Fantasia Announces Stellar Second Wave for the 2023 Festival
Summer is here and that means the Fantasia International Film Festival is quickly approaching! This year the genre festival is returning for its 27th edition from July 20 to August 9, 2023 in Montreal. And they’ve just announced a second wave of incredible titles from around the world.
Pascal Plante’s third feature film Red Rooms opens the festival for its North American premiere. In the film, the high-profile case of serial killer Ludovic Chevalier (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos has just gone to trial, and Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy) is obsessed. When reality blurs with her morbid fantasies, she goes down a dark path to seek the final piece of the case’s puzzle.
Fantasia is also hosting the book launch and live reading for Dark Matter Presents: Haunted Reels! The book is a genre fiction anthology curated by David Lawson Jr., co-founder of Rustic Films. The anthology includes 28 stories that span genres written by some familiar names, such as Jay Baruchel, C. Robert Cargill, Gary Sherman, Sarah Bolger, The Pierce Brothers, Justin Benson, and Aaron Moorhead.
Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Dark Matter.
Check out the full second-wave Fantasia lineup below!
Fantasia Second-Wave Titles:
#MANHOLE (Japan) – Dir. Kazuyoshi Kumakiri
Successful salesman Shunsuke falls into a concrete manhole with no way out in this clever, gory nailbiter. A tale with more twists than a corkscrew factory, and an elegant balance of black humour, social satire, and nerve-wracking tension. Official Selection: Berlinale 2023. Canadian Premiere.
AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE (Japan) – Dir. Ayuko Tsukahara
Set in a fantastical version of 19th-century Japan, this romantic epic follows a tortured young woman who, after being married off to a ruthless military commander, still hopes for a better future. Adapted from a popular light novel series by Akumi Agitogi. Quebec Premiere.
DEEP SEA (China) – Dir. Tian Xiaopeng
The ocean’s depths are alive with dreams and nightmares in the emotionally courageous fantasy from director Tian Xiaopeng (MONKEY KING: HERO IS BACK). Using a cutting-edge digital particle-animation technique to emulate traditional ink-wash painting, Tian has created a visual spectacle of unprecedented richness, which will be screened, as it deserves, in 3D. Axis section. Canadian Premiere
DIVINITY (USA) – Dir. Eddie Alcazar
In a barren future wasteland, two cosmic brothers abduct a mad pharmaceutical mogul on a quest for immortality. A face-meltingly stylized sci-fi mind trip produced by Steven Soderbergh, starring Scott Bakula, Stephen Dorff and Bella Thorne. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Canadian Premiere.
IN MY MOTHER’S SKIN (Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan) – Dir. Kenneth Dagatan
In the final, dire days of the Second World War, the young Tala discovers something otherworldly in the woods. A Filipino folk-horror fairy tale set in a time of perfidy, dread, and desolation. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Canadian Premiere.
INSOMNIACS AFTER SCHOOL (Japan) – Dir. Chihiro Ikeda
Nakami (Daiken Okudaira), an introverted young loner, takes refuge in the largely abandoned observatory at Kuyo High School, where he meets Magari (Nana Mori), an enigmatic and spontaneous student. Both suffering from chronic insomnia, they decide to revive the school’s astronomy club. International Premiere.
IRLANDE CAHIER BLEU (Canada) – Dir. Olivier Godin
An anachronistic firefighter, a quotidian poet, and an expert soup-maker, Ducarmel (Emery Habwineza) also plays in a competitive basketball league. There’s only one problem with his hobbies: finding a babysitter to look after his daughter. Moreover, when he dozes off in the evening, he dreams… a little too forcefully. In his bizarre dream world, a beguiling blue book reigns, love looms, and he is the best basketball player of all time. Camera Lucida section. World Premiere.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST (China) – Dir. Kong Dashan
Tang Zhijun, the middle-aged, down-and-out editor-in-chief of a science fiction magazine, embarks on a final journey to find aliens. A workplace mockumentary tour-de-force! Camera Lucida section. Canadian Premiere.
KILLING ROMANCE (Korea) – Dir. Lee Won-suk
A disgraced star (Lee Ha-nee, PHANTOM) and her bumbling student neighbor who can talk to animals (Gong Myoung, EXTREME JOB) decide to do away with her awful husband (Lee Sun-kyun, PARASITE), but the best-laid plans of the unlikely duo are dubious at best. Canadian Premiere.
