Fantasia 2018: Final Wave! MANDY is Coming! New Films From Donnie Yen And Takashi Miike. And a Musical Treat From Goblin's Maurizio Guarini!

Contributing Editor; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
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Fantasia 2018: Final Wave! MANDY is Coming! New Films From Donnie Yen And Takashi Miike. And a Musical Treat From Goblin's Maurizio Guarini!
The final wave of titles have just been announced for this year's Fantasia International Film Festival. If you thought the festival could not cram any more cinematic greatness into its schedule you only have to look below to see that they have found a way. 
 
So yesterday the genre world kind of lost its collective shit when the trailer dropped for Panos Cosmatos’ new film Mandy. Well, we can all check our calendars and figure out how to be in Montreal for the closing night of Fantasia as Mandy has been chosen to be the closing film of the festival! 
 
Also in this final wave are new films is Big Brother, the new film from God of War's Kenji Tanigaki, starring martial arts superstar Donnie Yen. Laplace's Witch, the new film from another Asian cinema legend Takashi Miike is also coming to town. Another Japanese superstar Tadanobu Asano stars in the psychological thriller Kasane. Sion Sono's Tokyo Vampire Hotel will play at the festival. And though there are lots of Asian titles to choose from any year you are at the festival one would be foolish to miss the annual retro screening of a kung fu classic. This year's film is Walter Chung's Five Fingers of Death.
 
On the home front we are pleased to see that our friend Justin McConnell's new film Lifechanger will have its World Premire at the festival. Speaking of home court talent we are also pleased to see that our own Shelagh Rowan-Legg will be on one of the juries this year. 
 
Further streatching out into the international community I am personally thrilled that Demian Rugna's paranormal horror flick Aterrados (Terrified) is having its Canadian Premiere at the festival. I have been outspoken for my love of this flick since I saw it last Fall and I know that it is a perfect fit for the Montreal audience. Prepare to be scared and have a tremendous amount of fun in between. 
 
And finally, do not forget to check out any of the amazing live events that are also happening at the festival. First of all, there will be a special screening of Italy's first horror film L'Inferno, from 1911. While that is pretty special what makes it awesome is that it will be accompanied with a score by Maurizio Guarini of Goblin! 
 
Filmmaker Mick Garris will host a live recording of his podcast Post Mortem, with Joe Dante (Gremilns), Ryûhei Kitamura (Downrange), Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead) and Fantasia programmer/former Fangoria magazine editor Tony Timpone. Our friend Heather Buckley (producer of The Ranger) will moderate MICHAEL IRONSIDE: LIVE IN CONVERSATION, an hour with the Canadian cult icon as he reflects on his illustrious career. Film critic Michael Gingold will be launching his new book AD NAUSEAM: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980’s at the festival. 
 
 
FANTASIA’S 22nd EDITION TO CLOSE WITH THE CANADIAN PREMIERE OF PANOS COSMATOS’ MANDY AND THE WORLD PREMIERE OF THE DONNIE YEN-STARRING BIG BROTHER
 
North American Premieres of Takashi Miike’s LAPLACE’S WITCH and Erick Zonca’s BLACK TIDE, the International Premiere of Joel Potrykus’ RELAXER, the Canadian Premiere of Nicolas Pesce’s PIERCING, a master class with Timur Bekmambetov, and a cine-concert with Goblin’s Maurizio Guarini are among the Montreal festival’s final wave of 2018 announcements
 
 
28 June 2018, Montreal, Canada – With today’s final wave of programming, the 2018 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival has now released its full lineup of over 125 features and 220 shorts, featuring the premieres of more than 100 cutting-edge visions from across the world. Fantasia’s brand new 2018 website, which has gone online today, details all films and events at this year’s festival.
 
The 2018 edition of Fantasia is immensely proud of its full lineup, which includes a record five features birthed from Frontières, its acclaimed film production market. They are CHAINED FOR LIFE, THE DARK, KNUCKLEBALL, THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD and THE RANGER.
 
 
AFTER CONQUERING SUNDANCE AND CANNES, MANDY COMES TO FANTASIA (Official Closing Film)
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Fantasia’s 22nd edition will close on a cinematic power chord with the Canadian Premiere of the thunderously-acclaimed MANDY (Official Closing Film), Panos Cosmatos’ long awaited sophomore feature following the stunning BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. The film makes its first screening in the country after transfixing audiences at Sundance and Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight. Starring an especially strong Nicolas Cage in a performance that seethes with internalized rage, MANDY also features a shredding experimental electronic score from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson that works hypnotically with the film’s pacing and imagery to create a dreamy mood of near-death intoxication. MANDY is a pounding, bleeding act of cinema that’s as singular as it is sensational.
 
 
DONNIE YEN WILL SCHOOL YOU IN BIG BROTHER (World Premiere)
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Mixed martial arts meet high-school intrigue, with Hong Kong superhero Donnie Yen (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY) at the blackboard! The closing night festivities of Fantasia 2018 will begin with the World Premiere of BIG BROTHER, which sees Yen reuniting with action director Kenji Tanigaki (GOD OF WAR, Fantasia 2017) and delivering an exhilarating, scholastic twist on the martial arts film. Having collaborated on the fight scenes in WU XIA (aka DRAGON, Fantasia 2011) and LEGEND OF THE FIST: RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN, Yen and Tanigaki once again land a bone-breaking bull’s-eye with BIG BROTHER.
 
