#FANTASIA: 2021 FANTASIA FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
FANTASIA 2021 is set to kick-off August 5, 2021, with a special screening of James Gunn‘s THE SUICIDE SQUAD kicking everything off on August 4th. This year marks the Festival’s 25th anniversary and closing the Festival will be Takashi Miike‘s THE GREAT YOKAI WAR – GUARDIANS on August 25th, receiving its international premiere.
Some other high-profile titles, retrospectives and conversations that comprise this year’s Festival:
WHAT JOSIAH SAW
In director Vincent Grashaw’s Southern Gothic nightmare WHAT JOSIAH SAW, an estranged family grapples with the sins of the past… yanking the skeletons right out of their closet, kicking and screaming all the way! The superlative cast includes Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Kelli Garner, Tony Hale, Scott Haze and Jake Weber. It’s this year’s THE DARK AND THE WICKED. WORLD PREMIERE.
THE DEVIL’S DEAL
In his first picture since the Cannes selection THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL, Lee Won-tae returns with the masterfully directed THE DEVIL’S DEAL. What starts as a critical political satire escalates into a white-hot thriller in which corruption, insider trading, and organized crime run the show. Leading a fabulous cast, actor Cho Jin-woong (ME AND ME) delivers one of the best performances of his career, portraying with disarming naturalism the multiple facets of an ambitious and tortured politician, as endearing as he is loathsome, whose life literally depends on his election. With its immersive score, captivating plot, and clever twists, THE DEVIL’S DEAL is a must-see. WORLD PREMIERE.
A feared gang enforcer (Neil Maskell, KILL LIST), vanished for ten years, returns to hunt the mobsters he once ran with in BULL, the ferocious British revenge thriller from BAFTA-winner Paul Andrew Williams (LONDON TO BRIGHTON). A brutal and subversive work that frequently plays out like a horror film, stunningly executed and grounded by well-scripted characters, with a cast that includes Tamzin Outhwaite (EASTENDERS) and David Hayman (TABOO, SID AND NANCY) in a frightening turn that ranks with the strongest of British mobster portrayals. WORLD PREMIERE.
Takemichi may just have a chance to change the future – if he can survive his own past! A jawbreaking, juvenile delinquent street fight royale combined with a high-stakes time travel thriller and dashes of adolescent angst and romantic comedy, TOKYO REVENGERS is the live-action feature adaptation of Ken Wakui’s enormously popular award-winning manga of the same name. Director Tsutomu Hanabusa (KAKEGURUI 1 and 2, also at Fantasia this year) succeeds mightily at adapting this complex science-fiction story; amid a barrage of bloody, brutal hoodlum battles, he still finds room for the sweetness of first love. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.
A memory-shredding neurochemical permeates the atmosphere like airborne dementia, but safe within an airtight glasshouse a family preserves their past through rituals of collective memory. Sensual and savage, GLASSHOUSE weaves aspects of dystopian science fiction with notes of folk horror and perverse, brooding, Gothic melodrama to craft a taught existential tale that ultimately explores the importance of storytelling and memory. It’s a stunning feature debut from South African filmmaker Kelsey Egan, starring Adrienne Pearce, Jessica Alexander, Anja Taljaard, and Hilton Pelser. WORLD PREMIERE.
FOLLOW THE LIGHT
Freshly arrived from Tokyo to a fading village in the Japanese countryside, Akira becomes fascinated with an isolated girl who is obsessed with a crop circle in her grandfather’s fields. This multi-layered, sci-fi coming-of-age story by first-time director Yoichi Narita is a true gem with a dazzling narrative. The majestic, rich cinematography, which highlights the magnificent rural landscapes, and judicious use of music recall Shunji Iwai’s masterpiece ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU. FOLLOW THE LIGHT will leave a lasting impression with its soft visual splendour and sensitive storytelling. WORLD PREMIERE.
