The Fantasia Film Festival has announced the remainder of its mammoth 2017 film lineup, in addition to its juries and special events. Read on for the newly-announced attractions, and visit fantasiafestival.com to browse the festival’s complete programming, consisting of over 150 features and more than 300 shorts.
THE INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF A TAXI DRIVER WILL CLOSE FANTASIA 2017 WITH AN EYE-OPENING BURST OF PURE EMOTION
On May 18th, 1980, one of the darkest chapters in South Korea’s recent history began. Protesting against Chun Doo-hwan’s dictatorship, hundreds of citizens of Gwangju, particularly students, were beaten, arrested or killed by the army who was hiding behind a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign blinding the entire nation. So when struggling single-father Man-seob decides to take a German journalist from Seoul to Gwangju in his taxi to clear off his debts, he has no idea how dangerous their journey will be. Director Jang Hoon has established himself as one of the most talented and versatile Korean filmmakers with award winning films like ROUGH CUT and THE FRONT LINE. Reteaming with Hoon after the action thriller THE SECRET REUNION, legendary actor Song Kang-ho (THE HOST, SNOWPIERCER) delivers one of the strongest performances of his career in this unforgettable historical drama. Fantasia is incredibly proud to close its 2017 edition with A TAXI DRIVER, hosted by director Jang Hoon. International Premiere. Director in Attendance.
JOURNEY INTO THE NIGHT AT THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF GOOD TIME
A tense, nocturnal odyssey of poor decision-making that escalates to a nearly unbearable pitch, the Safdie brothers’ Cannes Competition sensation GOOD TIME is a high-wire exercise in intensity, starring Robert Pattinson in a career-best performance. Tipping their hats to ’70s thrillers, the Safdies’ new film also builds beautifully on their previous effort, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT – here’s another maddeningly bleak vision of New York City’s underbelly, nonetheless beaming with humanity and authenticity. North American Premiere. Directors in Attendance.
PREPARE TO GO NUCLEAR! ATOMIC BLONDE EXPLODES INTO CANADA
Directed by David Leitch (JOHN WICK, the upcoming DEADPOOL 2), ATOMIC BLONDE, screening in our Action! section, is a blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality, and dazzling neon-drenched style with a cast that includes Charlize Theron, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, and Sofia Boutella. The film boasts one thrilling fight sequence in particular – set in a stairwell and with no cuts – that has already entered the annals of action film history. Official Selection: SXSW 2017. Special Screening.
CAMERA LUCIDA WORLD PREMIERES LE PROBLÈME D’INFILTRATION (INFILTRATION)!
Fantasia’s Camera Lucida section is back! Dedicated to the most original and singular visions, at the outer edges of genre cinema, it will close this year’s selection with the World Premiere of Robert Morin’s LE PROBLÈME D’INFILTRATION (INFILTRATION), also screening during the festival’s closing night on August 2, 2017. An experimental film and formal experiment only Morin could have made, LE PROBLÈME D’INFILTRATION (INFILTRATION) is a unique, angst-ridden portrait composed of a series of distinctive, surrealistic long takes, that brilliantly convey the existential crisis and downward spiral of Dr. Louis Richard (Christian Bégin), a plastic surgeon specializing in burn victims. A bold film that simultaneously evokes German Expressionist art and avant-garde video. See below for the rest of the Camera Lucida line-up. Director, Cast, and Crew in Attendance.
HUNTED HUNTERS AND ECO-CONFRONTATION: THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF SPOOR
The big-screen return of one of Polish Cinema’s national treasures, Agnieszka Holland (EUROPA EUROPA, THE SECRET GARDEN), still such a vibrant filmmaker at nearly 70 years of age, SPOOR took home a richly deserved award at the Berlinale earlier this year. Unconventional, poetic and beguiling, it is a genuinely radical film – some have even called it dangerous – that is one part fantastical murder mystery, one part eco-thriller. A retired teacher who speaks truth to power to protect the region’s wildlife finds herself at the center of a surreal series of happenings, with hunters and authority figures found murdered, various animal tracks near the bodies. Could the animals be having their revenge? One of the most subversive genre works we’ve seen in years. North American Premiere.
SION SONO GOES BACK TO KABUKICHO WITH SHINJUKU SWAN II
Following the 2015 International Premiere of Sion Sono’s Red Light District-set yakuza/talent agency action-drama film SHINJUKU SWAN, Fantasia is proud to unveil the International Premiere of its sequel, SHINJUKU SWAN II! Reuniting maverick filmmaker Sion Sono (TAG, LOVE EXPOSURE, the upcoming Amazon series TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL) with superstar Go Ayano (RAGE, LUPIN THE THIRD), this sequel adapts the arc “Yokohama Kingdom” from Ken Wakui’s popular seinen manga series of the same name, and finds our titular, energetic talent scout going head-to-head with a rival Yokohama agency, led by boss Taki (the one and only Tadanobu Asano of SURVIVE STYLE 5+, JOURNEY TO THE SHORE, and ICHI THE KILLER)! International Premiere.
A LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD FOR CELEBRATED TURKISH STAR CÜNEYT ARKIN
Fantasia audiences may best remember him from THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD (aka TURKISH STAR WARS), but to international audiences, Cüneyt Arkın is a legendary icon whose career spanned 50 glorious years and nearly 300 films. He’s done every conceivable genre from grand historical epics and martial arts to romantic comedies, westerns, and hard-boiled crime flicks. He’s played an Ottoman warrior, cop, heartbreaker, pirate, and even a Turkish Davy Crockett. Over his five decades in cinema, the incredible Arkın was his country’s Jackie Chan – acting, writing, directing, and performing his own stunts!
Fantasia is thrilled to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr Arkın, and will celebrate his extraordinary career with special repertory screenings of THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD, Çetin İnanç’s WILD BLOOD (aka the Turkish FIRST BLOOD!), and the ninjasploitation head-exploder DEATH WARRIOR.
These events, in addition to our World Premiere screening of Emir Mavitan’s NOMAD and a free outdoor projection of Ceyda Torun’s documentary sensation KEDI are presented with the support of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR THE LEGENDARY LUCHADOR MIL MÁSCARAS
Luchador films hold a special place in Fantasia-goers hearts. In the early editions of the festival, screenings of numerous luchador films were held in front of sold out crowds at the 900-seat Imperial Theater. This year marks a very special occasion, as the fest will be graced by one of lucha libre’s most famous heroes, the legendary Mil Máscaras. With Blue Demon and El Santo, this legendary masked wrestler was part of a trio of athletes who, in the 60’s and early 70’s, turned this unique brand of Mexican superhero film into a worldwide phenomenon.
Mil Máscaras will be awarded a Fantasia Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary career as a Mexican film icon and one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. The award will be presented before the presentation of a double bill of two features starring Mil Máscaras: 1972’s LAS MOMIAS DE GUANAJUATO, arguably the most famous luchador film of all time (co-starring El Santo and Blue Demon), and AZTEC REVENGE, Aaron Crozier’s recently-produced American feature from writer Jeffrey Uhlmann, who will be in attendance.
THE RAP GAME IS ABOUT TO CHANGE WITH PATTI CAKE$
A sensation on the 2017 festival circuit – first unveiled at Sundance, then swerving by SXSW, and recently closing the prestigious Director’s Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) section of the Cannes Film Festival – PATTI CAKE$ now stops at Fantasia for its Canadian Premiere! Starring the amazing newcomer Danielle Macdonald in the lead role of Patricia Dumbrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, this is a first feature film from acclaimed music video director Geremy Jasper. Reminiscent of films like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, 8 MILE, and 2016 Fantasia discovery SOME FREAKS, PATTI CAKE$ is a brilliant cult classic in the making; an empowering outsider story told with unparalleled heart and conviction. Canadian Premiere.
STRAIGHT OUTTA FRONTIÈRES: THE WORLD PREMIERE OF RADIUS
Following a mysterious car crash, a man with no memory of his past becomes inexplicably lethal to anyone in his path. His bizarre death force only appears to be neutralized when in the very close vicinity of Jane, a woman who suffers a similarly clouded memory. Together, they’ll try to recall their past and understand the tie that that seems to bind them. But they can’t ever be more than 50 feet apart or people will die. Directed by SANS DESSEIN filmmakers Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard, RADIUS is the latest project seeing the light because of Frontières, Fantasia’s international co-production market. It’s our pleasure to present the World Premiere of this unique Quebec-made genre work. Directors in Attendance.
THE DUMBEST DOUBLE AGENT IS BACK IN TAKASHI MIIKE’S OUTRAGEOUS ACTION COMEDY THE MOLE SONG: HONG KONG CAPRICCIO!
Beloved director Takashi Miike (AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER) may have received a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s edition of Fantasia, but he won’t stop delivering over the top crowd pleasers! Reteaming with screenwriter Kankuro Kudo, who also directed last year’s Audience Award winner TOO YOUNG TO DIE!, Miike delivers a crazier and funnier sequel to THE MOLE SONG: SECRET AGENT REIJI loaded with unambiguous sex jokes, strange action scenes, crotch injuries and gorgeous set pieces. Actor Toma Ikuta (THE TOP SECRET: MURDER IN MIND) delivers an incredible physical performance in the role of the libidinous mole Reiji who is now tracked down by the police, the yakuza boss he work for, and a lethal Chinese gang. Miike is back in all his mischievous glory with the Canadian Premiere of THE MOLE SONG: HONG KONG CAPRICCIO!
TIME AND MIND WILL BEND AT THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ORIGAMI
During one of his many Asian adventures, Patrick (François Arnaud), a visual artist who specializes in Chinese art, encounters a mysterious man who makes him discover his latent gift for time travel. Stunningly directed and compellingly intimate, ORIGAMI is a UFO on the landscape of Quebec cinema that succeeds in applying sci-fi genre markers to a primarily human story. World Premiere. Directors in Attendance.
AN EXPLOITATION-FILLED NIGHT OF JAMES FRANCO’S BLOOD
Fantasia will be presenting the World Premieres of Jenna Cavelle’s BLOOD HEIST – about DIY filmmakers who simultaneously commit a star-crossed armed robbery and shoot a vérité film of it – and Melanie Aitkenhead’s BLOOD RIDE – which depicts the violence and avenging of a ferocious female biker gang lead by Pollyanna McIntosh – as a special rip-roaring indie double bill. Both femme-made, revivalist – nay, revisionist – exploitation films were spearheaded by producer/co-star James Franco and producers Vince Jolivette (SPRING BREAKERS) and Jay Davis. Get ready for blood… and more blood! World Premieres.
