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It’s undeniable that the time has come for Black cinema of the imagination to step into the spotlight. This summer, Fantasia introduces AFROMENTUM 2018, a showcase of short films from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas.
Whether reflections on the past, visions of the future, or invocations of the bizarre amid the familiar present, these films bring forth Black experiences that challenge the cycle of oppression and resistance, and reach far beyond it.
From Nigeria comes HELLO, RAIN (North American Premiere, dir.: C.J. “Fiery” Obasi), a wild ride of sorcery, science, sisterhood and supervillainy, based on a short story by award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor. This will be Obasi’s second spin on the Fantasia screen, following the festival’s 2015 showing of his atypical zombie feature OJUJU. There’s also the World Premiere of BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLES: A NEW BEGINNING, the animated series pilot from Martinique’s Alain Bidard; the compact techno-thriller THE DROP IN from Toronto’s Naledi Jackson (Quebec Premiere); and MAKE IT SOUL (North American Premiere), a moment in music history animated by France’s Jean-Charles Mbotti-Malolo.
Fantasia’s annual showcase of personal auteur genre visions returns to celebrate the unconventional gaze, with nine extraordinary works from eight countries that will take your breath away.
A lonely woman allows a man to transform her into a puppet in Finnish filmmaker Hanna Bergholm’s THE PUPPET MASTER (International Premiere), a visually sumptuous fever dream of experimental fantasy that addresses objectifying relationships and the fears of letting go in boldly theatrical ways. South Korea’s Jiwon Moon plays for lacerating keeps with NOSE NOSE NOSE EYES! (Canadian Premiere). Best you not know a thing before going in, just be assured that you’ll be encountering Grand Guignol horror of the highest order, ferociously well directed and guaranteed to leave marks. Australian filmmaker Kate Dolan’s CATCALLS (North American Premiere) is a tightly executed, monsteriffic Fuck You to street harassers that recently won Best Short at the Young Director’s Awards. VOYAGER (Quebec Premiere), from Norway’s Kjersti Helen Rasmussen, is a stunning exercise in atmosphere and fear reminiscent of early John Carpenter, set at a global seed vault deep in the Arctic island of Svalbard. France’s Manon Alirol & Léo Hardt stun with PETITE AVARIE (World Premiere), in which a young woman comes home to her particularly unhelpful boyfriend after being diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s one of the smartest, blackest comedies you’re ever likely to experience.
From the USA, Ida Joglar’s THE GAZE (World Premiere) is as potent as it is pertinent, telling the tale of a young scientist discovering unknown supernatural powers from within after her prestigious boss sexually assaults her. Chelsea Lupkin’s LUCY’S TALE (World Premiere) is a fantastical coming-of-age horror/drama in which a high school girl struggles with an intensifying realization that she’s fundamentally different from everyone around her. It’s a sorrowful wonder of a film electric with dark imagination. THE OLD WOMAN WHO HID HER FEAR UNDER THE STAIRS (Canadian Premiere), from Britain’s Faye Jackson, will quicken your pulse in no small way. An isolated old woman who’s grown increasingly frightened of the world discovers a way to remove her fear and stash it beneath her staircase. As her newfound freedom gives her a second lease on life, the terrible thing in the box becomes increasingly difficult to ignore… A trombone player’s encounters with mold, history and gravity itself wreak havoc on his evening plans in WHO’S WHO IN MYCOLOGY (Canadian Premiere), from Czech filmmaker Marie Dvorakova. This inventively staged masterpiece of comedic surrealism won a Student Academy Award and has been shown everywhere from Telluride to Karlovy Vary.
