The 22nd Fantasia International Film Festival has come to a close. Hats off to anyone with the stamina to make it from the early July beginning to curtain closes in August. We know a few folks who do the three week smorgasbord of cinema, excusions, panels, special events. They refer to the experience as 'summer camp for genre nerds.'
As per usual, the festival was a lauchpad for the weird and wild, undiscovered corners of the fantastique, the grotesque and far east action. And yet, the festival is also a quiet purveyor of offbeat comedies and artistic thrillers, science fiction oddities, classic gems from the early days of cinema and experimental weirdness which resides in the margins. A word to the wise: Always make some time for what is playing in the J.A. De Seve cinema.
This posts serves as a catch-all for our month long coverage at the festival, compiled into one convenient place. Although several interviews done over the course of the fest, and the occasional late review may trickle in over the next little while. They will be updated in this space.
Also, to avoid this being simply a 'link farm' for the site, to make it a bit more personal, Izzy, Josh, Shelagh, and Kurt, the Screen Anarchists who were on the ground, tie a bow on the proceedings, with a few words on the surprises, disappointments, favourite moments in Montreal this year. Just click through the gallery at the bottom.
What was your favourite film of the festival?
Kurt Halfyard - NEOMANILA
I have always had a thing for Fantasia's Filipino programming, and this year did not disappoint with Mikhail Red's smoldering, character driven take on Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs in The Philippines. Like a low-key, guerrilla version of Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, the film sneaks up on you. The lurid neon and poverty colour palette is remarkable it its own right, but the two leads and their eventual complex surrogate mother-son relationship is what makes this film spectacular.
Shelagh Rowan-Legg - CHAINED FOR LIFE
What a dark, funny, witty, clever, and strange film. I never knew quite what was going on, but it’s twists and turns were both thought-provoking and entertaining. A treasure of an indie film from a unique voice.
Michele "Izzy" Galgana - THE TRAVELING CAT CHRONICLES & THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW
I am going to pick two, because they are radically different films. The Traveling Cat Chronicles was a well-made and touching look at friendship, love, and the bond between a pet and its owner. It made so many people in the packed theatre cry, and it was very funny at times, too. Plus, the cat "actor" ("cactor?") was awesome. The Witch in the Window from Andy Mitton was a surprising, slow burn indie horror that rose above a likely limited budget and managed to give me legit chills.
Josh Hurtado - THE OUTLAWS
This is a very difficult question. I saw a ton of films that I loved, but it was probably this Korean gangster film that had me cheering most often. It's nothing particularly new, it doesn't have anything fresh to say about cinema or even the genre it's a part of, but it is executed so perfectly with the luminous Don Lee in the lead that I have to give it major kudos.