 
TAKASHI MIIKE TURNS MATHEMATICS INTO WITCHCRAFT IN THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF LAPLACE'S WITCH
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Everyone knows the tight bond that has united Takashi Miike and Fantasia for over two decades, and the festival is honoured to continue the tradition with the North American Premiere of his spellbinding new murder mystery LAPLACE'S WITCH! Of course, in Miike’s hands, things quickly veer into the unexpected when a geochemistry professor investigating a double murder case meets a young mathematics genius with an almost supernatural level of knowledge. Crafting gorgeous imagery, stunning locations, and stellar special effects, Miike and his star-studded cast bring us down an unexpected path where the mystic and reality collide. Long-time Miike fans, as well as those just now learning of his work, will not be disappointed!
 
 
A MASTER CLASS WITH TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV - AND THE CANADIAN PREMIERE OF PROFILE
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Fantasia audiences were the first in the world to see UNFRIENDED when it launched at the festival under its original title, CYBERNATURAL. Producer Timur Bekmambetov pioneered its innovative, immersive storytelling approach - dubbed “Screenlife” - which brilliantly captures the way we communicate online. This year, Fantasia will showcase a trio of Screenlife features, each landing with an uncommon impact that’s wholly unique, and tells a very different kind of story. In addition to the previously-announced SEARCHING (Canadian Premiere) and UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB (International Premiere), the festival is proud to showcase the Canadian launch of PROFILE, a riveting award-winner at Berlinale and SXSW, about a journalist catfishing an ISIS recruiter, based on the non-fiction bestseller “In the Skin of a Jihadist”. On July 17, Bekmambetov will conduct a multimedia master class event specifically centered around the inception and production methodologies of this brilliant storytelling approach.
 
 
PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN SLICES ITS WAY TO A NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE!
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Japanese punk rocker Ko Machida’s 2004 maniacally meta novel rips up the silver screen in Gakuryu Ishii’s PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN (North American Premiere). Loaded with loopy weirdness and jolts of anachronistic rock ’n’ roll energy, the cinematic adaptation by Ishii (formerly Sogo) is just as colourful, anarchic, and irreverent as you’d expect, given his bona fides as a key instigator of Japan’s punk film eruption of the 1980s. Collaborating here with screenwriter Kankuro Kudo (of TOO YOUNG TO DIE! fame), the film’s all-star cast includes Go Ayano (AJIN: DEMI HUMAN), Shota Sometani (PARASYTE), Jun Kunimura (ATTACK ON TITAN), Etsushi Toyokawa (20TH CENTURY BOYS), and Tadanobu Asano (KASANE).
 
 
SWIM OUT TO THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF BLACK TIDE
 
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Adapted from Dror Mishani’s novel “The Missing File”, BLACK TIDE is a taut, methodical crime thriller told with quasi-Fincheresque precision by co-writer/director Erick Zonca (JULIA). Actor Romain Duris is fascinating and Sandrine Kiberlain is heartbreaking, but it’s Vincent Cassel who blows us away with his electrifying performance as an alcoholic cop, whose unkempt hair and beard reflect his tormented, equally-tousled soul. Obsessed with his case like a beast gnawing on a bone, this man-on-the-edge is determined to uncover the truth, no matter how horrible it ends up being.
 
 
A HELLISHLY SPECIAL SCREENING OF L’INFERNO (1911), LIVE-SCORED BY GOBLIN’S MAURIZIO GUARINI
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Fantasia presents a special screening of Italy’s first genre film (which also happens to be the world’s oldest surviving feature), the spectacularly surreal 1911 masterpiece L’INFERNO. Loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and influenced by Gustave Doré’s illustrations, the film was directed by Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, and Giuseppe de Liguoro, working with more than 150 cast and crew members over a period of three years. For the film’s 107th anniversary, Fantasia will present a special screening of L’INFERNO with a live-score performance by none other than Maurizio Guarini of Goblin - the legendary band responsible for of some of Italian horror cinema’s most cherished musical scores!
 
 
GET LAZY WITH RELAXER’S INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE!
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Y2K is right around the corner, and Cam (David Dastmalchian) has just given his younger brother Abbie (Joshua Burge) the dopest challenge ever: to beat Johnny Mitchell’s infamous Pac-Man high score without ever getting off the couch! Not once! Not even to pee, eat, or drink! SLACKER by way of THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (with a hint of BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD), Joel Potrykus’ (BUZZARD, THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK) latest is a closed-room, mise-en-scène tour-de-force that transforms a gamer’s crummy apartment into a space of unlimited potential. A true punk film, RELAXER is at once indescribable, demanding, and completely insolent, encapsulating the best (and the worst) of ’90s pop culture in one experiential trip.
 
