Fantasia Film Festival 2017: Guts, Gore and More
The Fantasia Film Festival, a Montreal silver screen staple since 1996, is not quite as tame and heartwarming as Disney's groundbreaking collection of shorts that go by the same name.
Horror, fantasy, Hong Kong action, animation, gored up sci-fi, gratuitous nudie shot B-movies, name your eccentric, non-PG genre and chances are Fantasia has it covered in its programming, particularly Asian films which make up almost half of every year's selection. In 2017, Fantasia runs July 13 to August 2, 2017.
One of the largest genre film festivals in North America, Fantasia is usually featured every July in Montreal and is packed with Canadian, North American and worldwide feature-length premieres as well as shorts and retrospectives. Here's the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival lineup.
Features screened at past editions include:
Fantasia 2017 Special Guests, Premieres & Screenings
Guests for the 2017 edition include American indie filmmaker Larry Cohen and veteran actor Michael Moriarty who appears in seven of Cohen's features. Both will be at the worldwide premiere of King Cohen, documentary spanning Cohen's career.
A live action feature of the popular manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, catch ultra-violent Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike's latest at Fantasia, the North American premiere of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I.
After a successful run at Cannes, Jung Byung-gil's action thriller The Villainess also has its North American premiere at the 2017 edition of Fantasia.
Fantasia also proposes a special screening of Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets starring Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Elizabeth Debicki, Clive Owen, and Rihanna which premieres in the United States July 21, 2017.
Highlights From Last Year
In 2016, filmmaker, comic book store owner and all-around renaissance man Kevin Smith (Dogma, Mallrats, Clerks) presented his latest film, Yoga Hosers, starring daughter Harley Quinn Smith as well as Johnny Depp and his daughter Lily-Rose Depp. It depicts the battle two teen yoga enthusiasts working at a Canadian convenience store must wage in collaboration with a legendary man hunter from Montreal against an ancient evil presence in order to prevent it from ruining their invite to a Grade 12 party.
The Canadian premiere screened at 10 p.m. on July 29, 2016.
Awarded the Cheval Noir Award at the 2016 Fantasia Fest, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) presented the Canadian Premiere of Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex, a documentary del Toro stars in that explores the evolution of monster-making in Hollywood, from stop-motion and animatronics to today's computer-generated imagery. It screened on July 15, 2016. A masterclass led by del Toro followed the screening.
Christopher Lloyd also headed to Montreal to present I Am Not a Serial Killer -a film based on the Dan Wells book by the same name- in which he plays elderly neighborhood friend to a budding teenage psychopath bent on curbing his disturbing impulses while hunting down a supernatural serial killer striking his hometown. The Canadian premiere was on August 2, 2016.
Marilyn Manson starred as a Native American hit man for hire in Let Me Make You a Martyr, an indie crime drama set in the Midwestern United States. Manson, who claims he's part Sioux himself, was in town to present the world premiere of the film at Fantasia last July 22, 2016.
Adam Nimoy presented For the Love of Spock, a documentary he directed on his famous dad Leonard Nimoy, the actor behind Spock, one of the Star Trek franchise's most popular characters of all time. The Canadian premiere of the doc ran July 16, 2016.
And finally, iconic ultra-violent Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike presented two of his latest films at the 2016 edition of Fantasia. The North American premiere of Terraformars, a premise wink to Starship Troopers involving dangerously evolved cockroaches on Mars, is on July 16, 2016 at 7:05 p.m. And As the Gods Will -the fictional tale of a bored high school becoming less bored after a teacher's head explodes, his high school plunged into a survival death game- had its Canadian premiere at Fantasia on July 17, 2016.
Fantasia Under the Stars
A chance to watch kitschy flicks from previous editions of the festival, Fantasia Under the Stars' outdoor screenings were tacked onto the fest's programming in 2006. The 2017 edition features DJ XL5's Mondo Superhero Zappin' Party on July 3 at 9 p.m. as part of the SAT's Cinéma urbain à la belle étoile series playing at Place de la Paix, a public square on St. Laurent, just south of Ste. Catherine. The film screened in English with French subtitles.
Concordia University: Fantasia Headquarters
Most Fantasia films are screened at Concordia University's SGWU Alumni Auditorium (Hall Theatre) and J.A. De Sève Cinema. Easily accessible by public transit, just get off at Guy-Concordia Metro and take the Guy exit (not the St. Mathieu exit, check for the signs on the subway platform the moment you get out of the subway car).
For more information on the 2017 film lineup, consult Fantasia Film Festival's website.
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