I attended Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal last year, and I fell in love with the fest, a genre celebration in its 19th year that has inspired our own Fantastic Fest. Fantasia is run by a small, energetic and impassioned group of people who simply love genre filmmaking, and I saw some movies there that have really stayed with me through the months since.
Today, Fantasia announces the first round of programming for its 2015 festival, taking place from July 14 until August 4, with many more announcements to come, so stay tuned for all of the excitement, and read on for the press release!
UNVEILING OUR 2015 POSTER ART: FANTASIA CONTINUES ITS CELEBRATION OF REGIONAL FOLKLORE WITH THE WENDIGO
In recent editions, Fantasia has showcased poster art informed by various regional legends and myths, including the Chasse Galerie also known as" The Flying Canoe" and, what’s become the official festival emblem, the Cheval Noir (Black Horse). For our 2015 poster, we’ve turned once again to Montreal artist Donald Caron, who has blessed us with a stunning depiction of the Cheval Noir facing the Wendigo, a mythical creature born of Native American folklore. The myth is believed to have been created as a warning that those who may have considered turning to cannibalism during times of famine due to harsh winter conditions, could be transformed into a werewolf-like monster.
GET ANIMATED WITH OUR OPENING NIGHT FILM!
MISS HOKUSAI BRINGS THE EDO ERA BACK INTO POP CULTURE!
Fantasia is proud to open its 2015 edition with the North American Premiere of the astonishingly beautiful MISS HOKUSAI, one of this year's most hotly anticipated animated films. Katsushika Hokusai is perhaps the most renowned ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) artist, but very few are aware of his talented daughter O-Ei's influence on his work. Centered on their relationship and the young woman's rebellious personality, this mix of classical art and pop-culture, based on Hinako Sugiura's manga Sarusuberi, is masterfully brought to the screen by multiple award winning director Keiichi Hara (COLORFUL) and Production I.G, the legendary studio behind such contemporary animated masterpieces as A LETTER TO MOMO and GIOVANNI'S ISLAND.
ALSO ON OPENING NIGHT...
THE EXPLOSIVE NEW MARVEL STUDIOS ADVENTURE, ANT-MAN!
As a flagship part of our Opening Night Festivities, Fantasia will be presenting the Montreal Premiere of Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN. The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time when master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Peyton Reed directs Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stole, and Michael Douglas in the latest Marvel summer blockbuster.
PUMPKIN-CARVING SEASON STARTS EARLY!
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF TALES OF HALLOWEEN!
Fantasia will be celebrating the season of Samhain in July with the World Premiere of the all-star omnibus horror feature TALES OF HALLOWEEN, featuring segments directed by such spooktacular greats as Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp and Andrew Kasch, and Paul Solet. The film encapsulates the spooky fun of the holiday and is a celebration of all things horror, with a cast which includes familiar faces such as Lin Shaye, Pat Healy, Barry Bostwick, Noah Segan, James Duval, Pollyana McIntosh, Kristina Klebe, Marc Senter, Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon, and John Landis.
GET READY FOR A HOLY NIGHT OF SHEER HORROR
FANTASIA CELEBRATES THE WORLD PREMIERE OF JERUZALEM!
The acclaimed Israeli filmmaking team of Yoav and Doron Paz, whose PHOBIDILIA was an official selection at the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals, has jumped heads-first into the horror genre with the chilling JERUZALEM. A group of American teenagers visiting Jerusalem on Yom Kippur find themselves inside their worst nightmare as the city’s prophecies and superstitions prove terrifyingly real. Starring Yael Grobglas (Jane the Virgin, Rabies), and told entirely from the perspective of a character’s increasingly battered Digital Glass headset, JERUZALEM offers whiplashing sights never before seen and will have audiences frozen in their seats when it World Premieres at Fantasia this summer!
A GROUP OF COLLEGE KIDS ARE HUMANITY'S LAST HOPE
THE INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM!
Back to school kids! There's a super powered happy faced alien who will destroy earth if you don't do your schoolwork : kill the creature-turned-teacher by all means... even if it's really nice and competent. Adapted from one of the most popular mangas in Japan and packed with young J-Pop stars, led by Arashi's Kazunari Ninomiya who is giving his voice to the monster, this unique sci-fi comedy by OPPAI VOLLEYBALL director Eiichiro Hasumi brings a heart-warming coming of age aspect to the School Mayhem genre first popularized by the BATTLE ROYALE films. The International Premiere of ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM will be an out-of-this-world event!
FANTASIA'S FIRST MARKET BABY, THE POST-APOCALYPTIC TURBO KID, RETURNS HOME!
The inspired Quebec/NZ indie that’s become one of the most wildly adored films on the 2015 international festival circuit - blowing minds at Sundance and in Dallas, the Netherlands and Brussels, winning an audience award at SXSW - is coming home for its first screening in the country. At the place of its birth, in fact, as TURBO KID came together at the first edition of Frontières, Fantasia’s International Co-Production Market. Don’t miss what’s sure to be a wild homecoming party for the directing team of François Simard, Annouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell AKA Roadkill Superstar.