 
BRING THE BEST MEMORIES OF YOUR FAVOURITE PETS - AND PLENTY OF TISSUES - FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF THE TRAVELING CAT CHRONICLES
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Kind-hearted Satoru (BLEACH’s Sota Fukushi) has been living happily with his cat Nana after rescuing it from a car accident. Despite the bond that unites them, Satoru's new engagement forces them go on a road trip across Japan to find Nana a new owner. Following the Fantasia 2016 hit IF CATS DISAPPEARED FROM THE WORLD, Japan has provided a new, extremely efficient tear-jerker about man’s other best friend… with just a hint of fantasy. In THE TRAVELING CAT CHRONICLES (World Premiere), we can hear animals talk, which brings on great humour, heart, and a whole lot of tears. A beautiful tale of friendship and faithfulness, THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES provides a heartfelt lesson in life for the whole family.
 
 
LOVE HURTS, BODIES SHIFT: THE WORLD PREMIERE OF LIFECHANGER
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Drew has the ability to transport from body to body, and his desire to reconnect with the woman he loves will ultimately prove to be the undoing of many - perhaps even Drew himself. The latest from Canadian genre vet Justin McConnell, LIFECHANGER is exactly the kind of smart and efficient genre piece that Fantasia takes pride in introducing to audiences. It’s a film that’s fresh, surprising, and alive, anchored by terrific performances from Lora Burke (POOR AGNES) and Jack Foley. LIFECHANGER is an excellent reminder that all great horror is also one part tragedy, and it's that element that will help audiences remember this one long after they’ve left the theatre.
 
 
PREPARE TO OVERDOSE ON COLD, RAW FEAR AT THE CANADIAN PREMIERE OF TERRIFIED
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Gifted Argentinean filmmaker Demián Rugna has single-handedly transformed his nation’s cinema with this genuinely terrifying paranormal nightmare that starts with a bloody bang and never lets go. Electric with the pure, raw kind of intense horror that makes your entire body ache with fear and adrenaline, TERRIFIED won accolades at Mar del Plata and has been, well, terrifying audiences everywhere from Sitges and Brussels to Brazil’s Fantaspoa. Prepare yourself, because Fantasia’s Canadian premiere is sure to elicit screams that will be heard a continent away.
 
 
MEET AN ALTOGETHER NEW KIND OF EXORCIST IN ROOM LAUNDERING
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In Japan, law requires landlords to divulge tragic passings to their next tenants - but that same law fails to specify just how many subsequent renters one needs to inform! Thus, Miko Yagumo (Elaiza Ikeda, of THE MANY FACES OF ITO), a shy and antisocial young girl, is a “room launderer”: a transitory occupant, with the ability to see the spirits of the deceased. With ROOM LAUNDERING (North American Premiere), first-time filmmaker Kenji Katagiri proves himself to be one to watch out for - perfectly juggling quirky comedy and supernatural drama. This gem co-stars veteran, fan-favourite actor Joe Odagiri (ADRIFT IN TOKYO, MR. GO, AIR DOLL) and Kiyohiko Shibukawa (LOWLIFE LOVE and PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN),
 
 
THE CAMERA LUCIDA SECTION UNVEILS ITS FINAL THREE TITLES!
 
Fantasia’s Camera Lucida section, dedicated to experimental, boundary-pushing and auteur-driven works on the borders of genre cinema, unveils its final three Canadian premieres:
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Blue is the colour of Mia, a 15-year-old with an odd new thirst. With BLUE MY MIND, Swiss filmmaker Lisa Brühlmann offers a masterful, fresh take on the horrific degeneration of a teenager’s anatomy, cleverly entwined with classic fairytale storytelling pitched somewhere between recent genre hits such as THE LURE and RAW.
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When the price of cigarettes goes up, thirty-something Miso embraces homelessness and sees it as an occasion to reconnect with old friends. MICROHABITAT, Jeon Go-woon’s surprising first feature, subtly reinvents the conventions of slacker cinema. From one social environment to the next, a complex, tragi-comic portrait of South Korean society emerges – its class consciousness, the ambitions that drive it, and the characters that populate it.
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When Reed (Christopher Abbott) meets Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), he realizes his meticulous night of murder isn’t going to go as planned. A cruel cat-and-mouse game is turned on its head, as writer-director Nicolas Pesce returns to Fantasia with PIERCING, a dark, twisted comedy about death and desire, adapted from Ryu Murakami’s novel (AUDITION).
 
Full Camera Lucida line-up:
Being Natural, dir. Tadashi Nagayama (International Premiere); Blue My Mind, dir. Lisa Brülhmann (Canadian Premiere); Chained for Life, dir. Aaron Schimberg (International Premiere); Hanagatami, dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi (Québec Premiere); Luz, dir. Tilman Singer (North American Premiere); Madeline’s Madeline, dir. Josephine Decker (Canadian Premiere); Microhabitat, dir. Jeon Go-woon (Canadian Premiere); Piercing, dir. Nicolas Pesce (Canadian Premiere); Under the Silver Lake, dir. David Robert Mitchell (North American Premiere)
 
All titles will compete for the AQCC-Camera Lucida prize, awarded by a jury of critics from the Québec’s Critics Association (AQCC), member of the FIPRESCI.
 
