The 24th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival is going virtual this year with an exciting line-up of live screenings, panels, workshops, and more—and the second wave of programming has just been unveiled!
Accessible across Canada and geo-locked to the country, the genre festival will run from August 20th to September 2nd and will maintain unique film admittance quantities in line with the cinema experience. The third and final wave of programming will be announced in August (see the first wave lineup here).
Here’s what sights the second wave has to show us, including some drool-worthy horror premieres!
Bryan Bertino’s The Dark and the Wicked (International Premiere): The Strangers’ writer and director is back with a tale of rural terror. On a secluded farm in a nondescript town, a man is slowly. His family gathers to mourn and darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the household. Marin Ireland (Hell or High Water), Michael Abbott Jr. (The Death of Dick Long), and Xander Berkeley (Candyman) star in this scary shocker that was previously slated to launch at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Tsutomu Hanabusa’s Project Dreams – How to Build Mazinger Z’s Hangar (International Premiere): The storage facility for giant cartoon robot Mazinger Z is among the most recognized sites in anime; impressive, yet impossible… or is it? In 2003 a quirky crew at the Japanese engineering firm Maeda Corporation decided to draft blueprints for the iconic hangar as it would exist in the real world. This funny, fascinating, and inspiring film tells their tale and takes it to the next stage of (im)possibility.
John Hyams’s Alone (International Premiere): A cold-blooded killer stalks a fleeing widow through the wilderness in this blistering remake of acclaimed 2012 Swedish thriller Gone. Transporting the story to the Pacific Northwest, the film creates an air of realistic suspense that pushes the viewer to nearly unbearable extremes. Marc Menchaca (The Outsider) and Jules Wilcox (Bloodline) star.
Mathias Malzieu’s A Mermaid in Paris (North American Premiere): Following his animation hit Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2013), French music superstar Malzieu makes his live-action musical debut with this visually dazzling fantastical love story. Nicolas Duvauchelle, Marilyn Lima, Rossy de Palma, and Tchéky Karyo star.
Yûji Shimomura’s Crazy Samurai Musashi (Canadian Premiere): Martial artist Tak Sakaguchi (Yakuza Weapon) stars in this long-in-the-making, unique take on swordsman Mushashi Miyamoto’s most fabled battle. Shot as a single 77-minute action sequence, Tak must take on 588 foes—and there’s no room for error.
Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus’s The Block Island Sound (World Premiere): A mysterious force lurks off the coast of Block Island, curiously influencing the surrounding town and wildlife, in this frightening, character-driven work of horror steeped in atmosphere and dread. The cast includes Michaela McManus (The Vampire Diaries), Chris Sheffield (The Stanford Prison Experiment), Jim Cummings (Greener Grass), and Jeremy Holm (The Ranger).
Jung Jin-young’s Me and Me (North American Premiere): In Jung Jin-young’s unique directorial debut, a police detective investigating a tragedy in a small town wakes up one morning to find he’s no longer who he thought he was—or so the locals lead him to believe. Is it epic gaslighting, genuine madness, or a supernatural twist?
Cody Calahan’s The Oak Room (World Premiere): During a raging snowstorm, a drifter returns home to the blue-collar bar located in a remote Canadian town where he was born. When he offers to settle an old debt with a grizzled bartender by telling him a story, the night’s events quickly spin into a dark tale of mistaken identities, double-crosses, and shocking violence. RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad), Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI), Nicholas Campbell (The Dead Zone), and Ari Millen (Rupture) star.
John Hsu’s Detention (Canadian Premiere): In 1962, Taiwan is in the grip of Martial Law, a period known as the “White Terror”. Fang, a high schooler, falls in love with Zhang, a counselling teacher who introduces her to the books banned by the regime. However, when he disappears, she finds the school gradually slipping into a terrifying realm of ghosts and spirits… Making his feature film debut, Hsu adapts the popular video game of the same name in this powerful allegory for the horrors of repression and authoritarianism, which was nominated for 12 prizes at the 56th Golden Horse Awards, winning five.
Eric Schultz’s Minor Premise (World Premiere): In Schultz’s striking feature debut, a reclusive Indian American neuroscientist, fueled by the desire to surpass his father’s legacy, becomes physically entangled in his own radical experiments, resulting in his consciousness inexplicably becoming fragmented into ten separate and conflicting forces. Now he must face off against the darker sides of his psyche to solve an enigma that lies buried within his subconscious—before it’s too late.