Midwest filmmaker John Swab (LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR) returns to Fantasia with IDA RED, a propulsive, gripping, crime thriller that escalates his career to the big leagues. Cast-as-criminals Josh Hartnett, Frank Grillo, and Melissa Leo (as a modern Ma Barker) have never been better. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
In an alternate version of Taiwan, a rapidly spreading pandemic suddenly mutates into a rabies-like affliction, and the infected find themselves unable to control their id. A nightmare vision steeped in unspeakably upsetting moments of violence, Rob Jabbaz’s THE SADNESS plays like a return to the no-holds-barred shock sensibilities of ’90s Hong Kong Category III films. Electrified with an existential fear that punches spikes of panic energy straight into your nervous system, and told with incredible style, THE SADNESS is a force to be reckoned with. Fantasia is proud to be bringing this extreme horror rollercoaster to North American shores, hot off its bow at Locarno. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
THE DEER KING
Following its world premiere at Annecy, and ahead of theatrical release in Japan, comes the highly anticipated THE DEER KING, co-directed by anime veterans Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyaji. Based on the books by bestselling Japanese fantasy author Nahoko Uehashi, the epic saga of the legendary warrior Broken Antler Van comes to life with the peerless standards of quality we expect from the studios of Production I.G (GHOST IN THE SHELL, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION). Elegant and exacting design and animation seamlessly pair with Uehashi’s sturdy world-building and compelling conflicts to create a transporting animated otherworldly tale. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
DON’T SAY ITS NAME
When an environmental activist is called back to the world of the living after a suspicious accident takes her life, an ancient spirit is reborn outside a small northern town. With a wealth of Indigenous talent both in front of and behind the camera, DON’T SAY ITS NAME, the eerie feature debut from director/co-writer Rueben Martell, builds its chills with compellingly real characters and strong performances from Madison Walsh (SOMETHING UNDONE), Sera-Lys McArthur (OUTLANDER), Samuel Marty (GODLESS), Carla Fox, and Julian Black-Antelope (HOLD THE DARK). WORLD PREMIERE.
GRAND BLUE DREAMING
Stuck in a surreal, nudist loop somewhere between GROUNDHOG DAY and MEMENTO, two young men end up trapped in a scuba diving club full of muscular party animals and pretty girls with a temper. Based on a popular manga series, GRAND BLUE DREAMING, by Tsutomu Hanabusa (TOKYO REVENGERS), is as weird as it is hilarious. Astonishingly fast-paced and loaded with politically incorrect humour, this wild comedy also finds moments of calmness with beautiful and relaxing underwater shots. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
THE DEEP HOUSE
Two daredevil Youtubers with a passion for abandoned urban edifices film themselves as they take a deep dive into the bottom of a lake where there lies a mysterious house with a sinister past. Award-winning French genre maestros Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (INSIDE, KANDISHA) display numerous filmic skills with this intelligent found footage style feature. The immersive darkness, the floating strangeness, THE DEEP HOUSE takes us down and further down, from mere unfamiliar discomfort to absolute and unfathomable terror. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
A wave of murders hits the city and, lurking in the shadows, a killer has just identified his new prey – a deaf woman. South Korea has become the go-to source for fans of dark, intense, unpredictable thrillers that deliver cutthroat tension, and Kwon Oh-seung’s debut feature MIDNIGHT follows in this tradition. A breathless tale boasting hallucinatory sound design that relishes in testing the nerves of even the most seasoned viewers. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
A brother and sister face off against a mysterious force responsible for years of devastating misfortunes in WHEN I CONSUME YOU, a haunting new work from award-winning indie filmmaker Perry Blackshear. Reuniting with Evan Dumouchel, MacLeod Andrews, and Margaret Ying Drake, the core acting trio of his previous films THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE and THE SIREN, Blackshear and his team dole out powerful blows of tragedy, devastation, and personal struggle while a demonic figure looms just out of focus, yellow eyes burning in the background. WORLD PREMIERE.
SEPTET: THE STORY OF HONG KONG
A sifu hardens his students with “Exercise” in Sammo Hung’s evocation of childhood. Ann Hui stages a stirring tribute to Hong Kong educators in “Headmaster.” Patrick Tam Kar-Ming depicts the emigration of Hong Kongers by way of an impressionistic love story, “Tender is the Night.” Master action choreographer and director Yuen Woo-ping addresses generational divides in the 90s with “Homecoming.” Johnnie To details the city’s capitalistic hustle in “Bonanza.” The expanding harbour opens the floodgates of memory in Ringo Lam’s posthumous film “Astray,” and the decade to come is evoked by Tsui Hark’s futuristic, tongue-in-cheek closer “Conversation in Depth.” An exceptional omnibus comes to us at a crucial time in Hong Kong history, SEPTET: THE STORY OF HONG KONG reunites seven legendary Hong Kong directors for a heartfelt project composed of personal, resonant stories. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
CATCH THE FAIR ONE
A mixed Indigenous ex-boxer infiltrates the sex trafficking world in search of her missing sister in this ferocious thriller propelled by a commanding performance from WBA Super Lightweight Champion Kali “K.O. Mequinonoag” Reis. Pulverizing with fury and grief, CATCH THE FAIR ONE is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with director Josef Kubota Wladyka (MANOS SUCIAS), who co-wrote with his star. As much a hard-hitting revenge thriller as it is a personal interpretation of true crimes, the film addresses North America’s horrific crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women with urgency. Co-produced by Darren Aronofsky and 2021 Oscar-winner Mollye Asher (NOMADLAND) and winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.