IT’S WAR AS BUSHWICK INVADES THE NORTH
After slaying Sundance at its debut and knocking out Cannes (where it had its European Premiere in Director’s Fortnight), BUSHWICK will be making its first Canadian stand at Fantasia 2017! The couldn’t-be-more-timely sophomore feature from directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott (Fantasia 2015’s COOTIES) sees Bushwick, New York erupt into a war zone as Southern nationalist militia forces attack the city. Starring Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow, BUSHWICK almost never stops moving, as Murnion and Milott employ long, fluid takes (shot on real Brooklyn locations) that follow its characters from one hoped-for sanctuary to the next, punctuated by bursts of startling, caught-on-the-fly violence. Canadian Premiere.
SEX COULD BE FATAL IN THE INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING
To reward himself for his new teaching gig in Sapporo, 29-year-old Manabu decides to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a little treat at a local sex club. On the verge of… climaxing, he’s struck by a brain haemorrhage and ends up buck naked at the hospital surrounded by his worried family who want to know how this happened. Based on the autobiographical manga from Manabu Nakagawa, ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING is a funny and endearing independent film from first time filmmaker Toshimasa Kobayashi. With its witty dialogues delivering family interactions worthy of WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY! and its creepy bat-wielding giant teddy bear (?!?), Kobayashi perfectly transposes the blend of everyday life situations and weird creativity that made Nakagawa’s manga so popular. International Premiere.
MAGIC IS EVERYWHERE. THE UNVEILING OF SYNAPSE FILMS’ DEFINITIVE 4K RESTORATION OF ARGENTO’S SUSPIRIA
As part of our closing night events, Fantasia will be showcasing the first public screening of Synapse Films’ long anticipated 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA, just in time for its 40th anniversary. A Grand Guignol fairy tale from the darkest recesses of creative brilliance, SUSPIRIA remains one of the most visually and sonically breathtaking genre works in the history of film, its complex aesthetics all but impossible to reproduce with accuracy on any non-Technicolor – let alone non-photochemical – medium to date. For the past three years, Synapse Films have been working on the definitive restoration of Argento’s masterpiece, with the full cooperation, supervision and approval of its celebrated cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, who spared no effort to accurately reproduce the film’s original IB Technicolor visuals. With all the love and obsession that this extraordinary film commands, SUSPIRIA has been restored from the fully uncut, original 35mm Italian camera negative and will be presented with the legendary 4.0 discrete sound mix not heard since its 1977 theatrical release.
ACTION! INTRODUCES JURIED COMPETITION, WELCOMES SCOTT ADKINS FOR TWO FILMS!
You can feel the tension rise with this year’s Action! section! From brutal martial arts madness and German slapstick to killer robots from the future, Action! is bigger and better than ever… and this year, it’s bringing in kickboxing superstar Scott Adkins!
Also, for the first time in its long-running history, the films in the Action! section will be competitive, with an esteemed debut jury comprised of Quebec director Érik Canuel, Midnight Madness programmer Peter Kuplowsky, and producer Hugues Barbier!
Bulgaria – Dir. Todor Chapkanov
Martial arts fans have waited a long time for the return of their champion, and with BOYKA: UNDISPUTED, Scott Adkins takes his beloved character to new heights, pushing the limits of action cinema. Boyka is back – and his punches connect! Canadian Premiere. Actor Scott Adkins in Attendance.
BROKEN SWORD HERO
Thailand – Dir. Bin Bunluerit
Like Tony Jaa before him, Bua Khaw Bunchamek makes an unmissable, intense impact with his first appearance on the big screen. This jaw-dropping historical epic showcases all of the four-time Muy Thai champion’s talents in an action-packed and highly entertaining adventure set in1700s Thailand. North American Premiere.
South Korea – Dir. Kim Sung-hoon
For years, Fantasia has presented the latest in exciting Korean action, and each time they raise the bar another notch. This wild Cold War thriller is no exception, featuring spectacular fights, tight urban chases, puzzling intrigue, and a stunning action turn from k-drama star Hyun Bin! Quebec Premiere.
Denmark – Dir. Fenar Ahmad
Dar Salim (EXODUS, GAME OF THRONES) plays a prosperous Copenhagen surgeon who, when pushed too far, decides to avenge his murdered brother and take down the gangs that have overrun his city. A blockbuster in its native Denmark, Fenar Ahmad’s DARKLAND is both a brilliant action thriller and a thoughtful commentary on the challenges of immigration. North American Premiere.
India – Dir. Jose Pellissery
Featuring the brothers Prithviraj and Indrajith Sukumaran, two noted Indian stars, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s DOUBLE BARREL is an action-comedy that veers wildly off the beaten track, with an ultra-inspired screenplay and visual presentation bursting with panache. One of the most delectable Indian films of recent vintage. Canadian Premiere.