 
CHINA’S ANIMATED DA HU FA IS A RAMBUNCTIOUS, REBELLIOUS FIND!
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A formidable fighter discovers a hidden town where dread, violence, and corruption pervade in Chinese animator Busifan’s DA HU FA (North American Premiere), presented in eye-popping 3D at Fantasia. A wonderfully unusual and defiant work of rambunctious, rebellious fantasy animation, this beautifully-animated adventure has been largely unseen outside of China until now.
 
 
IT’S A LITERAL FACE-OFF AS KASANE COMES TO NORTH AMERICA
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Kasane must live with a face deformed by a giant scar, even though she is blessed with impressive performing skills. Nina is an arrogant actress who looks divine but is completely talentless. With the power of a magic tube of lipstick, they will change faces to create the ultimate actress. An adaptation of the popular manga, KASANE is a remarkably effective psychological thriller mixed with dark fantasy that forces us to confront our own superficiality regarding appearances - all without stuffing the lesson down our throat. A brilliant adaptation of mangaka Daruma Matsuura’s unique work, KASANE stars Kyoko Yoshine (the PRINCESS JELLYFISH series) and Tao Tsuchiya (RUROUNI KENSHIN: KYOTO INFERNO), while Tadanobu Asano (THOR) shines as the Machiavellian architect of their pact.
 
 
TIRED OF BY THE BOOK ROM-COMS? THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF TORNADO GIRL WILL WIN YOU OVER IMMEDIATELY!
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After vowing to copy the coolest man he knows - real-life grungy hipster pop star Tamio Okuda - Koroki wins the admiration of his colleagues, but attracts the attention of Akari (Kiko Mizuhara), the publicist for a fashion brand who's turned her sex appeal into a weapon of mass-distraction. Director Hitoshi One (BAKUMAN), who already amazed audiences in the rom-com genre with the MTV style musical hybrid LOVE STRIKES!, hits a bullseye again with TORNADO GIRL (North American Premiere), a cutting-edge romance that’s actually romantic, paired with surreal comedy that's actually funny! With an amazing cast lead by the convincing duo Satoshi Tsumabuki (FOR LOVE'S SAKE) and Kiko Mizuhara (ATTACK ON TITAN), this one is sure to win audiences’ hearts.
 
 
ADDITIONAL TITLES IN FANTASIA 2018’S FINAL WAVE INCLUDE:
 
1987: WHEN THE DAY COMES
South Korea – Dir: Jang Joon-hwan
Based on true events leading to the establishment of South Korea’s democracy, 1987: WHEN THE DAY COMES is the logical follow-up to the impactful A TAXI DRIVER. With its enthralling narrative, masterful performances, the colossal power of its subject matter and the masterful approach to its direction, 1987 qualifies as one of the best features of the year. Black Dragon Audience Award, Udine Far East Film Festival 2018.
 
AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN
Japan – Dir: Katsuyuki Motohiro
AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN marks the first live-action adaptation of Gamon Sakurai’s popular manga series. Director Katsuyuki Motohiro (BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN) gives us a rock solid adaptation that delivers on wild action but doesn't forget to put its likeable characters in the forefront and give them something to fight for. Action fans will find much to like, while aficionados of the manga and anime it’s based upon will come out smiling. Official Selection: SXSW 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
ARIZONA
USA – Dir: Jonathan Watson
Sonny (Danny McBride) lives in Arizona, and he's a totally cool guy. He's definitely NOT a murderer. Set against the middle-class destruction of the 2009 housing crisis, Jonathan Watson’s feature debut co-stars Rosemarie DeWitt and Luke Wilson, and plays out like the pitch black comedy we always wanted John Carpenter to make but never got. Official Selection: Sundance 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
BELIEVER
South Korea – Dir: Lee Hae-young
Six years ago, Johnnie To gave us the impressive DRUG WAR. Now, Korean filmmaker Lee Hae-young (FOXY FESTIVAL) delivers a tense and effective remake, teaming up with the woman behind many of Park Chan-wook’s recent works, Chung Seo-kyung (THIRST). Together, they approach this re-imagining from a different angle, and manage to surpass the original material. The biggest difference between the two films is the way they develop their characters, allowing some of the strongest Korean actors to sink their teeth into the film’s deliciously over-the-top roles. BELIEVER is remarkable and entertaining, beginning to end. Quebec Premiere. 
 
BODIED
USA – Dir: Joseph Kahn
Produced by Eminem, written by popular Toronto battle rapper Kid Twist, and directed by music video icon Joseph Kahn (TORQUE; the unforgettable DETENTION, seen at Fantasia 2011), BODIED is a triumphant satire of today’s social and political climate, in which nothing and everything can be perceived offensively if that’s what one is looking for. Deftly walking on such eggshells, Kahn has assembled an outrageously hilarious ideological rollercoaster that grapples with race, cultural appropriation, and academia, forcing its spectators to confront their own assumptions with the ferocity of a rapper slinging insults in an opponent’s face. Official Selection: TIFF 2017, Sundance 2018, Paris International Fantastic Film Festival 2018. Quebec Premiere.
 
