About the festival
Over two decades of fantastic discoveries
22nd Edition – JULY 12-AUGUST 1st, 2018 — Since its inception in 1996, the Fantasia International Film Festival is now recognized as the largest and most influential event of its kind in North America, a leader on the genre film scene, one of the country’s most popular film festivals and the city of Montreal elevated the festival to rank among the city’s major events. With a varied programming and an emphasis on the imaginative cinema of Asia, Europe and the Americas, Fantasia’s offerings range from unique and powerful personal visions to international commercial crowd-pleasers rarely seen in North America.
"The most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent."— Quentin Tarantino
"FANTASIA IS A SHRINE"— Guillermo Del Toro
"Fantasia remains to this day one of my very favorite film festivals in the world.""— James Gunn
"The most important event dedicated to genre film in North America."— Les cahiers du cinema
"One of Canada's hottest film events"— Variety
"One of the most exciting genre film festivals in the world."— Premiere
"This is what I look forward to in the summer. Fantasia is it for me. It's the only festival I ever went to as a fan."— Jay Baruchel
An Industry Destination
In July of 2018, the Fantasia will celebrate its 22nd edition. Located in the heart of beautiful Montreal, Fantasia is a cultural and professional destination point, and since its first edition, the festival’s ever-growing popularity has attracted the attention of the international film industry alongside a legion of attendees from across the world. Every facet of the filmmaking chain is increasingly represented with in-person delegates at the festival: directors, actors, producers, studio representatives, distributors and festival programmers, who get to experience the legendarily enthusiastic, taste-making audience of Fantasia.
For our forthcoming 22nd Edition, Fantasia will host the 10th edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market. For this event alone, more than 400 members of the film industry will be making their way to Montreal. Overall, the 2018 edition of Fantasia will welcome close to 500 guests from all facets of the film industry.
Some of the numerous guests in past editions of Fantasia have included: Robert Pattinson, Ben & Josh Safdie, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Hamill, Takashi Miike, Tony Todd, Danny Masterson, David Bordwell, David Arquette, Jaume Balagueró, Jay Baruchel, Michael J. Bassett, Michael Biehn, Don Bluth, Kim Bodnia, Darren Lynn Bousman, Nicolas Bro, Jörg Buttgereit, Paul Campion, John Carpenter, Hélène Cattet, Nacho Cerda, Lau Ching-Wan, Larry Cohen, Joe Coleman, Jeffrey Combs, Don Coscarelli, Maurice G. Dantec, Roy Dupuis, Jason Eisener, Larry Fessenden, Bruno Forzani, Amanda Fuller, Xavier Gens, Julian Gilbey, Buddy Giovinazzo, Stuart Gordon, Matthew Gray Gubler, Adam Green, Sasha Grey, James Gunn, Robin Hardy, Lee Hae-young, Ray Harryhausen, Frank Henenlotter, Noburo Iguchi, Yang Ik-June, Yoshimasa Ishibashi, Shunji Iwai, Kang Je-gyu, Lee Joon-ik, Terry Jones, Shusuke Kaneko, Udo Kier, Ryûhei Kitamura, Satoshi Kon, Ted Kotcheff, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Tyler Labine, John Landis, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Casper van Dien, Bruce Leung, Gordon Liu, David Lowery, José Mojica Marins, Neil Marshall, Malcolm McDowell, Lucky McKee, Glenn McQuaid, Jim Mickle, Daniel Monzón, Bill Mosely, Hideo Nakata, Paul Naschy, Vincenzo Natali, Yoshihiro Nishimura, F.J. Ossang, Bangjong Pisanthanakun, Bill Plympton, Nicolas Winding Refn, Jean Rollin, Eli Roth, Simon Rumley, Ken Russell, Josh and Ben Safdie, Tak Sakaguchi, Tom Savini, Marc Senter, Ryoo Seung-wan, Eihi Shiina, Chris Sivertson, Christopher Smith, Sion Sono, Richard Stanley, Carl Tibbetts, Johnnie To, Alan Tudyk, Agustín Villaronga, Tomas Villum Jensen, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard and Parkpoom Wongpoom, Masaaki Yuasa, among many others.
For our forthcoming 22nd Edition, Fantasia embarks for the 7th year on a major industry-driven venture, the Fantasia Industry Rendez-Vous, which will include the Frontières International Co-Production Market’s 10th edition and the Fantasia Film Market. For this event alone, more than 400 members of the film industry will be making their way to Montreal. Overall, the 2018 edition of Fantasia will welcome close to 500 guests from all facets of the film industry.
Fantasia is at the vanguard of international genre cinema, thanks to its distinct programming, its prominent media coverage and the record-breaking attendance by passionate film fans. Over 100,000 festival-goers attended Fantasia in 2017, and the festival has attracted over a million spectators over its duration, establishing Fantasia as an event with long-term benefits for films both big and small. Fantasia’s website was frequented by some 135 000 visitors, for more than 1 375 000 pages views.
The 21st edition of Fantasia International Film Festival had impact in the media across the world. For the fourth consecutive year, close to 3,000 articles or media mentions went out on the topic of our festival and over 550 media outlets from some 35 countries covered or mentionned our festival, while some 230 journalists were accredited to cover us.