France – Dir. Antonio Negret
From the writers of WANTED and 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS comes an utterly bombastic actioner that runs on blood, sweat, and rocket fuel! Scott Eastwood and Ana de Armas (of the upcoming BLADE RUNNER 2049) star in this stunt-filled, explosive thriller set under the scorching sun of southern France. Director Antonio Negret has crafted a smart, sexy tale of car thieves on the run – and stuck its throttle at 4000 rpm! North American Premiere.
Germany – Dir. Ufuk Genc and Micheal Popescu
A trio of aspiring martial artists are blackmailed into criminal activity for the Berlin mob in this near-perfect actioner featuring spectacular fights, loads of laughs, and great chemistry from its hilarious stars. With PLAN B, Germany’s Ufuk Genc and Micheal Popescu prove they have the cinematic chops to stand alongside the world’s finest action directors. North American Premiere. Directors in Attendance
USA – Dir. Jesse V. Johnson
In this whirlwind of fists and feet that piles one relentless action sequence after another, an ass-kicking ex-con is forced back into the ring to save his new friends’ bar – and possibly their lives! Action legends Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, and Cung Le each give 110%, and deliver 90 minutes of pure, face-smashing thrills. Canadian Premiere. Writer/Director Jesse V. Johnson and Actor Scott Adkins in Attendance
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY 3D
USA – Dir. James Cameron
He said he’d be back, and he kept his word. Twenty-six years after revolutionizing action cinema, James Cameron presents a newly-restored 3D version of his classic, era-defining science fiction masterpiece about a mother, son, and cyborg attempting to stop a visage-changing robot from bringing on a nuclear apocalypse. Not in Competition. North American Premiere.
Previously announced Action! titles: ATOMIC BLONDE, JAILBREAK, and YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE.
BEHOLD CAMERA LUCIDA – THE OUTER LIMITS OF FANTASIA 2017!
Probabilistic Gothic horror; a metaphysical ghost story; a Beckettian Chinese crime farce; an experimental film-poem set in Tokyo; a surrealistic, horror-infused coming-of-age; a chilling Estonian folktale; a cosmic subversion of the crime thriller, and more… Fantasia’s Camera Lucida section brings you to the outer limits of genre cinema.
Switzerland-Poland-Austria – Dir. Greg Sglinski
A hybrid of black comedy, marital melodrama and surrealist horror, chronicling a couple’s disintegration and potential reunion during a retreat in the Swiss Alps. Official Selection: Berlinale 2017, Istanbul International Film Festival 2017, BAFICI 2017. Canadian Premiere.
THE HONOR FARM
USA – Dir. Karen Skloss
At the vanguard of young adult cinema, Karen Skloss’ fiction film debut is a dreamlike trip that masterfully subverts and manipulates the tropes of coming-of-age cinema, horror and psychedelic thrillers. Official Selection: SXSW 2017 (Midnighters). International Premiere. Director in Attendance.
MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND
USA – Dir. Ana Asensio
An unbearably gripping drama that slowly transforms into a thriller depicting a dangerous, and unbearably tense 24-hour span in the life of an undocumented immigrant woman struggling in New York City. Winner: Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, SXSW 2017. Official Selection: BAMCinemaFest 2017, Sydney Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Estonia – Dir. Rainer Sarnet
A deep dive into Estonian folklore, and a harsh, fascinating look at 19th-century pagan life, where spirits roam free, werewolves lurk, and souls are a valuable currency. Winner: Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film, Tribeca Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere.
TOWN IN A LAKE
Philippines – Dir. Jet Leyco
Two 16-year-old girls vanish, shocking the quiet seaside town of Matangtubig in the Philippines. In this third feature, Jet Leyco unveils a magical realist subversion of the crime thriller. Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2017, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017, Taipei Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere.
Previously announced Camera Lucida titles: LE PROBLÈME D’INFILTRATION (above), THE LAPLACE’S DEMON, A GHOST STORY, FREE AND EASY, and THE TOKYO NIGHT SKY IS ALWAYS THE DENSEST SHADE OF BLUE.
Camera Lucida 2017 is curated by Ariel Esteban Cayer, a Montreal-based film critic (24 images, Panorama-cinéma, Vice Québec) and programmer (POP Montréal’s Film POP series), with the Fantasia Film Festival since 2013.
AXIS 2017 PREMIERES THE VERY BEST IN ANIMATION FROM ASIA AND THE UK!
The accent is on Asia this year in the Axis section, assembling some truly exceptional animated films – from high-standard anime to highly unexpected twists on stop-motion.
JAPAN’S JUNK HEAD (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE) IS A SINGULAR WORK OF STOP-MOTION CYBER-HORROR
Artist, designer, sculptor and stop-motion animator Takahide Hori expands his 2103 cyber-horror short film into a full, independent feature, a biomechanical nightmare tempered with unexpected twists and deft wit – imagine FRAGGLE ROCK through the eyes of H.R. Giger and Hieronymus Bosch. The Axis section’s strangest discovery of 2017!
