Montreal, Sunday, August 7, 2011 - The 15th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival has drawn to a close and our team is delighted by the great success of this year's edition. As a stand-out event on the genre festival circuit since 1996, Fantasia is pleased to see its fan base continue to grow ever-more enthusiastic and keen to discover extraordinary films. The final audience numbers are yet to be confirmed, but we can already announce that Fantasia has welcomed more than 100,000 audience members! We would like to extend warm thanks to the 150 international directors, actors and producers who came to present their films at the fest and to the 50 industry members who contributed to this year's edition. Fantasia's overwhelming success is due in large part to the valuable contribution and hard work of more than 160 media representatives in attendance, with at least 40 of them hailing from countries as diverse as the USA, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Morocco, and Denmark.
The festival opened with a bang with the Canadian premiere of RED STATE by director Kevin Smith. This was only the first in a long line of sensational special events that took place over the course of the festival. Among those was the incredible homage to the great John Landis (BURKE AND HARE), marked by the presentation of Fantasia's new trophy "Le Cheval Noir." Mirroring our strong launch, the festival closed with the Canadian premiere of Guillermo del Toro's DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. Other memorable events included: the homage to André Link and John Dunning with a retrospective at the Cinémathèque québécoise; a master class with award-winning South Korean filmmaker Ryoo Seung-wan (THE UNJUST, CRYING FIST); a spotlight on the films of Adam Wingard that included the world premiere of his latest work, WHAT FUN WE WERE HAVING: 4 STORIES ABOUT DATE RAPE; a special live conversation between Robin Hardy (THE WICKER MAN) and Richard Stanley (HARDWARE); THE FP after-party, with a Dance Dance Revolution challenge issued by Brandon and Jason Trost; the official program launch and outdoor projections hosted in collaboration with la Société des arts technologiques (SAT); and the breathtaking presentation of Gabriel Thibaudeau's live score by a 30 person orchestra of the 1925 silent masterpiece, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Place des Arts.
The 15th anniversary programming was our broadest and most exciting yet. More than 85% of our feature length films were premieres (114 out of a total of 134). Among this impressive selection from more than 25 different countries were 19 world premieres, including Chris Sivertson's BRAWLER, Carl Tibbetts' RETREAT, Robin Hardy's THE WICKER TREE, the hotly anticipated 7-filmmaker/4-country omnibus film THE THEATRE BIZARRE, Steven Quale's FINAL DESTINATION 5, Filip Tegstedt's MARIANNE, Yudai Yamaguchi's DEADBALL and Jesse T. Cook's MONSTER BRAWL. Also memorable were William Eubank's LOVE, and Noboru Iguchi's TOMIE UNLIMITED, which were only 2 of 6 international premieres. Also worth noting were the 14 North American premieres, including Johnny To's DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART; Herman Yau's IP MAN: THE LEGEND IS BORN; Andy Fetscher's URBAN EXPLORER; Paul Campion's THE DEVIL'S ROCK; and F.J. Ossang's DHARMA GUNS. Fantasia fans were also treated to Xavier Gens' THE DIVIDE, Mike Cahill's ANOTHER EARTH and Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales' RABIES: 2 films out of 48 which had Canadian premieres at the festival. Joe Cornish's ATTACK THE BLOCK, Evan Kelly's THE CORRIDOR and Jan Švankmajer's SURVIVING LIFE (THEORY AND PRACTICE) were 3 exciting films among 27 to have their Quebec premieres at Fantasia.
The festive atmosphere of Fantasia's 15th edition will live on for several directors whose films were picked up at the festival. Jason and Brandon Trost are celebrating their new deal with Drafthouse Films (an affiliate of the Alamo Drafthouse chain of cinemas) for the distribution of THE FP. Pat Tremblay, the Montreal filmmaker of HELLACIOUS ACRES: THE CASE OF JOHN GLASS, is also celebrating his new contract for a theatrical, DVD and VOD release in the United States with The Collective and Bloody Disgusting Selects. Several other titles launched at the festival are currently in negotiations for acquisition.
The juries have finished deliberating on this year's competitions and are pleased to announce the following winners:
Feature Film Jury
President: Alexandre Franchi, with Gilles Esposito, Lee Joon-ik, George Mihalka, Steven Schneider and Tom Vick
Cheval Noir Award for Best Film: CLOWN by Mikkel Nørgaard
"This charmingly subversive take on fatherhood features excellent ensemble acting with deft and seamless direction. So wrong and shameless in so many ways that it was a real blast to watch."
Best Director: Yoshimasa Ishibashi, MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY
Best Screenplay: Park Hoon-jung, THE UNJUST
Best Actors: Hwang Jeong-min and Ryoo Seung-beom, THE UNJUST
Best Actress: Norie Yasui, LOVE & LOATHING & LULU & AYANO
Special Mention to VAMPIRE, "for its original and contemplative take on suicide and our society's fascination with the vampire myth."