BODY MELT (New 2K Restoration from Vinegar Syndrome)
Australia – Dir: Philip Brophy
In the sleepy suburban community of Pebbles Court, residents have been receiving free samples of a new diet pill, which has been developed to help the body achieve ultimate health. However, as the townspeople eagerly gobble them down, they begin to experience some unexpected side effects. It turns out these pills transform their users into hallucinating mutants, and their bodies disintegrate, grow tentacles, explode, and melt! A gore-and-slime-filled gross-out classic from the final days of the Ozsploitation era, Philip Brophy's BODY MELT is a truly outrageous and satirical horror comedy, proudly presented in a brand new 2K restoration!
 
CHAMPION
South Korea – Dir: Kim Yong-wan
Mark, a Korean raised in the U.S, is a former arm-wrestling champion. When a friend with tendencies for scams brings him back to Korea for a tournament, he's confronted with the family who gave him in adoption. Anyone thinking that producing an arm-wrestling sports drama is not a genius idea should wait until they experience funny, exciting, and poignant film. CHAMPION succeeds at everything it does - and the phenomenal performance by Don Lee (TRAIN TO BUSAN) is the reason it wins at every level! Quebec Premiere.
 
CINDERELLA THE CAT
Italy – Dirs: Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, and Dario Sansone 
Murder, mayhem, melodrama, and musical numbers make fine bedfellows in Studio Rai’s CINDERELLA THE CAT, an animated noir-stained revisiting of the famous fairy tale, executed with flair and enhanced by a soundtrack of Neapolitan cabaret cool. Official Selection: Annecy 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
COLD SKIN
France/UK – Dir: Xavier Gens
Struggling for survival in the Antarctic, a weather surveyor (Ray Stevenson) must choose between a madman and a legion of creatures he does not fully understand. COLD SKIN feels fresh from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft in its portrayal of the period, the monsters that populate it, and the paranoia and tension between its characters. The film’s creatures are both terrifying and astoundingly dynamic in their realism - but what less would one expect from the director of THE DIVIDE, FRONTIERE(S), and HITMAN?! Official Selection: Frightfest Glasgow 2018, Morbido 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA
Japan – Dir: Takashi Yamazaki
Ghosts, goblins… even a charming local death god? For newlywed Akiko, the town of Kamakura will take some time getting used to. DESTINY is an enchanting, romantic fantasy adventure from director and visual effects wizard Takashi Yamazaki (PARASYTE). Don't miss the otherworldly night market that's a treat tailor-made for fans of Guillermo del Toro! Official Selection: Hawaii International Film Festival. Quebec Premiere.
 
DETECTIVE DEE: THE FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS
China/Hong Kong – Dir: Tsui Hark
Pop cinema potentate and HK master Tsui Hark returns with latest installment of the ever-popular Detective Dee series. Set in China’s Tang Dynasty era - a time of worldliness and wonders - THE FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS explodes with action, innovation, inspiration, and utter delirium. A series of mysterious incidents have disrupted the city and China’s most famous detective must prove his innocence from Empress Wu - played by award winning actress Carina Lau (2046, ASHES OF TIME). Quebec Premiere.
 
FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH – Restored 35mm Print
Hong Kong – Dir: Walter Chung
FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH (aka KING BOXER) is the classic action masterpiece that kick-started the kung fu craze in the West months before ENTER THE DRAGON. A shameless favourite among aficionados (most notably Quentin Tarantino, who used one of the film’s most iconic musical cues in KILL BILL), this lovable, ridiculous actioner about two competing kung fu schools has been beautifully restored as a 35mm print just in time to celebrate its 45th anniversary!
 
THE FORTRESS
South Korea – Dir: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Versatile award-winning director Hwang Dong-hyuk (MISS GRANNY) now tackles the epic tragedy, revisiting a major episode in Korean history. Flawlessly photographed and informed by rigorous attention to historical detail, Hwang's THE FORTRESS boasts numerous high-profile names, notably Kim Yoon-seok (THE CHASER) and Lee Byung-hun (I SAW THE DEVIL). Winner of the Best Screenplay, Blue Dragon Film Awards 2017.
 
GASTON LAGAFFE
France – Dir: Pierre-François Martin-Laval
Bringing André Franquin’s iconic, episodic comic book to the screen has long proved to be quite the challenge, but Pierre-François Martin-Laval has skillfully adapted the material to the screen. Transposing the beloved books into the world of online commerce, the film still features Gaston, Prunelle, and Mr. de Mesmaeker, as well as favorites Mademoiselle Jeanne, Officer Longtarin, Yves Lebrac, Jules-de-chez-Smith-en-face, Bertrand Labévue, the crazy cat, and the laughing seagull. Martin-Laval’s wild visuals have delivered a delightful, unpretentious film that’s only goal is to make the entire family laugh. North American Premiere.
 
GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM
South Korea – Dir: Jeong Beom-sik
When a YouTuber brings a group of young volunteers in for a livestream at Gonjiam‘s Namyang Mental Hospital (a real-life location, selected by CNN as “One of the Freakiest Places on the Planet”), they get way more than what his ad-based revenue stream was worth. The second-highest-grossing Korean horror movie of all time (right after A TALE OF TWO SISTERS), this found-footage scare fest lives up to its immense hype! Quebec Premiere.
 