EXPERIENCE CLAYMATION HORROR BY BRITAIN’S LEE HARDCASTLE
Independent UK clay animator Lee Hardcastle has made over a hundred shorts, music videos, and commercials – and won a place in the feature film omnibus THE ABCS OF DEATH through their hugely-competitive public contest. CLAYMATION HORROR BY LEE HARDCASTLE is a showcase of some of his coolest creations which will also screen a segment of his long-awaited feature debut, SPOOK TRAIN (A HORROR ANTHOLOGY), an epic stop-motion animation that is scheduled to be completed by 2020. Director in Attendance.
A TRIPLE BILL OF RISING ANIMATION TALENT FROM A TRIO OF ASIAN COUNTRIES
Axis presents a trio of thematically harmonious short films from Japan, South Korea, and China – compelling visions of life in the aftermath, from indie animators to keep an eye on.
- COCOLORS (Japan, 45 min, Dir. Toshihisa Yokoshima)
Director in Attendance.
- SCARECROW ISLAND (South Korea, 18 min, Dir. Park Hyemi)
Director in Attendance.
- VALLEY OF WHITE BIRDS (China, 14 min, Dir. Cloud Yang)
North American Premiere.
THE SENIOR CLASS
South Korea – Dir. Hong Deok-pyo
Raw in its emotional honesty, explicit in its exploration of sexuality among South Korean college kids, an animated drama written and produced by Yeon Sang-ho (SEOUL STATION, TRAIN TO BUSAN). International Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Japan – Dir. Shukou Murase
An elite intelligence agent pursues a mysterious figure who may be at the heart of the genocidal fury engulfing the world. The third techno-thriller in the Project Itoh anime trilogy. Canadian Premiere.
Previously announced Axis titles: HAVE A NICE DAY, LU OVER THE WALL, NAPPING PRINCESS, and NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRL.
GET REAL! IT’S DOCUMENTARIES FROM THE EDGE 2017!
Fantasia’s annual doc section returns, with nine features ranging the gamut of subjects from rock band Laibach’s stranger-than-fiction gigging experience in North Korea to exorcism practices in modern Italy and nuclear fusion as a renewable energy source!
USA – Dir. Alexandre Philippe
An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960) and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. Featuring Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Karyn Kusama, Richard Stanley and Peter Bogdanovich, among many others. 78/52 was born out of Fantasia’s Frontières Co-Production Market and World Premiered to major acclaim at Sundance earlier this year. Quebec Premiere.
Canada – Dir. Arshad Khan
As a gay man, Montreal Filmmaker Arshad Khan examines his troubled relationship with his devout, Muslim father. Using family archives, pictures and Bollywood movies, Khan presents his struggle with his identity and compares it to his parent’s attempts to fit into Canada. Official Selection: L.A. Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Italy – Dir. Federica Di Giacomo
Every year, in Italy, in Europe and in the world, a higher and higher number of people affirm to feel possessed by Satan. The Catholic Church responds to this emergency training more and more exorcist priests. The contrasts between ancient traditions and modern habits, between the sacred and profane, meet in this astonishing and rather disturbing documentary. Winner: Award for Best Film (Horizons section), Venice International Film Festival 2016. Quebec Premiere.
Norway – Dir. Kristoffer Borgli
Between fact and fiction, a no-holds-barred satire of L.A. advertising culture: the story of an energy drink campaign gone wrong, told by Amir Asgharnejad, the performance artist and comedian who lived it all. An outlandishly fun film with a sharp head on its shoulders. Official Selection: SXSW 2017, CPH:DOX 2017, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017. Canadian Premiere.
Canada – Dir. Gina Hara
Women inhabit a relatively hidden half of nerd culture; a world of cute dresses, professional gamers, fake names and death threats. Filmmaker Gina Hara struggles through unexpected resistance to discover and show their experiences. Official Selection: Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017. North America Premiere. Director in Attendance.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Canada – Dir. Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko
What if we told you there is a way to build an artificial star on Earth? LET THERE BE LIGHT takes you to the outer limits of renewable energy, and the future of mankind: nuclear fusion. A must-see for the “sci-” and the “sci-fi” minded alike. Official Selection: SXSW 2017, Hot Docs 2017. Quebec Premiere. Directors in Attendance.
Latvia-Norway-Slovenia – Dir. Ugis Olte and Morten Traavik
A chronicle of a surreal, subversive prank on a geopolitical scale as Slovenian industrial provocateurs Laibach become the first Western rock band to gig in the fortress state of North Korea. LIBERATION DAY captures many perfect moments of dark mirth and discomforting tension. But it also challenges our media-fed misconceptions with rare insights into North Korea. Official Slection: Trieste Film Festival 2017, Göteborg Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere.
UK-Canada– Dir. Kyoko Miyake
Idols and their pop music permeate every moment of Japanese life. Following an aspiring pop singer and her fans, TOKYO IDOLS explores a cultural phenomenon driven by an obsession with young female sexuality, and the growing disconnect between men and women in hyper-modern societies. Official Selection: Sundance 2017, DOXA 2017. Quebec Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Previously announced Documentaries from the Edge title: KING COHEN
FANTASIA UNDERGROUND 2017 IS AS INDEPENDENT AS IT GETS!
A heartbreaking supernatural drama from the American Midwest, the latest hand grenade of inspiration from Wakaliwood, a gross-out indie comedy built on interpersonal pain, and a female serial killer’s unconventional approach to relationships. Welcome to the 2017 lineup of Fantasia Underground, dedicated to super independent outsider works that possess a purity of vision and are wholly unafraid to take risks.
