If you were to take a superficial look at it then the Fantasia film festival would look just like a bunch of numbers. Numbers like 19 (annual edition), 135 (full-length features), 300 (short films) 36 (countries), 22 (world premieres), 13 (international premieres), 21 (North American premieres), 3 (week run), and 55 (guest appearances by directors, actors and producers). All these numbers are impressive and show the width and breadth of this important genre film festival, but really it is just the tip of the iceberg. What is underwater is even more remarkable.
To keep things simple the large number of films has been divided into several categories that make it easy to know what you are getting when you go to one of them. Here are the categories:
Camera Lucida – daring films
Ludo (directors Q and Nikon) – Billed as a nightmare inducing fairy tale for adults, this film takes you through Bombay’s night life and then takes a sudden turn towards frightville. It is a world premiere.
Orion (director Ansiel Norton) – Set in the near future at the end of civilization the film starring David Arquette and Goran Kostic is another addition to the recent rash of post-apocalyptic films. This one is waiting for fans of cult films to discover it. It is a world premiere.
Action! – self explanatory
Momentum (director Stephen S. Campanelli) – A Canadian film that is an action thriller set in Cape Town, South Africa. The non-stop action film features a cast led by Olga Kurylenko of Quantum of Solace. It is a world premiere.
Lupin the Third (director Ryuhei Kitamura) – Based on one of the most popular characters in manga and anime, this Japanese film is an over the top live action that guarantees you won’t be disappointed. It is a Quebec premiere.
Documentaries From the Edge – documentaries that will leave their mark on you
The Real Miyagi (director Kevin Derek) – Learn about the life of the famous karate master who taught such notables as Bruce Lee, Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris, Fumio Demura started as a street entertainer and then moved on to be an worldwide star. It is a Quebec premiere.
I Am Thor (director Ryan Wise) – A hit at the Slamdance film festival, it is the story of how you should never give up in life no matter what. The documentary is really funny, uplifting and truly inspirational. Plus the man himself, Thor, will be on hand at the screen for a talk and musical performance. It is a Quebec premiere.
Axis – features cutting edge animated films
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (directors Roger Allers, Paul Brizzi, Gaetan Brizzi, Joan C. Gratz, Mohammed Saeed Harib, Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Star, Michal Socha) – Produced by Salma Hayek, who has loved the famous novel since childhood, and directed by some of the most talented directors working in animated films today, the anthology is based on the philosophical poems by Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran. The film was an Official Selection at this year’s Cannes. It is a Quebec premiere.
The Case of Hana & Alice (director Shunji Iwai) – The Japanese film is the director’s first attempt at animated film, but is a prequel to his hit from 2004 called Hana & Alice. We see how this investigation might bring about a lifelong friendship between the two. It is a North American premiere.
Fantastical Retro & Restorations – films that have been “found” again or restored
The Nutcracker 3D (director Sebastian Masuda) – Originally released in 1979, this is a stop-motion version of the children’s Christmas movie. It is being screened in 3D. It is the North American premiere.
Roar (director Noel Marshall) – Believed to be the most dangerous film ever made. It is the last film even done by Noel Marshall that features appearances by his family – the actresses Tippi Hedren (his wife) and Melanie Griffith (his daughter) and his two sons John and Jerry. Takes place on a nature preserve with a multitude of wild animals. Nothing is in place to stop the lions and tigers from taking a bite from the cast and crew. At least 70 cast and crew members were injured during the filming.
A Christmas Horror Story (directors Grant Harvey, Brett Sullivan and Steven Hoban) – Four intertwined holiday horror stories from the people behind the Ginger Snaps franchise. Cast includes William Shatner and a Krampus. It is the world premiere.
Lady Psycho Killer (director Nathan Oliver) – This Canadian/USA co-production should make all males nervous. There is a killer out there and she is looking to kill any male. Plenty of laughs in the film starring Michael Madsen and Malcolm McDowell. It is a world premiere.
Nowhere Girl (director Mamoru Oshii) – From the creator of Ghost in the Shell this is a live-action film that focuses on lead character Ai, an outcast who does not fit in anywhere. She attends an all-girl school and is hiding some pretty big secrets. It is the Canadian premiere.
Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (directors Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu) – Peter Pau is the Oscar winning director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This is a kung fu movie featuring a demon hunter. It is the Canadian premiere.
Un Homme Idéal (director Yann Gozlan) – A thriller with plenty of suspense with a turn by the emerging French acting star, Pierre Niney (Yves Saint-Laurent). It is the Canadian premiere.
Besides these films there will be Cop Car with Kevin Bacon, Ant-Man with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, Dark Places with Charlize Theron, Experimenter with Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, and He Never Died with Henry Rollins.
Attending screenings at the festival will be actor Kevin Bacon (Cop Car), directors George Mihalka and Robert Lantos (Scandale), actress Barbara Crampton (We Are Still Here), and actor Michael Ironside (Turbo Kid). There will be a chance to interact with all guests during post screening Q&As.
On top of all the films there are several special events happening under the umbrella of Fantasia. One is a live performance of the radio drama, Tales From Beyond the Pale. It is the first ever Canadian performance of the Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid creation. The radio shows of Hitchcock and Welles are the inspiration. And there will be two book launces – one is Satanic Panic: Pop Culter Paranoia in the 1980s and the other is Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade.
-Dates: July 14 – August 4, 2015
-Venues: Hall Theatre Concordia (1455 de Maisonneuve West), J.A. de Sève Theatre (1400 de Maisonneuve West), McCord Museum (690 Sherbrooke West), Grande Bibliothèque (1515 Ste. Catherine West), J.W. McConnell Library (1400 de Maisonneuve West), Place du Paix – Quartier des Spectacles (Saint Laurent between Ste. Catherine and René Levesque), Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club (1222 Mackay)
-Ticket Purchase: Fantasia Box Office (1455 de Maisonneuve West) or www.admission.com or 514-790-1245
(Taxes and fee included) 10 TICKET BOOKLET *
(Taxes and fee included)
Fantasia Box Office $10.00 $90.00
Admission Counters $11.00 N.D.