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Hou Hsiao-Hsien the assassin

The 2015 Fantastic Fest running September 24 to October 1st in Austin, Texas, announced its final wave of features and events.  Joining Fantastic Fest for the first time, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson will be in attendance to share their wildly inventive world of stop motion animation ANOMALISA, Cannes Grand Prix winner SON OF SAUL is screening in glorious 35mm, the stunning adult fairytale from GOMORRAH director Matteo Garrone TALE OF TALES will unfurl, Jerusalem Film Festival’s top prize winner TIKKUN, and the World Premiere of the action-thriller CAMINO with Zoe Bell and Fantastic Fest veteran / mayor Nacho Vigalondo as a religious psychopath.

Asia is well represented with a diverse array of titles including Hou Hsiao-hsien’s breathtaking Taiwanese martial arts ballet THE ASSASSIN, Japanese wonder-animator Mamoru Hosoda’s THE BOY AND THE BEAST, and two seminal repertory titles from Hong Kong’s legendary Shaw Brothers Studio. Getting the royal treatment are two wuxia masterpieces, Cheng Pei Pei’s COME DRINK WITH ME and Gordon Liu’s EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER. The Shaw Brothers Studio screenings are being screened in 35mm with COME DRINK WITH ME coming directly from the Shaw Brothers’ archive in China.

Fantastic Fest welcomes back celebrated genre writer Kier-La Janisse to close out the festival’s rep slate with a rare 35mm screening of satanic shocker EVILSPEAK.

Presented by Starz’s ASH VS EVIL DEAD, the FF tradition FANTASTIC DEBATES returns, featuring four rock-’em-sock-’em matches between visiting filmmakers, actors, and journalists. Each debate begins with two rounds of verbal conflict before the stage is transformed into a battleground for full-tilt boxing! Past debaters have included Keanu Reeves, Elijah Wood, Michelle Rodriguez, Uwe Boll, Ti West, and dozens of others ferocious fighters from across the globe!

Other events see Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani make their triumphant return to Fantastic Fest for another night of stand up as they host a live version of Comedy Central’s The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail. A double helping of Doug Benson serves up a very special Movie Interruption featuring the animal apocalypse extravaganza ROAR and a live recording of his Doug Loves Movies podcast while legendary turntablist, artist and music producer Kid Koala finally joins the Fantastic fray. After nearly two decades of crafting some of the most singularly eclectic turntable creations of all time, Kid Koala will perform live at the Fantastic Fest party as the composer of this year’s genre-bending official selection ZOOM.

See below for the full lineup of newly announced film titles for Fantastic Fest 2015.

United States, 2015
Regional Premiere, 90 min
Directors – Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
Charlie Kaufman’s newest story, a revolutionary and emotional stop-motion animation, follows an unhappy customer service guru looking for an escape from the monotony of his life.

THE ASSASSIN (pictured above)
Taiwan, 2015
US Premiere, 104 min
Director – Hou Hsiao-hsien
After failing to dispatch a corrupt government official, an assassin is disciplined by her master with a mission to murder her cousin (and former betrothed) in order to steal her heart against sentimentality. An immaculate and arresting romantic wu-xia from Taiwan’s chief art-house auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

Japan, 2015
US Premiere, 119 min
Director – Mamoru Hosoda
In the latest breathtaking animation by Fantastic Fest veteran Mamoru Hosoda (SUMMER WARS, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME), nine-year-old Ren becomes the apprentice to beast warrior Kumatetsu and finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime in the beast world Jutengal.

United States, 2015
World Premiere, 104 min
Director – Josh C. Waller
A photojournalist gets more than she bargained for when she snaps a photo of a shadowy religious figure in the jungles of Colombia, triggering a flight – and fight – for her life.

Hong Kong, 1966
Repertory Screening, 95 min
Director – King Hu
One of the foundational classics on which all martial arts cinema is built, COME DRINK WITH ME stars the incomparably talented Chang Pei-Pei as an avenging warrior, Golden Swallow, on a mission to save the local governor’s son from the Jade-Faced Tiger’s gang.