HEAVY TRIP
Finland/Norway/Belgium – Dirs: Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren
Crack out the corpse paint and make an offering to Odin, because here comes the funny-as-hellfire Finnish rock ’n’ road saga that made its SXSW crowd shriek like damned souls! Rock video and TV veterans Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren’s debut feature is the feel-good, follow-that-dream, underdog rock comedy for the blast-beat bunch. Being Scandinavian, the humour in HEAVY TRIP is dry and sharp – and the black metal riffage absolutely shreds. Official Selection: Cinepocalypse 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
LAUGHING UNDER THE CLOUDS
Japan – Dir: Katsuyuki Motohiro
In Restoration-era Japan, the three Kumo brothers stand guard against the return of the mythical dragon Orochi. Whirlwind thrills, eye-popping art direction, poignant drama, and swashbuckling adventure abound in this manga adaptation! Audiences who adored RUROUNI KENSHIN won't want to miss out this one! Quebec Premiere.
 
MY SON
France – Dir: Christian Carion
Writer-director Christian Carion (JOYEUX NOËL) and cowriter Laure Irrmann offer up an intense thriller in the vein of PRISONERS, featuring a desperate protagonist who is ready to do anything – including torturing people and risking his own life – to get his boy back. Frenetically shot and edited, MY SON keeps its audience breathless until its final frame. Canadian Premiere.
 
NEOMANILA
The Philippines – Dir. Mikhail Red
Following the award-winning BIRDSHOT, director Mikhail Red unveils a neo-noir that brilliantly combines social realism and a dystopian reality to better comprehend the phenomenon of extrajudicial killings. Winner: Audience Choice Award and Best Artistic Achievement, Quezon City International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
 
THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
France – Dir: Dominique Rocher
Sam wakes up to discover that Paris has been overrun by a zombified populace. This alt-zombie entry explores what it means to be human, and how to salvage it when all around you are no longer living. A project born from Frontières, Fantasia’s International Co-Production Market, THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD has been devouring fest audiences from Rotterdam to Tribeca. Canadian Premiere.
 
RIVER’S EDGE
Japan – Dir. Isao Yukisada
Adapted from Kyoko Okazaki’s (HELTER SKELTER) cult manga of the same name, director Yukisada’s latest is a chilling 1990s-set coming-of-age drama, forged in the darkness of Tokyo’s industrial suburbs. Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
 
A ROUGH DRAFT
Russia – Dir: Sergey Mokritskiy
Kirill has watched his life vanish. A mysterious cabal has enlisted him as an inter-dimensional gatekeeper, opening the doors to a myriad of possible Moscows. With director Sergey Mokritskiy (BATTLE FOR SEVASTOPOL) at the helm and the writer behind NIGHT WATCH cleverly penning, it’s a given that every frame is an eyeful and every turn more twisted than the last. Canadian Premiere.
 
THE SAINT BERNARD SYNDICATE
Denmark – Dir: Mads Brügger 
After making his mark with satirical documentaries RED CHAPEL and THE AMBASSADOR (Fantasia 2011), Mads Brügger returns with his first scripted feature, the very droll and very wry THE SAINT BERNARD SYNDICATE - one part travelogue, and another part nightmare for anyone looking to make their mark in a country they know next to nothing about. Winner: Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Tribeca Film Festival 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
THE SCYTHIAN
Russia – Dir: Rustam Mosafir
A Christian Russian and his pagan captive/guide journey into ever more mysterious lands, and come face-to-face strange and sinister sights, and sudden, savage violence. THE SCYTHIAN is an epic historical action-fantasy that’s as beautiful as it is brutal. Official Selection: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2018. North American Premiere.
 
TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL
Japan – Dir: Sion Sono
Two vampire clans battle over mortal human livestock. Swerving from massive gun orgies to gaudy scenes of baroque excess, TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL is a confetti cannon full of blood squibs aimed at your face, courtesy of Fantasia fave Sion Sono. Imagine Sono in the style of Yoshihiro Nishimura, with massive bloodshed, wild colors, and sumptuous art direction. Are you in? Official Selection: Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2017. Quebec Premiere.
 
TRUE FICTION
South Korea – Dir: Kim Jin-mook
An arrogant aspiring mayor visits the second home of his in-laws to hide his corrupt congressman stepfather's secret funds. Unfortunately, his encounter with wise locals - and the digging of his own hole - might just ruin his career. Starting like a hilarious black comedy and turning into a dark psychological thriller, TRUE FICTION is a true gem filled with sharp dialogue delivered with surgical precision. With this impressive debut feature, writer/director Kim Jin-mook establishes himself as one of the most interesting new voices in Korean Cinema. Best Screenplay Award, Directors' Week Program, Fantasporto International Film Festival 2018. Canadian Premiere.
 
UNITY OF HEROES
China/Hong Kong – Dir: Lin Zhen-Hao
Legendary Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung strikes back with a vengeance after a 20-year hiatus - and is played once again by mainstay Vincent Zhao (TRUE LEGEND)! UNITY OF HEROES keeps its action and plot moving at breakneck speed, all while retaining an irreverent humour in the spirit of the original ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA films. North American Premiere.
 