KURAYUKABA (Japan) – Dir. Shigeyoshi Tsukahara
Equal parts crazy cartoon caper, shadowy film noir, nostalgic escapade, and steampunk fantasy, KURAYUKABA is a retro-flavored anime reimagining of the freewheeling Taisho era, Japan’s equivalent of the Roaring Twenties. It’s the long-awaited personal project of director Shigeyoshi Tsukahara, whose resume includes stage design for adventurous pop-rock superstars Sekai no Owari. Axis Section. World Premiere.
LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL (Australia) – Dirs: Colin and Cameron Cairnes
A career-best performance by David Dastmalchian headlines this innovative and nightmarish horror treat in which a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms. Accurately hailed by Stephen King as “absolutely brilliant”. Official Selection: SXSW 2023. Overlook 2023. Canadian Premiere.
MAD FATE (Hong Kong) – Dir. Soi Cheang
A demented fortune teller and a “born psychopath” try to beat fate and solve a murder in this madcap supernatural neo-noir, produced by Johnnie To’s Milkyway Image. Opening Film: Hong Kong International Film Festival. Official selection: Berlinale 2023. Canadian Premiere.
MAMI WATA (Nigeria, France, UK) – Dir. C.J. Obasi
An ancient water deity reigns over progress and power in this stunning and expressionistic African saga. Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Sundance 2023. Camera Lucida section. Canadian Premiere.
MARRY MY DEAD BODY (Taiwan) – Dir. Cheng Wei-Hao
Ghost stories, gangsters, and gay pride collide in this three-way of supernatural goosebumps, high-octane thrills, and odd-couple comedy. Official selection Taipei Golden Horse 2022. Canadian Premiere.
MOLLI AND MAX IN THE FUTURE (USA) – Dir: Michael Lukk Litwak
Zosia Mamet and Aristotle Athari charm in this wildly endearing sci-fi romantic comedy about a man and woman whose orbits repeatedly collide over the course of 12 years, 4 planets, 3 dimensions, and one space cult. Winner: Best Feature, Fantaspoa International Film Festival 2023 Canadian Premiere.
MY ANIMAL (Canada) – Dir: Jacqueline Castel
First pitched at the Frontieres Market in 2019, this transformative queer horror drama flips the script of GINGER SNAPS, giving the slow-burn lycanthropic love story at its core some serious bite. Stars Bobbie Salvör Menuez and Amandla Stenberg, with Stephen. McHattie, Scott MacDonald, and Heidi von Palleske topping off Castel’s stunning feature debut about young lovers and an accursed family legacy. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Septentrion Shadows section. Canadian Premiere.
PERPETRATOR (USA) – Dir: Jennifer Reeder
Kiah McKirnan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell, and Ireon Roach star in a poetic and hyper-original genre creation of the kind that only Jennifer Reeder could make. At its core, it is a horror film inspired by the shared experience of generations of women. Official Selection: Berlinale 2023, Tribeca Film Festival 2023. Canadian Premiere.
PETT KATA SHAW (Bangladesh) – Dir. Nuhash Humayun
Bangladeshi folklore is rife with ghosts and unforgiving spirits, all deeply connected to its people’s collective history of injustice and societal dread. PETT KATA SHAW, an anthology inspired by oral legends from Bangladesh, is written and directed by Nuhash Humayun, the breakout star of Bangladeshi horror cinema. Reinvented in a contemporary setting, the spine-chilling tales of PETT KATA SHAW don’t shy away from issues such as mental health, religion, climate change, and gender roles. North American Premiere.
RESTORE POINT (Czech Republic) – Dir. Robert Hloz
2041. People have a constitutional right to experience one full life. If someone dies an unnatural death, they are revived. All that’s needed is to regularly create a restore point – a backup where one’s memory is saved like a computer. Murder is nearly impossible. Nearly. A detective (Andrea Mohylová) attempts to solve the violent killing of a couple after only one of the victims (Václav Neužil, ZATOPEK) is brought back to life. North American Premiere.
RIVER (Japan) – Dir. Junta Yamaguchi
Mikoto (Riko Fujitani) works as a waitress at the Fujiya Inn, in a wintry valley town near Kyoto. As she stares momentarily into the river nearby – a blink, a lifetime – something feels off: the inn is looping… two minutes at a time! RIVER culminates into a multifaceted portrait of place as the various guests, employees, and hosts band together to solve the mystery of the valley stuck in time. North American Premiere.
