Fantasia announces virtual 25th edition & Brain Freeze world premiere
Fans eager for the film fest season to continue can rejoice as Fantasia International Film Festival have announced their return for the 25th Edition of the event from August 5-25, which will continue the virtual format utilized last year as the pandemic continues to keep many areas in lockdown and using the leading-edge platform created by Festival Scope and Shift72.
As the summer approaches, the festival will be following advice from local health authorities, with the possibility of also adding a range of flagship physical events to the lineup. Last summer’s virtual edition was a large success for Fantasia, 85,000 spectators attending screenings and amassing a record amount of media coverage, with 475 accredited journalists from around the world covering Fantasia and its titles. The lineup showcased 104 features, a quarter of which were World Premieres, with the majority securing distribution out of the festival, some highlights including The Block Island Sound selling to Netflix, Come True to IFC, The Paper Tigers to WellGo USA, Anything For Jackson to Shudder, PVT Chat to Dark Star and Minor Premise to Utopia.
For the creation of its 25th anniversary poster art, pictured above, Fantasia has once again turned to the talents of renowned illustrator Donald Caron, who takes inspiration from Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s beloved Lone Wolf and Cub to create a work that not only acknowledges the key role that Japanese culture has played across Fantasia’s history, but also one that hints and honors the upcoming edition’s embrace of Japanese cinema as a core cinematic theme.
The festival will be opening its upcoming edition with the world premiere of a major Québécois genre feature, Julien Knafo’s Brain Freeze. First pitched at Frontières, the festival’s world-renowned international co-production market, the film is a smart and stylish zombie comedy that slyly comments on social concerns both domestic and universal, telling the tale of an environmental disaster that leads to a fast-spreading virus ravaging a wealthy gated community off the island of Montreal.
Brain Freeze joins the ranks of recently-released cinema that holds an eerie mirror up to our collective experience even though scripted and shot pre-pandemic. While production on the winter-set chiller was abruptly halted four days before completion following Quebec’s lockdown, shooting was miraculously able to wrap the following summer. Following its world premiere on August 5, the film will see a theatrical release throughout Canada on August 13 from Filmoption International.
Produced by Barbara Shrier (The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom), the film stars Roy Dupuis (The Rocket), one of Quebec’s leading actors for the past three decades who celebrates his 50th feature with this role, alongside Iani Bédard (Mon Ami Walid), Marianne Fortier (Aurore), Anne-Élisabeth Bossé (Laurence Anyways), Mylène Mackay (Nelly), Simon-Oliver Fecteau (Bluff), Stéphane Crête (Dans Une Galaxie Près De Chez Vous), Mahée Paiment (Les Boys), Louis-Georges Girard (Mafia Inc), Claudia Ferri (Bad Blood) and Jean-Pierre Bergeron (Sur Le Seuil).