Over 130 visions of the fantastic from every conceivable culture
Abandon all hope for cinematic conventionality, ye who enter here. Fantasia is back to throttle Montreal with three weeks of celluloid deliria As programmers, the most rewarding aspect of what we do is watching the films we hunt down and fall in love with come to life in front of an audience. That shared spark of communal discovery, shock, enlightenment, horror, joy, outrage, arousal, whatever it may be, that collective rush with a roomful of strangers, is what makes festivals like ours (or any!) so exciting.
We are ridiculously proud of this year’s lineup and we can’t wait to get high off the energy when the lights go down. The flickering floodgates are about to explode with extraordinary new talents -- keep your eyes on Won Shin-yeon, Jim Mickle, Chookiat Sakweerakul, Chris Gorak and Ken Takahashi, to name a few -- alongside fresh works from the likes of Wisit Sasanatieng, Larry Fessenden, Shinya Tsukamoto, Ken Russell, Johnnie To, Lloyd Kaufman, Ryoo Seung-wan, François Miron, Kim Ki-Duk, Fred Vogel, Anders Thomas Jensen, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Herman Yau, Maurice Deveraux and Oxide Pang, among many others. Not to mention, two from Sion Sono, two from Shusuke Kaneko, two from Minoru Kawasaki… and three from Takashi Miike!
And then there are the spotlights. Distressingly relevant to our times is one we call HELL IS A CITY: THE CINEMA OF URBAN APOCALYPSE, a series of five very different films whose narratives depict the moment that society falls apart… and the horrors that ensue. On the retro side, RUSSIAN FANTASTIKA: FROM THE TSARS TO THE STARS is a series of newly restored 35mm prints of extremely rare and often visionary Soviet science fiction works made between 1936 – 1988. Had they not been produced behind the Iron Curtain, these films would appear in every cinema history book published in the Western world (only one - Tarkovsky’s masterful STALKER – currently is).
We’re also opening a third screen, allowing us to bring in over 40 more features (!) than we have in previous years. We’ve used some of that space to expand previously minor elements of our programming -- for instance, unusual documentaries. We’ve usually screened one or two docs per year, but never went beyond that. This year, we have created a new section in the fest, DOCUMENTARIES FROM THE EDGE, and the 2007 lineup ranges the gamut of subjects from punk rock in authoritarian China to Montreal’s own international fetish icon, Bianca Beauchamp.
Most personal to many of us, we’ll be giving a much-deserved lifetime achievement award to the master of 1970’s experimental erotic Eurohorror Jean Rollin.
Did I mention there will also be over 20 short-film blocks?!
Finally, I am very happy to announce a new addition to our programming team: journalist Simon Laperièrre, whose unique tastes in cinema have already proven rewarding to us.
On behalf of the entire Fantasia team, I thank you for your faith in what we choose to screen, and your courage for diving headfirst into the cinematic unknown.
The next three weeks are going to obliterate your senses.
Yours in darkened halls,
Director Of International Programming