The genre film festival: Fantasia

Tomorrow, July 8th, marks the opening of Fantasia, North America’s largest genre film festival. For three full weeks, Montreal area residents and visitors will be able to enjoy horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and anime on the silver screen (not to mention some truly weird films). The festival opens with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the last day features a very special presentation of Metropolis. In between, fans will be able to enjoy over 100 features and 200 shorts. Presented are several North American and World premieres as well as special treats for genre fans.

The fully restored version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis will be shown at the Place des Arts on July 28th. Why have it in a concert hall? Simply because it will feature live orchestral accompaniment with a new score by Gabriel Thibaudeau, who will direct 13 musicians on stage. Gabriel Thibaudeau is the composer in residence for the Cinémathèque québécoise and is no stranger to live accompaniment of films having been there for over two decades. The version most people are familiar with is already the science fiction film classic, adding 25 minutes and a live score should make for a great evening.

Fantasia also features guests from around the world. Famed director Ken Russell will host a screening of The Devils, one of the most controversial films ever made. A documentary called Herschell Gordon Lewis: the Godfather of Gore will be premiered along with an autograph session with the (in)famous director himself. Stu Levy and Yuri Lowenthal will be there for the screening of the live action version of Van Von Hunter. There will also be some special live events like
DJ XL5’s Bollywood Zappin’ Party

As mentioned before, the opening film of the festival is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Scott Pilgrim vs the World will also be premiered at the festival on July 27th. Perhaps less known, but just as exciting are the premieres of I Spit on Your Grave, Eve’s Necklace, Twisted Seduction and Neverlost.

Animation fans will be particularly pleased this year with screenings of First Squad: the Moment of Truth, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, Mai Mai Miracle, Technotise: Edit & I and Summer Wars. A plethora of shorts by the likes of Bill Plympton, Cordell Barker, Michal Socha and Kristian Andrews make up the “Beyond Animation 2010” screening, a yearly compilation of shorts that is always worth watching.

Fantasia was started by film fans and after 14 years, still holds on to its roots. What’s great about any Fantasia screening is not only the great films you can see, but also being surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans and realizing you’re screaming just as loud as they are.

René Walling is a fan of SF, animation and comics, this has led him to co-chair Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, be involved with fps magazine for more than a decade, and start Nanopress, a Canadian small press. He looks forward to living on Mars where he would benefit from having more than 24 hours in a day.

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