Fantasia International Film Festival
When the Fantasia International Film Festival returns to set Montreal ablaze this summer, the fantastic film festival – one of the largest and most influential of its kind in the world – will be celebrating its 15th anniversary with an astonishing three-week showcase of international genre cinema, from July 14th to August 7th, 2011.
The full line-up of over 120 feature films from across the world will be announced in another few weeks. But for now, Fantasia is proud to reveal several juicy teases, each related to the country it calls home.
For the festival’s 2011 edition, a painting by esteemed Montreal artist Donald Caron was commissioned. As of this year, the festival will be calling its main jury award “Le Cheval Noir”, and it was desired that the event’s 15th-anniversary artwork would depict this in an imaginative way.
The poster art and award moniker are a nod to a wonderfully fantastical bit of 19th century Quebecois folklore, a story revolving around the construction of the parish of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges de Trois-Pistoles. This legend has many incarnations, the most popular being that of a priest desperate to finish building his church, calling out to the heavens for some kind of divine intervention. A supernatural higher power, in the form of a mysterious black horse, does indeed answer his call and helps the church get built. But it is generally thought that this higher power came from a place very much south of Heaven…
Maple Syrup Thrills: A tribute to John Dunning and André Link:
This summer Fantasia will pay tribute to the history and heritage of Canadian and Quebecois genre cinema by way of a special event honouring the maverick producing team of John Dunning and André Link, responsible for such genre film landmarks as SHIVERS, RABID, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, DEATH WEEKEND, MY BLOODY VALENTINE and the ILSA films, among many others. Over the spawn of their 40-year partnership, Dunning and Link founded the notorious Cinepix production company – which eventually became what we now know as Lionsgate – and helped launch the careers of some of Canada’s most celebrated independent film titans, including David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, Ivan Reitman, Denis Héroux, George Mihalka, Larry Kent and Jean-Claude Lord.
Fantasia will award the trailblazing duo with a pair of Lifetime Achievement Awards at a ceremony that will feature reminiscences by a score of Canadian film industry players whose careers were shaped by their gutsiness and vision. Further, the filmmakers will be interviewed on stage by none other than Paul Corupe, acclaimed film journalist and founder of Canuxploitation.com.
But that’s not all! Fantasia will also mount a special Dunning/Link retrospective series in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Québécoise, in order to allow a new generation of film lovers a chance to see some of Canada’s most outlandish genre productions of yesterday resurrected on the big screen, in many cases with their makers or stars on hand to introduce the screening.
“There was a time when genre and exploitation filmmaking was the backbone of Canada’s film industry, and a great deal of the most influential forces behind this scene came tearing out of Quebec” said Fantasia Co-Director Mitch Davis. “What better way to celebrate our 15th anniversary than by championing an aspect of our national film history that makes every one of us proud?”
A Gala World Premiere for THE THEATRE BIZARRE:
On the subject of Canada’s esteemed horror film culture, Fantasia will be the site of the world premiere of the partially-made-in-Quebec (as well as the USA, the UK, Germany and France) anthology film, THE THEATRE BIZARRE. One of the most hotly anticipated genre films of 2011, THEATRE showcases the combined talents of some of the world’s most exciting and iconoclastic fantastic film figures: Richard Stanley (HARDWARE, DUST DEVIL, THE SECRET GLORY), Karim Hussain (SUBCONSCIOUS CRUELTY, LA BELLE BETE, cinematographer of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN), Douglas Buck (SISTERS, CUTTING MOMENTS), Buddy Giovinazzo (COMBAT SHOCK, LIFE IS HOT IN CRACKTOWN), David Gregory (PLAGUE TOWN, founder of the Severin video label) and Tom Savini (legendary FX artist – CREEPSHOW, DAWN OF THE DEAD, FRIDAY THE 13TH and countless others, director of the 1990 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake and actor in such films as FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KNIGHTRIDERS and MACHETE).
The Fantasia launch of this film will be a special kind of homecoming. The work of each filmmaker has been showcased at Fantasia over the past 15 years, and the project itself came together in large part at the festival. Further, two of the segments were shot in Montreal (Hussain and Buck are both Montrealers, the former also having been a Fantasia programmer from 1997 to 2001) and much of the post-production was done here as well.
“Fantasia certainly brought us together and, in my opinion, it remains the finest festival of its kind.” said Richard Stanley. Karim Hussain adds “Fantasia is an extremely important part of the process and also to my career. I think it’s safe to say that THEATRE BIZARRE, with the team that currently is in place, could never exist without Fantasia!”
The 15th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will take place in Montreal July 14th to August 7th, 2011. For more information about the event, please visit the official Fantasia International Film Festival website.