Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blood, Horror, and Fantasy! Oh My!: Fantasia opens audiences to the world of genre films

Black apparel and tattoo covered arms blurred together into a single entity. It was from the fused streams of people outlining the Theater Hall Building at Concordia University in downtown Montreal on a scorching hot and humid summer evening of July 8, 2010.

The Fantasia Film Festival kicked off its 14th year with the Disney movie, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010). Disguised under Disney’s veil, the film seemed to be directed towards children. However, the dead-pan humor and repetitious jokes filled with sexual innuendos dominated the screen. Only a handful of children were present at the Canadian premiere of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Mitch Davis, the co-director of Fantasia, was ecstatic as he christened the opening of festival’s 14th year. Fantasia’s recognition and programming has evolved throughout the years. Davis called this evolution a “birthing process of Fantasia.” He went on to jokingly say “we’re gonna be throwing placentas at you,” as he whipped his wrist around in the air. Make light of the blood and gore that dominate the screens of the festival.

Though a star-studded premiere kicked off the festival, the essence of the festival was just about to start. Films from around the world (Denmark, Serbia, Hungary, Vietnam, Hong Kong/China, South Korea, Japan) including the U.S. and Canada have premiered at the festival. The Fantasia Film Festival is known to champion genre films (ie. horror, thriller, science fiction) that would normally not screen in cinema theaters.

New to the festival, in collaboration with CinĂ©Asia and Korean Consulate, there is a special focus on Korean films. Most North American audiences are not familiar with the existing film industry in Korea. Kim Ki-yong’s 1960 classic, The Housemaid, Blades of Blood (2010), and A Little Pond (2009) are only a handful of titles present at Fantasia.

American and Canadian films, also, grace the screen with such infamous titles as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Tucker and Dave vs. Evil. On the opening day of the box office, both events sold out in the first couple of hours.

In an Eastern Canadian premiere, Fantasia will spur audiences back into time with the newly restored Metropolis (1972) from Fritz Lang, the most well known director from German Expressionism. The film will feature 25 minutes of newly found footage as well as be accompanied by a live orchestra playing a new film score written by silent film composer, Gabriel Thibaudeau. Metropolis will premiere tonight, July 28, 2010, at Place-des-Arts.

In the words of actor Jay Baruchel, a native of Montreal, “buckle your seats assholes” because this year’s festival is going to be one hell of a ride. Whether you have a penchant for horror or laughter, everything is available at the Fantasia. The festival ran from July 8-27, 2010. Please visit Fantasia’s website for more articles and photo galleries about the premiere events and the festival film lineup:

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