The Fantasia Film Festival announces today a massive new assortment of feature films for its 24th edition, along with details on scheduled panels, talks, tributes, and special events.
JOHN CARPENTER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AND MASTERCLASS
Fantasia attendees lovingly recall that the Kentucky-raised writer/director/musician was one of the first major international guests to attend Fantasia for the fest’s third edition in 1998, when it launched the International Premiere of Vampires. In conjunction with awarding him a Fantasia Lifetime Achievement Award, the festival will also present a masterclass from Carpenter, where he’ll discuss everything from his own festival origin story to his awe-inspiring career, touching on Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Starman, They Live, and many more. In addition, the fest will explore his recent resurgence as a touring musician and play you his latest spine-tingling single!
A TRIBUTE TO JOSÉ MOJICA MARINS
On February 19th of this year, South American cinema lost its boldest visionary with the passing of José Mojica Marins, one of the most original and inspired voices in the history of genre film. A master of confrontational filmmaking who conquered numerous obstacles, Marins’ creations are radical lightning bolts of transgression made in defiance of Brazil’s then-dictatorship, whose collective glow will continue to influence and astonish generations to come. Fantasia had the honor of bringing Marins to the fest twice and of bestowing him with a Lifetime Achievement award. He will be greatly missed.
In recognition of Marins’ passing, Fantasia will be presenting three of his works –
AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL (1964), THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE (1968), and THE END OF MAN (1971).
In addition, the festival will also present a live talk with Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho (The Nightshifter), co-screenwriter of Mojica’s acclaimed 2008 Coffin Joe comeback film, Embodiment of Evil. He will reminisce on his own history growing up inspired by the man, as well as his relationship with his friend and collaborator.
AN INDIGENOUS KIWI MARTIAL ARTS ACTION COMEDY CLOSES FANTASIA 2020
Fantasia’s 24th edition will slam into crescendo with the North American Premiere of NZ filmmaker Kiel McNaughton’s THE LEGEND OF BARON TO’A. Uli Latukefu (of Taika Waititi’s upcoming Next Goal Wins) gives a charismatic turn in the leading role, supported by a talented Polynesian cast including The Matrix Reloaded’s Nathaniel Lees and Attack of the Clones’ Jay Laga’aia. The film delivers comedy and pathos in a seamless blend of English and Tongan. While the hard-hitting fight choreography draws inspiration from pro wrestling and martial arts movies, it’s firmly grounded in its suburban setting, resulting in setpieces that celebrate the Pacific Island experience just as much as the script does. North American Premiere.
HUNTED TAKES SURVIVAL ACTION TO ITS MOST HUMAN PLACE
Once upon a frenzied time, man meets woman. Man kisses woman. Woman escapes man. Man chases woman. This oft-recycled revenge plot takes an unexpected turn in HUNTED – a bold story where codes are bent and reborn. The psychotic Big Bad Wolf, embodiment of patriarchy, and his dummy sidekick engage in a wild hunt within mother nature’s protective maze of trees; meanwhile, our tale’s Red Riding Hood’s awaits with killer moves – and won’t surrender so easily. Vincent Paronnaud (acclaimed comic book creator and co-director of the Academy Award-nominated Persepolis) brings us a thrilling, humanist tale that’s as animalistic as it is mystifying. World Premiere.
THE INCREDIBLE JOHNNIE TO MAKE OUR DREAM COME TRUE
When Tiger (Jacky Heung, of Push and Fearless) and Cuckoo (Keru Wang, Youth) meet, it’s a match made in heaven. Both involved with moneylenders, one is an over-enthusiastic rising star in the MMA world; the other a resourceful, aspiring singer on-the-run who will stop at nothing for a spot on ‘Perfect Diva’! Following Three (Fantasia 2016), master filmmaker Johnnie To is back with CHASING DREAM: an unexpected blend of mixed-martial-arts drama and high-stakes musical comedy, taking the viewers back to the madcap energy of his mid-2000s collaborations with Wai Ka-Fai and the themes of his sports-and-destiny masterpiece Throw Down!. Canadian Premiere.
JORGE MICHEL GRAU RETURNS WITH THE BREATHLESS, STYLISH PERDIDA
A decade after his cannibalistic modern classic We Are What We Are, Mexican filmmaker Jorge Michel Grau returns to Fantasia with PERDIDA. Starring José María de Tavira, Paulina Dávila, and Cristina Rodlo, Grau enters into the realm of Hitchcock and De Palma to deliver one of the best, most sustained thrillers of recent times. A remake of Andrés Baiz’s acclaimed 2011 feature The Hidden Face, Grau superbly creates suspense through contemporary architecture and a love triangle that consistently surprises. International Premiere.