Special Mention to the short film I LOVE YOU in THE THEATRE BIZARRE, "for crafting a realistic yet macabre drama with the density of a feature film."
First Feature Jury
President: Jason Eisener, with Jephté Bastien, Alexandre Fontaine-Rousseau and Greg Newman
New Flesh Award for Best First Feature: BULLHEAD by Michaël R. Roskam
"A compelling, dark story of personal tragedy with one of the best performances of the year by Matthias Schoenaerts. This is a film that has balls!"
Special Mention to LOVE, "for the resourcefulness and unwavering determination by a Director to realize his unique vision".
President: Marcel Jean, with Jean-François Lévesque and Heidi Taillefer
Best Animated Feature Film: SURVIVING LIFE
"A singular piece of work, both funny and profound, that shows a great spirit of invention for a filmmaker with a 40-years career."
Best Animated Short Film: BOBBY YEAH
"For its dense and coherent universe, full of surprises, that confronts our fears in a captivating way, and for its exceptional technical command."
Special Mention to CRÉPUSCULE, "For its bold address of sexuality in animation."
International Short Film Jury
President: Buddy Giovinazzo, with John Fallon, Sylvain Houde and Charlotte Selb
Best International Short: THE SUICIDE TAPES
"A minimalistic, powerful, dread filled film with an unsettling performance by Jeremy Childs."
Special Mention to THE UNLIVING, "A visually stunning and visceral film that was so well rounded that it should be a feature."
Quebecois Short Film Jury
Catherine Beauchamp, Dino Tavarone, Caroline Morin
Best Director: Alexandre Richard, BONNE JOURNÉE
Best Film: Carolyne Rhéaume, LA BARRICADE
Best Actress: Charlotte Laurier, COUP SAUVAGE
Best Actor: Mathieu Dufresne, BONNE JOURNÉE
Best Screenplay: Caroline Renaud, MATERNEL
Jury's Choice: Kim St-Pierre, VODKA CANNEBERGE
Best Photo: Eric Morin, OPASATIKA
Quebecois DIY Short Film Jury
Julie Brisson, Karl Filion, Géraldine Charbonneau
Best Film: FUCK THAT, Lawrence Côté-Collins
Best Screenplay: CORTE, Radnath Gagnon
Best Director: Emanuel St-Pierre Beaulieu, UN FILM AVEC BRIGITTE BARDOT
Best Actor (Male & Female): Maxime Desjardins, GUEULE DE BOIS
Jury's Choice: VIVRE A 35 MILLES A L'HEURE, Jean Marc E. Roy, Philippe David Gagné, Dominic Leclerc
AQCC Prize - International Section
Martin Gignac, Claudia Hébert, Nicolas Krief
AQCC Prize: (TIE) SUPER and SUPERHEROES
"For two films that perfectly capture the Zeitgeist of our age and that present elaborate reflections on one of the biggest Americans trends, the AQCC Jury has awarded its best international film prize, in a tie, to the fiction film SUPER by James Gunn and to the documentary SUPERHEROES by Michael Burnett, two strong and complementary works."
Séquences Prize - Asian Section
President: Pascal Grenier, with Pierre-Alexandre Fradet and Christina Stojanova
Séquences Prize: HEAVEN'S STORY
"For the density of the universal themes it explores, for its singular approach to the motif of vengeance and for its structured mise-en-scène and its carefully captured images, the Séquence Prize for Best Asian Film goes to Takahisa Zeze's flowing film, HEAVEN'S STORY.
L'Écran Fantastique Prize
L'Écran Fantastique Prize: DETENTION
"For its contagious energy, its capacity to generate gags and comic situations based on concepts stemming from horror movies (slasher films) and science fiction."
Best Asian Feature: (GOLD, TIE) 13 ASSASSINS and COLD FISH - (SILVER) MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY - (BRONZE) DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART
Best European or American Feature: (GOLD) ATTACK THE BLOCK - (SILVER, TIE) BURKE AND HARE and BELLFLOWER - (BRONZE) INNKEEPERS
Best Canadian or Quebecois Feature: (GOLD) THE CORRIDOR - (SILVER) VAMPIRE - (BRONZE, TIE) MONSTER BRAWL and THE DIVIDE
Best Animation Feature: (GOLD) REDLINE - (SILVER) LEGEND OF THE MILLENIUM DRAGON - (BRONZE) EL SOL
Best Documentary: (GOLD) ART/CRIME - (SILVER) SUPERHEROES - (BRONZE) LAST DAYS HERE
Most Innovative Feature: (GOLD) MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY - (SILVER) THE WOMAN - (BRONZE) LOVE
Guru Prize for the Most Energetic Feature: (OR) BANGKOK KNOCKOUT - (SILVER, TIE) MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY and DETENTION - (BRONZE) THE FP
Best Short Film: (GOLD) LEGEND OF THE BEAVER DAM - (SILVER) NIGHT FISHING - (BRONZE) BOBBY YEAH