Fantasia Film Festival 2024: Second Wave Announcements

Mark Pacis

Fantasia Film Festival

The Fantasia Film Festival 2024, the 28th edition, will occur from July 18 to August 4, 2024, in Montreal. The festival will feature a thrilling lineup of world premieres, special awards, and a diverse range of films. Here are the main highlights and what attendees can anticipate.

Fantasia Film Festival 2024: Bookworm
Opening Film Announced

Ant Timpson’s Bookworm opens the festival, starring Elijah Wood and Nell Fisher. This comedic adventure follows an eleven-year-old bookworm named Mildred, who escapes her mundane life by immersing herself in novels. Her father, Strawn Wise, a washed-up illusionist, returns to look after her following an accident. Their attempt to bond through a camping trip leads them into increasingly absurd and treacherous adventures. The chemistry between Wood and Fisher promises a delightful cinematic experience. Bookworm will have its world premiere at the festival, setting the stage for what promises to be a memorable event.

Fantasia Film Festival 2024: The Beast Within
Major Premieres

One of the highly anticipated premieres at the festival is The Beast Within, a gothic werewolf movie starring Kit Harington. Set in rural England, the film follows the story of a ten-year-old girl who begins questioning her unusual life in her family’s fortified compound. She ultimately discovers that her father transforms into a monster once a month. Directed by Alexander J. Farrell, known for his documentary work, this marks his debut in narrative features. The film is expected to deliver a haunting and atmospheric experience.

Isaac Ezban’s Párvulos is another noteworthy addition to the lineup. This dystopian horror story, inspired by Goodnight Mommy, Lord of the Flies, and A Quiet Place, follows three young brothers who live alone in a remote cabin, concealing a terrifying secret in their basement. The film explores themes of childhood, isolation, and survival in the face of monstrous forces. Ezban, admired by Guillermo del Toro, brings his unique vision to Fantasia, promising an intense and poignant nightmare.

Anime fans will be thrilled with the world premiere of Mononoke the Movie: The Phantom in the Rain, directed by Kenji Nakamura. This film revives the beloved 2007 TV series Mononoke, known for its innovative storytelling and striking visuals. The new feature continues the paranormal adventures of the mysterious Medicine Seller, set against the backdrop of Edo-era Japan. With its visually exquisite and hallucinatory aesthetic, this film is poised to become an essential anime classic.

Fantasia Film Festival 2024: Vincenzo Natali
Honoring Vincenzo Natali

Fantasia will honor visionary filmmaker Vincenzo Natali with the Canadian Trailblazer Award. Natali’s landmark 1997 debut, Cube, opened doors for a new wave of Canadian genre films. He continued to make his mark with films like Splice, Cypher, and In the Tall Grass. Natali has also directed episodes for acclaimed series such as Hannibal, Westworld, and American Gods. The award presentation will be followed by the premiere of the 4K restoration of Cube, celebrating Natali’s contributions to cinema and enduring influence on the genre.

Fantasia Film Festival 2024: Mantra Warrior: The Legend of the Eight Moons
Additional Highlights

Adding to the excitement, Scared Shitless by Vivieno Caldinelli offers a blend of horror and comedy. The film follows a father-son plumbing duo, played by Steven Ogg and Daniel Doheny, tackling a toilet-dwelling creature threatening to unleash itself on the world. This film promises a unique and entertaining experience. It features loads of gore, laughs, and a fantastic creature designed by Canadian FX legend Steve Kostanski.

Fantasia will showcase Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s The Count of Monte-Cristo, fresh from its Cannes premiere. This adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel received a near-12-minute standing ovation at Cannes. The film, starring Pierre Niney, retains the grandeur of the original story while hinting at modern superhero tropes. It’s set to make a significant impact with its art direction and compelling performances.

Mantra Warrior: The Legend of the Eight Moons offers a fresh take on the Ramayana, transforming the ancient epic into a Thai cyberpunk space opera. This animated film, directed by Veerapatra Jinanavin, features powerhouse mecha battles and a futuristic aesthetic, highlighting Thailand’s burgeoning animation industry.

Haze, directed by Matthew Fifer, is a queer horror drama that explores family secrets and trauma. The film follows a young journalist investigating unsolved deaths at a psychiatric center, uncovering deeply rooted horrors. Haze will leave a lasting impression with its richly intentional visuals and haunting narrative.

Next, The Soul Eater by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo brings a morbid procedural thriller to the festival. Adapted from Alexis Laipsker’s novel, the film follows two cops uncovering a sinister plot in a small mountain village plagued by violent deaths. Known for their extreme horror flashpoints, Maury and Bustillo promise a gripping and gruesome experience.

Underground Section Films

In addition to these premieres, the underground section of Fantasia Film Festival 2024 will showcase unique and innovative films. Some featured films include The Old Man and the Demon Sword, a Portuguese horror-comedy that blends Evil Dead vibes with Kamen Rider aesthetics, and Me and My Victim, a micro-budget film exploring a complex relationship. Fantasia will also highlight Animalia Paradoxa,” a surreal post-apocalyptic journey from Chile, and Carnage for Christmas, a bloody and ironic horror-comedy from Australia.

Second Wave Titles

Finally, the festival’s second wave of titles includes many films catering to diverse tastes. Highlights include the animated feature Brush of the God from Japan, Azrael, a post-apocalyptic revenge tale starring Samara Weaving, and Brave Citizen, a stylish Korean action flick about a former boxer turned vigilante teacher. Other notable mentions are FAQ, a heartwarming sci-fi story from South Korea; Kryptic, a doppelganger mystery from Canada and the UK; and Wake Up, a gore-soaked thriller by homegrown favorites RKSS.

Fantasia Film Festival 2024 offers a wide and diverse cinematic experience. You will see high-profile world premieres, honor trailblazing filmmakers, and experience innovative storytelling from around the globe. Organizers will announce the full festival lineup on July 3.

For more details and tickets, visit the Fantasia Film Festival website.