NZIFF to present psychological thriller Foreign Body at Cannes Marché du Film

NZIFF to present psychological thriller Foreign Body at Cannes Marché du Film
Foreign Body

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival will proudly present psychological thriller Foreign Body at Cannes Marché du Film’s prestigious Fantastic 7 finance market next month. 

Now in its sixth year, Fantastic 7 invites film festivals from around the world to showcase seven exciting works-in-progress from the global genre industry to an international network of investors, distributors, sales agents, and genre film enthusiasts during the Cannes Film Festival. 

The aim of the Fantastic 7 program is to nurture and promote these exciting rising talents, connecting them with potential business partners who could provide crucial funding and help extend their reach to broader audiences.  

In addition to NZIFF, other festivals represented in Fantastic 7 include SXSW Film & TV Festival (USA), Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia (Spain), Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt), Guadalajara International Film Festival (Mexico), Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia), and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea). 

Directed by Tom Sainsbury, and produced in New Zealand by Gabe Lunte, Milon Tesiram, and Jonathan Potton, Foreign Body is a psychological horror that follows Eduard, a European gap-year student who moves in with a New Zealand family to experience their ‘culture’, but quickly discovers the psychologically damaged and dangerous truth behind their polite smiles and warm hospitality. 

Tom describes the film by saying: Foreign Body [holds] a mirror up to New Zealand culture. How do we treat outsiders visiting our country? Should the qualities we hold in such high regard — sporting success, agriculture, our patriarchy, our nature — be scrutinised more? Are we as impressive as we desperately hope to be?” 

Tom, well-known in New Zealand for acting and comedy, served up the thrills in his directorial debut feature film, Loop Track. Met with strong critical and audience acclaim, Loop Track took out the top spot at the box office for New Zealand films at the festival — and many audience members may have looked over their shoulders the next time they went for a bush walk! 

NZIFF Executive Director, Sally Woodfield, says: “In Foreign Body, Sainsbury takes a very normal event in the lives of many young people — an overseas experience staying with a local family — and adds the twist to move into the chilling world of psychological horror, staying faithful to the cinema of unease. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we’re big fans of Sainsbury’s talent and we’re delighted to help the rest of the world discover him and his team. 

As producer, writer, director and lead actor, Sainsbury showed the many layers of his talent, and with his creative team — Gabe Lunte, Jonathan Potton and Milon Tesiram — emerged from adventures in short filmmaking with a successful debut feature. We are excited about what this multi-talented team will produce in the future and we proudly present their next project Foreign Body at Fantastic 7 2024.” 

Fantastic 7 takes place on Sunday 19 May at Palais des Festivals, 12.00pm local time (2am NZT). The NZIFF Fantastic 7 selection is supported by The New Zealand Film Commission. 

This is the fourth year NZIFF has taken part in Fantastic 7. Previous projects were The Rule of Jenny Pen (2021), The Cage (2022) and The Televangelist (2023). 

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