PLACE YOUR BETS ON ROM
Fourteen-year-old Rom (Tran Anh Khoa) is a runner. That is, he runs lottery numbers for the indebted inhabitants of a dilapidated tenement – a network of interconnected homes soon to be demolished by greedy developers. The bookie climbs and zips through its many alleys; down streets, up balconies, staircases, and across other unstable contraptions – in order to be the first to give his clients’ numbers to the teller. Tran Thanh Huy’s ROM, winner of the New Currents Award at the 2020 Busan Film Festival, is an electrifying debut: a jolt of a film, shot with great, street-savvy energy and constant forward momentum. North American Premiere.
LIFE TAKES YOU FOR A RIDE WITH MARYGOROUND
Nearly fifty and hitting menopause, Mary (Grazyna Misiorowska) makes the decision to begin hormone therapy to ease the transition. Meanwhile, the sudden arrival of her niece coincides with an awakening – one of burgeoning sexuality, bravery, and curiosity. Maybe it’s the hormones… or maybe it’s something far more mystical and powerful. Prepare for MARYGOROUND, a beautiful, unsettling, and touching dark comedy about the importance of finding yourself at any age, brought to life through Polish director Daria Woszek’s sensitive and original worldview, and originally slated to world premiere at SXSW. International Premiere.
BEING A GEEK IS NOTHING TO HIDE, EVEN THOUGH LOVE IS HARD FOR OTAKU
Narumi is starting a new job and doing everything she can to hide the fact she is an otaku, but one of her new colleagues is a childhood friend who knows all about her passion for manga and anime. Thanks to the superb chemistry between Mitsuki Takahata (Almost A Miracle) and Kento Yamazaki (“Kingdom”), the unique creativity of writer/director Yuichi Fukuda (HK: Forbidden Superhero), and musical numbers going from J-pop to jazz, WOTAKOI: LOVE IS HARD FOR OTAKU is the perfect immersion into the fascinating world of otaku culture. North American Premiere.
PREPARE FOR A FISHY KAIJU ATTACK WITH MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS
When a disgraced scientist who now works at his dad’s sushi shop gets into a minor bicycle accident, he ends up creating a huge-but-delicious problem that can only be described as MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS! Before you can say “colossal calamari”, a squid, an octopus, and a crab – each as big as buildings – are wreaking massive kaiju havoc all over Tokyo! Beloved director Minoru Kawasaki (The Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala) employs incredible oldschool techniques in this hilarious and heartfelt monster film, and brings back a disappearing genre in Japanese cinema known as “kigurumi tokusatsu”, or, as we know them, sci-fi movies featuring actors in rubber giant monster costumes! International Premiere.
IT’LL TAKE MUSCLES TO FOLD THESE PAPER TIGERS!
Three childhood Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs and dad duties to overcome old grudges and avenge his death.
Writer/director Bao Tran has made not just another martial arts movie, but a film that’s about martial arts: its philosophies and the lessons it continues to teach you into old age. Anchored by immensely likable performances from its cast, THE PAPER TIGERS delivers all the quality ass-kicking you want out of a good martial arts film, while also impacting much more: a story about the importance of friendship and staying true to your heart, which is what makes THE PAPER TIGERS so special. World Premiere.
WILDLAND ASKS WHAT YOU’RE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR FLESH AND BLOOD
After her mother’s abrupt death, Ida is taken in by an estranged aunt and her three sons. She soon discovers that her new family are local mafioso and things suddenly go south when a violent murder challenges the family’s loyalty to each other. WILDLAND, Danish director Jeanette Nordahl’s stunning debut feature – which was an official selection at this year’s Berlinale – is a rite of passage tale, delicate and highly adroit, from the perspective of a lost girl facing arduous and fundamental questions. North American Premiere.
CONSEQUENCES ARE HIGH WHEN A MAN’S SON IS LEGALLY DECLARED DEAD
An insurance agent suspects his client (Anthony Wong, of Untold Story and Infernal Affairs) may have murdered his own son to collect the insurance money. As he investigates the suspicious death, he begins to be met with threats on all sides. Director Yuen Kim-Wai elevates a thrilling story by expertly balancing a touchy subject with suspense and nuanced characters. Based on the famous Japanese novel Black House, the striking, exciting LEGALLY DECLARED DEAD recently launched in Hong Kong and Taiwan. North American Premiere.
ELDERLY SATANISTS WILL DO PRACTICALLY ANYTHING FOR JACKSON
Canadian genre royalty Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings star in Ontario filmmaker Justin G. Dyck’s ANYTHING FOR JACKSON, a clever, funny, and delightfully mean-spirited horror tale of elderly Satanists carried way over their heads in the name of love. Keith Cooper’s screenplay constantly surprises, by turning funny, nasty, and progressively more intense as it moves along, but it’s the pairing of McCarthy and Richings that makes JACKSON so special. World Premiere.