Fantasia is regularly featured in such outlets as Variety, Screen, Cahiers du Cinéma, Entertainment Weekly, IndieWire, Vice, The Hollywood Reporter, Screen Anarchy, Premiere, The Daily Beast, Nerdist, RogerEbert.Com, MovieMaker Magazine, Ain’t it Cool News, The A.V. Club, Birth. Movies. Death., Arrow in the Head, Senses of Cinema, Film Threat, The Globe and Mail, Filmmaker Magazine, CBC, Film School Rejects, Rue Morgue, Sight & Sound Magazine, Le Monde, Dread Central, Quiet Earth, Film Comment, Bloody Disgusting, Anime News Network, Playback, KoBiz, Fangoria, Coming Soon, Mad Movies, Shock ‘til You Drop and Little White Lies, as well as front-page and cover stories in local print media such as Le Devoir, The Montreal Gazette, Journal de Montreal, Cult MTL, Voir and La Presse.
Discoveries & Premieres
Since its earliest days, Fantasia has been responsible for breaking countless new talents and introducing International greats to new audiences in our part of the world. Among our accomplishments:
- Fantasia launched the career of Adam Wingard with our world premiere screening of his feature debut Home Sick, directed when he was just 19 years of age.
- Fantasia’s 2014 world premiere of The Midnight Swim introduced the world to the brilliance of filmmaker Sarah Adina Smith, whose sophomore feature, Buster’s Mal Heart, has become one of the most celebrated indie films on the 2016 festival circuit.
- Fantasia’s 2017’s International premiere of Nico van den Brink’s atmospheric short Sweet Tooth led directly to the gifted Dutch filmmaker being signed to Paradigm, with James Wan teaming up with him to make a feature adaptation of the film at New Line.
- Our 2017 lineup included major premieres of three features that would become their countries’ submissions for 2018 Foreign Language Oscars – Fantasia showcased the International Premiere of A Taxi Driver (South Korea), the North American Premiere of Spoor (Poland) and the Canadian Premiere of Tom of Finland (Finland).
- Fantasia is widely cited as being the place where the J-horror craze started in the West. With our 1997 screening of Fudoh, Fantasia was the first festival in North America to introduce audiences to the anarchistic inventions of Takashi Miike. Our 1999 Premiere of Hideo Nakata’s Ring (Ringu) led directly to the film being acquired by Dreamworks, both for their 2002 remake as well as for North American distribution of Nakata’s original instant-classic.
- Our world premiere screening of Satoshi Kon’s landmark feature debut Perfect Blue introduced the master animator to an adoring international public and led to the film getting North American distribution.
- Our 2013 lineup included the Canadian Premieres of three features that would go on to become their countries’ submissions for 2014 Foreign Language Oscars — respectively, The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium), The Great Passage (Japan) and Metro Manilla (UK).
- Our 2014 lineup included the world Premiere of Unfriended (under its early title Cybernatural), which was acquired by Universal and Blumhouse on the spot and saw a wide theatrical release in April 2015. The film’s January 2015 trailer launch broke Twitter records with 261,941 tweets.
- Over the years, Canadian Premieres have included Brigsby Bear, Patti Cake$, Don’t Breathe, Tangerine, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lights Out, Turbo Kid, The World’s End, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Broken Circle Breakdown, The Conjuring, Attack on Titan, In Order of Disappearance, ParaNorman, Let The Right One In, The Descent, House of the Devil, Human Centipede, Red State, V/H/S, Iron Giant, The Blair Witch Project, Death Note, Shaun of the Dead, X-Men and Love Exposure.
- North American premieres have included Good Time, The Villainess, Train to Busan, Inglourious Basterds, Spoor, Bullhead, Blood Father, I, Olga Hepnarova, Before I Wake, Welcome to New York, Shield of Straw, [REC], Office, When Animals Dream, Thirst, Clown, Ringu, We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay), 11/25 : The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate, The Nameless and Night Watch.
- International premieres have included A Day, Junk Head, In a Valley of Violence, You Only Live Once, Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, Faults, Rurouni Kenshin-Kyoto Inferno, Willow Creek, Rubber, Shinjuku Swan, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Thermae Romae II, Uzumaki and The Devil’s Rejects.
- World premieres have included Unfriended, Lowlife, Mohawk, Goran, Radius,The Creeping Garden, Abu, King Cohen, Some Freaks, Rupture, Tales of Halloween, The Unseen, Realive, Toad Road, Curse of Chucky, I am a Knife with Legs, Final Destination 5, Suburban Gothic, Repo: The Genetic Opera, 24 Exposures, Errors of the Human Body, Dead Sushi, The Theatre Bizarre, Millennium Actress, My Amityville Horror, I Spit on Your Grave and Midnight Meat Train.
Awards and Prestige
Fantasia’s eight official competitions are another way the festival ensures recognition and prestige for the films in our program. In addition to our numerous Audience Awards, for which all films (excluding retrospectives) are eligible, our juried competitions are as follows:
The Grand Jury Competition consisting of feature films competing for: The “Cheval Noir” Award for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay.
