The Fantasia International Film Festival has announced its second wave of titles for its event?taking place from August 5th to August 25th. The festival will be accessible across Canada, geo-locked to the country, and will maintain unique film admittance quantities in line with the cinema experience.
Fantasia will also be hosting a special event screening of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. The in-person screening will be held on August 4 at Montreal’s historic Imperial Theater (birthplace of the fest) and tickets will be available to the public. The film releases in theaters on August 6.
On August 5, Fantasia will officially open with the world premiere of previously announced Québec production, Julien Knafo’s Brain Freeze.
Other notables from the press release:
CRIES IN THE NIGHT ECHO THROUGH MARTYRS LANE
In this haunting and poignant ghost story from British writer/director Ruth Platt (THE LESSON, THE BLACK FOREST), ten-year-old Leah (Kiera Thompson) lives in a large vicarage, full of lost souls and the needy. In the day the house is bustling with people; at night it is dark, empty, a space for Leah’s nightmares to creep into. A small, nightly visitor (Sienna Sayer) brings her comfort, but soon she will realise that her little visitor offers knowledge that might be very, very dangerous. Tragic and unsettling with phenomenal performances and bottomless otherworldly atmosphere, MARTYRS LANE is a stunning, eerie triumph of a film. Co-starring Denise Gough (MONDAY) and Steven Cree (OUTLANDER). WORLD PREMIERE.
ANNA ZAYTSEVA’S TENSE SCREENLIFE THRILLER #BLUE_WHALE SHINES LIGHT ON A HORRIFIC TEEN SUICIDE CHALLENGE
Spiraling paranoia and gut-wrenching dread tear through #BLUE_WHALE, the feature debut from Russian writer/director Anna Zaytseva, whose shorts have won no less than 16 awards on the festival circuit. A provincial town is shaken by a wave of mysterious teen suicides. Researching the death of her younger sister, schoolgirl Dana (Anna Potebnya) comes across a sickening social media game that encourages youths to take horrific self-harm challenges. Aiming to hunt down those responsible for her sister’s death, she registers for the game, opening a doorway into the cruelest of hidden online worlds. Co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov and shot in the Screenlife storytelling format that he pioneered, #BLUE_WHALE taps into something insightfully disturbing about the ways that teens can find themselves manipulated online.
Fantasia’s launch of the film continues the festival’s history by showcasing Screenlife works, having World Premiered the format’s inaugural bow, UNFRIENDED (under its early title CYBERNATURAL). The festival has also hosted the International Premiere of UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB, the North American bow of PROFILE, and the Canadian Premiere of SEARCHING. WORLD PREMIERE.
A BLOODTHIRSTY CRIMINAL SHOWDOWN DETONATES IN BRAZIL WITH YAKUZA PRINCESS
Few are left standing in YAKUZA PRINCESS, a stylish and violent action thriller starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (VIKINGS) and Japanese American singer Masumi (POSSE). Directed by Vicente Amorim (MOTORRAD, GOOD) and adapted from Danilo Beyruth’s graphic novel Shiro, the film unfolds in the expansive Japanese community of Sao Paulo in Brazil and follows Akemi (Masumi), an orphan who discovers she is the heiress to half of the Yakuza crime syndicate. After forging an uneasy alliance with an amnesiac stranger (Meyers) the two must unleash war against the other half of the gang who wants her dead. Co-starring Tsuyoshi Ihara (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA), Toshiji Takeshima (S.W.A.T.), and Eijiro Ozaki (THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE). WORLD PREMIERE.
GHOSTING GLORIA BRINGS SPIRITUAL GROWTH THROUGH OTHERWORLDLY ORGASMS
Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) needs an orgasm. When was the last time she had one? She doesn’t know if she’s ever had one. So begins Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser’s sophomore feature, following 2016’s LOS MODERNOS, GHOSTING GLORIA, a charming and surprising genre-bender that switches between horror, fantasy, and offbeat comedy — all wrapped up in a whimsical and subversive romance. Gloria’s orgasm issue is easily solved when she finds the right man. There is just one issue: he’s a ghost. What brings real spark is the film’s sex-positive spin on the theme of finding Mr. Right, its boisterous moments of mindblowing (sometimes wholly inappropriate) erotic comedy, and Gloria’s rich, wider world. If you ever wanted to know what something like TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! would look like if it was crossed with THE ENTITY, here is the place to find out. WORLD PREMIERE.