THIS MOM-TO-BE DEFINITELY HAS NO IDEA WHAT’S IN STORE FOR HER!
Award-winning Hong Kong screenwriter and director Luk Yee-Sum returns to Fantasia with the expectant comedy, BABY: THE SECRET DIARY OF A MOM TO BE, the perfect follow-up to her coming of age debut Lazy Hazy Crazy (Fantasia 2016). As far as Carmen (Dada Chan, VULGARIA) is concerned, she has it all: a handsome basketball-star husband, a great job with an exciting promotion in reach, and a group of lifelong friends that are closer than family. But she’s about to get one thing she didn’t plan for – a baby on the way. Having previously screened at Tokyo International Film Festival and Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, this charming dramedy draws back the curtain on the ups and downs of when you’re unexpectedly expecting. Canadian Premiere.
WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY?
Two years after the German reunification, a pair of out-of-town detectives begin to uncover the dark secrets of a lawless backwoods area. Antibodies director Christian Alvart’s tense remake of Alberto Rodriguez’s Goya-sweeping Spanish thriller Marshland (winner of a 2015 Fantasia Audience Award), FREE COUNTRY is as exciting and socially conscious as its predecessor, both films showcasing this crime story as a fascinating backdrop of post-fascist societies. Canadian Premiere.
IN THESE PHOTOGRAPHS, BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Solitary photographer Kai (Hideki Nagai) is afraid of women, but it doesn’t keep him from shamelessly retouching their photographs when asked. On a trek through the forest, he encounters a model, Kyoko (Itsuki Otaki), who soon asks him to retouch hers. As their relationship grows, Kai feels a rare pang of responsibility, motivated for the first time to challenge his vindictive perception of women. Takeshi Kushida’s WOMAN OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS is a mysterious and captivating debut, throwing the viewer into an uncertain world of obsession and forgery; a potent examination of image-making and alienation in our contemporary age. Quebec Premiere.
POLICE TRAINING GOES AWRY IN SUBVERSIVE 80S HOMAGE SURVIVAL SKILLS
Writer/director Quinn Armstrong’s feature debut SURVIVAL SKILLS, expanded from his 2017 short, is simultaneously a throwback to a bygone age and very much a film for the current moment. Designed like an 80s police-training video, Armstrong builds up a wholesome and comedic world replete with bubbling Americana and educational-film naivete before shattering it with the grim reality of domestic violence. Starring Vayu O’Donnell and Stacy Keach, the film casts a bleakly satirical light on the disasters that can occur when simplistic training, complex ethics, and the dark side of human nature collide. International Premiere.
IT’S EXTREMELY DANGEROUS FOR A SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD
When Lee’s teenage daughter accidentally kills a classmate who is blackmailing her, she, unfortunately, discovers that the deceased’s mother happens to be a merciless cop (legendary actress Joan Chen of Twin Peaks and THE LAST EMPEROR). Lee, armed with an arsenal of film knowledge and wits, devises the ultimate alibi, ready for every counter-move that awaits his family. SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD is a relentless cat-and-mouse thriller with just the right dose of dark humor, emotional nuance, and tension from first-time director Sam Quah. Released to such an avalanche of positive press, the film overtook Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in China’s box office! Quebec Premiere.
A CRIMINAL, A DETECTIVE, AND A TALKING PARROT ARE NEEDED TO SOLVE A THRILLING CRIME PUZZLE IN A WITNESS OUT OF THE BLUE!
Three months after a botched robbery, Wong, the mastermind behind it, is now a prime suspect for the murder of one of his teammates. Trying to clear his name, Wong instead falls into a complex web of betrayal and collateral damage, while a detective scrambles to piece together the puzzle with the help of a talking parrot. A WITNESS OUT OF THE BLUE is a riveting thriller from director Fung Chih-Chiang, who previously collaborated with Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer) and Johnny To (Sparrow), and has screened at Bucheon Film Festival and Rotterdam Film Festival. Canadian Premiere
DOCUMENTARIES FROM THE EDGE UNVEILS SEVEN NEW TITLES
Fantasia’s section dedicated to unconventional non-fiction storytelling just keeps expanding, with seven amazing new documentaries that are sure to impress.
