Reorienting genre: Fantasia International Film Festival 2019

Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 takes place 11 July – 1 August 2019

This year’s Fantasia opens with the latest Ring-sequel Sadako, returning Hideo Nakata to the series that he started back in 1998, and closes with Kazuki Nakashima’s combustible pop-art anime Promare. Both these films encapsulate and conjoin Fantasia’s twin commitments – suggested by its portmanteau label – to both quality genre films and the cinema of the Far East. 

In between, there will be plenty of both: world premières of Matthew Pope’s doom-laden noir Blood On Her Name, the Aswang armageddon of Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Mystery of the Night, Hirotaka Adachi’s wide-eyed J-horror Stare, David Marmor’s apartment thriller 1BR, Shaun Piccinino’s no-punches-held-back American Fighter, Zack Gayne’s bunny-boiling two-hander Homewrecker, Jordan Graham’s unnerving labour of love Sator, family-directed supernatural study in grief The Deeper You Dig, Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer’s corpse-strewn Dead Dicks and a special advance screening of Abner Pastoll’s Loachian revenger A Good Woman Is Hard To Find

There are also returns from filmmakers who impressed with their debuts. Gabriela Amaral Almeida (Friendly Beast) is back with The Father’s Shadow, Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name) with Vivarium, and documentarian David Gregory (Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau) with Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson. There is an anime showcase; there are shorts galore; there are Canadian discoveries; and there are special live presentations by cult-unto-himself critic Joe Bob Briggs, director Ted Kotcheff (Wake In Fright) and producer Edward R. Pressman. 

On top of all this, there is a schedule brimming with local and international horror, fantasy, sci-fi and eclectic oddness, as well as a very good snapshot of contemporary Asian cinema.  For the full programme, keep an eye out here.

© Anton Bitel