Fantasia 2019: Becky’s Super Awesome Highlights

In the days following Fantasia International Film Festival’s conclusion, I’ve been relishing memories of good eats, wonderful people, and unique cinema. I already miss Fantasia. As I’ve been pining over my time spent in Montreal, I’ve assembled a “best of” list so you can pine along with me until 2020.


If you know me at all, then it will come as no surprise that the subject of culinary delights is topping my list. I was beyond pleased to be reunited with my beloved spicy french fries from Romados and oh-so-delicious poutine from Dunn’s, but I was also stoked to try out new (to me) Montreal joints. A standout is Dim Sum from Sammi & Soupe Dumpling. They serve hearty steamed soup dumplings that will make your tummy happy, along with a unique selection of fried options like beef and curry. 

Movies that Surprised Me

I embarked on my Fantasia journey with a healthy list of films I wanted to see, but I’m always most happy when I’m caught off guard by a movie I didn’t see coming. Koko-di Koko-da was one of those gems. It’s a bizarre tale that could frustrate some viewers with its lack of structure and nebulous unfolding. For me, the mixture of surreal and minimal storytelling resulted in a heartbreaking gut-punch that I couldn’t stop thinking and talking about. 

Awkward Karaoke

Montreal is known for its nightlife. There are many 24-hour food options to occupy all the people who tend to stay out ’til the wee hours. I am not usually the late-night-on-the-town type, but Fantasia turns us all into wild banshees that roam the Québécois streets under the full moon hunting down libations, sustenance, and…karaoke. This year, a group of us stumbled upon a random Korean karaoke spot. We were the only customers present, which made for an awkward yet wholly welcome adventure. Plus, it is joyfully anomalous to see K-pop videos paired with Slipknot. Needless to say, we shut the place down. 

Frontières Pitch Sessions

If you’re an indie filmmaker or even just a little bit interested in understanding how movies get made, the Frontières International Co-Production Market is a highly rewarding experience. I loved watching people of diverse backgrounds from all over the globe pitch their genre films before an audience of industry professionals. This is the platform that launched projects like Raw, Turbo Kid, and The Ranger. Attending the market is like a sneak peek at the best of indie horror that’s just around the corner. 

Deathgasm in a Hotel Room

After an unusually difficult task of tracking down the right HDMI cable, Jonathan Barkan and Ariel Fisher hosted the Fantasia edition of Matt Donato’s Drinking With The Dread in their well-endowed hotel room. The ultra-gory, insanely-metal Deathgasm was the flick of choice. Our evening was truly turned up to 11 when the film’s director, Jason Lei Howden, was face-timed into our cinematic revelry courtesy of Fantasia’s Director of International Communications, Ted Geoghegan. Three shots and, uh, some number of beers later, I had a blast with this group of people and this film. If you’d like to fuck shit up at home, check out Matt’s rules: Drinking With The Dread: A Deathgasm You Won’t Forget.



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