Presented by Québecor

World Premiere
Opening Film


Directed by Ant Timpson

Hosted by Director Ant Timpson, Actors Elijah Wood and Nell Fisher



Ant Timpson


Roxi Bull, Victoria Dabbs, Mette-Marie Kongsved, Emma Slade, Laura Tunstall


Toby Harvard, Ant Timpson


Elijah Wood, Nell Fisher, Michael Smiley


Photon Films

New Zealand 2024 104 mins OV English
Genre ComedyFamily

Fantasia’s 28th edition is opening with a joyride into the wild. Behold: BOOKWORM. Eleven-year-old Mildred (Nell Fisher, EVIL DEAD RISE) is a super-precocious bookworm, wise beyond her years, with no patience for slackers or the generally uninformed. Despite living in stunning New Zealand, she’s being driven mad by a mundane existence, taking refuge in cherished novels where adventures live without limit. A sudden family crisis rattles Mildred’s world, causing her absentee father, Strawn Wise (Elijah Wood, YELLOWJACKETS), a washed-up American illusionist, to fly into New Zealand in an attempt to be… helpful? Or even the slightest bit present. You see, Strawn has been an absentee father in the most absolute sense, in that he and Mildred have never once met. Now, he’s there, much to his daughter’s unimpressed annoyance. As a bid at bonding, Strawn agrees to take Mildred out into the New Zealand wilderness for a camping adventure in search of a mythological beast that’s long held her fascination: The Canterbury Panther. A string of increasingly absurd and treacherous adventures unfold. Bonding isn’t always easy!

Ladies and gentlemen, Ant Timpson is back! Reuniting the celebrated New Zealand filmmaker with his COME TO DADDY star Wood, who matches through-the-roof comic chemistry with gifted young co-star Fisher, BOOKWORM is as entertaining as it is richly cinematic. With echoes of everything from WALKABOUT and THE WILDERNESS FAMILY to HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, balled into a crazy, enjoyable take on a PG-rated family film that features what just may be a career-best performance from Wood, it’s an inspired feel-good surprise that will have you smiling like a loon. A lifelong friend of film, with decades of history as a cutting-edge festival programmer, Timpson has also donned a producer hat on such beloved one-of-a-kinds as TURBO KID, THE GREASY STRANGLER, CENSOR and DEATHGASM, among others. Co-starring Michael Smiley (KILL LIST) and Morgana O'Reilly (HOUSEBOUND), this is one that simply cannot be absent from your life. – Mitch Davis