Ivo van Aart’s The Columnist (North American Premiere): Columnist and author Femke Boot is endlessly taunted with abusive posts and death threats via social media. Becoming obsessed with these hateful messages from strangers, she spends every moment checking her Twitter feed, before one day stepping back from her keyboard to take brutal, in-the-flesh action. Tackling the toxicity of cyberbullying with ferocity and wit, this savage black comedy stars Katja Herbers (Westworld).
Kim Joo-ho’s Jesters: The Game Changers (North American Premiere): In this ingenious comedy-thriller, a crew of travelling street entertainers who double as rumour-spreaders for hire discover the game is no longer in jest when the tyrannical King Sejo wants his murderous reputation rehabilitated.
Elza Kephart’s Slaxx (World Premiere): A possessed pair of jeans comes to life and terrorizes the staff of a trendy, vapid clothing boutique. Unfortunately, they’ve been locked in overnight to set up the new collection. Romane Denis (True North), Sehar Bhojan (The Handmaid’s Tale), Brett Donahue (Lizzie Borden Took an Ax), and Kenny Wong (Transplant) star.
Gabriel Carrier and Reese Eveneshen’s For the Sake of Vicious (World Premiere): An innocent nurse, a tortured manic, and a suspicious hostage face off against a wave of violent intruders on Halloween night in this brutal Canadian nail-biter. Shot in only 15 days, the film is loaded with practical effects and stunts performed by the actors themselves. Lora Burke (Lifechanger), Colin Paradine (Kingdom Come), and Nick Smyth (Covenant) star.
Jeon Gye-soo’s Vertigo (Canadian Premiere): Seo-Young has climbed high up the company ladder, but her life is more precarious than it seems and her anxieties begin manifesting as intense vertigo. Her exact opposite, working-class window-cleaner Kwon-woo, literally dangles into her life. Chun Woo-hee (The Wailing) stars in this romantic melodrama that raises questions about class and gender in South Korean corporate culture.
Martin Kraut’s La Dosis (North American Premiere): The director’s debut feature, this Argentinian psychological thriller follows Marcos, a night shift nurse at a palliative care ward. Stationed at the doors of life and death, he is the self-appointed gatekeeper, and euthanasia is his preferred practice. But while newly arrived nurse Gabriel threatens to uncover Marcos’s deadly routine, he may also be hiding sinister motives of his own…
Liao Ming-Yi’s I WeirDo (Canadian Premiere): Two OCD lovebirds, both obsessed with perpetual cleanliness, experience the trials of first love and the harsh reality of leaving their safety bubbles in this quirky rom-com that was filmed entirely on an iPhone XS.
David Perrault’s Savage State (North American Premiere): A family of French settlers must abandon their Missouri home and flee back to Paris when the American Civil War breaks out in this potent feminist Western. An official selection at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam, this stylish co-production between France, Canada, and Belgium stars Alice Isaaz (Elle), Déborah François (The Poisoning Ange), Kevin Janssens (Revenge), Constance Dollé (The Returned), and Kate Moran (Knife + Heart).
Cho Kyung-hun’s Beauty Water (North American Premiere): In a society as obsessed with physical appearance as modern South Korea, ugliness is a fate worse than death. For overweight, unsightly Yaeji, though, a fast but suspicious solution to her woes may soon make her wish she were dead in this animated shocker.
Dedicated to boundary-pushing, auteur-driven works at the intersection of genre and arthouse cinema, the Camera Lucid section of the festival has also unveiled its second wave titles: Kana Yamada’s Life: Untitled (Canadian premiere), Jung Hyuk-ki’s My Punch-Drunk Boxer (North American Premiere), and Xia Magnus’s Sanzaru (international premiere).
Helmed by film critic Justine Smith, Fantasia Underground—which showcases films created by eccentric and transgressive artists working outside of the mainstream—will be screening Amelia Moses’ Bleed with Me (world premiere), Ben Hozie’s PVT Chat (world premiere), Jason Neulander’s Fugitive Dreams (world premiere), Orson Oblowitz’s The Five Rules of Success (world premiere), and Mickey Reece’s Climate of the Hunter (Quebec premiere). Also featured in the Underground section will be Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Sharp’s queer horror-comedy short Don’t Text Back.
And for non-fiction fans, Fantasia’s Documentaries from the Edge section has announced its next pair of selections: Seth Porges and Chris Charles Scott III’s Class Action Park (international premiere) and Yoav Shamir’s The Prophet and the Space Aliens (North American premiere).
We’ll bring you details of the third and final wave when we hear them!
Words: Samantha McLaren (@themeatispeople)