Following last week’s first wave of programming announcements, the Fantasia International Film Festival is proud to unveil additional highlights to rev you up for their July 10th Press Conference, where their full 2014 film lineup will be revealed.
JU-ON: THE BEGINNING OF THE END will launch its Western haunt in Montreal! Fans of classic J-Horror, rejoice! The curse of Kayoko and Toshio is back! Fantasia will be the site of the International Premiere of JU-ON: THE BEGINNING OF THE END, the anticipated new Japanese production that reboots one of the most successful and terrifying horror franchises of the 21st century in a very wise way: by remaining faithful to the original material. Director/Co-Writer Masayuki Ochiai (HYPNOSIS) brings us back to the haunted house and reinstates, slowly but surely, its oppressive atmosphere through a refined and efficient use of mise-en-scene. Co-scripted by none other than Taka Ichise.
Also, Tobe Hooper will receive a “Lifetime Achievement Award For Fear Pioneer”. In 1974, Austin-based former professor and documentary cameraman Tobe Hooper assembled a team comprised mostly of fellow faculty members and recent students and essentially gave birth to the modern horror film. Viscerally frightening, bursting with dark social commentary and an even darker sense of humour that would become one of Hooper’s staples, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remains a seminal work in American cinema. The influence it had on the genre landscape was transformative. In the years that followed, Tobe Hooper reshaped what televised horror could be with his terrifying mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s SALEM’S LOT, and was an architect of the trend of blockbuster supernatural horrors with which to traumatize entire families with POLTERGEIST. His ensuing list of individualistic genre film accomplishments is considerable and today, at the age of 71, he continues to explore the fantastic with vigor. From his bold themes and Grand Guignol sensibilities to his brilliant use of close-ups, cutting and sound, Tobe Hooper’s approach to storytelling is daring, singular and ferociously cinematic. It’s impossible to imagine what the genre might be like today had this imaginative professor simply stayed on campus. Fantasia is proud to be presenting Tobe Hooper with a Lifetime Achievement Award on the 40th anniversary of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, in front of the Canadian premiere of the film’s stunning new 4K restoration.
Abel Ferrara’s WELCOME TO NEW YORK will close the festival. Fantasia will close its 2014 edition with the North American Premiere of Abel Ferrara’s WELCOME TO NEW YORK, the controversial latest from the legendary filmmaker behind such landmarks as BAD LIEUTENANT, KING OF NEW YORK, NEW ROSE HOTEL and the recently re-released MS 45.It’s loosely based on the DSK scandal and stars the iconic Gérard Depardieu in one of the bravest performances of his career. Co-starring is the equally sensational Jacqueline Bisset. Abel Ferrara will be on hand to host this special evening, unveiling his audacious and bold new classic for its first appearance on this continent after explosive bows at Cannes (out of official selection) and Edinburgh.
A Subterranean New Section in our Programming: Fantasia is proud to announce the creation of a new section in our programming: Fantasia Underground, dedicated to showcasing outrageous indie outsider visions created in the counter-cultural spirit that we associate with classic underground film works. For its inaugural edition, Fantasia Underground will sport four features, from Canada, Japan, and the USA, three of them World Premieres.
BAG BOY LOVER BOY
USA Dir: Andres Torres
A return to the kind of classic New York Underground filmmaking that the city no longer produces, oozing with unusual characters, seedy situations and subversive sleaze as we follow a borderline autistic hot dog vendor’s journey into photography and criminality. A blackly funny social grenade evocative of early Paul Morrissey, Andy Milligan and Richard Kern. World Premiere.
Canada Dir: Matt O’Mahoney
An underground comic artist mocks the wrong mobster and loses his drawing hand in retribution. The artist may be silenced, but the severed appendage returns, to continue drawing comics on its own – and commit some seriously bloody acts of vengeance! A splatter horror comedy about freedom of expression that’s as touching as it is profane. World Premiere.
HANA-DAMA: THE ORIGINS
Japan Dir: Hisayasu Sato
A seemingly mundane high-school bullying drama builds into a cathartic and absurd farce of excessive, bloody, colourful revenge and retribution, care of underground cinema legend Hisayasu Sato (NAKED BLOOD, LOVE & LOATHING LULU & AYANO), co-scripted by Shinji Imaoka (of the demented pinku musical UNDERWATER LOVE). A poignant and strange social critique of girl-on-girl violence and institutional abuse at large. North American Premiere.