ROMI (US) – Dir. Robert Cuffley
AI takes control when a young woman hides out in a state-of-the-art smart home while evading the law. As her reality unravels, she discovers she’s not the only one with secrets. Starring Alexa Barajas (YELLOWJACKETS), Juan Riedinger (EXCESS FLESH, RICEBOY SLEEPS), Pavel Kríz (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-GHOST PROTOCOL), and Jocelyn Chugg. Septentrion Shadows section. World Premiere.
SHIN KAMEN RIDER (Japan) – Dir. Hideaki Anno
The masked, motorcycle-riding dark superhero Kamen Rider embarks on a rampage of destruction to stop an evil organization, in Hideaki Anno’s latest tokusatsu reimagining, this time of the enormously popular superhero franchise. Special Screening.
STAY ONLINE (Ukraine) – Dir: Eva Strelnikova
Katya (Liza Zaitseva), a volunteer from Kyiv fighting against the invasion of Ukraine, uses a laptop donated to the resistance and comes into contact with the young son of the computer’s original owner, who is desperately in search of his missing parents. Her attempts to help the child will see her risk all she holds dear. World Premiere.
SUITABLE FLESH (US) – Dir. Joe Lynch
A psychiatrist falls into a downward spiral of sex, possession, and death when a young patient shows up at her door with symptoms that are of another world. Heather Graham and Judah Lewis star in Joe Lynch’s loving tribute to the late Stuart Gordon that reunites actress Barbara Crampton, Screenwriter Denis Paoli, and Executive Producer Brian Yuzna to forge a macabre supernatural erotic horror film straight from the depths of the abyss. Adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP. Canadian Premiere.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (US) – Dir: Yuval Adler
After being forced to drive a mysterious passenger at gunpoint, a man finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems. This riveting crime thriller will leave you breathless. International Premiere.
T BLOCKERS (Australia) – Dir. Alice Maio Mackay
Equal parts gross-out comic horror and heartwarming coming of age, T BLOCKERS is about a young trans filmmaker obsessed with a thought-to-be long-lost film and the spread of a violent infectious parasite. Mackay channels Gregg Araki and John Waters in this playful and defiant sci-fi horror. Canadian Premiere.
TALK TO ME (Australia) – Dir. Danny and Michael Philippou
When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces. Stars Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, and Miranda Otto. Canadian Premiere.
THE BECOMERS (US) – Dir. Zach Clark
A romantic tale of two body-swapping aliens trying to find their place on this big, dumb planet, THE BECOMERS combines lo-fi aesthetics with Clark’s signature sharp, sardonic comic talents. An off-kilter dark comedy navigating the strange and often off-putting contemporary American landscape, at its heart THE BECOMERS stands out as one of the great love stories of our age. World Premiere.
THE FIRST SLAM DUNK (Japan) – Dir: Takehiko Inoue
Basketball has always given Ryota and his teammates a sense of purpose, and they’ll do whatever it takes to win the championship, in THE FIRST SLAM DUNK, the first new feature-length film from the globally cherished franchise in 33 years. An incredibly dynamic, electrifying underdog story loaded with inspiring moments, it’s the latest entry to Takehiko Inoue’s iconic franchise that’s had a huge impact in Japan. Axis Section. Canadian Premiere
THE PRIMEVALS (US) – Dir. David Allen
Fantasia’s world premiere of THE PRIMEVALS represents the culmination of a longtime dream harbored by visual effects wizard David Allen, whose career stretched from 1970’s EQUINOX through Oscar-nominated work on YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, WILLOW, and beyond. World Premiere.
VINCENT MUST DIE (France) – Dir. Stéphan Castang
Random strangers have suddenly started attacking the otherwise unremarkable Vincent (Karim Leklou) with murderous intent. As things spiral violently out of control, he is forced to flee and change his life completely. North American Premiere.
WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN (Canada) – Dir: Kim Albright
In a world where our hearts are removable objects and we’re ruled by an app, it’s tricky to find authentic love. Anabel refuses to live via tech and falls for the emotionless George, impulsively ripping her heart out for him and turning her world upside down. This darkly funny fantasy with quirky charm stars Anna Maguire (VIOLATION), Hamza Haq ( TRANSPLANT) and Veena Sood (CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING). Official Selection: SXSW 2023. Septentrion Shadows section. Canadian Premiere