USA – Dir. Peter Vack
Adah and Aaron are recovering addicts who are struggling to stay sober. After meeting in their psychoanalyst’s waiting room, they fall in love, relapse on poppers, and become the biggest assholes in New York City. Described by one reviewer as “Salò and The Squid and the Whale”, ASSHOLES literally explodes with bodily fluids and extreme behaviour as the couple explore and magnify each other’s impulses. The feature directorial debut of actor Peter Vack (M.F.A., CBGB, LACE CRATOR), ASSHOLES stars the filmmaker’s own sister, their parents, even his therapist, and it takes absolutely no prisoners. Winner: Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, SXSW 2017. Director in Attendance.
Uganda – Dir. IGG Nabwana
Fantasia’s 2015 screening of I.G.G. Nabwana’s WHO KILLED CAPITAIN ALEX marked the first time a Wakaliwood film had ever been shown at a film festival. Nabwana’s follow-up, BAD BLACK, a whiplashing ride between social realism and pure DIY brain-melting entertainment, has been tearing up the fest circuit over the past 10 months, and we’re extremely excited to be bringing it to Canada. Wakaliwood filmmaking is an experience like no other. A return to the origin of cinema, like watching a film for the very first time. Winner: Audience Award (Best Film) + Jury Award (Best Action Director), Fantastic Fest 2016. Canadian Premiere.
USA – Dir. Toni Comas
The feature debut of BAG BOY, LOVER BOY co-writer Toni Comas, this superb supernatural drama about spirit doctors in the American Midwest haunts with a seemingly simple story that unwinds with skilful complexity and compelling characters. Harkening back to a time when independent cinema meant regional cinema, the film makes Indiana itself its focus – the people who live there, the quiet lives they inhabit and the beliefs that drive them. Canadian Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Canada – Dir. Navin Ramaswaran
Ambitious, cunning, and narcissistic, Agnes (Lora Burke) is a serial killer, hiding in plain sight within a rural town while defining her own systems of sport and romance. A uniquely peculiar suspense film with slow, thoughtful dialogue that moves between victimization and control as it delves into the subjective experience of a probable sociopath. POOR AGNES is a driven and endearing effort that doesn’t pander to audiences, and both Agnes and plot alike are utterly unpredictable. World Premiere. Director in Attendance.
ADDITIONAL NEWLY-ANNOUNCED TITLES:
Canada – Dir. Lowell Dean
The question of ANOTHER WOLFCOP making its way to Fantasia 2017 was never in doubt, and we’re proud to be hosting the Canadian Premiere of this most Canadian of movies. ANOTHER WOLFCOP takes everything that was fun about the first movie and amps it up big time, making this a rare sequel that outdoes the original. The laughs are bigger, the violence is bloodier, and the tone is more outrageous. Official Selection: Absurde Seance Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director and Cast in Attendance.
BETTER WATCH OUT
Australia – Dir. Chris Peckover
Dreaming of a red Christmas? Like the idea of a homicidal HOME ALONE? Enjoy both plots and knives that twist? Of course, you do, which is why you’re gonna love BETTER WATCH OUT (aka SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD), the latest from Chris Peckover (writer-director of UNDOCUMENTED). Official Selection: Fantastic Fest 2016. Quebec Premiere. Director in Attendance.
DEATH LINE (New 2K Restoration of the Original Director’s Cut)
UK – Dir. Gary Sherman
A clear precursor to Tobe Hooper’s TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, DEATH LINE sports a solid performance by the great Donald Pleasence and a cameo by Christopher Lee. Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, Sherman’s masterpiece hasn’t lost an ounce of its power. It’s a strange, gory, socially aware and often blackly funny tale of the fringe-dwelling “have-nots” rising up to feast on the “haves” and it’s ready for a new generation of thoughtful fright fans to discover. Our screening will be hosted by Director Gary Sherman and legendary exploitation filmmaker/Blue Underground CEO William Lustig, who shepherded the film’s restoration.
DEATH NOTE: LIGHT UP THE NEW WORLD
Japan – Dir. Shinsuke Sato
The pen is mightier than the sword. At least, when you have a Death Note at hand. The wry and philosophical Japanese horror-thriller series returns under the masterful direction of Shinsuke Sato (GANTZ, I AM A HERO)! Ten years after Light Yagami’s death, the book is back in an edition of six copies this time, courtesy of the Shinigami King himself. Bodies will pile up! Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
Hong Kong-China – Dir. Alan Mak and Anthony Pun
Undercover agents and gangsters collide in a roaring rush of intense twists and turns deep in the drug world of the Golden Triangle. From the creative team of the INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy. Official Selection : Udine Far East Film Festival 2017, East Wind Film Festival 2017. Quebec Premiere.
South Korea – Dir. Park Kwang-hyun
In the virtual world, Kwon Yu is a fearless leader, but IRL he’s an unemployed loser. When framed for a crime he didn’t commit, the gamer must rise to the task and prove his innocence. A high-budget, action-packed techno-thriller. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2017, New York Asian Film Festival 2017. Québec Premiere.