I AM A KNIFE WITH LEGS
USA Dir: Bennet Jones
An international Europop star is holed up with his manager at a secret Los Angeles location after a fatwa has been taken out on his head. Hysterically funny lines are deadpanned into instant immortality, rough animation, lo-fi psychedelia, catchy electropop and the odd burst of eccentric action collide to make this a microbudget work truly unlike anything else on the planet. World Premiere.
Additional 2nd Wave Highlights
AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (formerly titled HOME)
USA Dir: Nicholas McCarthy
The maker of THE PACT returns with a nightmarish work that jumps decades and narrative paths, brilliantly juggling mood-drenched atmospheric dread and visceral bursts of horror, telling the tale of a young real estate agent (Catalina Sandino Moreno) asked to sell a house with uniquely diabolical history. Official Selection: SXSW, New Zealand International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
Spain-USA Dir: Nacho Vigalondo
Offered a chance to spy on his it-girl fixation (Sasha Grey), fan-site webmaster Nick (Elijah Wood) is drawn into in a sinister, voyeuristic plot. An ever-surprising, Hitchcock-inspired mind-bender from genius trickster-director Nacho Vigalondo that breaks all kinds of storytelling ground in exciting ways. Canadian Premiere.
USA Dir: Bill Plympton
Tipping his fedora a touch to film noir and romantic revenge thrillers, Bill Plympton, the Oscar-nominated one-man army of American indie animation, delivers a screwball sex-farce cartoon for more-or-less-grown-ups. Adored at Slamdance, awarded jury prizes at Annecy and Gijún, CHEATIN’ is yet another gem in Plympton’s brilliant filmography. Canadian Premiere.
CLOSER TO GOD
USA Dir: Billy Senese
The first successful cloning of a human pulls a brilliant genetic scientist into the center of volatile battle between science and religion in this unique reinterpretation of the Frankenstein story that’s equal parts philosophical science-fiction/horror and paranoid thriller. Hypnotically cinematic and evocative of early Cronenberg, this is a fiercely intelligent knockout of a feature debut from award-winning short filmmaker Billy Senese (THE SUICIDE TAPES). International Premiere.
USA Dir: Patrick Brice
This collaboration between director Patrick Brice, producer Jason Blum (INSIDIOUS, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY) and the ubiquitous co-writer/co-producer, co-star Mark Duplass (BAGHEAD, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED) is unlike any horror work you’ll see this year, a major film event on the tiniest of budgets and a shockingly effective genre hybrid, riding on two excellent performances. Official Selection: SXSW, Tribeca. Canadian Premiere.
THE CREEPING GARDEN
UK Dir: Tim Grabham, Jasper Sharp
A fascinating, hallucinatory documentary on plasmodial slime mold – a unique and bizarre organism, worthy of the weirdest science fiction, inviting profound reflections on intelligence, engineering, social dynamics, and the intersection of art and science. Enriching the otherworldly atmosphere is an appropriately subtle yet unsettling score by post-rock icon Jim O’Rourke (Tortoise, Sonic Youth, UNITED RED ARMY). One of the most astonishing films you’ll see anywhere this year, co-directed by polyvalent artist Tim Grabham and Midnight Eye co-creator Jasper Sharp. World Premiere.
DANCING KARATE KID
Japan Dir: Tsukasa Kishimoto
Jaw-dropping dance numbers, a flood of jokes amongst the funniest you’ll see all year and eye-popping action scenes are all part of DANCING KARATE KID, an off-the-chain action-comedy blending martial arts and musical moves. Official Selection: Hawaii International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
THE DEVIL’S MILE
Canada Dir: Joseph O’Brien
“The road will never let you go…” A trio of criminals transporting two captives through the desert takes a wrong turn onto a stretch of blacktop traversing into supernatural territory. A fully committed combination of road/crime saga and supernatural terror that marks the feature debut of longtime Rue Morgue Magazine contributor O’Brien. World Premiere.
Canada Dir: Chad Archibald
A washing machine, the bathroom sink, even a puddle on the floor – only a few drops and the hideous Drownsman can pull you down into his watery hell! A new twist on the classic horror-movie stalker scenario, from the Canadian genre genies that brought you ANTISOCIAL and NEVERLOST. World Premiere.