The First Feature Competition consisting of feature directorial debuts competing for: The “New Flesh” Award for Best First Feature.
The Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation consisting of animated works from the Axis section competing for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Awards
The Action! Award for best Action filmmaking
The Camera Lucida Award, juried by The AQCC (Association Québécoises des Critiques de Cinéma)
The International Short Film Competition
The Quebec Shorts Competition
The DIY Quebec Shorts Competition
Additional awards offered by industry organizations include The Barry Convex Award for Best Canadian Film (administered by Spectacular Optical), The Séquences Award and the L’Écran fantastique Award.
In addition, Fantasia has presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to such singular talents as Ray Harryhausen, Takashi Miike, Ken Russell, Guillermo Del Toro, Mamoru Oshii, Andrzej Zulawski, Jean Rollin, Tobe Hooper, Jose Mojica Marins, Larry Cohen, John Landis, the animation duo of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman and the trail-blazing producing team of John Dunning and Andre Link (founders of Cinepix).
In 2016, Fantasia inaugurated the Denis Héroux Award, a prize that recognizes an exceptional contribution to the development of genre and independent cinema from Quebec. It’s first recipient was director Jean-Claude Lord. Our 2017 recipient was producer Nicole Robert.
Our 2017 edition at a glance
- Over 100,000 attendees for the eighth consecutive year
- A Cheval Noir Jury with Richard Stanley, Chris Bumbray, Paul Kazee, Shelagh Rowan-Legg
- More than 700 special guests, including 400 representatives of the international film industry (directors, producers, distributors, sales agents and buyers, etc.)
- More than 230 journalists and media representatives on site
- 155 feature films, more than
260 short films, 128 feature-film premieres including 25 world and international premieres, and 4 outdoor screenings.
- Short and feature films from more than 40 countries across five continents
- Among our 2017 programming highlights, we are proud to have hosted the North American Premieres of the Safdie Brothers’ GOOD TIME, Agnieszka Holland’s SPOOR and Jung Byung-gil’s THE VILLAINESS, the Canadian Premieres of David Leitch’s ATOMIC BLONDE, Luc Besson’s VALÉRIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, Benson & Moorehead’s THE ENDLESS and Dave McCary’s BRIGSBY BEAR, the Quebec premiere of David Lowery’s A GHOST STORY, the International Premieres of Jang Hoon’s A TAXI DRIVER, Federico Ceuva’s YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, Takahide Hori’s JUNK HEAD and the World Premieres of Ryan Prows’s LOWLIFE, Steve Mitchell’s KING COHEN, Arshad Khan’s ABU, Géla Babluani’s MONEY’S MONEY and Steeve Léonard and Caroline Labrèche’s RADIUS.
- An immense number of special guests were present to celebrate the festival’s 21st anniversary, including filmmakers David Lowery, Ben & Josh Safdie, Jung Byung-gil, Larry Cohen Jang Hoon, Géla Babluani, Masaaki Yuasa, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorehead, George Mihalka, Gabriela Amaral Almeida, Éric Valette, Dick Maas, Ana Asensio, Joe Lynch, Steeve Léonard and Caroline Labrèche, and actors Robert Pattinson, Matthew Gray Gubler, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Moriarty, Christian Bégin, Carole Laure and Lewis Furey among many others.
- 12 virtual reality films were available to the public during a four-day presentation produced in collaboration with Samsung and the Canadian Film Centre.
The Fantasia International Film Festivalis a non-profit organization registered in accordance with the National Corporate Registry of Canada.
Since its beginnings, the Fantasia International Film Festival has explored the diverse realms of genre cinema, creating bridges between the cutting edge and the mainstream, and providing a festive but professional environment where emerging artists are given exposure alongside their more established counterparts, both locally and internationally. We showcase the best in Canadian and world cinema, discovering and nurturing exciting new talents and offering a platform through which artists and audiences can connect
Fantasia’s definition of genre cinema is broad and continually evolving; aligned with the European tradition of ‘genre’ as a challenging and elegant stream of cinema, the festival juxtaposes pop culture with alternative culture, and its distinct programming has enabled Montreal to radiate in the international film community. Fantasia strives to be a North American counterpart to Spain’s Sitges Fantastic Film Festival, which has been Europe’s leading fantastic film festival for the past 50 years - buzzing with major industry participation and international stars while maintaining an independent and progressive vision that benefits emerging artists. An immense cultural event for a diverse but equally robust audience, bristling with discoveries, opportunities and passion.
Fantasia has shown that even the most esoteric films can be accessible to a wider audience when properly contextualized, and can even prove to be significant commercial successes. Renowned worldwide for the boundless energy of its creative team, the festival keeps audiences coming to the theatrical environment, enabling independent artists and distributors to have their work shown in a professional and enthusiastic milieu.
While already widely considered to be one of the largest and most influential fantastic film festivals in the world, Fantasia looks forward to expanding on its achievements with more visiting filmmakers, industry attendees, global media impact, original critical writing through a monthly web magazine, and the introduction of a film market that will enable independent media artists to exchange ideas and to connect with patrons and audiences alike.