The Fantasia International Film Festival is in its 20th year as one of Canada’s most notable and exciting film events. It’s a genre festival, emphasizing imaginative movies, spotlighting alternative cinema not normally screened in North America alongside more mainstream offerings. Quentin Tarantino has called it “The most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent” and it hosted the North American premiere of his Inglorious Basterds.
Fantasia seems to grow in size and stature every year, attracting more movies worth celebrating and more audience members to do the celebrating, plus tonnes of industry representatives to really get the party started. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, has said “Fantasia remains to this day one of my very favorite film festivals in the world” and it’s not hard to see why with its lively downtown Montreal location and appreciative audience members from all over the world. Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead, says “I promise to make many more genre films just so I can get invited back” but you don’t actually have to come bearing a film – they’ll let you in for the cost of a reasonably-priced ticket!
You can buy tickets here, but I must warn you: choosing from among this year’s stellar line-up isn’t going to be easy.
Fantasia favourite Mike Flanagan (his debut Absentia premiered at Fantasia!) is welcomed back enthusiastically with a special screening of his eerie and poetic horror/fantasy Before I Wake, starring Jacob Tremblay (the cute kid from Room) as a troubled orphan whose dreams spill out into the real-world while he sleeps – as do his nightmares. Also starring Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, and Annabeth Gish.
Another frequent Fantasia face, Jackie Chan, has a movie making its North American premiere: Renny Harlin’s Skiptrace, in which Chan is a detective from Hong Kong teamed up with a degenerate American gambler (Johnny Knozville) to fight a Chinese criminal.
Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam presents For The Love of Spock, a documentary that gives an intimate look at his late father and the iconic character he’s known for, just in time for Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.
Kevin Smith is presenting his uniquely Quebec-centric comedy Yoga Hosers, the second in the indie filmmaker’s “True North” trilogy centered around outrageously kooky and inventively hallucinatory happenings in our beautiful land.
There’s so much more happening than I can list here, so please visit the website for movie and ticket info and consider a trip to lovely Montreal for a film festival you’ll quickly become addicted to. Fantasia International Film Festival runs July 14-August 2 2016.