ON THE 3RD DAY
The latest from Argentinean director Daniel de la Vega (WHITE COFFIN) and production house Del Toro Films (South America’s answer to Hammer Studios), ON THE 3RD DAY follows an anguished mother (Mariana Anghileri) trying to find her missing son, and the missing memory of what happened on the night of a terrible car accident. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.
THE NIGHT HOUSE
From director David Bruckner (THE RITUAL, THE SIGNAL) comes THE NIGHT HOUSE. Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together – but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing – a mystery she’s determined to unravel. THE NIGHT HOUSE stars Rebecca Hall (GODZILLA VS. KONG), Sarah Goldberg (Barry, Elementary), Vondie Curtis Hall (DIE HARD 2, EVE’S BAYOU), Evan Jonigkeit (Togetherish, Sweetbitter), and Stacy Martin (VOX LUX, NYMPHOMANIAC). CANADIAN PREMIERE.
MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD
Near-future Manila is now a “perfect” world; the powerful forces keep it so, thoroughly hidden from view yet pressing down subconsciously and oppressively on the citizens. With rumoured blackouts happening around the city past midnight, the only refuge becomes government-sanctioned “safe houses” scattered around Manila. While many believe them to be a hoax, the truth of what they cover up may be something far worse. Taking its title from a DJ Shadow cut, and unfolding with an air of Philip K. Dickian strangeness, Dodo Dayao’s (VIOLATOR) long-awaited sophomore effort MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD is, like his previous film, a uniquely savvy and nightmarish trip befitting the world’s ongoing dystopian situation, and one that cements Dayao’s unique voice in independent Filipino cinema. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
THE CAMERA LUCIDA section adds this final title to its competition, along with the following selection of short and medium-length films: AQUATIC BIRD (China – Dir. Zhang Nan); BORN PISCES (Japan – Dir. Yoko Yamanaka); DEATH VALLEY (United States – Dir. Grace Sloan); DOUBLE HELIX (China – Dir. Qiu Sheng); NOSES ON THE RUN (South Korea – Dir. Kim Boram) and TAIPEI SUICIDE STORY (Taiwan – Dir. KEFF).
BABY, DON’T CRY!
Step aside John Hughes and relinquish your crown because coming-of-age, teen romance will never quite be the same after BABY, DON’T CRY! Directed by Jesse Dvorak and written, designed, and starring Zita Bai, this astoundingly unique and harrowingly sincere film follows Baby, a Chinese immigrant in suburban Seattle, as she makes sense of her troubled home life and outsider existence through her indie DIY films and animalistic visions of the world. When she meets Fox (Vas Provatakis), a Skid Row punk with questionable decision-making skills, a whirlwind of intensity, ferocity, and sexuality engulfs the pair. Teetering between Baby’s fantastical visions and Fox’s raw punk rock ethos the two dive into this powder keg romance headfirst with no-holds-barred. WORLD PREMIERE.
FRANK & ZED
Are you ready for an orgy of blood? FRANK & ZED, one of the year’s goriest films, promises just that. In this bloodthirsty, bone-crunching, and strangely heartwarming movie, an odd-couple monster-duo Frank and Zed, a Frankenstein-type monster and his brain-eating companion, attempt to survive a medieval curse that has befallen a small village. And did we mention they’re all puppets? A true DIY passion project, conceived and made over 6 years, director Jesse Blanchard seizes an opportunity born from limitation to create an irresistible crowd-pleaser that embodies the resilience of thriving underground cinema. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY
Welcome to GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY, the strange, melodic, and haunting feature debut of Theodore Schaefer. After having her identity stolen, Diana (Annie Parisse) goes on a surreal road trip with her son’s pregnant girlfriend, Marlene (Gus Birney), to find the perpetrators. Shot on pastel-toned 16mm, the film’s dreamy quality lulls you into its unusual atmosphere. As the lines between waking and dreaming life fade, the movie blends its ironic sense of humour with a unique blend of American surrealism that explores kitsch and performance to unearth a deep sense of alienation and loneliness. WORLD PREMIERE.
In 1989, Stephen Sayadian, aka Rinse Dream, released one of the most iconic and fantastical works in American exploitation cinema. For the first time since its release, thanks to a new restoration, it will finally find its audience and retroactively be appreciated as the Underground masterpiece that it is. Bizarre, stunning, goofy, and unsettling, DR. CALIGARI embraces the avant-garde in its exquisite and hilarious exploitation of America’s repressed libido. As the film’s title might suggest, the feature is a loose remake of the German expressionist classic, centered on Mrs. Van Houten, a woman who seems to be losing touch with reality, and her treatment under Dr. Caligari, who diagnoses her with a “disease of the libido.”
