Fantasia 2016: Screen Anarchy Wraps The Fest With Our Reviews, Interviews, and Top Picks

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
The king-sized 20th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival has come to a close, and thus ends another year of 'summer-camp' for lovers of genre and intrepid explorers of the weird, and wild, undiscovered corners that lie in the shadows of that back row of chairs in the J.A. De Seve Theatre. 
All night long gatherings of filmmakers, programmers, critics and assorted guests and film geeks can and almost always does press into the false dawn of the morning. The special awards for Guillermo Del Toro, Takashi Miike, and Jean-Claude Lord, the ever-expanding Frontières Marketplace, the magnificent Polish sidebar, tours of medicial oddities at McGill, karaoke, smoked meat at 4am and cocktail parties on the 11th floor of one of Concordia Universities larger buildings and this was the first week of a three week long extravaganza.
Izzy, Andrew, Gorber and Kurt tie a bow on the fest below, with a summary of all their reviews (including a couple from Pierce and Josh), interviews, surprises, disappointments, favourites in the links and gallery below:
First Wave of Titles Announced!
A Tsunami Sized Second Wave of Titles Announced
Third Wave Unleashed, Including Virtual Reality Projects, Special Guests & More
Kickass Jurors, Phenomenal Frontieres & Fantastic Works-in-Progress
ScreenAnarchy Raises the Curtain on Top Picks
RUPTURE Turns Capture Into The Rapture by Kurt Halfyard
THE UNSEEN, An Exceptional Observation of Disappearance by Kurt Halfyard
SUPERPOWERLESS, A Superhero Film That Embraces Your Outer Forty Year-Old by Andrew Mack
IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE Is A Talky If Slight Examination Of Western Tropes by Kurt Halfyard
FURY OF THE DEMON Offers Film History With An Occult Twist by Kurt Halfyard
SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS, Disturbing and Comic in Equal Measure by Jason Gorber
THE LURE, The Polish Mermaid Horror-Musical You Never Knew You Wanted by Pierce Conran
I, OLGA HEPNAROVA, A Meticulous And Confrontational Look At A Mass Murderer by Kurt Halfyard
MAN UNDERGROUND, A Love Letter to the Thrills of Conspiracy by Jason Gorber
MIRUTHAN, Kollywood's First Zombie Film Is A Perfect Indian Horror Concoction by Josh Hurtado
TRAIN TO BUSAN Rides the Rails With the Undead by Pierce Conran
SHELLEY Marries Parenthood To Horror Without Enough Consequence by Kurt Halfyard
RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 (aka PSYCHO RAMAN), Twisted Soulmates Dance With Darkness by Josh Hurtado
REALIVE Deeply Engages With Medical Morality And The Human Condition by Kurt Halfyard
PATTAYA, an Absolutely Irreverent And Completely Hilarious Buddy Comedy by Andrew Mack
THE TOP SECRET - MURDER IN MIND, Sci-Fi Thriller Explores a Start of Something Evil by Andrew Mack
Shorts Films:  Born of Woman Programme Offers A Fantastic Female-Driven Future by Kurt Halfyard
Why Guillermo del Toro Means so Much to Young Filmmakers by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Steven Shainberg on RUPTURE by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR Directors on Marilyn Manson & More by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Barbara Crampton Talks LITTLE SISTER and Upcoming Films by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Adam Nimoy Remembers Leonard in FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Bobby Miller on THE MASTER CLEANSE by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
John Bradley Talks TRADERS and GAME OF THRONES by Kurt Halfyard
Jason Gorber Talks Fantasia on CTV
Frontières Market:
First Wave Of Market Titles Announced by Andrew Mack
Second Wave Of Market Titles Announced by Andrew Mack
Frontières@Fantasia Celebrates Massive Eighth Edition by Andrew Mack
The Raven Banner Showcase by Andrew Mack
Works In Progress by Andrew Mack
International Spotlight by Andrew Mack
The Pitch Sessions by Andrew Mack
Fantasia Festival Awards + Masterclass:
TRAIN TO BUSAN Wins Audience And Jury Awards, Plus Many More Winners
Watch Guillermo del Toro's One-Hour Master Class on Creature Design

contributed to this story.

What was your favourite film of the festival?

Kurt Halfyard - THE LURE

There are few examples of movies with this daring of style and ambition that come together so perfectly in one packages. The Lure is equal parts classic, cult and curio all rolled into to one toe-tapping fiery blaze of pop filmmaking.

The production design is almost holy in its execution. The film is divided between the musical numbers and straight-up narrative, which transition so seamlessly and that it appears effortless. And The actors, who are often in outlandish show-costumes or period dress (not to mention the gargantuan mermaid tails which are the best I’ve ever seen done on camera) are superb.

See it on the big screen, sneak vodka into the cinema, and give yourself over to the vision of an impressive and certainly upcoming filmmaker on the rise. Mermaids are back in fashion in 2016 and while I am sure Disney’s film will be fine, and Chow’s film is unquestionably gonzo, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s cinematic foray into bare-breasts, fish-tails and siren-songs is bursting with cinematic delights (and totally worth crashing the ship onto the rocks for.) Moreso, the filmmaking is pitch fucking perfect.

And while we are on favourites, a huge shout-out for the entire polish sidebar. DEMON and I, OLGA HEPNAROVA were also exquisite in execution!

Jason Gorber - TRAIN TO BUSAN

I enjoyed a number of films that played the slate at other festivals, and pleased that something like HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE found a receptive audience here. Still, I didn't see a better film than the fine TRAIN TO BUSAN, a work I've followed since Cannes and finally was able to climb aboard. My patience for Zombies and Korean train films is strained (no, I didn't like SNOWPIERCER), but I found this take energizing, entertaining and unique.

Izzy Lee - THE LURE

This is always a tough one, but I’d have to go with THE LURE, which is an astonishing feat alone, never mind coming from first-time filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska. Sure, she’s done a little TV, but WOW. This killer mermaid (siren, really) musical is partly based on the parables of of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid and Le Motte Fouque’s Ondine — with fantasy and horror elements deftly mixed with the disco, punk, and ballads.

One sister is a sweet soul who gives up her tail to be able to be with a human, and it doesn’t quite work out for her. The other sister is a darker spirit who eats men and like vengeance, but you’ll root for both of them. Until you see it, you may doubt how good THE LURE is, but DAMN, it’s entrancing — dare I say, magical, and I hope you get to see it on the big screen.


I guess this is a case of what was old is new again? Turns out I am incredibly easy to please. It is very simple. Bring in a classic Shaw Brothers action flick. Tell me glorious things like it is on 35mm and is the only print in existence. Then shower me with exciting and colourful visuals, cheesy STAR WARS influenced special effects, a hero fighting flying kanji symbols and the reunion of long lost siblings. You give me something that is in my wheelhouse then I am a happy boy. I will even forgive you for making that same old Pokemon Go joke when you remind us to turn off our cell phones. Nothing else matters, only the wuxia that is on the screen.

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