BOOK AT HOTEL POSEIDON FOR AN EXPERIENCE UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN IN FILM
A keen absurdist sense of humour meets a wonderfully inventive production design in HOTEL POSEIDON, a Belgian feature debut from future cult favourite Stefan Lernous. The film unfolds in a giant rotting hotel as a series of tableaus and vignettes, its unique production design bolstered by an incredible soundscape and otherworldly camera movements. Deliciously nauseating and singular in tone and artistry, HOTEL POSEIDON stands among titans as a debut that seemingly emerged straight from the gooey mercurial swamplands where life on earth first appeared. With hints of David Lynch (especially his work as a painter) and flourishes reminiscent of the Brothers Quay, this is the kind of remarkable and iconoclastic vision that only arrives once in a blue moon. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.
SAY HELLO TO THE BENEVOLENT BEAST
It has the body of a pig, the trunk of an elephant, the ears of a horse, and the feet of a rhinoceros, and at night it passes through sleeping villages and gobbles up people’s nightmares. When his family’s fishing boat is towed back into the village harbour without his father on it, eight-year-old Ah Keat seeks out the benevolent beast for help. Kethsvin Chee’s luminous, kind-hearted fantasy drama HELLO! TAPIR examines the realities of loss and grief through a lens tinted with magic and wonder. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
THE CAMERA LUCIDA SECTION UNVEILS FOUR ADDITIONAL TITLES
Life in isolation and shifting belief systems are at the heart of Fantasia’s sidebar this year, dedicated to boundary-pushing, auteur-driven works at the intersection of genre and arthouse cinema
In THE SLUG, Chun-hee (Kang Jin-ah, MICROHABITAT) has yet to come out of her shell. Struck by lightning, she begins manifesting her younger self (Park Hye-jin)– who awaits explanations for this sad state of affairs. Who do we become? Director Choi Jin-young spins a delightful fantasy yarn from this perennial question in a perceptive, structurally inventive character study that achieves– much like the lightning bolt at the heart of its plot– miracles within a simple framework. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
DOCUMENTARIES FROM THE EDGE ADDS A DUO OF DEEP-DIVE DOCS
Shamanic panic! Old legends and new myths, the genesis of memetic magick, and virtual pied pipers in docs from the edge mind-bending lineup
Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW, Kier-La Janisse’s WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR navigates through over 200 films and 50 interviewees, including Robert Eggers (THE VVITCH), Alice Lowe (PREVENGE), and Piers Haggard (BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW). Starting with British cult classics of the 70s, then travelling to all continents and beyond, and landing in our era alongside the films of Ari Aster and others. A groundbreaking, extensively researched work made over a span of many years, truly no stone is left unturned in this definitive documentary on the expansive genre of folk horror. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
“How do we make sense of things when we collapse the infinite fidelity of information down into pithy sentences laid over ominous imagery ?” asks filmmaker Hayley Garrigus, who, over the course of three years, from L.A. to the Nevada desert, took a deep dive into the many layers of our precarious belief system. In her debut “anti-documentary” Garrigus pushes the envelope, both stylistically and narratively, as she meets a multitude of enigmatic characters— pied pipers of the web, alt-right trolls, and “lightworkers”— who all believe themselves the new prophets of our time. YOU CAN’T KILL MEME is a pertinent depiction of humanity as we are forming new unstable myths. WORLD PREMIERE.
ADDITIONAL SECOND WAVE TITLES
THE BETA TEST
USA – Dirs. Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe
In Jim Cummings’ acclaimed third feature, following THUNDER ROAD and THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW, a married Hollywood agent (Cummings) receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and weaponized digital data. THE BETA TEST is a witty and subversive black comedy/thriller that drips with venom and style. Co-starring Virginia Newcomb, PJ McCabe,?and Kevin Changaris. Official Selection: Berlinale 2021, Tribeca 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION
USA – Dir. Jacob Gentry
In the late 90s, a video archivist (Harry Shum Jr) unearths a series of sinister pirate broadcasts and becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind them. A freakish new nightmare from the director of SYNCHRONICITY, BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION?uses real-life broadcast hacks as the jumping-off point for an engrossing technological thriller. Co-starring Kelley Mack and Chris Sullivan. Official Selection: SXSW 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
South Korea – Dir. Park Jung-bae
A tomb raider assembles a ragtag team to steal an unobtainable artifact. Part Korean historical adventure, part gripping crime thriller, and part character-driven comedy; Park Jung-bae’s impressive feature debut COLLECTORS is the perfect fusion of OCEAN’S ELEVEN and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK featuring an all-star cast led by the talented Lee Je-hoon (BLEAK NIGHT). CANADIAN PREMIERE.