In honour of the restoration of his seminal underground classic DR. CALIGARI, Stephen Sayadian will sit down and discuss his career; past, present, and future. The multi-talented artist got his start as the creative director for Larry Flynt Publications, designed some of the most iconic film posters of the 1980s (including DRESSED TO KILL, THE FUNHOUSE and THE FOG), and directed some of the most eye-popping and transgressive films of the era. Working under the pseudonym Rinse Dream, Sayadian’s films, including CAFÉ FLESH and NIGHTDREAMS II & III) blurred the line between smut and art. Working in both hard and softcore porn, his surreal films were consistently marked by a dark sense of humour, incredible production design, and hallucinatory imagery. For the first time at Fantasia, Sayadian will regale our audiences with the stories and legends from his incredible career and tease what might come next.
A virtual gallery of some of Sayadian’s best work will also be presented during the festival for amateur and veteran fans of his art. Presented in collaboration with BBAM! Gallery.
Alice’s webcam’s red light flashes. A hacker, a ghost, a god? She decides to expose the identity of the invader. DEAR HACKER, Alice Lenay’s debut documentary, is a patchwork of video calls that come together as a metaphysical reflection. Alice gleefully jumps down the rabbit hole and navigates the infinite universe of the web – our minds’ web – and our interconnectedness at a time when we’ve never been so distant. With her witty observations and sagacious imagination, Lenay writes a visual letter in the form of this film telling a story of perception, reality, and society. The loading circle spirals out, but Alice keeps going. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
ALIEN ON STAGE
A high-spirited group of British bus drivers set their minds to launching a homemade stage play adaptation of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN in Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer’s debut documentary ALIEN ON STAGE. With a Christopher Guest-esque charisma that particularly recalls his community theatre classic WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, the film follows the ups and downs of the delightfully DIY production, with its second-hand costumes and cardboard sets, and the charming crew determined to make it succeed. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ
A fiercely moving tribute to one of the most recognizable and unconventional figures in punk history, POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ celebrates the life and legacy of Poly Styrene, famous frontwoman of X-Ray Spex and poster child for the UK’s Riot Grrrl and Afropunk movements. Featuring previously unseen archival footage and a succession of eloquent diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga and co-directed by the icon’s own daughter, Celeste Bell, and seasoned documentarian Paul Sng. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
Following the successful release of his breakthrough documentary REINDEERSPOTTING: ESCAPE FROM SANTALAND (2010), Finnish filmmaker Joonas Neuvonen, along with his friend Antti and the film’s star, Jani, traveled to Southeast Asia or a celebratory trip… Which ended tragically when Jani was found dead and Antti went missing. Co-directed by their longtime collaborator Sadri Centinkaya, LOST BOYS chronicles Neuvonen’s return to Bangkok and Phnom Penh, into an even deeper hellscape of drugs, prostitution, and wandering souls, as he seeks out the truth behind his friends’ demise while picking up the pieces of his own imperfect life. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
THE 12 DAY TALE OF THE MONSTER THAT DIED IN 8
For its 25th anniversary, Fantasia is proud to honour writer, director and video artist Shunji Iwai with a Career Achievement Award and play host to a special masterclass led by the esteemed filmmaker. His latest film, THE 12 DAY TALE OF THE MONSTER THAT DIED IN 8, previously announced as part of the Camera Lucida slate – designed as a relief film for the Japanese film industry during the COVID-19 pandemic – perfectly captures the all-too-online moment in which we find ourselves. This is only the latest example of Iwai’s preternatural talent for capturing and sublimating the unspoken feelings that accompany pivotal moments in life, such as the end of elementary school, the beginning of university, the uncertainty of married life, or turn-of-the-millennium teen angst. He expertly communicates what it means to live in increasingly interconnected times, integrating the language of message boards, dating apps, and handwritten love letters into his work. A chronicler of changing hearts and changing times, Iwai’s filmography stands as one of the most unique and influential in all of Japanese cinema
Also screening as part of this tribute: FIREWORKS, SHOULD WE SEE IT FROM THE SIDE OR THE BOTTOM? (1995), APRIL STORY (1997), ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU (2001).
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR STOP-MOTION TITAN PHIL TIPPETT
From the original STAR WARS trilogy to the millennial TWILIGHT SAGA, on top of ROBOCOP, JURASSIC PARK and STARSHIP TROOPERS, Phil Tippett’s inventive, innovative, iconic stop-motion creations have become universally familiar elements of our collective imagination. Fantasia is proud to honour the director and visual effects master with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for his original vision and his contributions to the advancement of the craft.
This proud moment coincides with the long-awaited completion of Tippett’s personal masterwork— thirty years in the making, MAD GOD sees its North American Premiere at Fantasia this summer. Equal parts harrowing and hilarious, it’s a perpetual motion machine of biomechanical malevolence, a Dantean descent into the depths of Tippett’s imagination that cements him as an artist of the highest order.
