Highlights of the Fantasia Festival

Montreal’s top genre film fest has finally unveiled the full program for their 2014 edition, running July 17 to Aug. 5.

Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno
After doling out the excitement over two announcement periods in the last few weeks, Montreal’s top genre film fest has finally unveiled its full program for this year’s edition, which is happening July 17–Aug. 5. In addition to previously announced closing film Welcome to New York (the Abel Ferrara film about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, presented in the presence of the madman filmmaker himself) and the special Centerpiece presentation of James Gunn’s hotly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy, the festival has announced its main jury consisting of Screen International head critic Marc Adams, producer Anne-Marie Gélinas, actor Noah Segan (Looper), Midnight Eye founder Jasper Sharp and cult DVD producer Bret Wood (Olive Films).

Takashi Miike's The Mole Song
Takashi Miike’s The Mole Song

Anticipated films showing at the fest include the North American premiere of the latest installment in the anime series Appleseed, Appleseed Alpha; Cold in July, an adaptation of a Joe R. Lansdale novel directed by Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are) with Michael C. Hall and Don Johnson; Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, the sequel to the cult Nazi zombie flick; Goal of the Dead, a 140-minute movie about zombie soccer players (!); The Green Inferno, the anticipated new cannibal film from Eli Roth (Hostel) and The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji, a new cops-and-yakuza action film from the incredibly prolific Takashi Miike.

Kat Dennings in Suburban Gothic
Kat Dennings in Suburban Gothic

Also of interest: Killers, an Indonesian action flick that shares some talent with the bone-shattering Raid films; Real, the latest from Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure, Tokyo Sonata); Suburban Gothic (Richard Bates Jr.’s follow-up to his well-received Fantasia fave Excision); German sex comedy Wetlands, fresh off its success at Sundance; Canadian neo-grindhouse feature WolfCop, the first project resulting from the CineCoup Film Accelerator contest; Yasmine, the very first commercial film made in Brunei; The Zero Theorem, Terry Gilliam’s latest with Christoph Waltz, and Zombeavers, a spoof comedy that’s almost exactly what you imagine from the title.

Local films are once again well represented. Features DYS– (directed by Fantasia regular Maude Michaud, making her feature-length debut), Les Jaunes – le film (an adaptation of a popular webseries) and 1987 (Ricardo Trogi’s follow-up to the autobiographical 1981) are all premiering alongside the usual solid program of homebrewed shorts.

Documentaries From the Edge returns with films about George Takei, Weng Weng (the little person star of the cult James Bond spoof For Your Height Only), obscure cultish local director Simon Boisvert, the ever-present of plasmodial slime mold (look it up!), a Nova Scotia native who dreams of being a kung fu hero and MMA-fighting Christian priests.

darktown_strutters_poster_02This year’s vintage programs focus on Blaxploitation, an homage to the recently departed Sir Run Run Shaw and Canadian genre cinema. The Celluloid Soul section contains screenings of Darktown Strutters, the Fred Williamson vehicle Boss, a thematically appropriate DJ XL5’s Zappin’ Party, Sweet Sweetback’s Baaaaadass Song, Bamboo Gods and Iron Men and Tough. The Genres du pays section features the little-seen revenge thriller Equinoxe by Arthur Lamothe, dopey sex comedy Après-Ski, NFB-made crime flick Le grand Rock, the Montreal-set Mondo documentary Montreal Interdit (a perennial source of video store fascination for young me) and Yves Simoneau’s classic crime thriller Pouvoir intime.

Add in a plethora of short film programs, a couple of book launches, parties, Q&As and a lot of time in line and you’ve got yet another stacked year of Fantasia. Tickets go on sale on July 15, so you have five days to pore over the schedule and lose your damn mind.

Other highlights among the new announcements include:

Black Mountain Side

Canada Dir. Nick Szostakiwskyj

World Premiere

Cold Eyes

South Korea Dir. Kim Byung-seo, Cho Ui-seok

Quebec Premiere

Days of Wrath

South Korea Dir. Shin Dong-yeop

International Premiere


Canada Dir. Chad Archibald, Matt Wiele

World Premiere

The Fake

South Korea Dir. Yeon Sang-ho

Quebec Premiere

The Fatal Encounter

South Korea Dir. Lee Jae-kyoo

Quebec Premiere


USA Dir. Riley Stearns

International Premiere – starring Leland Orser (Taken) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim)

The Fives

South Korea Dir. Jeong Yeon-shik

Canadian Premiere

Ghost in the Shell

Japan Dir. Mamoru Oshii

Brand new HD master of this classic anime, screened as part of a lifetime achievement presentation for Oshii


Indonesia Dir. Helfi Kardit

International Premiere

Heavenly Sword

USA Dir. Gun Ho Jang

World Premiere – video game adaptation with the voices of Alfred Molina and Thomas Jane


USA Dir. Leigh Janiak

International Premiere

The House at the End of Time

Venezuela Dir. Alejandro Hidalgo

North American Premiere

Hwayi: A Monster Boy

South Korea Dir. Jang Joon-hwen

North American Premiere

The Infinite Man

Australia Dir. Hugh Sullivan

Canadian Premiere


Iceland Dir. Ragnar Bragason

Quebec Premiere

Mr. Go

South Korea  / China Dir. Kim Yong-hwa

Canadian Premiere

Ed with Matt LeBlanc is no longer the only film about a monkey playing baseball


Australia Dir. The Spierig Brothers

Canadian Premiere

Prom Night

Canada Dir. Paul Lynch

Brand new restoration of the slasher classic starring Leslie Nielsen

Red Family

South Korea Dir. Lee Ju-hyoung

North American Premiere – Winner of the Audience Award at the Tokyo Film Festival

Space Station 76

USA Dir, Jack Plotnick

International Premiere – starring Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler

Summer of Blood

USA Dir. Onur Turkel

International Premiere – Tribeca Film Festival selection

That Demon Within

Hong Kong Dir. Dante Lam

Quebec Premiere

When Animals Dream

Denmark Dir. Jonas Alexander Amby

North American Premiere – Cannes Critics’ Week Selection
See two hours of  trailers for Fantasia 2014 films at SAT (1201 St-Laurent) tonight, Thursday, July 10, 8 p.m., free