Fantasia 2014: ScreenAnarchy Wraps It Up With Our Reviews And Top Picks

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
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It was a banner year, the 18th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival. Yes, the festival is old enough to drink alcohol now in La Belle Province, and over the three weeks of cinema -- both cutting edge and delightfully retro, a vibrant development marketplace, several book launches, all night karaoke sessions and other assorted movie mayhem -- many a film was watched, many a conversation had, copious amounts of poutine and duck confit were devoured, and untold pints of Cheval Blanc were quaffed. 

While Fantasia is not quite the full on Spring Breakers Bacchanalia of Fantastic Fest, it is the friendliest high-energy film festival of its size. Nearly every night of the massive 22 day marathon stretches well into the daylight hours of the next morning. These all-night social gatherings see programmers, guests, volunteers, film-fans and other hangers-on congregate on the patio of the Irish Embassy only to later disperse in smaller groups to after-hours clubs, in search of high caloric food or other assorted activities to celebrate those hot summer nights in Montreal.

In terms of festival content, we have got it all broken down for you in our wrap-up below with links to our previews, reviews, and interviews and some of our thoughts on the festival's offerings from all of those who attended. 

ScreenAnarchy's Fantasia Curtain Raiser
Fantasia Programme Announcement Part 2
Fantasia Programme Announcement Part 1
Off-Frontieres Development Marketplace Titles
Frontieres Development Marketplace Titles

THE RECONSTRUCTION OF WILLIAM ZERO Has an Identity Crisis by Kurt Halfyard
ZOMBEAVERS is Dam Excellent by Jason Gorber
Iguchi's LIVE is Silly, Sordid, and Satisfying by Jason Gorber
THE RUN Strikes familiar chords with fists and knees by Andrew Mack
I AM A KNIFE WITH LEGS Cuts Away Comedy Conventions by Andrew Mack
THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG is Fruitful, but Melancholy by Kurt Halfyard
Can You Escape From THE DEVIL'S MILE? by Andrew Mack
In THE MIDNIGHT SWIM, Still Waters Run Deep by Kurt Halfyard
Indonesian Action Flick GUARDIAN Frustrates by Andrew Mack
There is Plenty To Admire about CYBERNATURAL by Jason Gorber
THE ONE I LOVE Offers Smart Couples Therapy with Big Laughs by Kurt Halfyard
THE HARVEST is a Coming-of-Age Tale of Wicked Proportions by Kurt Halfyard
THE CREEPING GARDEN Explores the Brave New World of Plasmodial Slime Mould by James Marsh
In THE DROWNSMAN, Super-Soaker Terror Gets Silly by Andrew Mack
TIME LAPSE is A Sharply Written Indie Science Fiction Picture by Kurt Halfyard

Interviews and Features:
Twitchvision: Jason Gorber Talks Fantasia
Teaser Artwork from Frontieres Marketplace
Impressions from The Frontieres Pitch Sessions by Andrew Mack
Impressions from the Works In Progress Panel by Andrew Mack
Iguchi Noboru talks LIVE and more... by Jason Gorber
THE MIDNIGHT SWIM Interview: Talking Emotional POV with Sarah Adina Smith by Kurt Halfyard
TIME LAPSE Interview: Talking Truth, Photography and Time Travel with BP Cooper and Bradley King by Kurt Halfyard
I AM A KNIFE WITH LEGS Musical Interlude with Bené on a Monday Afternoon by Kurt Halfyard
Fantasia Award Winners and Jury Prizes

Browse the gallery below for individual impressions of Fantasia. Discoveries, Best Film, favourite moments, and more...

Peter K., Andrew Mack and Jason Gorber contributed to this story.

What was your favourite film of the festival?

Andrew Mack - My favorite film during my week was the oldest film. The retro screening of Demon of the Lute from 1983 was nothing short of amazing! A Shaw Bros Wu xia pian film from the post Star Wars era in the 80s is completely different from Shaw Bros films from the 60s and 70s. The martial arts is still amazing but they added special effects to their films. Bejing-opera style martial arts. Child drunkeness. And the characters are incredible. When one of your villains arrives on scene in a chariot towed by two German Shepherd dogs, carrying a giant lance, then a giant axe, and when he gets angry he sprouts a shocking red afro, you know you are having a good time. We watched it from the only 35mm print in existence. And it was a gorgeous print with hardly any ‘love bites’ (signs of age) on it at all. Easily my favourite Fantasia 2014 cinema experience.

Kurt Halfyard - There was a huge groundswell in 'Sci-Fi Personal Drama' which I have started labelling 'Another Earth' movies. I saw several at this years Fantasia and my favourite was the Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss starring The One I Love, a kind of couples-therapy film that plays equally as a Twilight Zone comedy. I cannot talk about it further without spoiling all of the pleasures, so just go see it, it is available VOD right now! Tonally opposite was the emotional POV mock-doc The Midnight Swim which sees three sisters dealing with the loss of their mother at the family cottage and facing their own eccentricities and demons. It is gorgeously shot and exceptionally directed piece of work.

Jason Gorber - I am mot sure I would have believed anyone that would have told me that the most fun I had all festival was at a film called Zombeavers, but, well, there we are. Weeks later I'm still pleased by In Order Of Disappearance as well. Both were terrific in their own ways, and well worth seeking out.

Peter K. - I saw much and enjoyed plenty, but it was Bennet Jones' anarchic comedy I am a Knife with Legs that refused to cease ping-ponging around my brain. Despite its beyond bargain-bin production values, home-movie aesthetics and barrage of prosumer editing FX plug-ins, the musical misadventures of International pop star Bené and his stalwart “foil character” Beefy utterly enraptured me and I have found myself quoting the characters or humming the title track nearly every day since seeing it. More then just a hodgepodge of infectiously delirious gags though, Jones' unflinching sincerity amidst all the silliness is what really put it over the top for me. Following a hypnotic amateur parkour chase and stellar Harrison Ford impersonation, there's a genuine third-act rumination on grief and friendship that gave me a good case of the feels. There be some soulful medicine in this mound of video sugar.

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Fantasia 2014
Ard VijnAugust 11, 2014 10:21 AM

Interestingly, Jacky in the Kingdom of Women was a crowd-pleaser when it played in Rotterdam, earlier this year! Some people I know even went back to see it twice.