The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 27th edition with a large and varied program of screenings, workshops, and launch events running from July 20 through August 9, 2023, taking place at the Concordia Hall Cinema, with additional screens at the J.A. DeSève Cinema, Cinémathèque québécoise, and Cinéma du Musée.
The festival has officially unveiled its final wave of titles. Plenty of extra events and talks have been added alongside retro titles, documentaries, and more. Ticket pre-sales will open on Saturday, July 15, at 1 pm.
Fantasia International Film Festival Honors Nicolas Cage
In over 40 years in film, Nicolas Cage has brought a wide variety of unforgettable people to life in works that are as memorable as the characters he portrayed, with textured performances that have been among the most exciting and unique from anyone in the last four decades.
More so than that, Cage is drawn to films and filmmakers that take these people (and the audiences) on unforgettable, often risk-taking journeys, be they in dark dramas (LEAVING LAS VEGAS, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, JOE, PIG), wild comedies (RAISING ARIZONA, VAMPIRE’S KISS) action favorites (CON AIR, FACE/OFF), or such fearless masterworks as WILD AT HEART and MANDY, films that mix the true and the fantastic into indelible works of popular and cinematic art.
And now, at the World Premiere of Sympathy for the Devil and another classic Cage performance, Fantasia is honored to present this year’s Cheval Noir Career Achievement Award to this remarkable performer responsible for bringing life to some of the most fascinating people to grace the big screen in some of the most extraordinary films ever made.
Final Wave of Horror for Fantasia 2023 – BrittNic Picks
The 27th edition of the festival will end on an especially riotous note with the World Premiere of We Are Zombies, the latest from internationally beloved Quebecois cult collective RKSS (Summer of ’84) – François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Based on the comic LES ZOMBIES QUI ONT MANGÉ LE MONDE (The Zombies that Ate the World), the film is set in a society where zombies, referred to as “living-impaired,” roam among us with no urge to eat flesh. The film stars Megan Peta Hill, Alexandre Nachi and Derek Johns. Also on board is RKSS mainstay Jean-Philippe Bernier, handling both the cinematography and the pulsing electro soundtrack with his duo Le Matos.
Tiger Stripes (North American Premiere)
The first amongst her group of friends to hit puberty, 12-year-old Zaffan (Zafreen Zairizal) feels her body changing. In the small rural village in Malaysia where her life is structured around the rules of school and Muslim faith, this could become a problem…a monstrous problem. The first Malaysian film to win the Grand Prize at Cannes’ La Semaine de la Critique, Amanda Nell Eu’s Tiger Stripes is a delightful addition to the canon of feminist, horror-tinged coming-of-age films: a striking debut that showcases an infectiously rebellious filmmaking spirit and a DIY energy that comes once in a blue moon.
Booger (World Premiere)
Mary Dauterman’s short film, Wakey Wakey took Fantasia by storm when it internationally premiered in the Born of Woman showcase in 2019. She’s now back with her feature debut Booger, a dark comedy about lost cats, grief, and millennial despair. Anna’s (Grace Glowicki) best friend Izzy just died, and her landlord won’t stop calling about rent. As her life falls apart, she’s bitten by Izzy’s cat Booger and starts to get stranger every day: she’s hungry for canned fish, she keeps swallowing her hair, and her predator instincts are out of control.
Apocalypse Clown (International Premiere)
A troupe of failed clowns and an intrepid reporter embark on a lunatic road trip of self-discovery after a mysterious solar event plunges the world into anarchy in what may be the funniest (and only) clowns-and-catastrophe movie ever made. Irish director/co-writer George Kane re-teams with Demian Fox, Shane O’Brien and James Walmsley (of comedy rock band Dead Cat Bounce) with this insane and original chaos comedy freakout that pays tribute to clowning as much as it skewers it. Featuring David Earl, Natalie Palamides, Amy De Bhrún, Fionn Foley and Tadgh Murphy.
Pandemonium (North American Premiere)
Writer/director Quarxx returns to the festival with the stunning new feature Pandemonium. Drawing on themes found in Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost, the film is a multi-textured existential fantasy topped with signature notes of visceral horror, disturbing fairy tale, wry comedy, and thrills. Exploring the many faces of death — suicide, murder, illness, accident — Quarxx dives deep into the notion of sin without redemption and the frailty of the human condition through the waking nightmare of one confused traveler (Hugo Dillon) who refuses to abandon all hope as he enters the gates of hell.
Eight Eyes (World Premiere)
At the breaking point of their dysfunctional marriage, Cass (Emily Sweet) and Gav (Brad Thomas) take a trip through Serbia. After meeting a mysterious local, Saint Peter (Bruno Veljanovski), who eagerly offers to be their guide, the couple embark on an impromptu sightseeing expedition that soon takes a series of sinister turns.
The inaugural production from beloved restoration label Vinegar Syndrome, co-produced with the team behind Shudder’s The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Not the Funeral Home, shot on location in 16mm with mind-bending cinematography, Eight Eyes shocks hard. Director / co-writer Austin Jennings’ feature debut channels the spirits of exploitation cinema’s past to construct a film that is as ghoulish as it is captivating. Featuring an original score by Morricone Youth.
Birth/Rebirth (Quebec Premiere)
A single mother (Judy Reyes) and a childless morgue technician (Marin Ireland) are bound together by their relationship with a little girl they have reanimated from the dead. A brilliant, provocative film that reimagines Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with such a contemporary understanding that it becomes something new and singular. Official Selection: Sundance 2023.
It Lives Inside (Quebec Premiere)
An Indian-American teenager (Megan Suri) struggling with her cultural identity unwittingly releases a demonic entity that grows stronger by feeding on her loneliness. A frightening meshing of the tensions of the immigrant experience with ferocious supernatural horror, finely crafted and exceptionally well-performed, with fresh concepts taking the film into severe nightmare territory. Winner of SXSW’s Midnighters award.
Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls (Quebec Premiere)
YouTube’s popular “Weird Satanist Guy” comes to the big screen, as the amateur occultist Onyx (writer/director Andrew Bowser) and his four companions tangle with the villainous Bartok (Jeffrey Combs). A delirious Saturday morning cartoon comes to life. Official Selection: Sundance 2023.
Retro Titles at Fantasia 2023 – BrittNic Picks
Morgiana (Czech Republic, 1972)
A deliciously dark tale about female revenge and sibling rivalry packed full of gaslighting, uncanny doubles, black cats, and sly humor. Adding a psychedelic Gothic twist to his film adaptation of Alexander Grin’s novel, Herz proves why he was the Czechoslovakian master of dark fantasy and horror. Canadian Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s New 2k restoration, courtesy of Severin Films.
A Chinese Ghost Story (Hong Kong, 1997) – Dir: Ching Siu-Tung
The ultimate cult classic from producer Tsui Hark and award-winning action director Ching Siu-Tung, A Chinese Ghost Story rejuvenated the swordplay fantasy genre with fresh excitement and an over-the-top style, spawning two sequels and countless imitations. Archival 35mm print.
The Cassandra Cat (Czech Republic, 1963) – Dir. Vojtech Jasný
A village in Czechoslovakia is thrown into chaos following the arrival of a traveling circus, whose star attraction – a magic cat with sunglasses – exposes the hypocritical townspeople’s true colors after his shades are tipped. This luminous, enchanting cornerstone of the Czech New Wave will be presented in a North American premiere of a new 4K restoration by the Czech National Archive, courtesy of Janus Films.