Just a Breath Away (Dans la brume)
Just a Breath Away (Dans la brume)

The Fantasia International Film Festival, celebrating its 22nd Anniversary in Montreal this summer, from July 12 to August 1, revealed a selected Second Wave of titles and events. Its Frontières International Co-Production Market will be held July 19 to 22.

The festival’s 22nd edition will open with the North American Premiere of DANS LA BRUME (“Just a Breath Away”), a large-scale genre co-production between France and Canada, directed by celebrated Quebec filmmaker Daniel Roby (LOUIS CYR, WHITE SKIN), starring Romain Duris (MOOD INDIGO), Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE), and Fantine Harduin (HAPPY END). Paris is hit by an earthquake, then filled with a mysterious toxic gas that seems to come from below ground. A family attempts to survive the massive catastrophe, but first… they will have to face the fog.


Fantasia will present the highly-anticipated world premiere of Universal 1440 Entertainment’s TALES FROM THE HOOD 2. The sequel to the groundbreaking original film TALES FROM THE HOOD reunites Executive Producer Spike Lee and writers/directors/producers Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott for an all-new gripping, horrifying, and oftentimes devilishly comical anthology. This next installment will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, as they course through several stories that explore socially relevant topics from the past and present.


After a five-year hiatus from feature-filmmaking following 2013’s IT’S ME, IT’S ME, Fantasia favorite Satoshi Miki is back with LOUDER! CAN’T HEAR WHAT YOU’RE SINGIN’, WIMP! An explosive musical comedy with energy to spare, Miki’s usually quirky, offbeat characters, extravagant hairdos and vintage costumes are back, colliding here with a renewed sense of energy and chaos, as the charismatic Sin (THE APOLOGY KING’S Sadao Abe), a rock musician with an superhuman, steroid-enhanced voice, meets the shy Fuka (AKEGARASU’S Riho Yoshioka), a gifted busker with a whisper quiet style. With an eclectic soundtrack oscillating from J-pop to metal to clerical music, with contributions from TOO YOUNG TO DIE!’s Kankuro Kudo, Hyde from L’Arc~en~Ciel, and comedian Abe himself, this is the rock ‘n’ roll feel-good-movie for the ages!


Sam Elliott stars as a legendary World War II veteran who many years ago assassinated Adolf Hitler – an incredible secret that he’s frustratingly unable to share with the world. One day, just as he’s coming to terms with rounding out his life, Calvin gets a visit from the FBI and RCMP. They need him to take out Bigfoot. A wondrous feature debut from writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski, featuring visual effects by celebrated two-time Academy Award Winner Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, BLADE RUNNER), who also co-produced alongside the great John Sayles and Lucky McKee. A fantastical discourse on the melancholia of old age and a singular blast of entertaining wit, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT (World Premiere) also stars Aidan Turner, Caitlin FitzGerald, and Ron Livingston.


A nefarious agency has been genetically engineering children. One of the telekinetic kids escapes and goes into hiding with an adopted family. Ten years later, she appears on a talent show, where she’s spotted by the bad guys and becomes prey for both her peers and a hit squad. Writer/Director Park Hoon-jung, who wrote the savage I SAW THE DEVIL, is back with THE WITCH: PART 1. THE SUBVERSION. Nothing will prepare you for the fusion of over-the-top sci-fi thrills, surprising twists and a climactic bloodbath that will leave you gasping. After THE VILLAINESS, South Korea has a new girl in town (Kim Da-mi) to kick butts and give action fans what they always dreamed of.


Fantasia will bestow its first-ever Action! Achievement Award upon U.S. athlete and action legend Cynthia Rothrock, an unstoppable action starlet who inspired a generation of martial artists and kicked open doors for women in the male-dominated action industry. Her skills, courage, and determination – along with black belts in seven separate martial arts – paved the way for today’s action starlets such as Charlize Theron, Gina Carano, and Milla Jovovich.