A “LYNCHIAN PRE-APOCALYPTIC URBEX DOCUMENTARY”, FROM HAUNTED DRIVE-INS TO UNDERGROUND MUSIC
Conceived by their parents in the back seat of a Chevy at the local drive-in, bottle-fed with images of exploitation cinema, monsters, and fears, they are now fighting against social norms and a “life of feudalistic servitude”. TEXAS TRIP – A CARNIVAL OF GHOSTS, directorial duo Maxime Lachaud and Steve Balestreri’s beguiling debut feature documentary, is a portrait of Attic Ted, Virginia Black, Mother Fakhir, and more – artists making strange sounds, experimenting to the extreme with abstract ideas through the materiality of their own flesh. World Premiere.
YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE – ONLY HE CAN DO THAT
Branded as the most hated man in wrestling after winning a highly controversial WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000, actor David Arquette attempts a rocky return to the sport that stalled his promising Hollywood career in YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE. An unexpectedly emotional and heartfelt documentary directed by David Darg and Price James, this is a truly outrageous portrait of a dangerously determined former A-lister. Canadian Premiere.
EVIL DEAD FANS GET GROOVY IN HAIL TO THE DEADITES
Few horror franchises have inspired as devoted a cult following as the 1981 classic The Evil Dead, and HAIL TO THE DEADITES offers a deep-dive into the fan culture that has spawned around it. Through interviews with the cast, crew, collectors, fans, freaks, and geeks, this special doc illuminates the darkest reaches of the Evil Dead franchise’s undying and still-growing popularity. A pop culture icon that has given birth to a TV series, comic books, figurines, and surpassed even its creator’s wildest dreams, Evil Dead now inspires this stellar new doc from Steve Villeneuve, director of Under The Scars and founder of the Requiem Fear Fest. World Premiere.
MILF – ACRONYM. /mɪlf/ – MORGANA I’D LOVE TO FILM
After twenty years locked in a sexless existence, housewife Morgana frees herself and learns to spread her… wings. Following the ups and downs (and upside-downs) of homemaker-turned-porn filmmaker Morgana Muses, directorial duo Isabel Peppard and Josie Hess take us on the ride of a lifetime. MORGANA is a license to live judgment-free, an open letter to all invisible and emotionally-secluded women who have been forced into a miserable life of heteronormative submission. Get ready for an inspiring, sex-positive documentary for anyone in need of an orgasmic awakening. North American Premiere.
BEHOLD THE AMAZING, INSPIRING ART OF IVAN, THE TERRIRBLE
Relatively unknown outside Brazil, Ivan Cardoso (Nosferatu in Brazil, The Secret of the Mummy) is one of the country’s most significant genre filmmakers. Throughout his decades-spanning career, Cardoso has blended radical aesthetics with lowbrow ambitions and pioneered a style of filmmaking called Terrir (a play on the word terror, and the Portuguese word for “to laugh”). Intercut with animation, interviews, and clips, Mario Abbade’s IVAN, THE TERRIRBLE is a crash course on Brazil’s best-kept genre secret and a fun homage for his biggest fans. While the country’s cinematic past and present are under threat with President Bolsonaro in power, this film emerges during a moment of national reflection on the importance of art and liberty under political oppression. World Premiere.
FEELS GOOD, MAN FEELS PRETTY POWERFUL, MAN
A Sundance 2020 Special Jury Award Winner and standout of this year’s Berlinale, Arthur Jones’ FEELS GOOD, MAN is a playful and poignant documentary about illustrator Matt Furie’s infamous-but-once-innocent Pepe the Frog character. In Jones’ hands, the story of a frog takes us on a journey through the birth of meme culture, from the MySpace and 4chan era, to Trump’s explosive election year, where Pepe has found his present fate as a reluctant rallying symbol of the alt-right. Quebec Premiere.
THAT’S A WRAP ON CLAPBOARD JUNGLE
CLAPBOARD JUNGLE is an emotional and introspective journey following five years in the life of Canadian independent filmmaker Justin McConnell (Lifechanger), which poses one central question: How does an indie filmmaker survive in the current industry? Featuring interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Richard Stanley, Barbara Crampton, Paul Schrader, Tom Savini, George A. Romero, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Michael Biehn, Frank Henenlotter, and many more. An official selection at festivals such as FrightFest, Night Visions, and Sitges. Quebec Premiere.
ADDITIONAL THIRD WAVE TITLES
BRING ME HOME
South Korea – Dir: Kim Seung-woo
Six years after her son’s disappearance, Jung-yeon goes to a small fishing village to track him down. But nothing could have prepared for what she discovers upon arrival. Actress Lee Young-ae (Lady Vengeance) shines in writer-director Kim Seung-woo’s feature debut. Quebec Premiere.
Greece – Dir: Rinio Dragasaki
Anna is an eccentric supermarket cashier living alone in her parent’s roomy apartment in Athens. When the father of the 10-year-old girl next door suddenly goes missing she finds herself forced to take responsibility for the child, and take her in herself. Exploring the frivolities of youth and the difficulties of mental illness, COSMIC CANDY is a sparkling burst of optimism in the face of profound gloom. Canadian Premiere.
DINNER IN AMERICA
USA – Dir: Adam Rehmeier
This riotously hilarious, punk-as-f*ck anti-romantic comedy – that just so happens to be genuinely romantic – exists in the same universe as classics like Welcome To The Dollhouse and Repo Man. Starring Emily Skeggs, Kyle Gallner, Lea Thompson, and Pat Healy and winner of the Audience Award at the 2020 Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. Quebec Premiere.
France – Dir: Zoé Wittock
Socially awkward Jeanne (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Noémie Merlant) is in love… with an amusement park ride. This beautifully strange romance is a coming-of-age “coming out” story unlike any you’ve ever seen. JUMBO questions gender and sexual identity in a truly novel way, and does it with humor, heart, and breathtaking visual flair. A compelling and wondrous instant classic of eccentric cinema. Quebec Premiere.
Japan – Dir: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Welcome to Hyakkaoh Private Academy, where gambling determines the school’s hierarchy. But the status quo is about to be shaken up by the arrival of a new student who is ready to take on the head of the powerful student council. Based on the popular manga by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura, Tsutomu Hanabusa’s KAKEGURUI (PROJECT DREAMS) is a hilarious and riveting school drama with biting social critique. Canadian Premiere.
THE MORTUARY COLLECTION
USA – Dir: Ryan Spindell
A stylish, colorful and ghoulishly fun horror anthology in the vein of ‘70s Amicus Productions, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION stars the great Clancy Brown as a sinister mortician, chronicling the strange history of his town through a series of morbid tales. Born at the 2013 Frontières market and completed last year, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION has been tearing up the festival circuit, playing everywhere from FrightFest and Fantastic Fest to Maskoon, Haapsalu, and Lund. Quebec Premiere.
NO LONGER HUMAN
Japan – Dir. Mika Ninagawa
Genius writer Osamu Dazai has become a star, despite rumors of affairs, multiple suicide attempts, and an eccentric, anti-Establishment way of life. Mika Ninagawa (Helter Skelter, Sakuran) tackles the life of one of Japan’s foremost literary figures in this bold, colourful, and stylish film. Quebec Premiere.
Belgium – Dir: Tim Mielants
Making his feature film debut after a television career spanning the likes of “Peaky Blinders”, “The Terror”, and “Legion” director Tim Mielants paints a down-to-earth portrait of a man struggling to deal with his feelings – and of a micro-society struggling to deal with him. Co-starring Kevin Janssens (Revenge) and Jemaine Clement (“What We Do In The Shadows“) and winner of six awards on the international festival circuit, including Best Director at Karlovy Vary and Best Film at Fantastic Fest. Canadian Premiere.
FANTASIA RETRO UNVEILS A TRIO OF RESTORATION PREMIERES
BUDDY GIOVINAZZO’S NO WAY HOME BREAKS HEARTS AND BONES
Fans of hard-hitting genre cinema will know Buddy Giovinazzo from his blistering backyard debut Combat Shock, released in the late 80s. His hotly anticipated but still-underground follow-up, NO WAY HOME, boasted a trio of amazing emerging talent of the era: Tim Roth, James Russo, and Deborah Kara Unger. For the first time since its criminally brief run in cinemas, it will soon be possible to see NO WAY HOME as intended, in all its ruthless glory, thanks to Severin Films and their new 4K restoration from original negatives. Restoration World Premiere.
HALF MAN, HALF JELLYFISH, ONE SERIOUSLY BONKERS STING OF DEATH
A mad marine biologist sneaks off to an underwater lab, transforms himself into a mutant half-man-half-jellyfish, and attacks college kids with his Sting of Death! Why? Because he’s in love! Maverick filmmaker Bill Grefé’s kitsch classic STING OF DEATH (1966) – a poverty row take on The Creature From The Black Lagoon shot deep in the Florida everglades – emerges from the watery depths of cinema history in a stunning new 2K restoration from the original 35mm negative, courtesy of the aquatic horror connoisseurs at Arrow Video. Restoration World Premiere.
ÁLEX DE LA IGLESIA’S BELOVED BEAST REBORN IN A STUNNING NEW RESTORATION
In between his cult hit debut Accion Mutante and proudly transgressive Perdita Durango, writer/director Álex de la Iglesia delivered DAY OF THE BEAST, which remains one of the best horror comedies of our time and turned Santiago Segura into a domestic megastar. Winner of 6 Goya Awards including Best Director – and a Fantasia audience award back in the day – now restored in 4K from the original negative by Severin Films. Restoration World Premiere.
