Fantasia 2017: Screen Anarchy Wraps Up Another Remarkable Year In Montreal

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
Fantasia Banner.jpgThe 21st edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival has come to a close, and it was a smorgasbord of cinema, excusions, panels, special events and get togethers. Every year of I reiterate that this fest is the 'summer-camp' for lovers of genre - a lauchpad for the weird and wild, undiscovered corners of the fantastique, the grotesque and bone crushing action. But before you can pigeonhole the festival to simply Grand Guignol mania - albeit there is of course much of this - offbeat comedies and artistic thrillers are always waiting on the periphery. 
The Frontières Marketplace continues to get bigger and absolutely dominates the second weekend of the festival. There was special life time achievement awards for Larry Cohen with the writer-director present to introduce several classic 35mm prints of his work. Vault 35mm prints of Q: The Winged Serpet, God Told Me To, and It's Alive were all privleged experiences from an underappreciated filmmaker, as was a gorgeous print of George Mihalka's The Blue Man.
The remastering of Geoge A. Romero's The Crazies was a sight to behold, and better still, the 4K Susperia DCP, featuring the original 4 channel sterero mix, was almost beyond belief in terms of its presentation (I implore you - get to a cinema for this at any cost if it within drivable distance!) There was an ode to the Turkish cinema of the 1980s with several WTF entries from the 1980s. A celebration of Luchador cinema. Several book launches, including one on French Auteur Jean Rollins and sneak preview of Paperbacks From Hell, a tour through the gonzo manias that publishers chruned out from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. And of course the hundreds of features and shorts that played The Hall, The D.B. Clarke and the J.A. De Seve theatres.
Izzy, Andrew, Gorber, Shelagh, and Kurt tie a bow on the fest below, with a summary of all their reviews  interviews, surprises, disappointments, favourites in the links and gallery:
Curtain Raiser: We Cherrypick Montreal's Mammoth Genre Fest
First Wave of Fantasia Titles
The Rest of The Fest, to The Last, Bloody Drop
TILT, A Slowburn Thriller About Mental Health And The American Dream by Andrew Mack
LOWLIFE Confidently Infuses Absurdity With Heart by Kurt Halfyard
MOHAWK, A Brutal Action Drama, Sadly Relevant in Our Time by Andrew Mack
Short Film: THE LAST SCHNITZEL by Andrew Mack
Short Film: EVEN THE DARKNESS HAS ARMS, A Two-Minute Creepfest by Andrew Mack
JAPANESE GIRLS NEVER DIE Speaks Locally on Subjugation, Reaches Globally by Andrew Mack
COLD HELL, Hard Hitting Action Film Lashes Out Against Patriarchal Violence, And Connects, Hard by Andrew Mack
Born Of Woman Shorts Programme Highlights a Trio of Haunting Standouts by Kurt Halfyard
Thai Period Action Flick BROKEN SWORD HERO Introduces a New Action Talent by Andrew Mack
JAILBREAK, An Exceptional Addition to Martial Arts Cinema Coming Out of Southeast Asia by Andrew Mack
DEAD SHACK, Mixed Results Hamper Canadian Zom-Com From Breakout Success by Andrew Mack
KING COHEN and the Art of the Steal by Kurt Halfyard
THE LAPLACE'S DEMON, Philosophical Suspense and Dread by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
A Tribute to George A. Romero's THE CRAZIES by Andrew Mack
A DAY (하루), Blockbuster, Rinse, Repeat by Kurt Halfyard
FRIENDLY BEAST, Man Is the Most Dangerous Animal by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
NOVEMBER, The Beautiful and The Grotesque Intertwine by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING Shreds Dignity For Laughs In Surprising Ways by Kurt Halfyard
TOKYO IDOLS, Fever-Pitch Fandom by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
TIGER GIRL, Badass Ladies of Berlin by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
GOOD TIME Crackles With The Energy Of An All-Night Bender by Kurt Halfyard
MATANGTUBIG (TOWN IN A LAKE) Is The Filipino Answer To Twin Peaks by Kurt Halfyard
BAD BLACK, DIY Action Thrill Ride by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
SPOOR, A Magic-Tinged, Intimate Thriller by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
A TAXI DRIVER Rolls Up to Korean History with Grace, Humor and Tears by Pierce Conran
DELIVER US, Exorcism in the Open by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Short Film: TRANSMISSION by Andrew Mack
Short Film: Zoe Bell Gets Stabby in Action Short IMBROGLIO by Andrew Mack
GEEK GIRLS, Trials and Tribulations of Women in the Nerd World by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
TEIICHI: BATTLE OF SUPREME HIGH Mixes High School Politics With Hilarious Comedy by Andrew Mack
Short Film: EMILY, Extraordinary Fate of a Ordinary Girl by Andrew Mack
Short Film: IN THE DARK, DARK WOODS by Andrew Mack
THE ENDLESS, Monster with a Movie Camera by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
International Sci-Fi Short Film Showcase by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
FASHIONISTA, A Dark Addiction Drama With No Drugs, But Lots of Clothes by Kurt Halfyard
Small Gauge Trauma Showcases Horrific Standouts by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, Good Action, Middling Comedy by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
International Sci-Fi Short Showcase by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Ted Geoghegan Talks MOHAWK and How to Subvert Expectations by Kurt Halfyard
KILLING GROUND Director Damien Power Talks On Screen Violence, Tension And Camping in Australia by Andrew Mack
Director Chris Peckover Talks BETTER WATCH OUT by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Ana Asensio on MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
LOWLIFE's Ryan Prows on Murder, Locations and more by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Steve Mitchell on Fighting to Make KING COHEN by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Ana Asensio on MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson on Crafting THE ENDLESS by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Trent Haaga and Matthew Gray Gubler on 68 KILL, Death, Love, Sex and Biting by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Frontières Market:
First Wave Announced. Includes Legends, Indie Faves And More
Five Standouts From The Pitch Sessions
Fantasia Festival Awards and Television Spots
Agnieszka Holland's SPOOR Takes Top Prize