Fantasia’s annual animated short film program returns, with a new name and some very, very new movies. Of the dozen shorts on the menu, four are World Premieres, and another five screening in North America for the first time. The moments here range from the melancholic, the morbid and the meditative to the hallucinatory and the hilarious – these are cartoons, after all! Making their World Premieres at CIRCO ANIMATO 2018 are a pair from South Korea – Park Yena’s LOVELY GIRL (an internal affair, of sorts), and Seo Ji-hyeong’s snarky mash-up of hand-drawn and 8-bit animation, CRAZY CAT. As well, from the U.S., filmmaker Winnie Cheung presents ALBATROSS SOUP, a dizzying descent into deductive reasoning, animated from illustrations by celebrated Toronto artist Fiona Smyth. And from right here in Montreal, enfants terribles of the underground art scene Rick Trembles and Raph Bard get you in on the ground floor of BUILDING 108: BARNACLE BILL THE TAILOR.
Over on the North American Premiere side of things, Toon Loenders and Paul Driessen (Belgium, Netherlands) unleash their riotous THE ORIGIN OF SOUND, a showcase of 20-plus animators. China’s Lei Lei lets loose with freeform doodling and a vicious rap attack in I DON'T LIKE THE COMICS YOU DREW. South Korea’s Kim JiHyeon drops us ashore at her creepy ISLAND OF THE DECEASED. Toronto’s Samuel Bradley takes us even further with his sci-fi fable SPACE BETWEEN STARS (with music by Jim Guthrie), and THE VOICE OVER, from Belgium’s Claudia Cortés Espejo, Lora D'Addazio, Mathilde Remy, will really get inside your head. From Belgium as well, SIMBIOSIS CARNAL, a rhapsody in red and blue by Rocío Álvarez, makes its Canadian Premiere. American-Chinese studio Taiko’s ONE SMALL STEP, from directors Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, will leave stars –and maybe a tear or two – in your eyes. Wrapping things up is THE RICOCHET SPLENDID, from Argentina’s Pablo Gostanian – the most awesomest opening ever, for the greatest anime TV show never.
For his fifteenth program of short films, DJ XL5 has selected a cornucopia of intriguing items and slipped them in amid a mix of old TV ads, film snippets and bursts of static, to simulate a productive evening of channel surfing with the gang at home. In total, there are 17 shorts, including two World Premieres and many Montreal premieres.
This crystal anniversary celebrates the return of many regular partici- pants in DJ XL5’s parties. Simon Tofield’s SIMON’S CAT is obviously back, with three new shorts, one of which highlights the 10 years of the Fantasia crowd’s favourite cat. On the menu, POLISHED PAWS, PURRTHDAY CAKE (A 10TH BIRTHDAY SPECIAL), and KITTEN CRAZY TIME. The eccentric Lee Hardcastle is back with two decidedly gory stop-motions animation — Hardcastle’s THE SIMPSONS COUCH GAG (RESERVOIR DOGS) and RICK AND MORTY GO TO THE MOVIES (THE NON-CANONICAL ADVENTURES). From the U.S., Chris McInroy (DEATH METAL and BAD GUY #2) presents the gleefully gooey WE SUMMONED A DEMON (Montreal Premiere) this year. After working last year on the feature film FEUILLES MORTES, Carnior (aka Steve Landry) goes back to his roots with an ingenious, intimate science-fiction short. Quebec animator François Mercier rolls out two short films, one an array of cult-film pastiches of and the other, a crazy allegory on America the heavily armed. Daphne Leduc-Laprise returns for the third consecutive year with a colourful dose of potassium called 135 BANANAS (World Premiere).
If you’re the type who gets anxious about flying, you’ll love GREGORY (World Pemiere) by American filmmaker John William Ross. Discover the burning world of New Zealand’s Phil Brough animated short FIRE IN CARDBOARD CITY (Canadian Premiere), a recent award-winner at Tribeca. T.T.A. (Canadian Premiere), from Travis O’Neill (U.S.), confirms that alcoholics should not have access to time machines. If you are among those suspicious of the elderly, you will shudder before the massacres in GRANNY (Canadian Premiere), made with humour by Australia’s David Burrowes. Rémi Fréchette makes a remarkable debut among the DJ XL5 family with A NIGHT OF SWEAT (World Premiere), a crazy parody entirely taken from PERFECT and sports dramas of the ’80s. And to top it off, Quebec’s Mat Rich imagines Jesus having his own perfume, blessed with a not-so-divine ad campaign. DJ XL5 is the only Fantasia programmer who gets thing started 20 minutes ahead of showtime. Wild trailers and musical oddities await those wise enough to arrive early!
INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE-FICTION SHORT FILM SHOWCASE 2018
Fantasia’s annual showcase of provocative sci-fi works returns with eight films from five countries that confront and amaze.
From Canada, David Jermyn’s striking BE MY GUEST (World Premiere) is set in the near future, where loving couple Tim and Claire make supplemental income in a novel way: Tim uses grey market mind-transference technology to rent his body out to paying clients… who then sleep with Claire. On to the USA, Andrea Ashton’s unsettling GREATER GOOD (International Premiere) sees a pregnant woman receiving a visit from a pair of strangers, who give her an unthinkable choice to make. In Joe Lueben’s haunting ONE DAY THE SUN TURNED BLACK (International Premiere), people are forced to pigment themselves in order to survive the sun’s rays, after it permanently blackens in the sky. Travis Bible’s EXIT STRATEGY (Canadian Premiere) was a standout at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and ranks among the most compelling genre works of the year. Two brothers who have fallen out of touch reunite around their father’s passing and find themselves in a desperate time loop navigating a series of events to prevent a calamity from occurring.
THE FLAPPING OF THE HUMMINGBIRD (North American Premiere) from Spain’s Meritxell A. Valls is a sweet, sad film about the intersection between free will and fate, in which a car accident affords a man an opportunity to step back in time. THEY WAIT FOR US (Canadian Premiere), from British filmmakers Lukas Schrank & George Thomson, is a haunting mini-masterpiece in which an introverted worker at a futureworld end-of-life facility loses his grip on reality when he becomes convinced that a comatose patient is urgently trying to communicate with him. France brings the goods with Leticia Belliccini’s SPIN (International Premiere), where a man finds himself in an intensifying loop of events, as the witness, victim and perpetrator of an assault. In Magali Magistry’s EXHALE (Canadian Premiere), a toxic fog has blanketed the earth, forcing humans and animals to live in confined spaces. A stunning film with unforgettable imagery that won the Méliès d’or for best European Fantastic Short.
Fantasia’s annual showcase of cutting-edge genre works returns with nine strains of nightmares from five countries.
Award-winning Australian filmmaker Heidi Lee Douglas’s DEVIL WOMAN (World Premiere) is set in the Tasmanian forest, where a confrontation is escalating between a group of activist women and local loggers. An endangered animal’s bite alters the course of things in this propulsive eco-horror scream. Checking in from the Netherlands, Marcos Mereles’ THE DEAD MAN SPEAKS (Canadian Premiere) is a compelling experimental interlude that reminds us that the dead vastly outnumber the living on our increasingly cluttered planet. Spain’s Mateo Márquez strikes an urgent chord with THE INVADERS (Canadian Premiere), in which a young Muslim girl realizes that she’s being followed on her way home. It is a fraught descent into fear that uses the prism of genre to boldly address the dangers of anti-Muslim sentiments that are creeping across the West.
France brings a trio of standouts. A 16-year-old girl realizes that her finger has supernatural skin-piercing abilities in writer/director Mael Le Mée’s unforgettable AURORE (North American Premiere). In Aurélien Digard’s inventive and flesh-tearingly funny BESOIN DEAD (North American Premiere), a bride and her groom’s wedding-day plans are thrown a blood-soaked curveball when a zombie outbreak grips their town. Co-starring the great Philippe Nahon. Joséphine Hopkins’s tense and tragic THE DAY MY MOTHER BECAME A MONSTER (Canadian Premiere) is the story of a young girl getting ready to celebrate her ninth birthday in the shadow of her parents’ recent divorce. As the day comes nearer, she notices some deeply unsettling behavior from her mother, whose very physicality is beginning to change.