Rothrock – or Law Fu Lok, as she was known to millions of Hong Kong cinephiles – was a five-time World Champion before becoming the first western actor to headline a Hong Kong action film with 1989’s THE BLONDE FURY. A member of Black Belt Magazine’s Hall of Fame and the inspiration for the Mortal Kombat character Sonya Blade, Rothrock would go on to star in over thirty martial arts films and inspire a generation. Fantasia is deeply honored to bestow their debut Action! Achievement Award to the amazing Cynthia Rothrock, a true pioneer in the worlds of martial arts and action cinema.


John Cho stars in the LAAPFF Audience Award Winning film SEARCHING - directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Photo Courtesy of Screen Gems
John Cho stars in the LAAPFF Audience Award Winning film SEARCHING – directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Photo Courtesy of Screen Gems

Fantasia will be showcasing the Canadian Premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s Sundance smash SEARCHING, produced by Timur Bekmambetov (working with Sev Ohanian, Natalie Qasabian, and Adam Sidman) in his innovative “screenlife” storytelling approach that brilliantly captures the way we engage online. After David Kim (John Cho)’s sixteen-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.


Brazilian Writer/Director Dennison Ramalho instantly captured the hearts and nightmares of legions with his brilliant shorts LOVE FROM MOTHER ONLY (2003) and NINJAS (2011), in addition to scripting José Mojica Marins’ celebrated Coffin Joe comeback EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008). His entry in ABCS OF DEATH 2 (2014) further cemented the filmmaker as a hellishly original talent to watch in world horror cinema. Fantasia will proudly be bringing Brazil’s subterranean maestro of the macabre back to Montreal for the World Premiere of his long-awaited feature debut, AMONG THE LIVING, a film brimming with grotesque imagination and otherworldly magick in which a morgue attendant working the night shift in a very large, very violent city possesses an occult ability to communicate with cadavers. He commits the sin of acting on information obtained from the dead and horrifically curses himself and those that he loves. Brace yourself.


Multiple award-winning director Baek Seung-bin brings us to doomsday with a smile in the omnibus styled intimist South Korean apocalyptic dramedy I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING (North American Premiere). Different characters, all with unique personalities, celebrate their birthday the day before the end of the world, meeting bizarre individuals in surreal circumstances in this truly unique gem of a film that debuted at 2018’s International Film Festival Rotterdam.

HURT (World Premiere)

The world first discovered Sonny Mallhi’s poignant style of character-driven horror storytelling with 2015’s ANGUISH (a Fantasia World Premiere). Earlier this year, his second feature, the vampiric drug addiction chiller FAMILY BLOOD debuted on Netlfix. And now, Sonny Mallhi has teamed with Blumhouse for his third feature, HURT, in which the collective psychosis of American culture is an inescapable horror film and a waking nightmare. Its story honors masked mascots of fear such as Jason, Freddy, and Michael…. but explores those who helplessly wear a mask of normalcy while desperately fighting the traumatic monsters within.


It’s not getting into an exclusive fraternity that three geeky college freshmen need to worry about, it’s getting out – alive! Boasting amazingly well-rounded characters, endearing performances, a wicked streak of black humour, and a desperate situation that erupts into sickening violence, in many ways Daniel Robbins’ PLEDGE (World Premiere) is an intense, acceptance-themed companion film to Jeremy Saulnier’s similarly gasp-inducing GREEN ROOM. Rats, torture, knife fights, and vodka shots – who’s ready to pledge?


In this clockwork thriller, nothing is what it seems – not even a corpse. THE VANISHED (North American Premiere) is a piece of classic cinematic construction right out of the Golden Age of Hollywood, polished to a sleek modern sheen, South Korean-style. Without an ounce of padding, this is modern suspense in gothic drag, full of old school brio, dolly zooms, a ticking clock, entitled murderers, and vengeful ghosts.


The Camera Lucida section, dedicated to experimental, boundary-pushing and auteur-driven works on the borders of genre cinema, unveils two major International premieres!

Taka (SAUDADE’s Yota Kawase) is a bong-playing, turtle-loving saint. When a hypocritical couple from Tokyo moves into town, intent on opening a health-conscious, eco-friendly coffee shop at all costs, the man’s peaceful existence is shattered to pieces. Tadashi Nagayama’s second feature, BEING NATURAL, is a total revelation; a surprising and eccentric satirical rural comedy, with a dash of the absurd and the supernatural! A unique introduction to one of Japanese cinema’s most promising new auteurs!