USA Dir: Daniel Junge, Bryan Storkle
A multitude of “fight ministries” combine Christianity and mixed martial arts. By turns shocking, touching, and even inspirational, FIGHT CHURCH is unlike any sports-oriented documentary you’ve ever seen. Directors Daniel Junge (Academy Award-winner SAVING FACE) and Bryan Storkle (HOLY ROLLERS: THE TRUE STORY OF CARD COUNTING CHRISTIANS), keep the film even-handed and compelling. WINNER: Grand Jury Prize, Boston Independent Film Festival. International Premiere.
UK Dir: Lenny Abrahamson
An aspiring musician falls in with a band of art-rock weirdos whose enigmatic frontman (Michael Fassbender) never removes his giant plaster head. Co-starring Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal, FRANK hits all the right notes as it examines the fine arts of fame and failure. A major hit at this year’s Sundance, SXSW and Calgary Underground Film Festivals. Quebec Premiere.
FROM VEGAS TO MACAU
Hong Kong Dir: Wong Jin
The King of Cool, Chow Yun-Fat, is back in a signature role he made famous in the classic GOD OF GAMBLERS (seen way back at Fantasia Year One!). A royal flush of comical action madness in Wong Jing’s trademark Hong Kong style, co-starring Nicholas Tse and Chapman To. Canadian Premiere.
FUKU-CHAN OF FUKUFUKU FLATS
Japan Dir: Yosuke Fujita
One part quirky slapstick absurdity and two parts poignant character study, FUKU-CHAN is the feelgood, laugh-out-loud indie comedy hit of this year’s fest, mixing humour and pathos in the way only fan-favourite Yosuke Fujita (FINE, TOTALLY FINE) can. Official Selection: Frankfurt Nippon Connection Festival, New York Asian Film Festival. Canadian Premiere
New Zealand Dir: Gerard Johnstone
Fresh, fun and frightening, this wonderfully inventive comedy/horror from New Zealand launched at SXSW and emerged on many critics’ lists as one of the top discoveries of the festival. It deconstructs conventional formulas of haunted house narratives and surprises with left-field twists that will leave you joyously slack-jawed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Stars Morgana O’Reilly and Rima Te Wiata. Canadian Premiere.
THE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPEARED
Sweden Dir: Felix Herngren
A pitch-perfect picaresque adventure laced with loads of decidedly Scandinavian black humour, Jonas Jonasson’s 2009 novel quickly became a Swedish bestseller, and has since sold over three million copies worldwide. Felix Herngren has struck gold with his brisk, witty, wisely assembled big-screen adaptation starring comedian/actor Robert Gustafsson, who captures Karlsson’s character through so many stages of his tumultuous existence. Official Selection: Seattle International Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
INGTOOGI: THE BATTLE OF INTERNET TROLLS
SOUTH KOREA Dir: Um Tae-hwa
“Koolkidneyz” and “Manboobs” take their online feud into the real world. INGTOOGI is a deep dive into the national geek consciousness of South Korea, an upbeat outsider comedy that evolves into a truly heartfelt story of alienation and loss. Writer/Director Um Tae-hwa shed a dark light on the social media generation in a very promising first feature. International Premiere
IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE
Norway-Sweden-Denmark Dir: Hans Petter Moland
“A father must avenge his son.” These words, spoken often on film, have yet to be answered with more darkly comic consequences than in this violent pitch-black comedy from director Hans Petter Moland (A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN), reteaming the filmmaker with the great Stellan Skarsgard. A key standout at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals, this is the must-see European action thriller of the year. Canadian Premiere.
Japan Dir: Takashi Murakami
A lively celebration of the Japanese pop-culture tropes that feed the Superflat sensibility of pop-art superstar Takashi Murakami, his JELLYFISH EYES is also a heartfelt critique of Japan’s institutions in the era of Fukushima. This is a gorgeous and enchanting family friendly film with an edge that makes it a must see for film lovers of all ages. Official Selection: Sitges Film Festival. Canadian Premiere
KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER
USA Dir: David Zellner
A lonely Tokyo office worker seeks the Minnesotan loot cache from FARGO in one of this year’s most beautifully unusual films. Quirky and melancholic, funny and haunting with enchanting traces of the surreal, anchored by a mesmerizing lead performance from the extraordinary Rinko Kikuchi, KUMIKO is the latest miracle from award-winning US indie heroes David and Nathan Zellner. Official Selection: Sundance, Berlin. Canadian Premiere.
KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT
South Korea Dir: Yoon Jong-bin
In a time of turmoil and tyranny, a band of outlaws rises against the nobility. From the director of NAMELESS GANGSTER, a rough and ruthless adventure epic with a universal theme – righteous fury in the face of deep injustice with a stellar cast featuring Ha Jung-woo (THE CHASER) and Gang Dong-won (HAUNTERS). Quebec Premiere
LET US PREY
Ireland-UK Dir: Brian O’Malley
An isolated, understaffed police station becomes a fortress of horror in this atmospheric and ultra-violent Irish chiller, which unfolds like an especially sinister TWILIGHT ZONE episode crash-landed into hell. Stars Polyanna McIntosh, Liam Cunningham and Douglas Russell. Winner of the Melies D’argent at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. North American Premiere.
LIFE AFTER BETH
USA Dir: Jeff Baena
The assured directorial debut of I HEART HUCKABEES co-screenwriter Jeff Baena is a brilliantly cast, howlingly funny heartbreaker of love and undeath that poignantly utilizes the zombie mythos to explore the difficulties of letting go when relationships change. A standout selection at this year’s Sundance and New Zealand International Film Festival, starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser and Matthew Gray Gubler. Canadian Premiere.
3D NAKED AMBITION
Hong Kong Dir: Lee Kung Lok
Fresh from the international festival rounds in Hong Kong, New York and Udine, this hairy beast finally comes to country of the beaver with a hardcore vengeance. This stand-alone satire sequel written by Hong Kong’s funniest writers, Chan Hing- Kar (BREAKING NEWS) and Ho Miu-Kei, mercilessly pokes fun at the adult industry, celebrity and Asian culture on all fours while retaining a socially relevant subtext. Canadian Premiere.
NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD
South Korea Dir: Lee Jeong-beom
In the tradition Luc Besson’s THE PROFESSIONAL and and John Woo’s THE KILLER, a guilt-wracked assassin sides with his target in the hotly anticipated new film from Lee Jeong-beom (THE MAN FROM NOWHERE), a whirlwind of furious action scenes. Quebec Premiere
USA Dir: Dennis Widmyer, Kevin Kolsch
Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan and Pat Healy star in this horrific tale of an aspiring actress unhinging herself by plunging headlong into the demeaning depths of Tinseltown. A chilling examination of the grisly fallout when a soul-corrupting industry seizes upon a soul that has already begun to fester from the inside. A hit at the Stanley Film Festival, winner of the Director’s Choice Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
Germany Dir: Maximilian Erlenwein
Eric (Jürgen Vogel) is a gentle giant leading a calm, quiet life, until a dark past he doesn’t remember catches up with him. An intimate dramatic crime thriller that gradually distorts into an absolute monster that plays with assaulting ferocity, this stunningly directed powerhouse co-stars Moritz Bleibtreu. Official Selection: Berlin Film Festival, Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. North American Premiere.
SUMMER OF BLOOD
USA Dir: Onur Tukel
Its cup bleeding over with inspired writing, exhilaratingly sharp comedic performances, hyper-unconventional sex scenes and an oddball sense of grunge poetry, this film is an absolute revelation. Writer/director/editor/star Onur Turkel has created one of the most individualistic vampire works we’ve seen in a very long time, and also one of the most blazingly entertaining. An adored breakout at Tribeca, SUMMER OF BLOOD will be the Closing Film of our Camera Lucida section. Canadian Premiere.
India Dir: Anurag Kashyap
An actor’s young daughter is kidnapped in this unforgettable, gut-churning thriller from India, the polar opposite of the usual colourful Bollywood fare. A crushing urban noir — the title of which is to be take very literally. An official selection in last year’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at Cannes, UGLY is finally going to be shown in Canada. Canadian Premiere.
WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD
USA Dir: Gregg Araki
Indie cinema icon Gregg Araki surprises again with his elegant adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel, capturing the trials of passage to adulthood with this dark, emotionally authentic suburban mystery, starring Shailene Woodley as a teen whose mother (Eva Green) has vanished. Official Selection: Sundance. Canadian Premiere.