From the USA, BUZZCUT filmmakers Mike Marrero & Jonathan Rhoads’ haunting RILEY WAS HERE (World Premiere) tells a tale in which a horrific pandemic destroyed a large part of the world’s population. Today, a man will knock on the door of a woman who lost her child to the disease, having sought her out to explore a very particular need. A viscerally dramatic and ghastly film that chillingly addresses the unusual ways we cope with loss. In Ryan Oksenberg’s DAMAGE CONTROL, a man surprises his fiancée when he shows her a newly inherited property, but is in turn the one surprised when a mysterious visitor forces him to be accountable for past actions. In Marinah Janello’s ENTROPIA (Quebec Premiere), a lonely older woman undergoes a series of grisly self-care regimens in an attempt to find happiness. A poetically grotesque film packing equal measures of shock value and soul, ENTROPIA is reminiscent of early Jörg Buttgereit and has already won several awards on the international fest circuit.
Additional short film selections that will screen in front of features:
42 COUNTS (Quebec Premiere) – USA – Dir: Jill Gevargizian
Screens with THE RANGER
A/S/L (Canadian Premiere) – USA – Dir: Benjamin Swicker
Screens with THE DARK
BACKSTORE (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Valérie Leclair
Screens with HEAVY TRIP
BLOOM (World Premiere) – Australia – Dir: Kieran Wheeler
Screens with BROTHER’S NEST
CLEAN BLOOD (International Premiere) – USA – Dir: Jordan Michael Blake
Screens with PIERCING
CRYING BITCH (Canadian Premiere) – Japan – Dir: Reiki Tsuno
Screens with ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
END TIMES (International Premiere) – USA – Dir: Bobby Miller
Screens with ARIZONA
FAUVE – Canada – Dir: Jérémy Comte
Screens with SUMMER OF ‘84
FLORIDA-MONTRÉAL – Canada – Dir: Renaud Lessard
Screens with MON GARÇON (My Son)
GARDIENNAGE DE L'ENFER (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Frank Appache
Screens with LES DOUTEUX
THE GREAT HAND AND THE BULGASARI (North American Premiere) – South Korea – Dir: Kim Minhye
Screens with TRUE FICTION
LE OTTO DITA DELLA MORTE (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Frédéric Chalté
Screens with BLOOD AND BLACK LACE
HOOLIGANS (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Adam-Gabriel Belley-Côté
Screens with Lôi Báo
MEET JIMMY (International Premiere) – Netherlands – Dir: Tim Koomen
Screens with PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH
MILK (Montreal Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Santiago Menghini
Screens with DANS LA BRUME (Just a Breath Away)
THE MONSTER WITHIN (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Ghislain Ouellet
Screens with THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
NETFLIX & CHILL (Canadian Premiere) – Netherlands – Dir: Michael Middelkoop
Screens with ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
NO ONE WILL EVER BELIEVE YOU (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Frédéric Chalté
Screens with DETECTIVE DEE: THE FOUR HEAVENLY KINGS
POISSON DE MARS – Canada – Dir: Pierre-Marc Drouin
Screens with WHAT A MAN WANTS
SPACE/TIME CONUNDRUM (International Premiere) – USA – Dir: Fernando Lopez
Screens with PARALLEL
SUCK (World Premiere) – USA – Dir: Anthony Sneed
Screens with RONDO
THIRD WHEEL (Montreal Premiere) – USA – Dir: Daniel DelPurgatorio
Screens with PLEDGE
TICK (World Premiere) – Canada – Dir: Ashlea Wessel
Screens with LA QUINCEANERA
URCHIN (North American Premiere) – USA – Dir: Anna Mastro
Screens with BUYBUST
WALKING MEAT (North American Premiere) – Japan – Dir: Shinya Sugai
Screens with ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION