Year 2007

The program of the 2007 edition of the Fantasia Festival was a departure from its predecessors in its massive scale. In response to the ever‐growing success of the operation, the team decided to inflate their program from 90 to 130 films. Furthermore, about 20 short film programs were established, half of these dedicated to local productions. To accommodate these important additions, a 3rd theater is rented at the Concordia University, the DB Clark Theater, which would also host various conferences.

2007 also saw the arrival of the new section Documentaries from the Edge, which, as the name indicates, focuses on documentaries with audacity and unusual subjects. Although Fantasia presented documentaries in previous years, the creation of this new platform solidified the genre’s importance to the festival’s overall programming. By regrouping these films under a united category, it became evident that the rich program of the festival wasn’t limited to horror and science‐fiction. The public responded with enthusiasm to this initiative, coming in great numbers to projections of Asger Leth’s Ghosts of Cité Soleil, Seth Gordon’s The King of Kong and Robinson Devor’s much anticipated film Zoo. French journalist Yves Montmayeur, in attendance to present his medium‐lenght films about great contemporary Asian directors, was given also given a tribute. It only took one summer for the newfound section to become a staple of the festival and a recurring and anticipated part of the festival’s future.

Another remarkable section, Hell is a City: The Cinema of Urban Apocalypse offered various sights of the end of the world, more precisely of the specific moment where chaos takes control of our planet. Running on pure adrenaline, this section saw mutant rats clash with religious fanatics and showcased the work of young American authors, with David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry’s The Signal, Jim Mickle’s Mulberry Street, Chris Gentry’s Right at Your Door, the last two of which were screened with directors in attendance. Hell is a City also included the world premier of local Maurice Devereaux’ End of the Line and the North American premiere of Minoru Kawasi’s The World Sinks Except Japan.

An important retrospective of Russia’s genre cinema gave the audience the opportunity to (re)discover various obscure Soviet films, from many different periods. Russian Fantastika : From the Tsars to the Stars gave adventurous cinephiles the opportunity to see films as varied as Vasili’s Zhuraviev’s Cosmic Voyage (1936), Karen Shakhnazarov’s Zero City (1968) but most importantly, one of the greatest masterpieces of world cinema to adventurous cinema, regardless of genre: Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).

After a tribute to Ray Harryhausen in 2005, Fantasia gave a 2nd Honorific Lifetime Achievement Award to Jean Rollin, applauding his distinctive and vital take on fantastical cinema. Quite moved, the artist appeared in person to receive his prize during a ceremony preceding a special showing of Les Frissons des Vampires. Rollin was also in attendance for the showing of his testamentary film La Nuit des Horloges.

Other than Devereaux and Kawasi, whose The Rug Cop was also on the program, many Fantasia regulars were back that year, to the joy of many cinephiles. Larry Fessenden, Lloyd Kaufman and Sion Sono also came back to Montreal to show The Last Winter (Montreal Premiere), Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (Canadian Premiere) and Exte: Hair Extension (Canadian Premiere), respectively. The Festival also took advantage of Sono’s appearance to show the brand new Hazard. The Asian selection is particularly anticipated, as it marks the return of some of their best filmmakers, namely Kim Ki‐Duk with Time, Johnnie To with Exiled, Shinya Tsukamoto with Nighmare Detective, Kiyoshi Kurosawa with Retribution, Jo Dong‐Oh’s The Restless and the indispensable Takashi Miike with Sun‐Scarred, Big Bang Love and the delirious Zebraman.

And, as always, the newcomers were welcomed like kings. Given a torrential wave of applause for his extremely anticipated slasher homage Hatchet, Adam Green’s got similar praise for his second feature Spiral. Thaï director Chookiat Sakweerakul took over the Hall Theater with his unsettling 13 Beloved, one of the biggest screening‐events of 2007, which later won the public prize for Best Asian Film that year. The public also discovered Mai Tominaga with the North American premiere of Wool 100%, M dot Strange and Won Shin‐Yeon with the Canadian Premiere of We Are the Strange and North American Premiere of A Bloody Aria, respectively, but also The Canadian Premieres of The Wizard of Gore, Anna Biller’s Viva, David Arquette’s The Tripper and the World Premieres of Gregory Wilson’s The Girl Next Door and Guillaume Taveron and Hiroshi Toda’s Sakura no Kage, shown with directors in attendance. Fantasia also welcomed comedian Nicolas Bro, Danish film star for the premieres of Offscreen and Adam’s Apples as well as the controversial director Uwe Boll, for the world premieres of Postal and In The Name of The King.

Starting on July 5th with the Canadian premiere of animation film Michael Arias’ Tekon Kinkreet, Fantasia ended on July 23rd, with additional showings of Tetsuya Nakashima’s Memories of Matsuko, feature the Jury, helmed by Yves Pelletier, awarded the Best Film Prize. Once again, the Festival ended on a successful note, reaching a record of 81,000 attendees, a 4,000 increase from the previous year, and imposing itself as a film event to be reckoned with, not only on the local scene but on the international circuit as well.

The year in pictures