Additional 1st Wave Highlights Include...
South Korea - Dir: Choi Ho
Lee Jeong-jae (THE THIEVES), Shin Ha-kyun (THIRST) and K-Pop star BoA enters a dangerous death game in this high octane action comedy where a Mixed Martial Arts fighter must play a deadly urban chess confrontation created by a Machiavellian mastermind. Canadian Premiere.
Ethiopia/Spain/Finland - Dir: Miguel Llansó
Ethiopia’s first sci-fi feature also happens to be a post apocalyptic black comedy, an eccentric love story and a brilliant blast of politically-charged surrealism that exists in a space between Alex Cox and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Probably the single most unusual and unforgettable film you will see anywhere this year, screening in our Camera Lucida section. Official Selection: Rotterdam International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
New Zealand - Dir: Jason Lei Howden
Behold, the riotous heavy metal Kiwi splatter-comedy-horror-monster-demon-freakout the world’s been begging for has arrived. Packed with lunatic gore reminiscent of early Peter Jackson and volume-11 riffage harkening back to that same era’s most ferocious metal, DEATHGASM absolutely shreds. In every sense. Official Selection: SXSW, Stanley, Fantaspoa. Canadian Premiere.
Canada - Dir: Gabriel Carrer
An unstable repairman tending to his crippled wife – an ex-cop brutalized by gang violence - sneaks out at night to unleash his rage on any criminals he can find. An atmospheric and poetic reinterpretation of the urban Vigilante Film as a psychological examination of trauma. World Premiere.
USA - Dir: Michael Almereyda
Gifted indie trailblazer Almereyda (NADJA, CYMBELINE) turns his unconventional gaze towards the controversial social experiments of Stanley Milgram (brilliantly portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard). Co-starring Winona Ryder, Anton Yelchin, Taryn Manning, John Leguizamo and Anthony Edwards. Official Selection: Sundance, Seattle International Film Festival, Beijing International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
Japan - Dir: Mari Asato
A deadly curse hits a gothic style convent in this brilliant atmospheric adaptation of the hit horror video game Fatal Frame, where flawless storytelling and character development, a creepy ambiance taking advantage of every inch of its location and a haunting music score bring the audience back to the golden age of J-Horror. Official Selection: Stockholm International Film Festival. North American Premiere.
Hong Kong - Dir: Derek Kwok, Henri Wong
When ex cons discovers their love for badminton, they ask a fallen former champion to lead them to victory. Derek Kwok and Henri Wong co-direct this hilarious comedy centered on over-the-top characters reminiscent of Stephen Chow's spectacular SHAOLIN SOCCER. Canadian Premiere.
THE GOLDEN CANE WARRIOR
Indonesia - Dir: Ifa Isfansyah
Aging female warrior Cempaka is the most respected fighter in the Golden Cane clan, but she must now find a successor among her disciples. Coming on the heels of the wildly popular THE RAID series, this flawlessly executed epic actioner by Ifa Isfansyah is here to confirm Indonesia's place in the leading nations of martial arts cinema. Canadian Premiere.
LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM
Japan - Dir: Nobuhiro Yamashita
Nobuhiro Yamashita, director of the contemporary classic LINDA LINDA LINDA, is back in musical comedy/drama territory with a fighter attitude! Rising super star Fumi Nikaido (WHY DON'T YOU PLAY IN HELL?) and J-Pop sensation Subaru Shibutani, member of Kanjani Eight, shine in this remarkable underdog tale. Official Selection: Rotterdam International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
Australia - Dir.: Joseph Sims-Dennett
His job is to observe, observe a beautiful woman. Soon enough, he discovers his gig implies more than he ever asked for. A poignant and terrifying thriller in the vein of Polanski's REPULSION, Among first 2015 Camera Lucida selections to be announced, OBSERVANCE promises to haunt your nightmares. World premiere.
Spain - Dir: Sam Ortí Martí (AKA Sam)
An instant-classic of wickedly fun (and imaginatively grotesque) stop-motion comedy/horror that many have described as PARANORMAN meets WALLACE & GROMIT by way of SOUTH PARK, POSSESED is the manic creation of Goya-nominated anima-lunatic Sam Ortí Martí, featuring the voices of Santiago Segura, Anabel Alonso and Nacho Vigalondo. Official Selection Sitges, Athens Animfest, Canadian Premiere.
THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE
USA - Dir: Perry Blackshear
A smart, haunting psychological horror masterpiece that Verite Film hailed as “unbearably tense and profoundly moving”. Despite having only been playing on the fest circuit for five months, THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE has already won awards at Slamdance, SF Indiefest, IFF Boston and the Nashville Film Festival. International Premiere
Denmark - Dir: Michael Madsen
Is Earth ready for an alien visitation? Michael Madsen"s fascinating follow-up to INTO ETERNITY reflects on this interrogation through a simulation with scientists and philosophers. A powerful and groundbreaking documentary. Official Selection: Sundance, Hot Docs. Quebec Premiere.
The full lineup will be announced July 7, and if it's anything like last year's, it will be jam-packed with films genre fans will be talking about all year.