The beautiful Mabel (TEETH’s Jess Weixler) admits to being pushed outside of her comfort zone on the set of a foreign auteur’s shlocky English-language horror film debut. Playing the role of a blind woman, she soon meets her disabled co-star Rosenthal (UNDER THE SKIN and DRIB’s Adam Pearson) and soon, the boundaries between fiction, reality, exploitation, and fair representation become blurry. GO DOWN DEATH’s Aaron Schimberg returns to Fantasia with CHAINED FOR LIFE, a reflexive and surreal black comedy about life on set – casting a critical eye on cinematic representations of disability and difference, from ELEPHANT MAN to FREAKS and beyond.

The full Camera Lucida lineup will be unveiled on June 26.


Dedicated to discovering the world’s best undiscovered action films, Fantasia’s Action! Section, now in its seventh year, is proud to announce three new titles and one incredible retrospective film. Following the section becoming competitive in 2017, Action! will introduce its debut Action! Achievement Award, which will be bestowed on U.S. martial arts legend Cynthia Rothrock. For the occasion, Fantasia will present a 35mm print of the 1989 Hong Kong classic THE BLONDE FURY with star Rothrock in attendance.

Four years after seducing Fantasia audiences with his short film RAGING BALLS OF STEEL JUSTICE, Michael Mort will return to the festival with his animated feature debut, CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES (North American Premiere), hot off its World Premiere at Annecy. Chuck Steel is a maverick, renegade, loose cannon, lone wolf, cop-on-the-edge who doesn’t play by the rules. He’s the best goddamn man on the force and, once again, Los Angeles needs him to save the city from an army of Trampires – a mutated hybrid of vampire and hobo.

With LÔI BÁO (North American Premiere), Vietnam has officially jumped on the wave of superhero movies in a very big way. Without a single cape or hero clad in spandex, Victor Vu’s clever interpretation of what it means to be a superhero brings a wildly unique vision to the genre, as a man on the receiving end of a head transplant finds himself suddenly granted a seemingly endless supply of superhuman abilities. With LÔI BÁO, Vietnam has created a world of very unlikely superheroes – and villains – like no other.


Five years after the impressive ON THE JOB, director Erik Matti returns to Fantasia with the Canadian Premiere of BUYBUST, one of the most action-packed movies ever to come out of the Philippines. Here he writes, produces, and directs a truly one-of-a-kind actioner about a rookie female cop who finds herself in hot water with an anti-narcotics squad. Starring Filipino superstar Anne Curtis, over 1200 extras, and featuring an unbelievable 300 stuntmen and women, BUYBUST is packed with spectacular gunplay, nonstop hand-to-hand combat, and a nearly-uncountable number of people being stabbed in the face.

As of 2017, all titles selected in the Action! Section are eligible for Fantasia’s Best Action Film Award, awarded by a jury composed of Quebec director Alain Desrochers (BON COP BAD COP 2), actor/stuntman Alain Moussi (KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE), and filmmaking duo Sebastien Landry and Laurence Morais-Lagace (GAME OF DEATH).


Fantasia’s Axis section is thrilled to announce two more anime titles in its lineup, each a major premiere.

Something sinister is manifesting itself – something at the cursed crossroads of mythology, monstrosity, and medical science – in Saku Sakamoto’s ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION, a potent new slash of independent, high-standard horror anime from Japan making its World Premiere at Fantasia this summer.

One memorable summer, a precocious schoolboy contends with a crush on an older woman and a strange penguin invasion in the sentimental, surreal science fiction anime PENGUIN HIGHWAY (International Premiere). The first feature from Japanese director Hiroyasu Ishida, creator of the 2009 indie online sensation FUMIKO’S CONFESSION, and his colleagues at Studio Colorido, PENGUIN HIGHWAY is a delight for the mind, eye, and heart.