Accompanying MAD GOD is the world premiere of the documentary short WORSE THAN THE DEMON, an intimate and insightful profile by the subject’s daughter, Maya Tippett. Fantasia will present Tippett with his Lifetime Achievement Award by way of a virtual ceremony, followed by a masterclass exploring the deeper roots of his art.
ADDITIONAL THIRD WAVE TITLES
COMING HOME IN THE DARK
New Zealand – Dir. James Ashcroft
This extraordinary neo-noir is a blisteringly tense road movie into hell that plays like a home-invasion thriller set largely in a moving car. Based on the 1995 short story by award-winning New Zealand author Owen Marshall, described by David Hill as “one of the most harrowing narratives in our literature.” Official Selection: Sundance 2021, Calgary Underground Film Festival 2021. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
UK – Dir. Lee Haven Jones
Shot entirely in the Welsh language and crafted with intelligence and cruelty, THE FEAST plays like a modern fairy tale for greed-fueled end-times. It’s a striking feature debut from BAFTA-winning director Lee Haven Jones (35 DAYS, DOCTOR WHO) dripping with atmosphere, this grotesque shocker is a standout in cinema’s current folk horror revival. Official Selection: SXSW 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
South Korea – Dir. Jéro Yun
Life is a constant struggle for Jina, a North Korean refugee, but she finds her path in boxing. Director Jéro Yun judiciously uses close-up shots highlighting the glances and silences that say much more than words, thanks to near-surgical editing, displaying a transcendent presence by actress Lim Seong-mi. Official Selection: Berlinale 2021, Busan International Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE
HAND ROLLED CIGARETTE
Hong Kong, Dir. Chan Kin-Long
Triad intrigue involving turtles, smuggled drugs, and instant noodles in the underbelly of neon HK in this refreshing film noir action that recently won the White Mulberry Award for best debut feature at the Udine Far East Film Festival. CANADIAN PREMIERE
South Korea – Dir. Kim Jeong-kwan
After an incident that leaves her electric wheelchair disabled, Josée is rescued by Young-seok, who she then brings in to discover her unique imaginary world. A beautiful, moving, charming, and visually polished film by Kim Jeong-kwan faithfully adapted from the popular novel Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. Official Selection: Busan International Film Festival 2021.
ONE SECOND CHAMPION
Hong Kong – Dir. Chiu Sin-Hang
With the power to see one second into the future, loser Chow becomes a winner in the ring. It’s ROCKY with a high concept and loaded with more humor and high-pressure fun— Hong Kong style, from one of the directors of Fantasia 2017’s VAMPIRE CLEANUP DEPARTMENT. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
Québec – dir. Alain Vézina
Mexican wrestler L’Ange Doré is back, and he’s confronting the dark designs of the Third Reich. Film teacher and documentarian Alain Vézina (LES SOEURS DE NAGASAKI, 2018) embraces the mockumentary genre wholeheartedly with his latest joyous delirium. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
South Korea – Dir. Lee Yong-joo
A former secret service agent (GongYoo, TRAIN TO BUSAN) struggling with a brain tumor must return to duty for a mission of the utmost importance: protecting Seobok (Park Bo-gum, COIN LOCKER GIRL), the first human clone who has unnatural powers. Few mainstream films integrate ethical reflection with breathtaking, high-octane entertainment to this incredible extent. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
SWEETIE, YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT
Kazakhstan – Dir. Yernar Nurgaliyev
Seasoned Kazakh comedy director Yernar Nurgaliyev plunges into horror-comedy for the first time, serving us a fresh, dynamic mix of genres while spicing it with Kazakh flair in this award-winning film. Imagine TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets THE HANGOVER. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
UNDER THE OPEN SKY
Japan – Dir. Miwa Nishikawa
A former driver for the yakuza has just spent 13 years behind bars. Determined to reintegrate into society, he discovers a hostile and changing Japan that he struggles to recognize. Miwa Nishikawa’s (THE LONG EXCUSE) gripping UNDER THE OPEN SKY features Koji Yakusho (TOKYO SONATA) in one of his most moving roles. Official Selection: TIFF 2020. QUEBEC PREMIERE.
Denmark – Dir. Thomas Daneskov
Armed only with a bow and an ensemble of animal skins, Martin (Rasmus Bjerg, ALL FOR ONE) sets off into the forest in a misguided attempt to overcome his midlife crisis. A chance meeting with a fugitive named Musa (Zaki Youssef, SONS OF DENMARK) leads to a twisted trip through the fjords with police, drug runners, and Martin’s family not far behind. Those who have any doubt that the funniest movies being made today come from Denmark need not look any further. Official Selection: Tribeca 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
FANTASIA RETRO PRESENTS A PACK OF RESTORATION PREMIERES
In addition to the aforementioned restoration of Stephen Sayadian’s DR. CALIGARI (1989), Fantasia is proud to announce the following classics, resurrected in stunning new transfers.
Japan, 2000 – Dir. Higuchinsky
Higuchinsky’s elusive adaptation of Junji Ito’s cult classic UZUMAKI (SPIRAL) returns to Fantasia after 20 years, screening in a brand new 4K restoration. Decadently stylized and as beguiling as ever – practically dripping with blue-grey grime and oozing slime – the film stands out for its cosmic horror stylings and the ways it comes closest to the haunted tape at the centre of RINGU. The film itself now appears to us as cursed – full of shifty details and disturbing artefacts – as it unfolds with an almost experimental slice-of-life logic. One of the more peculiar films in the J-horror canon. World Premiere of Toei’s new 4K restoration.
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (La noche del terror ciego)
Spain, 1972 – Dir. Amando de Ossorio
One of the most gloriously mythical, highly original zombie films ever made bursts from the grave, fully uncut in a striking new restoration from Synapse Films scanned from the original camera negative. The film re-envisions medieval Catholic military order the Templar Knights as satanic monks living under an occult curse, forced to walk the earth as eyeless undead in need of human flesh. In an imaginative twist, given their blindness, they are able to track the living by listening for their heartbeats.
World Premiere of Synapse Films’ new restoration.
MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (Il mulino delle donne di pietra)
Italy, 1960 – Dir. Giorgio Ferroni
The first Italian horror produced in colour, Ferroni’s landmark Italian Gothic boasts an impressive saturated signature, a style which was later picked up by Mario Bava when he made BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964). As a result, much like the later features by Bava, the film stands out stylistically for its bold painterly qualities, in this case layered in gorgeous, dark, fairy tale artifice. Picking up the baton from Gothic romance-tinged mad science films, such as HOUSE OF WAX (1953), MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN takes the staple ‘woman-into-wax’ trope into unconventional territory with strange experiments, weird vampirism, and the dead coming back to life. World Premiere of Arrow Video’s new restoration.
THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR (L’Inconnu de Shandigor)
Switzerland, 1967 – Dir. Jean-Louis Roy
This long-lost mid-1960s Cold War super-spy thriller is a marvelous and surreal hall of mirrors– part DR. STRANGELOVE, part ALPHAVILLE– with sly nods to British TV shows like THE AVENGERS and DOCTOR WHO. All mod sunglasses and bizarre architecture (including Antoni Gaudi’s famed La Pedrera/Casa Mila), the long-unavailable SHANDIGOR has been beautifully restored by the Cinematheque Suisse. Starring Marie-France Boyer, Daniel Emilfork, Howard Vernon, and Serge Gainsbourg! North American Premiere of a new 4K restoration by the Cinematheque Suisse. Presented by Deaf Crocodile Films.
FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT
Japan, 2005 Dirs. Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki
If you look at them just right, the most mundane elements of daily life can seem utterly bizarre. That’s the lunatic logic behind 2005’s fan-favourite cult classic FUNKY FOREST; a sprawling omnibus of the obvious and the oddball, the casual and the completely insane. Collaborating with hotshot advertisement directors Hajime Ishimine and Shinichiro Miki, director Katsuhito Ishii set them loose to confuse you, amuse you, repulse you, excite you, and just plain freak you out. World Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration.
THE WARPED FOREST
Japan, 2011 – Dir. Shunichiro Miki
We’re not out of the woods yet! Witness the wonders of time-warping and dream-tinkering! Giggle at bellybutton sex and pornographic fruit snacks! Squirm when the local baker sneaks out for an illicit encounter with a furry little nipple-sucker and so much more. Shunichiro Miki flies solo on THE WARPED FOREST, an essential, long unavailable, work in the millennial new wave of radical, hallucinogenic Japanese comedies that blend deadpan humour, delirious dream logic, creeping paranoia and empathic, easygoing optimism into the strangest of cinematic brews. North American Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration.
JURIES AND COMPETITIONS
Fantasia is pleased to announce the 2021 Cheval Noir competition titles:
ALL THE MOONS – Spain / France, Dir. Igor Legarreta
THE DEVIL’S DEAL – South Korea, Dir. Lee Won-tae
HELLBENDER – USA, Dirs. Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams
GHOSTING GLORIA – Uruguay, Dirs. Marcela Matta, Mauro Sarser
THE GREAT YOKAI WAR – GUARDIANS – Japan, Dir. Takashi Miike
HOTEL POSEIDON – Belgium, Dir. Stef Lernous
INDEMNITY – South Africa, Dir. Travis Taute
LOVE, LIFE AND GOLDFISH – Japan, Dir. Yukinori Makabe
MARTYRS LANE – UK, Dir. Ruth Platt
REMAIN IN TWILIGHT – Japan, Dir. Daigo Matsui
THE RIGHTEOUS – Canada, Dir. Mark O’Brien
TOKYO REVENGERS – Japan, Dir. Tsutomu Hanabusa
VOICE OF SILENCE – South Korea, Dir. Hong Eui-jeong
WONDERFUL PARADISE – Japan, Dir. Masashi Yamamoto
The following industry professionals make up the Fantasia 2021 juries:
CHEVAL NOIR COMPETITION
Agnieszka Smoczyńska (Jury President) – Poland – Director, Screenwriter
Kambole Campbell – UK – Writer, Critic
Paula Devonshire – Canada – Producer
Mónica García Massagué – Spain – Author, Professor, General Manager of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival
Simon Rumley – UK – Director, Author
NEW FLESH COMPETITION FOR BEST FIRST FEATURE
Kim Newman (Jury President) – UK – Author, Critic, Broadcaster
Jill Gevargizian – USA – Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Gigi Saul Guerrero – Mexico – Director, Screenwriter
Brian O’Malley – Ireland – Director, Screenwriter
Myriam Sassine – Lebanon – Producer, Co-Founder of the Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Co-Jury Presidents) – Belgium – Directors, Screenwriters
Prano Bailey-Bond – UK – Director, Screenwriter
Yfke van Berckelaer – Netherlands – Director, Screenwriter
Faye Jackson – Scotland – Director, Screenwriter
AQCC CAMERA LUCIDA COMPETITION
- Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (Québec Critic’s Association)
Jean-Marie Lanlo – Canada – Critic, Publisher
Martin Gignac – Canada – Critic
Claire Valade – Canada – Critic
AXIS ANIMATION COMPETITION
Hefang Wei (Jury President) – France – Director, Artistic Director, Co-founder of Weilaï Productions
Ashkan Rahgozar – Iran – Director, Writer, Founder and CEO of Hoorakhsh Studios
Kalp Sanghvi – India – Director, Writer, Co-founder of Ghost Animation Collective
PANELS AND SPECIAL EVENTS, ACCESSIBLE WORLDWIDE
While Fantasia 2021’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.
In addition to the aforementioned artist talks by Shunji Iwai, Stephen Sayadian, and Phil Tippett, Fantasia is pleased to announce the following special events.
Presented in association with WarnerMedia
HAUNTING THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS: THE RISE OF INDIGENOUS HORROR
Saturday, August 7 – 4PM EDT
Presentation by Dr. Kali Simmons
In the article “The Rise of Indigenous Horror,” Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott notes that, “…many non-Indigenous horror writers depict situations that Indigenous people have already weathered.” The recent exposure of genocidal violence against Indigenous children within the “residential school” programs which operated in Canada and the United States stresses the truth of this observation even more.
In this lecture, expanded from work presented at the Miskatonic Institute for Horror Studies, film scholar Dr. Kali Simmons will analyze the ways that horror has been deployed in the service of settler-colonialism as well as the ways Indigenous writers, actors, and filmmakers speak back to these troubling stories.
SOUTH AFRICA SCREAMS: VOICES FROM THE NEW WAVE OF S.A. GENRE CINEMA
Sunday, August 8 – 2PM EDT
With panelists Nosipho Dumisa (NUMBER 37), Kelsey Egan (GLASSHOUSE), Bradley Joshua (Producer, Gambit Films, BLOOD & WATER), Ryan Kruger (FRIED BARRY), Michael Matthews (FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES), and Travis Taute (INDEMNITY); Moderated by Todd Brown (XYZ Films)
In recent years, South Africa has lit up the international cinema world with inspired and sophisticated genre film reworkings that frequently win awards and leave audiences breathless. Fantasia has proudly showcased— and in some cases, launched— many of these works. This year, Fantasia will be World Premiering not one but two South African works, Travis Taute’s INDEMNITY and Kelsey Egan’s GLASSHOUSE. To celebrate, the festival will be presenting a special roundtable discussion between some of the leading talents in S.A.’s new wave. Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear insights and production stories from some of the country’s most exciting artists, brought together for what’s sure to be an unforgettable time.
KONVERSATION: TAKAYUKI HIRAO MEETS PASCAL-ALEX VINCENT
Monday, August 9 – 5PM EDT
Interpreter: Zen Nakamura
With SATOSHI KON, THE ILLUSIONIST, French documentarian Pascal-Alex Vincent demonstrates the profound effect that the late master, in whose honour Fantasia’s animation award is named, had on anime and indeed cinema worldwide. Japanese animator Takayuki Hirao, director of POMPO: THE CINÉPHILE, can attest to it firsthand, having spent his formative years working under Kon on MILLENNIUM ACTRESS and PARANOIA AGENT. Kon’s legacy is the starting point of a discussion between the two directors. In English and Japanese with verbal translation.