Norway, 2015
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Oystein Karlsen
A misanthropic relationship counselor, his (mostly) reformed hippy girlfriend, and his sex addict best friend drive this hugely popular Norwegian TV comedy from the creators of previous fest hit FUCK UP.

Czech Republic, 2015
North American Premiere, 75 min
Director – Veronika Lišková
Veronika’s Lisková’s brave documentary from the Czech Republic takes a very open, unflinching and non-emotional view of the most despised, misunderstood and taboo trait: pedophilia.

United States, 2015
U.S. Premiere, 90 min
Director – Sean Byrne
A struggling painter, his wife and his young daughter move into their dream house in rural Austin, Texas, but soon find themselves targeted by both satanic forces and the house’s previous occupants.

Japan/ USA, 2015
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Heath Cozens
A look inside one of the world’s oddest wrestling leagues, where disabled fighters take on able-bodied opponents in brutal and bloody fights for their own dignity and self-respect. From where else but Japan?

Hong Kong, 1984
Repertory Screening, 98 min
Director – Chia-Liang Liu
The great martial arts choreographer Lau Kar-Leung directs this dark tale of betrayal, vengeance and honor, starring Gordon Liu and Alexander Fu Sheng (in his final screen role) as the sole surviving sons of a powerful family massacred in an act of brutal treachery.

United States, 2015
World Premiere, 74 min
Director – Owen Egerton
When he blacks out after receiving a strange Christmas gift from his girlfriend, Quinn (Noah Segan) wakes the next morning to find his whole world crumbling around him.

The Netherlands, 2015
World Premiere, 110 min
Director – Max Porcelijn
A struggling writer turns to his accountant for help and instead discovers a trio of corpses and a bag of money. Could this be help of a different sort, or just a whole new world of trouble?

SATANIC PANIC Book Launch + Screening of EVILSPEAK (in 35mm!)
United States, 1981
Special Screening, 97 min
Director – Eric Weston
The hysteria known as the “Satanic Panic” made its way through every pop-culture pathway in the ‘80s. Relive the era with the launch of SATANIC PANIC: POP CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980s and a rare 35mm screening of occult fave EVILSPEAK.

The Netherlands/Belgium, 2015
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Alex van Warmerdam
A contract killer’s birthday plans are disrupted when he’s sent to dispatch a drunken writer in this delightfully dark comedy from Dutch auteur Alex van Warmerdam (BORGMAN).

Hungary, 2015
Texas Premiere, 107 min
Director – László Nemes
Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the dead body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.

United States, 2015
U.S. Premiere, 87 min
Directors – Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, Patrick Horvath and David Bruckner
Somewhere on a stretch of desert highway, five groups of travelers will find themselves confronting an ever-changing feeling of dread through five interlocking, horrific stories.

France, 2015
U.S. Premiere, 125 min
Director – Matteo Garrone
Monsters, magic and mayhem abound in the incredible stories of three royal families from nearby kingdoms in this ambitious fairy tale epic from acclaimed Italian auteur Matteo Garrone (GOMORRAH, REALITY).

Israel, 2015
Texas Premiere, 120 min
Director – Avishai Sivan
God’s plan for a Yeshiva student is disrupted when CPR saves his life. He is reborn into a surreal, sexual and disturbing new existence that tests his faith and his father’s mercy.

South Korea, 2015
North American Premiere, 131 min
Director – Kyu-dong MIN
Considered the worst tyrant in the long and rather oppressive history of Korea, King Yeonsan enslaved a thousand women to serve his carnal desires. This bawdy, unexpurgated and almost surely exaggerated tale of his sexual exploits is the heir apparent to the notorious 1980s era Hong Kong CAT III classics.

Norway, 2015
U.S. Premiere, 105 min
Director – Roar Uthaug
A Norwegian geologist and his family fight for their lives after the Akneset mountain pass crumbles into the fjord below, creating a huge tsunami that threatens to wipe out their town.

Canada/ Brazil, 2015
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Pedro Morelli
Three very different people — an aspiring comic book artist with body image issues, an action director trying to make a more meaningful film, and a model struggling with her first novel — find their stories intersect in earth-shaking ways.

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