Fantasia we are zombies

Montreal genre extravaganza the Fantasia Film Festival will rule our eyeballs July 20 to Aug. 9

From closing the festival with We Are Zombies from Quebec’s RKSS (the crew behind Turbo Kid) to presenting Nicolas Cage with a career achievement award, Fantasia had a lot of reveal ahead of its 27th edition.

Back for its 27th edition, the Fantasia International Film Festival announced its final program yesterday — including all the events and screenings as well as a Career Achievement Award for actor Nicolas Cage, whose film Sympathy for the Devil will world-premiere in Montreal at this year’s festival. This year’s edition will run July 20 through Aug. 9, 2023, and take place at the Concordia Hall Cinema, J.A. DeSève Cinema, Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée. Ticket pre-sales will open on Saturday, July 15, at 1 p.m. 

It’s a big year for local darlings at this year’s festival. Pascal Plante’s Les chambres rouges was previously announced as the opening film. It has since had its world premiere at Karlovy Vary, receiving rave reviews. In this final announcement, the festival’s closing film will be We Are Zombies, from RKSS (Turbo Kid).

We Are Zombies is based on the comic The Zombies That Ate the World and the film is set in a society where zombies, referred to as “living-impaired,” roam among us with no urge to eat flesh. The film stars Megan Peta Hill (Riverdale), Alexandre Nachi (1991) and Derek Johns (The Boys). Also on board is RKSS mainstay Jean-Philippe Bernier, handling both the cinematography and the pulsing electro soundtrack with his duo Le Matos.

Other notable World Premieres include Ms. Apocalypse from Director Lim Sun-ae (An Old Lady), about a tech worker who falls in love with a co-worker who has been embezzling money from the company; Hippo, a hilarious coming-of-age film about two home-schooled step-siblings executive produced by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill; Booger, the feature-debut of Mary Dauterman, a dark comedy about a young woman who may or may not be turning into a cat and much more.

The Phantom

Other notable releases this year include Tiger Stripes (North American premiere), the first Malaysian film to with the Grand Prize at Cannes’s la Semaine de la Critique about a young girl who is the first among her friends to hit puberty and the monstrous results, a striking feminist horror-tinged coming of age story; The Phantom (North American Premiere) is set in 1930s Korea after the failed assassination attempt; a newly appointed Governor General tries to hunt down the expert spy known only as the “Phantom.” Five prime suspects are locked inside a remote hotel and forced to prove their innocence. The film features an all star-cast including Sul Kyung-gu (Idol), Lee Hanee (Extreme Job), Park So-dam (Parasite), Park Hae-soo (Squid Game) and Seo Hyun-woo (Decision to Leave; for anime fans, be sure to check out The Consierge (North American premiere) a colourful and comical adaptation of the beloved Manga by Tsuchika Nishimura about a concierge working at the Arctic Department Store where all her customers are animals. 

With over 120 features and 200 shorts, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so check out their website for even more film titles.

Among this year’s other events include Artists Talks with Charles Band (The Primevals), Maywa Denki (Tokyo-based company that democratizes creativity includes a workshop as well), Jimmy McDonough (exploitation cinema historian), Canadian screen legend Larry Kent and  RKSS.

There will also be a panel discussion BIPOC Futures in Canadian Genre Cinema moderated by Reda Lahmouid, lead coordinator for HireBIPOC/EmbauchezDiversité at BIPOC TV & FILM, and Carolyn Mauricette, director of Fantasia’s Canadian section, Septentrion Shadows.

Finally, there will be a book launch for Terror in the Ailien Realms: Transdimensional Horror Movies Posters & Their Film Reviews. Many contributors will be attending this book launch event, including Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, George Mihalka, Elza Kephart, Dave Alexander, Gary Sherman, Eric Falardeau, Lee Paula Springer, Chris Bavota, David Lawson and Michael Gingold. Some will live-read their reviews.

The festival has also announced the juries and official competition. For a full selection of titles, schedules and events, check out the Fantasia Film Festival website. ■

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