V.I.P
South Korea – Dir: Park Hoon-jung 
After directing the swaggering gangster epic NEW WORLD and the swaggering man-vs-beast epic THE TIGER, the screenwriter behind Ryoo Seung-wan's THE UNJUST and Kim Jee-woon's I SAW THE DEVIL abandons his swagger to go very, very dark. V.I.P. will keep audiences on the edge of their seats and on the tips of their toes! Official Selection: AFI Fest 2017 - Midnight London East Asia Film Festival 2017, Filmasia Film Festival 2017. Quebec Premiere.
 
WHAT A MAN WANTS
South Korea – Dir: Lee Byeong-heon
From the get-go, the stellar jazz score of this edgy yet lively romantic comedy about cheating calls to mind the mood of Woody Allen. Throughout, the film delights in witty dialogue, unexpected plot twists and playful touches. With its stellar cast including Shin Ha-kyun (THE VILLAINESS), Lee Sung-min (THE SPY GONE NORTH), and Jang Young-nam (I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING), WHAT A MAN WANTS is a wonderful adult dramedy about eternal children. Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2018. Quebec Premiere.
 
WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE
Canada – Dir: Colin Minihan
An intensely smart, ferocity-fueled LGBT survival thriller that smashes conventions while dropping its audience off unexpected cliffs, WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE is built upon an eviscerating pair of performances from Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson. Writer/Director Colin Minihan (IT STAINS THE SANDS RED) has made one of the most gripping thrillers of the year, one that asks the unsettling question of what you would do if the person you trusted most unconditionally suddenly turned against you. Official Selection: Overlook Film Festival 2018, SXSW 2018, Sydney Film Festival 2018. Quebec Premiere.
 
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SPECIAL LIVE EVENTS AT FANTASIA 2018
 
In addition to the previously announced special happenings, Fantasia is proud to reveal the following free special live events:
 
Mick Garris’ POST MORTEM Live Podcast Event – The NIGHTMARE CINEMA Special
 
In celebration of NIGHTMARE CINEMA’s World Premiere at Fantasia, celebrated filmmaker Mick Garris (THE STAND, SLEEPWALKERS) will host a special live recording of his popular podcast, Post Mortem, dedicated to the highly-anticipated anthology and its directors - of which he is one. Joining him onstage will be Joe Dante (THE HOWLING, GREMLINS), Ryûhei Kitamura (VERSUS, DOWNRANGE), Alejandro Brugués (JUAN OF THE DEAD, ABCs OF DEATH 2) and Fantasia programmer/former Fangoria magazine editor Tony Timpone.
 
FREE ADMISSION - Friday July 13, 5:15PM. York Amphitheatre
 
 
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies in association with Fantasia and Frontières Presents
MICHAEL IRONSIDE: LIVE IN CONVERSATION
Moderated by Heather Buckley
 
In recognition of Fantasia’s screening of KNUCKLEBALL, a project birthed from its Frontières International Co-Production Market, The Miskatonic Institute is proud to present a career talk with one of the most iconic character actors of our time, and a true legend of the genre film world. Over the course of an hour-long illustrated discussion of key films, directors, and collaborators in his life, Ironside will discuss his many film roles – which include work with David Cronenberg, Claude Jutra, Jean-Claude Lord, Tony Scott, Walter Hill, James Glickenhaus, Paul Verhoeven, RKSS, and more - his origins and approach to acting, how he captures his characters, and his command of voice and physicality.
 
About the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies:
Founded by film writer/programmer Kier-La Janisse in 2010, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international educational community that offers classes in horror film history and theory in London, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as hosting special events worldwide.
 
FREE ADMISSION - Friday July 20, 5:15PM, York Amphitheatre
 
 
Michael Gingold’s AD NAUSEAM: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980’s
 
Film critic Michael Gingold has been writing about genre cinema for over 30 years. Growing up in New York in the 1980s, his obsession with scary movies led him to take scissors to local newspapers to cut out and collect ads for just about every horror film he came across: mainstream, indie, arthouse, or grindhouse.
 
Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares From the 1980s is a year-by-year deep dive into the critic’s personal collection. Within its pages you'll see rare alternate art for Gremlins, Child's Play, The Blob remake and entries in the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. You'll be taken back to the era of the double bill, with notices for Aliens, The Fly, Drive-in Massacre, Driller Killer, Night of the Living Dead, and The Three Stooges (!?!).
 
For this special Fantasia book launch event, Michael Gingold will be conducting a slideshow presentation illustrating highlights from his collection, highlighted with his own personal recollections and commentary.
 
FREE ADMISSION - Sunday July 22, 4:00PM. York Amphitheatre
 
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FANTASIA 2018's JURIES
 
CHEVAL NOIR COMPETITION
 
Fantasia’s flagship juried competition, a 14-film global selection of varied genre works from new and established, groundbreaking and unconventional auteurs.
 
