destiny, and her miraculous healing abilities. The film is a French-Syrian-German co-production (Chadi Abo, Ruba El Khash Khair, May Odeh, Zorana Musikic, Tania Khouri).