Runs: July 11 – August 1st
The Fantasia International Film Festival is in full swing, taking place in Montreal, Quebec with plenty of works to view and a wonderful look into all things fantastic. The genres also include horror, science-fiction and drama. In this show, the focus is on the extraordinary, hence the name. I encourage anyone who loves these genres to come to this show and see the world premieres that take place here.
Of particular note is a premiere screening of Shelagh McLeod’s Astronaut (review coming) starring Richard Dreyfuss. Arielle Dombasle’s Crystal Palace is a French production which only some can describe–a hallucinatory experience, a kitsch and camp kaleidoscope with surrealist dialogue and cardboard costumes (literally), all with a dash of meta-cinema. I’m particularly excited for the release of Takahiro Umehara’s The Moon in the Hidden Woods which blends steampunk, Korean folk styles and otherworldly fantasy into a tale of a world bereft of a lunar guardian. Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Night God is said to be a waking nightmare, an unknowable maze of gigantic moving paintings, reminding one at times of the painter Carel Willink.
But it’s not the movies that defines a show. The huge list of shorts showcase the imagination of many a new filmmaker. Swiss animator Nils Hedinger’s Kuap looks like it may borrow from Hayao Miyazaki in narrative, Simon Beaupré’s Evil James Bond vs World War Z is a must for those who love crazy crossover ideas. Those who love Chinese folklore should look at Wan Jinyue and Du Jinzhi‘s The Girl and the Serpent.
The list does not end here. From the press release:
Fantasia has just announced its Closing Film, and anime fans will agree — extreme heat never looked so cool! In the embers of the globe-engulfing great flame war, the maverick firefighters of Burning Rescue confront the fiery terrorists of Burnish Mad. Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and writer Kazuki Nakashima, who’ve together previously on GURREN LAGANN and KILL LA KILL, are at the wheel for the first feature film from edgy anime studio Trigger, PROMARE. A raging riot of bright colours, daring design, crazy characters and whiplash action, PROMARE isn’t just the most thrilling anime feature of the year, it’s a genuine Pop Art masterpiece. (Canadian Premiere)
Preceding PROMARE is a special anime treasure — the World Premiere of short film THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE! The screen debut of manga artist Nagabe‘s affecting gothic fairytale is brought to life by rising young animation talents Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya, whose short films have screened at the Annecy, Ottawa, Hiroshima and Zagreb animation festivals, and produced by Wit Studio (ATTACK ON TITAN). Yutaro Kubo, Satomi Maiya, and Wit Studio producer Kenta Yamada will be present to introduce their film.
From the lively, liberated imagination of Masaaki Yuasa (LU OVER THE WALL, Netflix’s DEVILMAN CRYBABY, the masterful MIND GAME) comes RIDE YOUR WAVE (North American Premiere), an anime about losing love, leaning on friends and learning how to find oneself. Yuasa plays with the very elements here, fire and especially water, fluid and amorphous and almost… alive.
Teenager Akane and her daffy aunt Chii step down into the basement — and out of this world! — in THE WONDERLAND (North American Premiere), a fantastical anime adventure bursting with imagination, from Keiichi Hara, award-winning director of COLORFUL and MISS HOKUSAI.
Overseen by Katsuyuki Motohiro, a veteran of the FLCL and PSYCHO-PASS franchises, and directed by Fuminori Kizaki (AFRO SAMURAI), HUMAN LOST (North American Premiere) is a gripping cyberpunk anime thriller, packed with political intrigue, philosophical challenges, savage techno-horror and exciting action!
Teenage romance, ontological science fiction, and fierce, acrobatic mecha clashes collide in THE RELATIVE WORLDS (North American Premiere), the dazzlingly intense feature-film rebuild of his own successful web animation series by digital animator Yuhei Sakuragi (the INGRESS anime, NEON GENESIS IMPACTS).
Imbuing the prosaic with something a bit like magic, WAKE UP, GIRLS! creator Yutaka Yamamoto’s crowdfunded indie teen-romance mini-feature TWILIGHT (International Premiere) is an anime postcard from Fukushima Prefecture, with love, laughs, tears, and the occasional perfect moment. It shares a bill at Fantasia with Masanao Kawajiri’s short film A JAPANESE BOY WHO DRAWS (North American Premiere), an inspired exercise in innovative visual narrative, mashing up live-action with a myriad of animated approaches.
Fill your pockets with pujok, omamori and fu talismans for THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE EAST! It’s Fantasia’s shivery short-film showcase, 11 Asian animated tales of spooks, spirits, monsters and mystery — a mixed bag of the magical and the macabre in a multitude of techniques, from Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea. World premieres include SHISHIGARI, a calling card (with music by the legendary Kenji Kawai) for the new, independent Studio Durian of Japan’s Kiyotaka Oshiyama!
Since the 1980s, Keita Amemiya (ZEIRAM, TWEENY WITCHES) has left his mark in countless corners of the universe of tokusatsu — Japanese science-fantasy cinema and TV. Amemiya-san visits Fantasia this summer to present the International Premiere of GARO – UNDER THE MOONBOW, the latest entry his ongoing chronicle of otherworldly conflict, and to conduct a Master Class! A prolific director, Amemiya is equally celebrated as a renowned designer of uncanny characters, creatures, and costumes, never lacking for surprising innovation and a self-aware flair that stands out in his field. For his special Fantasia Master Class, Keita Amemiya looks at the masks, monster and marvels of his imagination!