Fantasia’s 2018 Cheval Noir jury is comprised of:
 
Jury President: Tim Matheson
Actor, Director, Producer
 
Abraham Castillo Flores
Head Programmer, Morbido Film Festival
 
E.L. Katz
Filmmaker, Screenwriter
 
Phil Nobile Jr.
Editor-in-Chief, Fangoria magazine
 
Victoria Sanchez Mandryk
Actor, Screenwriter, Producer
 
Stéphanie Trépanier
Producer; Distribution Director, Métropole Films Distribution
 
2018 CHEVAL NOIR COMPETITION TITLES
 
BIG BROTHER - Hong Kong / China - Dir: Kam Ka-Wai
BLEACH - Japan - Dir: Shinsuke Sato
CAM - USA - Dir: Daniel Goldhaber
DANS LA BRUME (Just a Breath Away) - France/Canada - Dir: Daniel Roby
FLEUVE NOIR (Black Tide) - France - Dir: Erick Zonca
INUYASHIKI - Japan - Dir: Shinsuke Sato
LAPLACE’S WITCH - Japan - Dir: Takashi Miike
LOUDER! CAN’T HEAR WHAT YOU’RE SINGIN’, WIMP! - Japan - Dir: Satoshi Miki
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT - USA - Dir: Robert Krzykowski
NUMBER 37 - South Africa - Dir: Nosipho Dumisa
THE NIGHTSHIFTER - Brazil - Dir: Dennison Ramalho
RELAXER - USA - Dir: Joel Potrykus
SATAN’S SLAVES - Indonesia - Dir: Joko Anwar
WITCH PART 1: THE SUBVERSION - South Korea - Dir: Park Hoon-jung
 
 
FIRST FEATURE JURY FOR NEW FLESH AWARD
 
Jury President: Ségolène Roederer
General Manager, Québec Cinéma; Former Executive Director of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois
 
Neil Calderone
Founder, Chicago Cinema Society
 
Liane Cunje
Co-Founder, INIODYMUS, International Programming Associate, TIFF; Former Production Coordinator, Arrow Video
 
Ezra Winton
Co-Founder and Director of Programming, Cinema Politica
 
Joe Yanick
Co-President, Yellow Veil Pictures; Assistant Director of Festival and Non-Theatrical Bookings, Visit Films
 
 
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION JURY
 
Jury President: Jacqueline Castel
Filmmaker, Curator, Archivist
 
Kalyn Corrigan
Critic, Collider, Bloody Disgusting, Birth. Movies. Death, ComingSoon
 
James Fler
Managing Partner, Raven Banner Entertainment
 
2018 International Short Film Competition Titles
 
AURORE - France - Dir: Mael Le Mée
BE MY GUEST - Canada - Dir: David Jermyn
BEURRE NOIR - Canada - Dir: Jimmy G. Pettigrew
BLOOM - Australia - Dir: Kieran Wheeler
CLEAN BLOOD - USA - Dir: Jordan Michael Blake
CRYING BITCH - Japan - Dir: Reiki Tsuno
THE DAY MY MOTHER BECAME A MONSTER - France - Dir: Josephine Darcy Hopkins
END TIMES - USA - Dir: Bobby Miller
EXIT STRATEGY - USA - Dir: Travis Bible 
FAUVE - Canada - Dir: Jérémy Comte
THE FLAPPING OF THE HUMMINGBIRD - Spain - Dir: Meritxell A. Valls
HELLO, RAIN - Nigeria - Dir: C.J. “Fiery” Obasi
THE INVADERS - Spain - Dir: Mateo Márquez
LUCY’S TALE - USA - Dir: Chelsea Lupkin
MILK - Canada - Dir: Santiago Menghini
NOSE NOSE NOSE EYES! - South Korea - Dir: Jiwon Moon
THE OLD WOMAN WHO HID HER FEAR UNDER THE STAIRS - UK - Dir: Faye Jackson
PETITE AVARIE - France - Dir: Manon Alirol and Léo Hardt
PUPPET MASTER - Finland - Dir: Hannah Bergholm
RILEY WAS HERE - USA - Dir: Mike Marrero and Jonathan Rhoads
SPIN - France - Dir: Léticia Belliccini
THEY WAIT FOR US - UK - Dir: George Thomson and Lukas Schrank
 
 
AXIS ANIMATION JURY FOR SATOSHI KON AWARD
 
Jury President: Torill Kove
Animation Director, Illustrator
 
Lorraine Carpentier
Artist, Teacher
 
Marc Tessier
Publisher, Writer, Photographer, Teacher
 
Sarah Mercey
Animator, Actress
 
 
THE BARRY CONVEX AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE
Administered by SPECTACULAR OPTICAL, with support from the Paul A. Ray Memorial Fund 
 
2018 Barry Convex Jury
 
Kier-La Janisse
Author, Critic, Founder of Spectacular Optical
 
Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Critic, filmmaker, Festival Programmer (FrightFest)
 
Michael Kronish
Executive Producer
 
Nora MeHenni
Arrow Video, technical advisor for INIODYMUS
 
 
VR JURY
 
Patrick Senécal
Author, Screenwriter
 
Patrick Boivin
Filmmaker
 
Gerard Lewis
Screenwriter
 
 
SÉQUENCE JURY
 
Donato Totaro
Critic, Teacher
 
Pascal Grenier
Critic
 
Jules Couturier
Critic
2
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