USA-UK – Dir. Simon Rumley
At long last it’s the return of one of Fantasia’s favourite sons, British provocateur Simon Rumley (THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, RED WHITE & BLUE), and it’s been worth the wait. Taking his inspiration from the work of another British master, Nicholas Roeg, Rumley spins a psychologically thrilling exercise in the loss of the mind and the soul in favour of the latest thing. He’s aided in no small part by star Amanda Fuller, re-uniting with Rumley and delivering one of the best performances you’ll see this year. A vivid and mind-altering experience in bravura filmmaking. Official Selection: Fantastic Fest 2016, Sydney International Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director in Attendance.
THE FINAL MASTER
China – Dir. Xu Haofeng
Director Xu Haofeng astonished Fantasia audiences with THE SWORD IDENTITY and last year’s JUDGE ARCHER. Xu is a truly unique martial arts auteur who returns to freshly shake up the kung fu genre again about kung fu masters in the tragicomedy THE FINAL MASTER. Winner of Best Action Choreography-Golden Horse Awards.
Germany – Dir. Gordian Maugg
Far from the conventional biopic, FRITZ LANG is part fan-fiction, speculation, and biography: what if Lang was the hero of one of his own films? This is a whirlwind of images where past and present collide, exploring the myth, rather than the man – a composite image of an elusive director, in the days leading to the creation of the masterpiece, M. Winner: Best Feature Film, Hessen Film and Cinema Awards 2016. Canadian Premiere.
GOD OF WAR
Hong Kong-China – Dir. Gordon Chan
A brilliant young general confronts an army of wily Japanese pirates in Ming-Dynasty China – an extra-large-scale battlefield epic with a cast of martial arts titans including the legendary Sammo Hung. From Gordon Chan, the director of many Hong Kong cinema classics including FIST OF LEGEND and BEAST COP! Quebec Premiere.
GOING TO BRAZIL
France-Brazil – Dir. Patrick Mille
Four childhood friends are reunited at a wedding in Rio. But when they accidentally kill a young man during a party that gets out of hand, they are forced to flee the city in a crazy adventure. GOING TO BRAZIL is a corrosively energetic film that stands out from your typical French comedies. Official Selection: SXSW 2017. Canadian Premiere.
India – Dir. Shanker Raman
An ominous noir crime thriller, Shankar Raman’s debut film GURGAON explores corruption, jealousy, and toxic sibling rivalry within a wealthy family living in the titular city in Northern India. Through clashes between blood relations and bloodshed, the film is a story of having it all and wanting none of it. Quebec Premiere.
Japan – Dir. Ishiro Honda
Jellylike atomic goblins haunt the rainy Tokyo streets involving gangsters and cops! Director Ishiro Honda (GODZILLA) steps out of his comfort zone to yield a unique genre blending gem. Presented in glorious 35mm and preceded by a special career overview of the extraordinary cinematic master Ishiro Honda by Ed Godziszewski (co-author of Ishiro Honda – A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa).
HOUSE OF THE DISAPPEARED
South Korea – Dir. Lim Dae-woong
On loud stormy night, Mi-hee wakes up to find her dying husband in the basement and see her son disappear before her eyes. Many years later, she returns to this house to solve the mystery. International star Kim Yujin (the LOST series) shines in this creepy atmospheric remake of THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME (which Fantasia helped launch in 2015). Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival. North American Premiere.
Japan – Dir. Takashi Shimizu
A child’s scream pierces the quietude of a Japanese suburb – and the nightmare begins. A funhouse too atmospheric and scary to resist, from Japan’s living legend of horror, Takashi Shimizu (JU-ON, MAREBITO)! Official Selection: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Shanghai International Film Festival 2017. North American Premiere.
JAPANESE GIRLS NEVER DIE
Japan – Dir. Daigo Matsui
One day, Haruko Azumi (Yu Aoi) disappears and becomes a legend. A proudly experimental, kaleidoscopic and pop-art portrait of the female condition in Japan. Official Selection: Tokyo International Film Festival 2017, Rotterdam 2017, TIFF Next Wave Festival 2017. Quebec Premiere.
KILLS ON WHEELS
Hungary – Dir. Attila Till
A wheelchair-bound hitman is assisted by a pair of disabled teenage aspiring comic artists. One part crime genre piece, one part absorbing character study, and one part total original. It’s movies like this that Fantasia was created for. Winner: Roger Ebert Award, Chicago International Film Festival 2016; Best Feature and Best Actors, Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2016. Canadian Premiere.
LOVE AND OTHER CULTS
Japan – Dir. Eiji Uchida
An unexpected love story, and exploration of the seedy, unexplored corners of Japanese society and youthful regional reality – from cults to gangs to idols! Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2017, New York Asian Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere.
MADE IN HONG KONG (4K Restoration)
Hong Kong – Dir. Fruit Chan
A gorgeous and essential 4K restoration of Fruit Chan’s youthful gangster classic, commissioned by the Udine Far East Film Festival to commemorate the 20 years of the Hong Kong handover. Winner: Best Picture Award, Hong Kong Film Awards 1998. Official Selection: Locarno International Film Festival 1997. Quebec Premiere.