THE WORLD OF LAURIN IS RICH WITH BEAUTIFUL TERRORS IN THIS RARE RETRO
Robert Sigl’s 1989 feature debut horror fable LAURIN largely remained a curio outside of its native West Germany, with North American audiences having to wait until recently to experience its twisted, dreamy pleasures. The quasi-giallo won Sigl (School’s Out, Lexx) numerous accolades at European festivals, and offers up an entrancing mix of pre-Guillermo del Toro childhood innocence and adult horror, breathtakingly lensed by Nyika Jancsó. Fantasia is proud to present the long-overdue Canadian Premiere of this gorgeous 4K restoration. Restoration Canadian Premiere.
REDISCOVER FANTASIA CLASSICS AT HOME!
Unavailable in North America, or previously hard to find, Fantasia’s digital 2020 edition brings back a selection of beloved favorites from its past editions, under its new label, Fantasia Classics. This year’s titles featured under this moniker include Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll (2009), Yosuke Fujita’s Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats (2014), Johnnie To’s A Hero Never Dies (1998), Hideki Takeuchi’s Fly Me to the Saitama (2019), Yuichi Fukuda’s HK: Forbidden Superhero (2014) and HK2: The Abnormal Crisis (2016), Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011), and Koichiro Miki’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles (2018). Also included will be a special 15-year-anniversary screening of Wilson Yip’s SPL: Kill Zone (2005).
JURIES AND COMPETITIONS
Fantasia is pleased to announce the 2020 Cheval Noir competition titles:
12 HOUR SHIFT – USA, Dir: Brea Grant
CHASING DREAM – Hong Kong, Dir: Johnnie To
COME TRUE – Canada, Dir: Anthony Scott Burns
THE CURSE OF AUDREY EARNSHAW – Canada, Dir: Thomas Lee
THE DARK AND THE WICKED – USA, Dir: Bryan Bertino
I WEIRDO – Taiwan, Dir: Liao Ming-Yi
KRIYA – India-UK, Dir: Sidharth Srinivasan
LEGALLY DECLARED DEAD – Hong Kong, Dir: Yuen Kim-Wai
MARYGOROUND – Poland, Dir: Daria Woszek
ME AND ME – South Korea, Dir: Jung Jin-young
PROJECT DREAMS: HOW TO BUILD MAZINGER Z’S HANGAR – Japan, Dir: Tsutomu Hanabusa
SPECIAL ACTORS – Japan, Dir: Shinichiro Ueda
UNDERGODS – UK-Belgium-Estonia-Serbia-Sweden, Dir: Chino Moya
WOTAKOI: LOVE IS HARD FOR OTAKU – Japan, Dir: Yuichi Fukuda
The following talented industry professionals make up the Fantasia 2020 juries:
CHEVAL NOIR COMPETITION
Jennifer Lynch (Jury President) – USA – Director, Writer
Joko Anwar – Indonesia – Director, Writer, Producer
Mattie Do – Laos – Director, Producer
Steve Moore – USA – Composer and Musician
Jongsuk Thomas Nam – South Korea – Festival Programmer (Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival), Managing Director of the Network of Asian Fantastic Films
Karen Walton – Canada – Writer, Producer
NEW FLESH COMPETITION FOR BEST FIRST FEATURE
Darin Scott (Jury President) – USA – Director, Writer, Producer
Mette-Marie Kongsved – Denmark – Producer, Co-Founder of Nowhere
Miguel Llansó – Spain – Director, Writer, Producer
Shinji Sakoda – Japan – International Sales and Film Festival Representative
April Wolfe – USA – Director, Writer, Critic, Podcaster
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Nosipho Dumisa (Jury President) – South Africa – Director, Writer, Co-Founder of Gambit Films
Simon Barrett – USA – Director, Writer, Actor
Pierce Conran – Ireland – Critic, Producer, Acquisitions Executive at XYZ Films
Natalie Erika James – Australia – Director, Writer
Jennifer Reeder – USA – Director, Writer
AQCC CAMERA LUCIDA COMPETITION
– Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (Québec Critic’s Association)
Martin Gignac – Canada – Critic and Author
Marc-Antoine Lévesque – Canada – Critic
Benjamin Pelletier – Canada – Critic
AXIS: SATOSHI KON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION
Marina Antunes (Jury President) – Canada – Festival Director, Film Critic, Podcaster
Han Han Li – Canada – Animator, Animation Teacher
Emily Paige – Canada – Co-founder, Creative Producer, ED Films
Chad VanGaalen – Canada – Animator, Artist, Musician
PANELS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Featuring an artist talk with famed filmmaker Mike Flanagan, an all-star tribute to Stuart Gordon, (bad) career advice from Simon Barrett, Gary Sherman’s virtual b-day bash, and much more!
