The 2020 Fantasia Film Fest continues to impress with news of more world premieres, special events, and a lifetime achievement award for John Carpenter.
We previously announced that one of the world’s most prestigious genre film festivals, The Fantasia International Film Festival, will be celebrating its 24th edition this year with a virtual event taking place across Canada from August 30th through September 2nd, 2020. Though COVID may have necessitated a change in format this year, it hasn’t done anything to dampen the fest’s ability to bring film fans a packed event with some of the boldest, most original, most thought provoking and jaw-dropping new genre entertainment.
We’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of the full lineup since early June, when the festival’s impressive first wave was announced. Now the wait is over, and it’s even more staggering than we hoped for.
Read on to learn more about what you can expect, and be sure to stay tuned to Morbidly Beautiful’s complete coverage of the event.
Horror Icon John Carpenter to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award
Fantasia attendees lovingly recall that the Kentucky-raised writer/director/musician was one ofthe first major international guests to attend Fantasia for the fest’s third edition in 1998, when it launched the International Premiere of VAMPIRES. In conjunction with awarding him a Fantasia Lifetime Achievement Award, the festival will also present a masterclass from Carpenter, where he’ll discuss everything from his own festival origin story to his awe-inspiring career, touching on HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, STARMAN, THEY LIVE, and many more. In addition, the fest will explore his recent resurgence as a touring musician and play you his latest spine-tingling single!
A Tribute to JOSÉ MOJICA MARINS (aka Coffin Joe)
On February 19th of this year, South American cinema lost its boldest visionary with the passing of José Mojica Marins, one of the most original and inspired voices in the history of genre film. In recognition of Marins’ passing, Fantasia will be presenting three of his works: AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL (1964), THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE (1968), and THE END OF MAN (1971). In addition, the festival will also present a live talk with Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho (THE NIGHTSHIFTER), co-screenwriter of Mojica’s acclaimed 2008 Coffin Joe comeback film, EMBODIMENT OF EVIL. He will reminisce on his own history growing up inspired by the man, as well as his relationship with his friend and collaborator.
Even More Sensational World and International Premieres
Once upon a frenzied time, man meets woman. Man kisses woman. Woman escapes man. Man chases woman. This oft-recycled revenge plot takes an unexpected turn in HUNTED – a bold story where codes are bent and reborn. The psychotic Big Bad Wolf, embodiment of patriarchy, and his dummy sidekick engage in a wild hunt within mother nature’s protective maze of trees; meanwhile, our tale’s Red Riding Hood’s awaits with killer moves – and won’t surrender so easily.
A decade after his cannibalistic modern classic WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, Mexican filmmaker Jorge Michel Grau returns to Fantasia with PERDIDA . Starring José María de Tavira, Paulina Dávila, and Cristina Rodlo, Grau enters into the realm of Hitchcock and De Palma to deliver one of the best, most sustained thrillers of recent times. A remake of Andrés Baiz’s acclaimed 2011 feature THE HIDDEN FACE, Grau superbly creates suspense through contemporary architecture and a love triangle that consistently surprises. International Premiere.
Nearly fifty and hitting menopause, Mary (Grazyna Misiorowska) makes the decision to begin hormone therapy to ease the transition. Meanwhile, the sudden arrival of her niece coincides with an awakening – one of burgeoning sexuality, bravery, and curiosity. Maybe it’s the hormones… or maybe it’s something far more mystical and powerful. Prepare for MARYGOROUND , a beautiful, unsettling, and touching dark comedy about the importance of finding yourself at any age, brought to life through Polish director Daria Woszek’s sensitive and original worldview, and originally slated to world premiere at SXSW.
When a disgraced scientist who now works at his dad’s sushi shop gets into a minor bicycle accident, he ends up creating a huge-but-delicious problem that can only be described as MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS! Before you can say “colossal calamari”, a squid, an octopus, and a crab – each as big as buildings – are wreaking massive kaiju havoc all over Tokyo! Beloved director Minoru Kawasaki (THE CALAMARI WRESTLER, EXECUTIVE KOALA) employs incredible oldschool techniques in this hilarious and heartfelt monster film, and bring back a disappearing genre in Japanese cinema known as “kigurumi tokusatsu”, or, as we know them, sci-fi movies featuring actors in rubber giant monster costumes!
Three childhood Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs and dad duties to overcome old grudges and avenge his death. Writer/director Bao Tran has made not just another martial arts movie, but a film that’s about martial arts: its philosophies and the lessons it continues to teach you into old age. Anchored by immensely likeable performances from its cast, THE PAPER TIGERS delivers all the quality ass-kicking you want out of a good martial arts film, while also impacting much more: a story about the importance of friendship and staying true to your heart, which is what makes THE PAPER TIGERS so special.
Canadian genre royalty Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings star in Ontario filmmaker Justin G. Dyck’s ANYTHING FOR JACKSON, a clever, funny, and delightfully mean-spirited horror tale of elderly Satanists carried way over their heads in the name of love. Keith Cooper’s screenplay constantly surprises, by turning funny, nasty, and progressively more intense as it moves along, but it’s the pairing of McCarthy and Richings that makes JACKSON so special.
Writer/director Quinn Armstrong’s feature debut SURVIVAL SKILLS, expanded from his 2017 short, is simultaneously a throwback to a bygone age and very much a film for the current moment. Designed like an 80s police-training video, Armstrong builds up a wholesome and comedic world replete with bubbling Americana and educational-film naivete before shattering it with the grim reality of domestic violence. Starring Vayu O’Donnell and Stacy Keach, the film casts a bleakly satirical light on the disasters that can occur when simplistic training, complex ethics, and the dark side of human nature collide.
PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE
In addition to so many highly anticipated World and International Premieres, the festival also boasts an impressive roster of Canadian and North American premieres, as well as seven amazing new documentaries, including the World Premiere of HAIL TO THE DEADITES — a deep-dive into the fan culture that has spawned around the EVIL DEAD franchise and its undying and still-growing popularity.
Fantasia Retro will also be unveiling a trio of restoration premieres, including Buddy Giovinazzo’s NO WAY HOME, Bill Grefé’s kitsch classic STING OF DEATH (1966), and Álex de la Iglesia’s DAY OF THE BEAST, which remains one of the best horror comedies of our time.
Genre fans will also be able to rediscover Fantasia Classics at home. Unavailable in North America, or previously hard to find, Fantasia’s digital 2020 edition brings back a selection of beloved favorites from its past editions, under its new label, Fantasia Classics. This year’s titles featured under this moniker include Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll (2009), Yosuke Fujita’s Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats (2014), Johnnie To’s A Hero Never Dies (1998), Hideki Takeuchi’s Fly Me to the Saitama (2019), Yuichi Fukuda’s HK: Forbidden Superhero (2014) and HK2: The Abnormal Crisis (2016), Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011), and Koichiro Miki’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles (2018). Also included will be a special 15-year-anniversary screening of Wilson Yip’s SPL: Kill Zone (2005).
And that’s all just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to this year’s phenomenal film showcase, panels and special events, including an artist talk with famed filmmaker Mike Flanagan, an all-star tribute to Stuart Gordon, (bad) career advice from Simon Barrett, and Gary Sherman’s virtual b-day bash.
While Fantasia 2020’s films are geo-blocked to Canadian audiences, all of the festival’s panels and special events are free and accessible worldwide, allowing these unique experiences to be enjoyed by fans on every corner of the Earth!