Fantasia’s section dedicated to bold, ultra-independent, outsider works returns with a charming, counter-cultural teen film made by a twenty-year-old girl who cut classes to shoot it, a single-take Japanese zombie oddity, a genuinely shocking and surprising black comedy/crime thriller from Colorado, and a Mexican-Canadian action siege assault that’s likely the bloodiest coming-of-age film ever made.

Described at the latest Berlinale as the “distant cousin of Louis Malle’s ZAZIE DANS LE MÉTRO crossed with the DIY spirit of punk Japanese cinema from the 1980s (Tsukamoto, Sogo Ishii, and co.), one thing’s for sure: twenty-year-old Yoko Yamanaka’s AMIKO (North American Premiere) will instantly charm you with its gleeful irreverence, and its crystalline, sour-sweet candied confection of extreme emotions, forged in the fiery pits of adolescence, and effectively turning the schoolgirl into a counter-culture icon.

Let’s be honest – a low-budget zombie movie shot in one take about a film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie in one take sounds bad. Add the fact that the indie film crew stumbles across real-life zombies and Shunichiro Ueda’s debut, ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (Canadian Premiere) sounds worse. And you couldn’t be more wrong. This indie marvel isn’t a just zombie movie or even a one-take stunt. Instead, it’s Japan’s smartest comedy of the year: a touching father-daughter story, a tale about the value of perseverance, and a meta puzzlebox that cleverly unpacks itself onscreen, one severed limb at a time. Pick your rotting jaw up off the floor, because this is pure horror-comedy gold in the vein of SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

A neurotic, introverted young military veteran forces himself to go to a party to meet new people and finds himself plunged into a bizarre criminal underworld of sex and blood in Drew Barnhardt’s utterly mad RONDO (World Premiere). An exuberantly seedy, obsessively well-directed gonzo thriller that’s funny in the darkest ways, RONDO’s violent twists and genuinely uncomfortable moments will leave you breathless from gasping, laughing, and screaming – possibly at the same time. Oddly reminiscent of CRIMEWAVE-era John Paizs by way of De Palma, this is a squirm-inducing, one-of-a-kind exploitation oddity that even the most brazen viewers will never be able to unsee.

Award-winning Mexican-Canadian filmmaker Gigi Saul Guerrero bathes the screen with ferocity in her scorching web series LA QUINCEAÑERA (Canadian Premiere), in which a girl’s fifteenth birthday party becomes a demented, blood-fuelled journey of revenge when the cartel shows up to attack her relatives. This ultra-violent homage to the strength of women and the power of family may be the bloodiest coming-of-age tale ever told.


Fantasia’s showcase of compelling documentary works returns with a trio of docs hailing from Quebec, China, and the USA.

Jailed for comics?! The unbelievable true story of the only U.S. artist convicted of obscenity is explored in the chilling and captivating BOILED ANGELS: THE TRIAL OF MIKE DIANA (International Premiere), directed by the legendary Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, BAD BIOLOGY) and narrated by Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, neither of whom are strangers to censorship struggles themselves. The obsessively well-researched doc features Neil Gaiman, Stephen Bissette, Peter Bagge, and Diana himself, alongside the case’s investigating officers, prosecution, defense, and even members of the local Florida press who initially reported on the situation. This truly thoughtful account won a well-deserved Audience Award at NYC’s What The Fest!? and should be considered required viewing for anyone remotely interested in confrontational art or stories of overreaching law enforcement.

Marginally-talented internet personalities skyrocket to fame in Hao Wu’s provocative, dystopian documentary PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE (Quebec Premiere), where hordes of devoted fans tune in to find comfort in virtual relationships through live streaming. A Grand Jury Prize-winner at SXSW, the film tracks China’s emergent breed of off-the-rails celebrity-making obsession, and the impact of plunging into the virtual to satisfy real human needs. Fantasia’s screening will be a co-presentation with the RIDM.

Shot over a period of three years, Jean-Simon Chartier’s PLAYING HARD (Quebec Premiere) gives us a sprawling behind-the-scenes window into the drama, tension, and compromises behind the creation of a blockbuster Ubisoft video game, and the grueling personal tolls the process can take on its creators, both in terms of fractured relationships and mental anguish. An engrossing film that met with major acclaim at its recent Hot Docs launch.

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