While Fantasia 2020’s films are geo-blocked to Canadian audiences, all of the festival’s panels and special events are free and accessible worldwide, allowing these unique experiences to be enjoyed by fans on every corner of the Earth!
AFROFUTURISM: VISIONS OF THE FUTURE FROM “THE OTHER” SIDE
Friday, August 21 – 5PM EDT
Presentation by Carolyn Mauricette
In this lecture, Canadian film critic Carolyn Mauricette will explore how the lack of representation of BIPOC people in science fiction changed with Afrofuturism pioneers of music, film, and literature, break down the definitions of Afrofuturism, and see how the movement has influenced today’s creators towards making a whitewashed future a thing of the past.
RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE: PRINT’S NOT DEAD – GENRE JOURNALISM IN 2020
Sunday, Aug 23 – 4PM EDT
Join the staff of Rue Morgue, Canada’s premiere horror and culture in entertainment periodical, for a discussion on the challenges, merits, and overall state of print journalism in an increasingly digital age.
SIMON GIVES BAD CAREER ADVICE: A TALK WITH SIMON BARRETT
Monday, Aug 24 – 5PM EDT
Simon Barrett, screenwriter of The Guest and You’re Next (and director of the upcoming Seance), unsuccessfully attempts to answer the questions he is most commonly asked about the increasingly inexplicable business of filmmaking.
Severin Film presents
NARRATIVES OF RESISTANCE IN FOLK HORROR
Tuesday, August 25 – 3PM EDT
With panelists Kinitra Brooks (author, Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror), Bernice M. Murphy (author, The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture), Michelle Latimer (director: The Inconvenient Indian), and Mikel Koven (author, Film, Folklore, and Urban Legends); Moderated by Kier-La Janisse (director/producer, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror)
In anticipation of Severin Films’ upcoming documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror, this panel looks at folk horror from different perspectives rather than as a specifically British phenomenon. From Dybbuks to Conjure Women and Ozark Witches, join us as we investigate folk traditions as a source of empowerment for marginalized communities that have endured cultural erasure.
THE UNITED BEAT OF SEX AND ART – Reshaping Cinematic Ecstasy through the Modern Female Gaze on Sexuality
Tuesday, August 25 – 5PM EDT
With panelists Nicole Bazuin (Modern Whore), Josie Hess (Morgana), Isa Mazzei (Cam), Morgana Muses (Morgana), and Isabel Peppard (Morgana); Moderated by pornographer/writer Stoya, co-creator of ZeroSpaces
Join us for a sex-positive conversation with women who are bringing new meaning to sex on screen, in pleasure, in work, in the mainstream, in porn, alone, with a man, with a woman, or… a ferris wheel.
SCORE SALVATIONS: THE ART OF SAVING SOUNDTRACKS
Wednesday, Aug 26 – 5PM EDT
A talk with the sonic archeologists at La-La Land Records, featuring panelists Matt Verboys, author Jeff Bond, Neil S. Bulk, Dan Goldwasser, composer Joe Kraemer, and legendary producer/mixer Mike Matessino; Moderated by Concordia Film professor Randolph Jordan
At the forefront of the movement to bring new life to lost and out-of-print soundtracks is La-La Land Records, a California-based label specializing in musical resurrection. In recent years, this label and its team of producers-cum-sonic-archeologists have obtained access to archives previously all but inaccessible. They are responsible for restoring and releasing a number of definitive and key genre scores from across the decades, from composers such as Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, Franz Waxman, Elmer Bernstein, Danny Elfman, Hideakira Sakurai, David Shire, Leonard Rosenman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Basil Poledouris, Jerry Goldsmith, John Carpenter, and John Williams, among many others.
Join us for a talk with some of La-La Land’s key team of holy grail rescuers to discuss the agonies and ecstasies of soundtrack preservation work.
A MISKATONIC TRIBUTE TO STUART GORDON
Tuesday, August 27 – 5PM EDT
With panelists Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Dennis Paoli, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, and Brian Yuzna; Moderated by Graham Skipper
Stuart Gordon, who we lost earlier this year, is inextricably tied to Miskatonic. Not only by continuing the legacy of the fictional Miskatonic University in his iconoclastic Lovecraft adaptations, but by christening the very first branch of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies with a masterclass on the challenges of adapting “the unfilmable” H.P. Lovecraft for the screen. Two years later, Stuart’s Frontières project Purgatory was the very first project submission of the initiative, making him integral to the founding of not only Miskatonic, but Frontières as well. Here we bring together his closest collaborators from stage and screen to celebrate the life of this pioneering director who invigorated his community and never ceased to surprise and inspire.