DREAMS ON FIRE
Canada-Japan – Dir. Philippe McKie
DREAMS ON FIRE tells the story of Yume, a young Japanese woman making her way into the world of dance in Tokyo. Featuring colourful visuals and spectacular dance scenes, the film depicts an environment with no place for the weak. Exploring different Japanese dance styles, the debut feature from Philippe McKie, a Quebec filmmaker who’s been living in Japan for 10 years, stars popular dancer Bambi Naka in her first leading role. Official Selection: Glasgow Film Festival 2021. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
GEORAMA BOY PANORAMA GIRL
Japan – Dir. Natsuki Seta
Ah, teenage romance! It’s full of embarrassing misunderstandings and cruel twists and turns that make you feel like your life is over. Director and screenwriter Natsuki Seta (A LIAR AND A BROKEN GIRL) exposes this delicate period of our life with this beautiful, sensitive, and touching coming-of-age story adapted from Kyoko Okazaki’s manga. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
HOLD ME BACK
Japan – Dir. Akiko Ohku
Mitsuko (Non) thrives on being alone –until her heart gets in the way. The latest from rom-com master Akiko Ohku (TREMBLE ALL YOU WANT) that shatters the conventions of the genre and culminates in a psychologically-driven portrait of a woman on the verge of a personal breakthrough (or breakdown?). Winner of the Audience Award, Tokyo International Film Festival 2020. QUéBEC PREMIERE.
Belgium – Dirs. Lenny and Harpo Guit
MOTHER SCHMUCKERS follows 24 hours in the absurd and adventurous lives of Belgian misfits Issachar and Zabulon, their father (Mathieu Amalric), and a parade of characters, each more dim-witted than the last. The debut feature from the Guit brothers is a crazy, trashy, and wacky comedy, reminiscent of comedic masters Tim & Eric by way of Gaston Lagaffe comics and STEP BROTHERS, and full of deliriously over-the-top poop jokes, self-produced cinematic inventiveness, and the largest dose of camp you’ll see this year. Official Selection: Sundance 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
ORA, ORA, BE GOIN’ ALONE
Japan – Dir. Shuichi Okita
Momoko (Yuko Tanaka), a 75-year-old widow living alone in the suburbs of Tokyo, reflects on her younger self (Yu Aoi) and the “voices of her heart” come alive as a comedic trio that transports her through the past and present. Official Selection: Busan International Film Festival 2020, Tokyo International Film Festival 2020. QUéBEC PREMIERE.
PAUL DOOD’S DEADLY LUNCH BREAK
UK – Dir. Nick Gillespie
Bodies begin to stack in the aftermath of a talent competition gone bad as big-hearted, well-meaning loser Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) becomes simultaneously internet famous and hunted by the police. The hilarious sophomore feature from regular Ben Wheatley collaborator Nick Gillespie (TANK 432) co-stars Alice Lowe, Johnny Vegas, and Kris Marshall. Official Selection: SXSW 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND
USA? – Dir. Sion Sono
A notorious criminal (Nicolas Cage) must break an evil curse in order to rescue a girl (Sofia Boutella) who has mysteriously disappeared in the insane US debut of legendary Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono (LOVE EXPOSURE, COLD FISH). Co-starring Nick Cassavetes, Tak Sakaguchi, and Bill Moseley. Official Selection: Sundance 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
Japan – Dir. Kota Yoshida
Fermented soybeans, mapo tofu, fatty pork ramen. A sex film without sex; three unexpected stories of food and libido, from new school pinku director Kota Yoshida. Official Selection: International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
USA – Dirs. Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley
In a future where the government records dreams and taxes them, a dream auditor (co-director Kentucker Audley) gets caught up in an aging eccentric’s subconscious. Richly cinematic, playfully inventive, and very, very funny, this unconventional fantasy-romance will have you smiling through the rest of the year. From the makers of SYLVIO. Official Selection: Sundance 2021, Seattle Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.
Hong Kong – Dir. Ricky Ko
Two big stars of Hong Kong’s golden age, Petrina Fung and Patrick Tse (SHAOLIN SOCCER), play former assassins who struggle to maintain relevance in the modern world. In order to put their martial arts mastery to use, they form the Guardian Angels of the Elderly, a team who use their skills to help the elderly out of their misery, whether it’s due to sickness or being jaded with life. This first feature from director Ricky Ko is a nostalgic dark comedy that freshly explores social issues regarding old age with humor, heart, and action. Official Selection: Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.