When a film festival is one that showcases genre films, which typically has classified it as a 'geek' festival, and it succeeds in attracting over 77,000 attendees then you know it is an unqualified success. It has now become cool to watch so-called 'geek' films. An illustration of how popular the festival has become is that there were several screenings, including "Aziris Nuna", "The Great Yokai War", "The Wild Blue Yonder", "Executive Koala", "Re-Cycle", "Zombie Self-Defense Force", and "Bon Cop Bad Cop", which you could not get a ticket for as they sold out quickly. Long live the 'geeks'!
It would be misleading on my part to make you think that this film festival showed only horror, anime or Asian films; the festival has become a large one that shows many different types of films from all over the world. This year the Fantasia Film Festival, besides its usual horror, fantasy and thriller films, ran three steams, which highlighted the New Wave of British Horror films, modern Russian cinema and Stop-Motion Auteur Cinema. There were films from all over the world including amongst others Canada, United States, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Japan, Hungary, and South Korea. Many films made their Canadian, North American or World Premiere at the festival, which gave us the privilege of seeing them before anyone in this part of the world. On top of that there were a number of films which will be benefiting from wide releases, including Neil Marshall's "The Descent", Stuart Gordon's "Edmond", Eric Canuel's "Bon Cop Bad Cop", and Scott Glosserman's " Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon". In keeping with Fantasia's growing reputation worldwide, many actors, directors, producers, and distributors came to present their films showing that the festival is indeed an important one.
The festival has also made it a priority to showcase short films. Around 70 Canadian or Quebec short films were screened at one of the 14 short film blocs or before feature films. This demonstrates that this is a film festival that takes film, all types of film, seriously and they are passionate about it. The festival handily rewards film buffs and it's giving us the opportunity to see films on a big screen we would not have the chance to otherwise.
For the first time this year the Fantasia Film Festival showed some films outdoors under the stars. These free screenings, which included the films "Attack the Gas Station" and "Night of Living Dorks", took place at Parc de la Paix and despite the threat of rain on some evenings, Montrealers turned out in the hundreds for the screenings. The organizers have given every indication that they are happy about the way it turned out and will be continuing outdoor free screenings at next year's festival.
Maybe we should not be hesitant about labeling the festival a 'geek' festival as apparently 'geek' now means interesting, innovative, gore-filled, international, and well attended. Once the 'geeks' realize how popular the festival has become maybe they will realize that they have the power to take over the world…or at least the making of films. Oh, the horror!
Best Film: "Strange Circus" by Sion Sono of Japan
Best Director: Nicolas Winding Refin of Denmark for "Pusher 3"
Best Script: David Mamet of the United States for "Edmond"
Best Photography: Ji-yong Kim of South Korea for "A Bittersweet Life"
Best Actor: Zlatko Buric of Denmark for "Pusher 3"
Best Actress: Masumi Miyazaki of Japan for "Strange Circus"
Séquences Award: "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" by Scott Glosserman of the United States
L'Ecran Fantastique Award: "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" by Scott Glosserman of the United States