GARY SHERMAN’S VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY BASH
Friday, Aug 28 – 5PM EDT
We love Gary Sherman. You surely do too. A trailblazing US filmmaker and longtime member of the Fantasia family, we can’t imagine what the genre would look like without the inspiration he’s brought to it through such singular classics as Death Line, Vice Squad, and Dead & Buried, to name a few, not to mention the influence he’s had on so many careers. On Friday, August 28, Gary’s turning 75 and we’re going to toast with him, alongside an assortment of special guests that will include John McNaughton, Jeremy Dyson, C. Robert Cargill, William Lustig, Kier-la Janisse, Steven Poster, Jovanka Vuckovic, Joe Renzetti, and others to celebrate his life and career. You’ll be able to ask questions and give him birthday wishes as well. Join us… and mind the doors!
THE NEW YORK STATE OF HORROR
Saturday, August 29 – 3PM EDT
Presentation by author/filmmaker Michael Gingold
New York City has long been a stalking ground for cinematic creatures big and small, slashers and spectres, devils, and deviants. Author/filmmaker Michael Gingold (Ad Nauseam) takes you on a tour through the city’s history in horror films, from expensive studio fare to down-and-dirty independents, spotlighting resident auteurs such as Larry Fessenden, William Lustig, Abel Ferrara, Larry Cohen, and Frank Henenlotter, and how the many sides of the city were explored and exploited by filmmakers.
TORN FROM THE PAGE, BLED INTO LIGHT: Mike Flanagan on Literary Adaptations and Personal Horror Creation – A Live Post Mortem Event
Sunday, August 30 – 3PM EDT
A conversation between filmmakers Mike Flanagan and Mick Garris
Writer/Director Mike Flanagan ranks among today’s most exciting genre talents, with directorial credits that include Doctor Sleep, Gerald’s Game, Before I Wake, Oculus, Hush, Absentia, and Netflix’s The House on Haunted Hill all in less than a decade.
He’s also one of the rare filmmakers able to effectively tackle complex literary works and adapt them to the screen in ways that not only do justice to the original material, but bring heartfelt new dimensions into play. How many filmmakers can say that they’ve successfully adapted works from both Stephen King and Shirley Jackson? The answer, of course, is one.
Join Fantasia for a special artist talk that will see Mike Flanagan in conversation with filmmaker and Post Mortem founder Mick Garris, himself no stranger to adapting Maine’s favorite son, having directed The Stand, Bag of Bones, Riding The Bullet, Desperation, Sleepwalkers and the 1997 TV mini-series version of The Shining. Both filmmakers have been to Fantasia multiple times, but the festival has never had the ability to feature them together. Until now.
Film Fatales presents
GENRE FILM AS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL COMMENTARY
Sunday, August 30, 5PM EDT
Featuring panelists Gigi Saul Guerrero, Elza Kephart, Natasha Kermani, Amelia Moses, and more
As the voices behind the camera become increasingly diverse, genre cinema continues to grow, evolve, and reinvent itself to better serve these stories, Film Fatales invites a distinguished group of women directors to discuss the power of genre cinema as a tool for social and political commentary.
BOUTIQUE VIDEO LABELS AND FILM FESTIVAL COMMUNITIES IN PANDEMIC TIMES
Monday, August 31, 5PM EDT
With panelists Donato Totaro, Peter Rist and Randolph Jordan (Concordia Film Faculty), Lee Paula Springer and Chris Bavota (directors, Dead Dicks), and Louise Buckler and Mike Hewitt (Arrow Video)
Concordia film faculty converse with Fantasia-favourite filmmakers and video label representatives about maintaining cinephile communities during pandemic times
APPRENTICESHIP OF EVIL: DENNISON RAMALHO ON JOSÉ MOJICA MARINS
Wednesday, Sept 2, 5PM EDT
Presentation by Dennison Ramalho
This year South American cinema lost one of its boldest visionaries with the passing of José Mojica Marins. As part of our tribute to the departed artist, award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho, long-time friend and protégé of Marins, will give a profound live talk. He will reminisce on his own history, of growing up inspired by the great man’s work, and the evolution that came with the two meeting and developing both a friendship and creative relationship with the legendary director that endured through the years. The talk will close with a question period open to the virtual audience.
As the history and future of Brazil’s cinema is currently under threat in unconscionable ways, we feel it especially urgent to present a talk of this nature, both out of love for Mojica and in solidarity with Brazilian artists and the hardships they currently face.