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“The most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent.” Quentin Tarantino
“One of Canada’s hottest film events” Variety
“One of the most exciting genre film festivals in the world.” Premiere
“This is what I look forward to in the summer. Fantasia is it for me. It's the only festival I ever went to as a fan.” Jay Baruchel
Since its inception in 1996, the Fantasia International Film Festival is now recognized as the largest and most influential event of its kind in North America, a leader on the genre film scene and one of the country’s most popular film festivals. With a varied programming and an emphasis on the imaginative cinema of Asia, Europe and the Americas, Fantasia’s offerings range from unique and powerful personal visions to international commercial crowd-pleasers rarely seen in North-America
In July of 2011, the Fantasia will celebrate its 15th edition. Located in the heart of beautiful Montreal, Fantasia is a cultural and professional destination point, and since its first edition, the festival’s ever-growing popularity has attracted the attention of the international film industry alongside a legion of attendees from across the world. Every facet of the filmmaking chain is represented with in-person delegates at the festival: directors, actors, producers, studio representatives, distributors and festival programmers, who get to experience their films with its legendarily enthusiastic, taste-making audience.
Some of the numerous guests in past editions of Fantasia have included: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, John Carpenter, Shunji Iwai, Ken Russell, Eli Roth, Johnnie To, Jaume Balaguero, Sion Sono, Neil Marshall, Jay Baruchel, Kang Jegyu, Vincenzo Natali, Darren Lynn Bousman, Roy Dupuis, Sasha Grey, Lau Ching-Wan, Larry Fessenden, Hideo Nakata, Bill Plympton, Paul Naschy, Satoshi Kon, Ti West, Malcolm McDowell, Stuart Gordon, Christopher Smith, David Arquette, Yang Ik-Jun, Don Coscarelli, Shusuke Kaneko, Jorg Buttgereit, Agustin Villaronga, Ryûhei Kitamura, Udo Kier, Maurice G. Dantec, Gordon Liu, Jim Mickle, Nicolas Winding Refn, Eihi Shiina, Daniel Monzon, Terry Jones, Jeffrey Combs, Jose Mojica Marins, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Don Bluth, James Gunn, Jean Rollin, Kim Bodnia, Joe Coleman, Tak Sakaguchi, Frank Henenlotter, Nacho Cerda, Simon Rumley, Jason Eisener, Richard Stanley and Ray Harryhausen, among many others.
Fantasia is at the vanguard of international genre cinema, thanks to its distinct programming, its prominent media coverage and the record-breaking attendance by passionate film fans. Over 105,000 festival-goers attended Fantasia in 2010, and the festival has attracted over a million spectators over its duration, establishing Fantasia as an event with long-term benefits for films both big and small. Our website received 1,053,000 page views by 127,000 unique visitors in July 2010 alone. Our new year-round online magazine Spectacular Optical is a dynamic forum that will feature exclusive essays and interviews added each day of the festival, all of which serves to give that extra bit of love to each of the films we showcase.
At Fantasia, even the smallest films are heartily championed and get significant media attention. Nearly 300 journalists attend Fantasia every year, coming from recognized press such as Variety, Ain’t it Cool News, Twitch, IndieWire, Hollywood Reporter, Premiere, Film Threat, The Globe and Mail, Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Dread Central, CHUD.com, Screen International, Quiet Earth, Film Comment, Bloody Disgusting, Cinematical, Anime News Network, Mad Movies, FEAR.net, Shock Til You Drop and Little White Lies, as well as local media such as The Montreal Mirror, The Gazette, The Hour, Voir, Le Devoir, La Presse, CBC and Musique Plus.
Since its inception, Fantasia has been responsible for breaking many new talents. Our world premiere screening of Satoshi Kon's landmark feature debut PERFECT BLUE introduced the master animator to an adoring international public and led to the film getting North American distribution. Our Canadian premiere of PI marked the first time that a film by Darren Aronofsky was screened in Canada.
Fantasia is widely cited as being the place where the J-horror craze started in the West. With our 1997 screening of FUDOH, Fantasia was the first festival in the Western world to introduce audiences to the anarchistic inventions of Takashi Miike. Our 1999 Premiere of Hideo Nakata's RINGU led directly to the film being acquired by Dreamworks, both for North American distribution and their 2002 remake THE RING.
World premieres have included REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, MILLENIUM ACTRESS, MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, DREAD, JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 and BON COP BAD COP.
International premieres have included THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, UZUMAKI and RUBBER.
North American premieres have included INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, [REC], THIRST, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, VISITOR Q, NIGHT WATCH and JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES.
Canadian Premieres have included LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, THE DESCENT, HUMAN CENTIPEDE, IRON GIANT, THE LAST EXORCISM, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, DEATH NOTE, JOINT SECURITY AREA and GHOST WORLD.
Fantasia’s six official competitions are another way the festival ensures visibility and prestige for the films in our program. Our juries are composed by a varied panel of local and international film professionals. All films (excluding retrospectives) are eligible for the following awards, as well as for audience awards in many categories:
The Feature Competition consists of feature films competing for:
The First Feature Competition consisting of first feature films competing for:
The Animation Competition consists of animated films competing for:
The International Short Films Competition consists of short films competing for a Best International Short Award.
The Quebec Shorts Competition consisting of short films competing for a Best Quebec Short Award.
The DIY Quebec Shorts Competition consisting of short films competing for a Best DIY Quebec Short Award.
Fantasia has been honoured to present Lifetime Achievement Awards to guests as distinguished as Ray Harryhausen, Jean Rollin, Jose Mojica Marins, Ken Russell and the animation duo of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.
Additional awards offered by industry organizations include The AQCC Award (Association Québécoises des Critiques de Cinéma), The Séquences Award and the L'Écran fantastique Award.
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Since its beginnings, the Fantasia International Film Festival has explored the diverse realms of genre cinema, creating bridges between the cutting edge and the mainstream, and providing a festive but professional environment where emerging artists are given exposure alongside their more established counterparts, both locally and internationally. We showcase the best in Canadian and world cinema, discovering and nurturing exciting new talents and offering a platform through which artists and audiences can connect.
Fantasia’s definition of genre cinema is broad and continually evolving; aligned with the European tradition of ‘genre’ as a challenging and elegant stream of cinema, the festival juxtaposes pop culture with alternative culture, and its distinct programming has enabled Montreal to radiate in the international film community. Fantasia strives to be a North American counterpart to Spain’s Sitges Fantastic Film Festival, which has been Europe’s leading fantastic film festival for the past 40 years - buzzing with major industry participation and international stars while maintaining an independent and progressive vision that benefits emerging artists. An immense cultural event for a diverse but equally robust audience, bristling with discoveries, opportunities and passion.
Fantasia has shown that even the most esoteric films can be accessible to a wider audience when properly contextualized, and can even prove to be significant commercial successes. Renowned worldwide for the boundless energy of its creative team, the festival keeps audiences coming to the theatrical environment, enabling independent artists and distributors to have their work shown in a professional and enthusiastic milieu.
While already widely considered to be one of the largest and most influential fantastic film festivals in the world, Fantasia looks forward to expanding on its achievements with more visiting filmmakers, industry attendees, global media impact, original critical writing through a monthly web magazine, and the introduction of a film market that will enable independent media artists to exchange ideas and to connect with patrons and audiences alike.