FANTASIA’S 28th EDITION TO OPEN WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ANT TIMPSON’S BOOKWORM

Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s Cannes sensation THE COUNT OF MONTE-CRISTO, Isaac Ezban’s PÁRVULOS, Kenji Nakamura's MONONOKE THE MOVIE: THE PHANTOM IN THE RAIN, Alexander J. Farrel’s THE BEAST WITHIN, Vivieno Caldinelli’s SCARED SHITLESS, Niles Atalah’s ANIMALIA PARADOXA, and Veerapatra Jinanavin’s MANTRA WARRIOR: THE LEGEND OF THE EIGHT MOONS are among the second wave of titles announced by the Montréal festival

Thursday, 6 June 2024 // Montréal, Quebec -- The Fantasia International Film Festival will celebrate its upcoming 28th edition with an electrifying program of screenings, workshops, and launch events running from July 18 through August 4, 2024, returning yet again at the Concordia Hall and J.A. de Sève cinemas, with additional screens and events at Montréal’s Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée.

The festival’s full lineup will be announced on July 3, but in the meantime, Fantasia is excited to reveal a select second wave of premiere titles, along with the recipient of their 2024 Canadian Trailblazer award.

Bookworm

OPENING FILM: ANT TIMPSON’S BOOKWORM, STARRING ELIJAH WOOD AND NELL FISHER

Fantasia’s 28th edition will open with a joyride into the wild, celebrating the World Premiere of Ant Timpson’s moving and hilarious BOOKWORM. Reuniting the celebrated New Zealand filmmaker with his COME TO DADDY star Elijah Wood (Showtime’s Yellowjackets) - who matches through-the-roof comic chemistry of gifted his young co-star Nell Fisher (EVIL DEAD RISE) – BOOKWORM is as entertaining as it is richly cinematic. Mildred (Fisher), a precocious eleven-year-old bookworm, escapes her humdrum existence by immersing herself in novels where literary adventures abound, with a long-dreamed quest to capture proof of a mythological beast known as The Canterbury Panther. When an unusual accident occurs, Mildred’s long absent father Strawn Wise (Wood), a washed-up illusionist, flies to New Zealand to look after a daughter he’s never met. When they agree to go camping despite neither being the outdoorsy type, this ultimate test in family bonding leads the duo on a string of increasingly absurd and treacherous adventures. World Premiere.

Vincenzo Natali Award

A CANADIAN TRAILBLAZER AWARD FOR VINCENZO NATALI

Fantasia will bestow their 2024 Canadian Trailblazer Award to visionary filmmaker Vincenzo Natali, whose landmark 1997 debut CUBE blew open the doors on what became a new wave of individual and provocative Canuck genre works (including John Fawcett’s GINGER SNAPS, Jen and Sylvia Soska’s AMERICAN MARY, and countless more) in addition to siring both a film franchise and a Japanese remake. Natali went on to make the equally idiosyncratic and quite underrated science fiction films CYPHER and NOTHING, the latter reuniting him with CUBE stars David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, and Maurice Dean Wint. He’s had his biggest hit to date with the Frankenstein-ian SPLICE; helmed the intriguing ghost story HAUNTER’ the nightmarish Netflix Original IN THE TALL GRASS, based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill; and has since been busy on blockbuster series like NBC’s Hannibal, FX’s The Strain, HBO’s Westworld, Starz’s American Gods, and the Netflix’s Locke & Key and Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Natali will receive his award before the World Premiere of the Canadian Film Centre’s new 4K restoration of CUBE, the film that started it all.

Mononoke The Movie

AN ANIME CULT CLASSIC RETURNS WITH MONONOKE THE MOVIE: THE PHANTOM IN THE RAIN

The 2007 TV series MONONOKE is one of the most singular and delightfully innovative works in the history of anime, and its devoted cult following, wistfully presuming that the paranormal escapades of the mysterious Medicine Seller were long since concluded, can rejoice. Director Kenji Nakamura (GATCHAMAN CROWDS) has revived the intricate palace intrigue and hallucinatory supernatural thrills of his signature work with a brand-new feature film, his most elaborate and opulent adventure yet, and it makes its grand debut at Fantasia. Visually exquisite to an almost overwhelming degree, it gleefully indulges in the iconography and aesthetics of Edo-era Japan, doing so with Pop Art panache, playful anachronism, and percussive pacing, and immediately asserts itself as an essential anime classic. Animation Plus Section. World Premiere.

The Beast Within

KIT HARINGTON BARES TEETH IN ATMOSPHERIC WEREWOLF CHILLER THE BEAST WITHIN

Phantasmagoric, gothic, and straight out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Kit Harington (Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thrones) stars in this nightmarish fantasy that reflects on the uncanniness of childhood and the creatures that come out at night. The narrative feature debut of esteemed documentary filmmaker Alexander J. Farrel (REFUGEE), THE BEAST WITHIN - previously known as WHAT REMAINS OF US - follows a ten-year-old girl as she starts to question her atypical life in her family's fortified compound in rural England, ultimately discovering that once a month, her father (Harington) turns into a monster. Co-starring Caoilinn Springall (STOPMOTION), Ashleigh Cummings (AMC’s NOS4A2), and James Cosmo (BRAVEHEART). World Premiere.

Monte Cristo

CANNES SENSATION THE COUNT OF MONTE-CRISTO COMES TO CONQUER NORTH AMERICA

Fresh off a spectacular Cannes World Premiere that ended in a near-12-minute standing ovation, Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s 1815-set blockbuster epic THE COUNT OF MONTE-CRISTO will be coming to Fantasia for its International bow. Created by Alexandre Dumas in the mid-19th century, Edmond Dantès is one of the most celebrated characters in French literature, and the story of his retribution has left its mark on popular culture around the world—the similarities between Bruce Wayne and the wrongly imprisoned, revenge-minded Dantès are obvious. This new film adaptation subtly reappropriates that influence, hinting at the tropes and trappings of the modern superhero film while retaining the classicism of the work through grandiose art direction. Pierre Niney (YVES SAINT LAURENT) shines in the title role as he expresses the stages of Dantès’s evolution into Monte-Cristo with exemplary sobriety and spellbinding charisma. Also starring Bastien Bouillon (THE NIGHT OF THE 12TH), Anaïs Demoustier (INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE), Anamaria Vartolomei (HAPPENING), and Laurent Lafitte (ELLE). International Premiere.

Parvulos

A HORRIFIC VISION OF CHILDHOOD’S END - AT THE END OF THE WORLD: PÁRVULOS

Award-winning Mexican filmmaker Isaac Ezban (THE INCIDENT, PARALLEL) returns with his fifth - and most personal - feature, a disturbing tale that he’s spent the last seven years bringing into light. PÁRVULOS is a dystopian coming-of-age horror story that begins with three young brothers living alone in a remote cabin, hiding a terrifying secret in their basement. Where it goes from there will pull the breath from your lungs, as the children’s sealed world is forcefully expanded by monstrous elements beyond their control. A poignant nightmare inspired by GOODNIGHT MOMMY, LORD OF THE FLIES, A QUIET PLACE, and the universes of Guillermo del Toro (an outspoken admirer of Ezban’s work), PÁRVULOS features some of the most gruesome practical make-up effects the screen has seen in years and is electrified by astonishing performances from actors Felix Farid, Leonardo Cervantes, Mateo Ortega, Norma Flores, Horacio Lazo, Carla Adell, Juan Carlos Remolina, and the great Noé Hernández (WE ARE THE FLESH). From the producers of HUESERA: THE BONE WOMAN. World Premiere.

Scared Shitless

BATHROOM HUMOR AT ITS MOST IMAGINATIVE BEST: VIVIENO CALDINELLI’S SCARED SHITLESS!