Untold Horror presents…
MONSTERS MUST LIVE!
Friday, August 13 – 5PM EDT
With panelists Brian Yuzna, William Malone and Richard Raaphorst; Moderated by Dave Alexander
Filmmakers Brian Yuzna (RE-ANIMATOR series, SOCIETY), William Malone (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, MASTERS OF HORROR) and Richard Raaphorst (FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY) discuss their unmade monster movies and the ongoing, often maddening, occasionally hilarious quest to bring some of the coolest creature features to life. Hosted by Untold Horror author and former Rue Morgue editor-in-chief Dave Alexander, Monsters Must Live! proves that when it comes to the film biz, some of the most incredible creations don’t actually exist onscreen.
GRADY HENDRIX LIVE: WELCOME TO THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP
Sunday, August 15 – 5PM EDT
Bestselling author Grady Hendrix (Paperbacks from Hell, My Best Friend’s Exorcism) welcomes you to a very special support group, so have a seat, coffee’s in the back, and remember there’s no cross-talk. Then prepare yourself for a guided tour of the history of murder books, because ever since the invention of the printing press we’ve been using it to tell stories about killing each other, from bizarro 19th century Jack the Ripper fan fiction, through Psycho, the industry-changing success of Silence of the Lambs, all leading up to today. Along the way you’ll encounter astrological assassins, the female authors who wrote serial killer books first, and primal hamster trauma as together we try to figure out what it means that so much of publishing is about selling murder for fun.
Presented in association with WarnerMedia
A DIFFERENT MONSTER: BLACK WOMEN AND THE MONSTROUS
Saturday, August 21 – 4PM EDT
Presentation by Carolyn Mauricette
From Sarah Baartman to Grace Jones, Black women are often thought of as exotic creatures and grossly misunderstood, or, like Frankenstein’s monster, they have been put in a category where they are feared and disliked, with observers quick to vilify or dismiss. Yet, in horror, characters who are supernatural beings or “monsters” are actually an embodiment of Black women’s strength and perseverance. We’ll look at some of the most interesting characters— whether vampires, witches, or supernatural beings— and see how even in their otherness, and within problematic representation, they have power and agency and represent the vulnerability and strength Black women have possessed through the ages.
THE TRANSGRESSIVE URGE: HORROR AND THE TABOO IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Sunday, August 22 – 5PM EDT
With panelists Stephen R. Bissette (Cartoonist, Author, Critic), David Kerekes (Headpress Books), David J. Schow (Writer), John Skipp (Writer, Director), Christina Ward (Feral House), Billy Martin (Writer) and Douglas E. Winter (Writer / Critic); Moderated by Heather Buckley
One of the functions of horror film and fiction has been the unflinching exploration of the forbidden, the underground, and the taboo. In the 1980s and 1990s horror experienced a surge of wild energy, and a backlash against it. While certain restrictions have loosened, and more permissive venues for content have emerged in the years since, practitioners of the genre now face other pressures and penalties, potentially higher than before. In a society with ready online access to just about every kind of content, including eyewitness cameras capturing the most terrible of crimes, how has the cultural sense of the taboo, and the role of horror in breaking them, changed? Join us for a discussion about the evolution of this explicit mode of expression as art, exploitation, and rebellion.
TURBO KID: FROM FILM TO VIDEO GAME / TURBO KID : DU FILM AU JEU VIDÉO
Tuesday, August 24 – 2PM EDT
With panelists RKSS (François Simard, Anouk Whissel, Yoann-Karl Whissel), Anne-Marie Gélinas and Benoit Beaulieu (EMA Films), a member of composing duo Le Matos, and key figures from Outerminds (Rémi Lavoie, Odile Prouveur, Guiz DePessemier) and Vibe Avenue; Moderated by Marc Lamothe and Justin Langlois
Born out of Frontières, Fantasia’s international co-production market, and launched at Sundance, the worldwide cult sensation that is TURBO KID immediately put RKSS, its gifted trio of Québécois filmmakers (François Simard, Anouk Whissel, Yoann-Karl Whissel), on radars across the universe. A video game was the logical follow-up! Like the film, it promises to be an homage to the post-apocalyptic works of the ‘80s with cartoonish gore and a heartfelt story while channelling beloved vintage video games. Celebrated Montreal video game studio Outerminds are working closely with RKSS and EMA Films, producers of the original film, to devise a game that will honour the essence of the breakout hit, with synth-wave band Le Matos returning to compose a brand-new soundtrack while VIBE Avenue provides sound design.
Grab your gnome stick and join us for a bilingual (French and English language) panel discussion with the core creators of both the film and its adaptation to explore TURBO KID’s journey into gameplay.
For more on Fantasia 2021 including tickets, click here.