Michele "Izzy" Galgana, , Andrew Mack, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Pierce Conran and Ard Vijn contributed to this story.

What was your favourite film of the festival?

Kurt Halfyard - GOOD TIME This high energy, deep pathos, nearly avant garde, but full cinematic package from the Safdie Brothers was so good I saw it twice on the big screen at the festival. Watching Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason-Leigh and co-director Ben navigate (and cause) chaos in the downmarket neighbourhoods of New York City is one of the great movie treats of 2017. The soundtrack (and design) is impeccable in ways that make this film as essential to the big screen as something like Dunkirk, as experiential cinema. Good Time proves that budget and theatrical experience are not mutually exclusive.

Jason Gorber - LOWLIFE Things are changing at many festivals, and with TIFF's 20% reduction of selections and disbandment of the Vanguard section it means even more selections of higher quality can make their way to Fantasia, even added during the fest. Excellent works, from Ghost Story to Cannes films like Miike's Blade of the Immortal and the Safdie's sublime Good Time (with Robert Pattinson driving the locals wide) are all world class films deserving of mention. Yet in terms of a film that's purely a Fantasia product look to Lowlife, Ryan Prows' kinetic ode to Tarantino and Lucha Libre. It may not be a perfect film, but the fact that it was passed on by every other major fest is a bit of a miracle, making for arguably the best film to ever have its world premiere at Fantasia. Raw, raucous and ribald, the film may be average seen on a screener on your laptop but made for one of the fest's most energizing, purely entertaining screenings.

Izzy Lee - THE ENDLESS & 68 KILL (tie): The Endless is an effective, meditation on sibling alliance, love, and inclusion with splashes of dark comedy and cosmic horror. But 68 Kill could not be different. Trent Haaga's adaptation of the book by Bryan Smith is as ridiculous as it is fun. Action packed and full of blood, it's an absolute thrill ride with delusional characters out to steal $68,000.

Andrew Mack - JAILBREAK Jimmy Henderson has accomplished what so few directors have done in the action genre: capture action while being active with the camera. A lot of action films go either way. Inactive camera, hopefully pulled back far enough so the action plays in front of us the audience. Or, get that camera so close to the action - often too close - so that you are supposed to feel like you are a part of it. The former is fine. The latter is bullshit. If you want to feel like you are a part of the action go join a dojo. Keep the camera back. Let the martial artists show you their art. Don’t take away from their hard work and talents by getting all up in their grills and ruining their work and the work of their choreographers. I prefer the former but if you can clearly show me all the action on screen and still enhance it with camera motion? Well then, I’ll start naming children after you. Not mine. But someone else’s. Now I roam my neighbourhood naming children Jimmy and seeing to whom it sticks.

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Fantasia 2017

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