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Fantasia 2015: Award Winners and 2016 Dates Announced

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The 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival is wrapping up today, which means it’s time to announce all the award winners, highlights, and even next year’s dates!

From the Press Release:
After 23 unbelievable, uninterrupted days of screenings, today marks the Closing Night of the 19th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival. Known worldwide as North America’s longest-running genre film festival, Fantasia returned triumphantly to Concordia University’s Hall and J.A De Sève Theatres and secured record numbers at Montreal’s McCord Museum, la Grande Bibliothèque, Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and Parc de la Paix in the Quartier des spectacles.

For the sixth consecutive year, the acclaimed festival succeeded in attracting more than 100,000 spectators for 195 indoor screenings, three outdoor screenings, eight virtual reality films, and numerous special events.

Chief among the festival’s 22 buzzed-about World Premieres were LUDO from Nikon and Q, Ken Ochiai’s NINJA THE MONSTER, MOMENTUM by Stephen S. Campanelli, ANGUISH by Sonny Mallhi, Yoav and Doron Paz’s JERUZALEM, CHERRY TREE by David Keating, Jacob Gentry’s SYNCHRONICITY, and the 11-filmmaker omnibus TALES OF HALLOWEEN. Other sold-out films of note included Takeshi Kitano’s RYUZO AND THE SEVEN HENCHMEN, Marvel’s ANT-MAN from Peyton Reed, THE VISIT by Michael Madsen, Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s DARK PLACES, and Closing Night selection ATTACK ON TITAN from Shinji Higuchi.

Related Story:  See Our Fantasia 2015 Coverage Here!

Additional highlights of Fantasia 2015 included appearances from director Jon Watts and actor/co-producer Kevin Bacon to celebrate the Canadian Premiere of COP CAR; Michael Ironside, Laurence Leboeuf, and Munro Chambers attending the eagerly awaited Canadian premiere of TURBO KID (from Montreal-based directors Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell); a focus on genre filmmaking from the African Nations; and the attendance of director Keiichi Hara and screenwriter Miho Maruo at the North American premiere of MISS HOKUSAI, the festival’s Opening Night film. Fantasia is also immensely proud to have hosted the debut international performance of Glass Eye Pix’s acclaimed live horror radio show TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE with its sold-out “Fantasia Edition” directed by Larry Fessenden, Glenn McQuaid, and Douglas Buck and starring genre favorites Tony Todd and Jeremy Gardner.

917 International guests, including more than 400 film industry professionals, flocked to Montreal over the course of this year’s three-week festival and its Frontières Market. The festival team is delighted to have welcomed over 100 international journalists, including esteemed representatives from The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Screen International, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, Indiewire, and Le Monde.

FANTASIA UNVEILS ITS 2015 AWARD-WINNERS
The Fantasia International Film Festival is proud to announce the names of the winners of its awards at its 19th edition. The prizes were awarded by the juries of each category.

CHEVAL NOIR AWARD – FEATURE FILMS
The jury, presided over by Andrew Frank (VP of Sales and Acquisitions, Mongrel Media) and composed of Roxanne Benjamin (filmmaker), François Létourneau (writer and actor), Ian Rattray (co-founder, Film4 FrightFest), and Ryan Turek (director of development, Blumhouse Productions), awarded the following prizes:

Cheval Noir Award for Best Film: TAG by Sion Sono
Award for Best Director: Malik Bader for CASH ONLY
Award for Best Screenplay: Tomoe Kanno for LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM
Award for Best Actor (unanimous): Subaru Shibutani for LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM
Award for Best Actress (unanimous): Reina Triendl for TAG

Special Mention for Sion Sono’s TAG for its creative, surprising, and monumental opening kill sequence.

NEW FLESH AWARD – FIRST FEATURES
The jury, presided over by Patrick Ewald (CEO, Epic Pictures) and composed of Dave Alexander (Editor-in-Chief, Rue Morgue Magazine), Jimmy Beaulieu (comic artist), and Emico Kawai (Producer and International Sales, Nikkatsu Corporation), awarded the following prizes:

New Flesh Award for Best First Feature Film: CRUMBS by Miguel Llanso
Special Mention awarded to THE BLUE HOUR by Anucha Boonyawatana for the artist’s courage and vision

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION PRIZE
The jury, presided over by John McNaughton (filmmaker) and composed of Matthew Hays (journalist) and Francesco Simeoni (Film preservationist, director of Arrow Video), awarded the following prizes:

Award for Best International Short Film: MAURICE by François Jaros
Special Mention awarded to LA SÉANCE by Edouard de La Poëze for its atmosphere, décor, and wardrobe

SATOSHI KON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION
The jury, presided over by Benoit Godbout (filmmaker and artistic director) and composed of Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre (filmmaker) and Johanne Ste-Marie (filmmaker), awarded the following prizes:

Satoshi Kon Award for Best Animated Feature Film: MISS HOKUSAI by Keiichi Hara
Special Mention awarded to POSSESSED by Sam for its playful homage to horror cinema
Satoshi Kon Award for Best Animated Short Film: MISSING ONE PLAYER by Lei Lei
Special Mention awarded to GHOST CELL by Antoine Delacharlery for its technical and visual excellence
Satoshi Kon Award for Best Family Short Film: UNE HISTOIRE D’OURS by Gabriel Osorio
Special Mention awarded to LA MOUFLE by Clémentine Robach for the charm and beauty of its animation and story

BARRY CONVEX AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
The Winner of Spectacular Optical’s 2015 Barry Convex Award for Best Canadian Feature or Co-Production is Larry Kent’s SHE WHO MUST BURN. Whether with words or imagery, Larry’s films have always been ferocious and critically engaged with the culture he creates them in. The award is accompanied by a $1000 prize, thanks to The Paul A. Ray Memorial Fund. 

PRIX AQCC 2015
The jury, composed of Céline Gobert, André Lavoie, and Jean-Marie Lanlo, awarded the Prix AQCC to BRIDGEND by Jeppe Ronde.

PRIX SÉQUENCES
The jury, composed of Pascal Grenier, Maxime Labrecque, and Mathieu Séguin-Tétreault, awarded the Prix Séquences to MISS HOKUSAI by Keiichi Hara, with a Special Mention for THE BLUE HOUR by Anucha Boonyawatana.

PRIX L’ÉCRAN FANTASTIQUE
The Prix L’Écran fantastique, judged by Yves Rivard, was awarded to SYNCHRONICITY by Jacob Gentry.

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Best Asian Feature:
Gold Prize – LOVE & PEACE by Sion Sono
Silver Prize – Poison Berry in My Brain / A Hard Day (TIE)
Bronze Prize – Robbery

Best European, North American, or South American Feature:
Gold Prize – THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE by David Ruhm
Silver Prize – Marshland
Bronze Prize – Børning / Turbo Kid / Shamer’s Daughter (THREE-WAY TIE)

Best Canadian or Quebec Feature:
Gold Prize – TURBO KID by Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Silver Prize – Bite / Demolisher (TIE)
Bronze Prize – Limoilou

Best Animated Feature:
Gold Prize – MISS HOKUSAI by Keiichi Hara
Silver Prize – Possessed
Bronze Prize – The Case of Hanna and Alice

Best Documentary:
I AM THOR by Ryan Wise

Guru Prize for Best Action Feature:
BIG MATCH by Choi Ho

AddikTV Prize for Best Thriller or Suspense Film:
MARSHLAND by Alberto Rodriguez

Most Innovative Short or Feature:
THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE by Perry Blackshear

Best Short Film:
Gold Prize – GOLD FISH by Michael Konyves
Silver Prize – Fools Day
Bronze Prize – Iris

The Fantasia International Film Festival would like to thank its sponsors and media partners for their invaluable support. For this 19th edition, the festival was proud to count of the support of 30 sponsor partners, ten media partners, and over 125 advertisers.

The 20th anniversary edition of The Fantasia International Film Festival will take place in Montreal from July 14 to August 2, 2016.

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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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John Carpenter … NOT DEAD!

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We currently live in a world of false alarms. Within the last several days we’ve suffered everything from warnings of doomsday to Rotten Tomatoes accidentally celebrating the passing(!) and career of the very much still alive John Carpenter.

That’s right, kids; earlier today RT tweeted, “John Carpenter would have been 70 years old today! We celebrate his birthday by looking back at his five favorite films.” The tweet… has since been deleted.

We are here to tell you… John is very much alive! Alive and well, even. Carpenter himself responded on Twitter by alerting the site that “despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.

This is great news indeed. One of horror’s best and brightest is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Now then, let’s take this time to celebrate the man’s birthday PROPERLY by talking about our favorite films of his. Speaking personally for myself…

Prince of Darkness is a movie that both unnerves and scares the hell out of me. One of Carpenter’s most thought-provoking works is just as frightening now as it was when we first received that grainy transmission as a dream from the year…

Tell us your favorite Carpenter movie in our comments section below.

…and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!

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