Vivieno Caldinelli, known for SEVEN STAGES TO ACHIEVE ETERNAL BLISS, the Roddy Piper short PORTAL TO HELL, and THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES, tackles the journey of everyman to hero once again with his new feature SCARED SHITLESS! Steven Ogg (DARK MATCH, AMC’s The Walking Dead) and Daniel Doheny (Netflix’s Brand New Cherry Flavor) star as a father and son plumbing duo faced with a disgusting dilemma: rid a building of a toilet-dwelling creature before it unleashes itself to the rest of the world! Co-starring Chelsea Clark (Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia, THE PROTECTOR), Mark McKinney (CBC’s The Kids in the Hall, NBC’s Superstore), and a cameo by Julian Richings (BEAU IS AFRAID; RELAX, I’M FROM THE FUTURE), there’s loads of gore, a fantastic creature by Canadian FX legend Steve Kostanski, and enough laughs that you’ll need a change of pants! Septentrion Shadows Section. World Premiere.

Mantra Warrior

THE RAMAYANA RE-IMAGINED IN MANTRA WARRIOR: THE LEGEND OF THE EIGHT MOONS

Following last summer’s Fantasia screening of the restored anime version of the Ramayana, it’s now Thailand’s turn to impress and amaze with an animated reimagining of this mighty, ancient mythological epic. Director Veerapatra Jinanavin and the team at Bangkok-based Riff Studio not only bring a Thai aesthetic to the titanic tale of Ram, Sita, Hanuman, and their foes, they’ve rebooted it as a cyberpunk space opera punctuated with powerhouse mecha battles. MANTRA WARRIOR: THE LEGEND OF THE EIGHT MOONS is the first installment of Riff Studio’s exciting new franchise, one sure to thrill fans of fantastic sci-fi while cementing Thailand as a producer of world-class animation with global appeal. Animation Plus Section. North American Premiere.

Haze

AN EERIE, UNFORGETTABLE HAZE BECKONS

A young journalist (Cole Doman, MUTT) returns home to investigate unsolved deaths at a psychiatric center. As he dances with the shadows of his past, his family history and the town’s secrets begin to converge. A somber, queer horror drama steeped in deeply-rooted trauma that haunts with eerie, richly-intentional visuals, HAZE is the unforgettable sophomore feature from filmmaker Matthew Fifer (CICADA). Co-starring David Pittu (FX’s Damages) and Brian J. Smith (Syfy’s Stargate Universe). International Premiere.

Soul Eater

THE MAKERS OF INSIDE AND THE DEEP HOUSE CARVE NEW PATHS: THE SOUL EATER

Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the acclaimed filmmaking team behind INSIDE, LIVID, and THE DEEP HOUSE, have adopted the popular French novel by Alexis Laipsker to create a fresh turn in their distinctive filmography. A morbid procedural thriller with extreme horror flashpoints, THE SOUL EATER turned heads when it premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival earlier this year. As violent and gruesome deaths plague a small mountain village, an old legend about a malevolent creature resurfaces. Two cops with different methods are compelled to join forces and uncover a sinister plot involving the disappearance of local children. Starring Virginie Ledoyen (8 FEMMES), Paul Hamy (DESPITE THE NIGHT), and Sandrine Bonnaire (VAGABOND). North American Premiere.

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS YEAR’S UNDERGROUND SECTION WITH LOVE, DEMONS, AND THE END OF THE WORLD

Demon Sword

EVIL DEAD MEETS KAMEN RIDER IN PORTUGAL WITH THE OLD MAN AND THE DEMON SWORD

In the remote Portuguese mountain village of Pé da Serra, a monk arrives wielding a demonic sword. Before long, the mystical weapon ends up in the hands of the town drunk António da Luz (playing himself). Now, the drunkard and the sword will have to learn to fight an encroaching evil together. Featuring amateur actors and the incredible voice work of João Loy, the voice of Vegeta from the iconic Portuguese dub of Dragon Ball Z, Fábio Powers’ THE OLD MAN AND THE DEMON SWORD is a heartfelt and unlikely retelling of the hero’s journey. Underground Section. World Premiere.

