Friday, June 20, 2014

Fantasia announces a first wave of 2014 programming

The 18th annual Fantasia International Film Festival is gearing up to take Montreal by storm with three weeks of inspiration and excitement starting July 17 until August 5, 2014. The full 2014 lineup of programming and special events will be revealed shortly, but in the meantime, here’s an early First Wave Announcement of several selected highlights and info to whet your appetite.

First, Fantasia will pay tribute to three legendary figures of the fantastic genre: Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury and Forrest J. Ackerman. Through their work and energy, they have inspired many of the leading figures of genre cinema in recent decades.

Fantasia is also unveiling the 2014 poster art, inspired by an old legend from Québecois folklore: La Chasse Galerie (otherwise known as “the Bewitched Canoe”). It was created by award-winning Quebec illustrator Donald Caron.

The opening film has also been announced. Fantasia 2014 will launch with the Canadian premiere of JACKY IN THE KINGDOM OF WOMEN (Jacky au royaume des filles), a sharp political satire from comic book genius Riad Sattouf (LES BEAUX GOSSES) that took the Rotterdam Film Festival by storm.

Fantasia will hold a special screening of the hotly anticipated new instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

Now with the announcements that are more in our sphere of interests:


A towering and truly unique figure in Japanese animation, director Mamoru Oshii will be a recipient of Fantasia’s Lifetime Achievement Award. From pioneering OVAs DALLOS and the haunting ANGEL’S EGG, and of course the beloved PATLABOR series, of the 1980s, through the dramatically influential global hit GHOST IN THE SHELL in the mid-’90s, to its award-winning sequel and other powerful, pensive works in the new millennium (SKY CRAWLERS, AVALON), Oshii has consistently strived to bring new ideas and in fact a whole new attitude to anime. With his meticulous and idiosyncratic near-future thrillers and dramas, linked by persistent themes, motifs and concerns, Oshii asserts a complex, deeply thoughtful and decidedly adult sensibility — while maintaining the highest technical standards in the field (and hardly confining his efforts to animation). In seeking a path to call his own, Oshii has blazed a trail for fantastic entertainment worldwide to follow.

Mamoru Oshii will be receiving his award on our opening night, July 17, before a special screening of the new HD master of GHOST IN THE SHELL, being re-issued by Manga Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the original manga’s publication. This will be the first time the GITS HD print has been made available outside of Japan, lovingly restored, unadulterated and awe-inspiring in its beauty.

Fantasia also announced part of it line-up. The Asian movie to be presented in 2014 includes:

Japan Dir: Toshiaki Toyoda
Fists will fly and beatings will abound, but the greatest battles are always in the hearts of the sneering, delinquent punks of the notorious Suzuran All-Boys High School. After Takashi Miike, it's now BLUE SPRING director Toshiaki Toyoda's turn to make a knuckle mark on the CROWS ZERO franchise. North American Premiere

Japan Dir: Mizuho Nishikubo
A gracefully executed anime from Production I.G, examining the struggles of the Japanese in the immediate aftermath of World War II, from the perspective of a child. As beautiful as it is devastating, GIOVANNI'S ISLAND received a Jury Mention at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Canadian Premiere

South Korea Dir: Lee Su-jin
A troubled teenage girl flees her past — is she guilty or a victim? A multiple prize winner, notably attaining the Silver Tiger Award at this year's Rotterdam International Film Festival, HAN GONG-JU is a magnificent yet devastating debut feature of incredible narrative virtuosity. Canadian Premiere

South Korea Dir: Park Jae-hyun
A trio of daring and dangerous bounty-hunting beauties find themselves in a high-risk, high-stakes game of subterfuge and swordplay in medieval Korea. A rousing and fast-paced action-adventure with a dash of romance and a barge-load of slapstick laughs! International Premiere

Indonesia/Japan Dir: The Mo Brothers
Two serial killers. One likes to kill, the other seeks justice. The problem is, the first one is mentoring the latter... Social media will bring a storm of blood over both Tokyo and Jakarta in this shocking yet incredibly smart horror thriller in the vein of THE CHASER and COLD FISH that floored audiences at Sundance. Canadian Premiere

Japan Dir: Noboru Iguchi
When his mother is kidnapped and a stranger calls, Naoto is thrust into a public triathlon of death. DEAD SUSHI director Noboru Iguchi’s running go at the survival-race genre is loveably lurid, super-sanguinary fun. North American Premiere

South Korea Dir: Hwang Dong-hyeuk
74-year-old grandmother Oh Mal-soon has been magically transported into the body of her 20-year-old self. Seizing the opportunity to relive a youth she sacrificed in the name of her child, she sets out to explore a world of new possibilities. And it includes K-Pop... Canadian Premiere

Japan Dir: Hideo Nakata
A sinister sociopath with psychic powers squares off against a cheerful everyman with a secret of his own. The 2010 South Korean superhero/horror hybrid HAUNTERS, remade by Japanese cult director Hideo Nakata (RINGU), with stars Tatsuya Fujiwara (SHIELD OF STRAW) and Takayuki Yamada (CROWS ZERO). Canadian Premiere

Hong Kong Dir: Wong Ching-Po
Opium and kung fu! The glory days of old Shanghai — or are they? Two generations of true kung fu experts collide in the spectacular martial arts feast, with breathtaking choreography by Yuen Woo-Ping and Yuen Cheung-Yan! Canadian Premiere

Japan Dir: Eisuke Naito
The staff and students at Noriaki Hill High School have been given a game to play, one in which mistakes can be fatal. A giddy, gory brain-twister of a teen survival thriller, in which vengeance is as much a first step as a final solution. North American Premiere

Japan Dir: Daigo Matsui
Two swim-team members, a hairless boy and a hirsute girl, discover the pangs and tangles of first love in SWEET POOLSIDE, one of the most astute examination of adolescence to screen in a long time. North American Premiere

Hong Kong Dir: Benny Chan
Hopping from Hong Kong to Thailand to Macau, blending hard-hitting action with powerful drama, Benny Chan’s vividly stylish THE WHITE STORM is a sprawling, absorbing crime flick in the classic Hong Kong tradition. Canadian Premiere

The Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal July 17 – August 5, 2014. For this year’s edition and onwards, Fantasia will be returning to the freshly renovated Concordia Hall Cinema as its main base, which now features an even larger screen, new seating and upgraded projection and sound.

The festival’s full lineup of screenings and events will be announced on July 10.

The full press release can be found here. You can also find more information on the festival website.

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