Fantasia film festival is turning sweet 16. In actuality there is nothing sweet about this festival. Actually, that is not right. There are plenty of sweet things about it including tons of films, special guests, parties, and panels to attend. What I meant by the nothing sweet comment was that for the most part the films you will see here are by no ways sweet. There is the occasional comedy, but most of the films are from the periphery. Films you will enjoy on many levels though they will frighten or disturb you on many others.
This year there are an astounding 160ish films to choose from. It is a daunting task to see all the ones you’ve heard some buzz about or look interesting. Get plenty of sleep now as you won’t be getting much once the festival begins. For the most part the films are those that we don’t often get a chance to experience on a big screen. It is an inclusive festival. The films are from a variety of countries like USA, South Korea, France, Canada, Japan, Austria, China, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Big budget or small the programmers at Fantasia don’t care. All they care about is quality and there is more over the three weeks of the festival than you can shake a stick at.
Besides the films there will be other events and activities going on. For instance a Lifetime Excellence Award will be given to film scholar David Bordwell, there is a mini-tribute to director Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena, Surveillance) with the world premiere of her film Chained and the Quebec premiere of Despite the Gods, spotlights on Documentaries From the Edge (it’s 6th year and it has doubled in size), Filipino cinema (experiencing an important rebirth), Denmark and Norwegian cinema, Nikkatsu (2012 marks the centennial of Japan’s oldest and most influential studio), Walerian Borowczyk and Andrzej Zulawski, Kier-Lajanisse (world premiere book launch of House of Psychotic Women), Axis (animation section), special events like a series of rare 35 mm French-dubbed Italian exploitation films ending with a gala Italo-Centric Zappin’ Party Night, world premiere launch of a special all-star touring art show – If They Came From Within: An Alternative History of Canadian Horror, the inaugural year of the Frontieres International Co-Production Market, over 120 visiting filmmakers from all parts of the world, post-screening Q+A sessions, Fantasia Under the Stars (free outdoor screenings), Fantasia Opening Party (July 19 @ Club 1234), panels including If They Came From Within (July 21 @ 5:30), Shoot Possibilities in Quebec (July 26 @ 4:30), A Look That Kills: How Art Moves Your Genre Film (July 23 @ 5:00), Retour Dans le Ventre du Dragon (Aug. 2 @ 4:30), and a master class – Realisation avec Jean-Marc Vallee (Aug. 3 @ 5:00). Phew! As I told you endurance is going to be a must for Fantasia fans.
An indication of how important Fantasia is seen by the film community is the high calibre of guests who are coming to present their films and the big name actors who are starring in the films. Special guests in attendance include Michael Biehn (Alien, Terminator), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Stephen McHattie (300, Watchmen), Danny Masterson (television’s Men at Work, That 70s Show), AnnaLynne McCord (television’s 90210), and Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Watch Over Me). Films in this year’s festival include performances by Matthew McDonough (Magic Mike, Amistad), Danny Trejo (Grindhouse, Machete), Ariel Winter (television’s Modern Family), John Goodman (television’s Roseanne), Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God, television’s The L Word), John Waters (director of Hairspray, Cry-Baby), Salma Hayek (Savages, Frida), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Easy A), and former porn star Traci Lords.
This is a film festival by the people (if the people were film nuts with slightly twisted views of what made a good film) for the people. With the aim of being as inclusive and accessible as possible the ticket price is kept low. Take advantage of the great films and air conditioning and make Fantasia a priority this summer. You won’t regret it.
-Dates: July 19 – August 9, 2012
-Venues: 1) Cinematheque Quebecoise (335 de Maisonneuve East)
2) Concordia Hall Theatre (1455 de Maisonneuve West)
3) J.A. De Seve Theatre (1400 de Maisonneuve West)
4) Place de la Paix – S.A.T. (1195 St. Laurent)
5) Reggies Bar (1455 de Maisonneuve West)
6) Scotiabank Cinema
-Ticket Purchase: (as of July 17) www.admission.com or 514-790-1245 or Concordia Hall Theatre or Cinematheque Quebecoise
-Ticket Prices: Individual: $9.00 (at box office), $10.00 (through Admissions)
Book of 10 Tickets: $80.00 (at box office), $81.50 (through Admissions)