Me and My Victim

LOVE, LONGING, AND SITUATIONSHIPS IN ME AND MY VICTIM

Blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction, ME AND MY VICTIM is about co-directors and subjects, Maurane and Billy Pedlow, who are not quite friends and not quite lovers and the true, messy, and kind-of-fucked-up story about how they met. A messy, whirlwind, imperfect, orgasmic, meme-inflected, jump into the rabbit hole of their on-again, off-again situationship, their ultra-micro-budget (the film was made for less than $1000 US) confession playfully captures the humanity of love and lust in the 21st Century. Underground Section. World Premiere.

Animalia Paradoxa

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IN ANIMALIA PARADOXA

An amphibious humanoid searches for water in a labyrinthine, post-apocalyptic landscape, from the mind of filmmaker Niles Atalah (REY), the co-founder of the boundary-pushing Chilean production company Diluvio with artists Joaquin Cociña and Cristóbal Leon (LA CASA LOBO). Genre and arthouse cinema meld to create a singular collage-like invention that will defy all expectations with ANIMALIA PARADOXA. A hybrid of styles and techniques, this surreal journey combines live action, dance, sculpture, and stop-motion animation in a dreamlike structure, reimagining the end of the world like you’ve never seen. Underground Section, co-presented with Animation Plus. North American Premiere.

ADDITIONAL SECOND WAVE TITLES:

100 YARDS (China) – Dirs. Xu Haofeng and Xu Junfeng
Family secrets, demimonde politics, and romantic entanglements complicate the rivalry between two skilled martial artists in the 1920s. The latest from masterful genre auteur Xu Haofeng (THE SWORD IDENTITY, THE FINAL MASTER), co-directed by his own brother, once again reconciles authenticity and inventiveness, and rewards its attentive audience a hundred times over. Quebec Premiere.

Azrael

AZRAEL (USA) – Dir. E.L Katz
In a post-apocalyptic world, Azrael (Samara Weaving, READY OR NOT) must fight tooth and nail to rescue her partner from a cult of mute religious fanatics in the year’s most vicious tale of revenge. Also starring Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (FEMME), Sebastian Bull (SONS), and Victoria Carmen Sonne (HOLIDAY). Winner of Best Feature, Best Actress, and Best FX Audience Awards at Panic Fest 2024. Canadian Premiere.

BRAVE CITIZEN (South Korea) – Dir. Park Jin-pyo
A former boxer, now a part-time teacher, dons a mask and deals with high school bullying the hard way. Based on the popular webtoon, BRAVE CITIZEN is a stylishly entertaining Korean action flick from the director of VOICE OF A MURDERER and YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, with great characters and intense fight scenes. Canadian Premiere.

BRUSH OF THE GOD (Japan) – Dir. Keizo Murase
Two teens must save the world from a many-headed, mythological dragon in this generously self-referential giant-monster movie from 88-year-old master tokusatsu artisan Keizo Murase, who makes his directorial debut following a lifetime crafting monster suits for all of Japan’s best-known kaiju films. Canadian Premiere.

Carnage

CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS (Australia) – Dir Alice Maio Mackay
Alice Maio Mackay (T-BLOCKERS) returns to Fantasia with an early Christmas present (with some help from The People’s Joker’s Vera Drew, on editing duty). Bloody, ironic, and uproarious, CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS tells the story of true-crime podcaster Lola who returns to her hometown at Christmas for the very first time since running away and transitioning - meanwhile, the vengeful ghost of a historical murderer and urban legend seemingly arises to kill again! Official Selection: Salem Horror Fest, Inside out Toronto. Underground Section. Quebec Premiere.

Darkest

DARKEST MIRIAM (Canada) – Dir: Naomi Jaye
Following up her debut feature THE PIN, Naomi Jaye adapts the Giller Prize short-listed novel ‘The Incident Report’ by author Martha Baillie. Miriam (Britt Lower, SEVERANCE) is a library worker dealing with her father’s death, threatening letters at work, and an unexpected lover, all of which threaten to change her solitary life forever. Starring Tom Mercier (THE ANIMAL KINGDOM), Sook-Yin Lee (SHORTBUS), and Jean Yoon (CBC’s Kim’s Convenience), and executive produced by Academy Award-winner Charlie Kaufman (ADAPTATION). Septentrion Shadows Section. Canadian Premiere.

Dont call it

DON’T CALL IT MYSTERY (Japan) – Dir. Hiroaki Matsuyama
In this compelling whodunit adapted from a popular, award-winning manga and subsequent hit TV series, college student Totonou (Masaki Suda of THE BOY AND THE HERON), known for his sharp observation skills, becomes entangled in a complicated family feud involving mysterious deaths. Canadian Premiere.

FAQ

FAQ (South Korea) – Dir. Kim Da-min
A stressed-out elementary-school student secretly befriends a bottle of rice wine that can communicate through Morse Code. Director Kim Da-min’s debut feature is a heartwarming sci-fi/coming-of-age story guaranteed to make you smile. Canadian Premiere.

Kryptic

KRYPTIC (Canada, U.K.) – Dir. Kourtney Roy
A part of XYZ Films’ New Visions and with a World Premiere at SXSW, Kourtney Roy’s debut feature KRYPTIC follows Kay (Chloe Pirrie of THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT and HANNA), a woman on a mysterious quest. A strange forest encounter leads her to find a missing cryptozoologist – who bears a striking resemblance to Kay – and the monster she was hunting. KRYPTIC is a doppelganger story of self-discovery and empowerment, and a must-see for audiences wanting a colourful spectacle that defies genre with strange, gooey interludes and atmospheric landscapes. Septentrion Shadows Section. Quebec Premiere.

Missing

THE MISSING (Philippines) – Dir. Carl Joseph Papa
The death of Eric’s uncle triggers a suppressed childhood memory - and the return of his alien abductor - in director Carl Joseph Papa's third animated feature: a queer, surreal hybrid of romance, drama, and sci-fi embracing digital rotoscope animation and featuring internationally renowned Filipino actress Dolly De Leon (TRIANGLE OF SADNESS). Canadian Premiere.

NOT FRIENDS (Thailand) – Dir. Atta Hemwadee
Hoping to win a short-film competition, Pae decides to direct a tear-jerking tribute to former classmate Joe, who tragically passed away, even though they weren’t actually friends. Atta Hemwadee’s feature debut was Thailand’s entry in the Best International Feature category for this year’s Academy Awards. Canadian Premiere.

oddity

ODDITY (Ireland) – Dir. Damian McCarthy
A blind medium (Carolyn Bracken, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER) uncovers the truth behind her sister's death with the help of a frightening wooden mannequin. One of the scariest and most imaginative films you’ll see anywhere this year. Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW 2024. Quebec Premiere.

Wake up

WAKE UP (Canada / France) – Dirs. François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell
This tense, gore-soaked new shocker from homegrown Fantasia favorites RKSS (TURBO KID, SUMMER OF ’84, WE ARE ZOMBIES) pits a gang of Gen Z activists against a hulking security guard murderously protecting the big-box store they’ve invaded after hours. Official Selection: Fantastic Fest 2023, Sitges 2023. Canadian Premiere.

Yin Yang

YIN YANG MASTER ZERO (Japan) – Dir. Shimako Sato
A wily apprentice sorcerer and his dim but good-hearted best friend (Kento Yamazaki of KINGDOM and Shota Sometani of PARASYTE) confront dark forces in Heian-era Japan. Handled with panache by writer-director Shimako Sato (EKO EKO AZARAK, K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK), the popular historical-fantasy franchise returns to the big screen. Canadian Premiere.

The 28th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival is presented by Videotron and is made possible with the financial contributions of Telefilm Canada, la Société́ de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), le gouvernement du Québec, the city of Montréal, le Conseil des arts de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC).

The festival would like to thank all its private partners, friends of the event, as well as official suppliers, venues, and all participating filmmakers, sales agents, and distributors for their invaluable support.

The festival’s full lineup will be announced on July 3rd. Ticket sales will commence shortly afterwards.

For the very latest in up-to-date information on this year’s announcements and events, please follow the Fantasia International Film Festival on Facebook, X/Twitter, and Instagram.