France – Dir. Tony T. Datis
A bunch of friends, live wires and web addicts, decide to celebrate the New Year in an isolated manor house with no coverage: a big first for them! But as soon as they arrive, strange occurrences disturb the festive atmosphere, and the party turns into a murderous nightmare. The feature debut from celebrated music video director Datis (Skrillex’s “Bangarang” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake”), LE MANOIR is a well-crafted horror/comedy that isn’t afraid of opening up incendiary floodgates, and is sure to leave no viewer indifferent. Plus, in a risky feat that completely works, Datis cast his film with YouTube stars. Come discover the immense talents of its web-based stars, who are fast on their way to conquering the big screen. International Premiere.
MUMON: THE LAND OF STEALTH
Japan – Dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura
Despite his playful attitude, Mumon is the most dangerous ninja of his ruthless clan of assassins, but when his actions triggers an all out war with the samurais of Ise, he might finally meet his match. With an incredible cast led by J-pop band Arashi’s frontman Satoshi Ohno and the masterful direction of Fantasia favourite Yoshihiro Nakamura (FISH STORY), this breathtaking over the top action comedy will make you stealthily sneak back for more! Official Selection: Shanghai International Film Festival. Quebec Premiere.
THE NIGHT WATCHMEN
USA – Dir. Mitchell Altieri
Three inept night watchmen, aided by a young rookie and a fearless tabloid journalist, fight an epic battle to save their lives. A mistaken warehouse delivery unleashes a horde of hungry vampires, and these unlikely heroes must not only save themselves but also stop the scourge that threatens to take over the city of Baltimore. Winner: Best Horror Film, Garden State Film Festival 2017, Best Feature, New Jersey HorrorCon 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director and Cast in Attendance.
Netherlands – Dir. Dick Maas
From the legendary Dutch horror iconoclast who brought you THE LIFT, AMSTERDAMNED, DOWN, and SAINT comes this jaw-dropping horror thriller about a bloodthirsty lion stalking the streets (and metro trains!) of Amsterdam. Official Selection: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Overlook Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere. Director in Attendance.
Japan – Dir. Lee Sang-il
A double homicide shakes the nation, and its perpetrator has eluded capture. Meanwhile, three strangers make an appearance. A phenomenal crime thriller about isolation and how we perceive others. Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival 2016, San Sebastian Film Festival 2016, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2016. Quebec Premiere.
THE SHERIFF IN TOWN
South Korea – Dir. Kim Hyung-joo
When former hardboiled big-city cop Dae-ho (BIG MATCH‘s Lee Sung-min) appoint himself the “sheriff” of the coastal village where he owns a humble restaurant, he has no idea how deep in troubles this is going to get him. Laughs, suspense and excitement are on the menu of this entertaining crime comedy where civic pride becomes wildly uncivil! North American Premiere.
Hong Kong – Dir. Herman Yau
One of HK’s most prolific yet controversial filmmakers Herman Yau (THE UNTOLD STORY, EBOLA SYNDROME, IP MAN:THE FINAL FIGHT) reunites with the award winning Andy Lau playing a bomb specialist in this high-octane thriller wired with enough explosive twists ready to detonate at every turn. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2017. Quebec Premiere.
Germany – Dir. Christian Pasquariello
A solitary soldier (Iwan Rheon of GAME OF THRONES) mans a watchtower, guarding against mysterious aliens in this eerie exercise in high-tech tension and primeval paranoia. Produced by Christian Alvart (PANDORUM, ANTIBODIES). Official Selection: Shanghai International Film Festival 2017 (Panorama). North American Premiere.
A THOUSAND JUNKIES
USA – Dir. Tommy Swerdlow
A “drug” movie with no drugs, and a “road” movie that goes nowhere, A THOUSAND JUNKIES is a dark, visceral comedy about the 9 to 5 job of being a junkie, and the strange bonds that are formed between addicts. Screenwriter of COOL RUNNINGS, SNOW DOGS, and LITTLE GIANTS, Tommy Swerdlow makes his directorial debut with a personal story, something miles away from his family-oriented comedies past, based on the three leads’ own experiences with addiction. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2016. Canadian Premiere.
Germany – Dir. Jakob Lass
Escalating criminal mischief convinces wild girl Tiger that she’s made the wrong friend in seemingly straight-laced Vanilla, but will she survive long enough to learn her lesson?
An unpredictable ride through modern-day Berlin, TIGER GIRL showcases brilliant rising talents in leads Maria Dragus (GRADUATION) and Ella Rumpf (cementing her place as a major new star after her acclaimed work in RAW), who deliver a pair of unforgettable performances that make TIGER GIRL incredibly fresh and exciting. Official Selection: Berlinale 2017. North American Premiere.
USA – Dir. Kasra Farahani
A filmmaker becomes unhinged and erratic, and begins to give in to madness. A spellbinding psychological horror film made for a time when love, sadly, does not trump fear or hate. TILT explores how quickly the most familiar person in your life can become the most terrifying. How quickly we can become terrifying to ourselves. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere.
Japan – Dir. Kentaro Hagiwara
Ghouls live among us, look like us, talk like us… and eat us. TOKYO GHOUL is the live-action adaptation of the immensely popular urban-horror manga by Sui Ishida, a gruesome yet pensive dark fantasy in the same sinister zone as DEATH NOTE and PARASYTE. Official Selection: Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.