Last month we brought you the first-wave lineup for the Fantasia International Film Festival's 27th edition. Highlights from that first announcement included Theresa Sutherland's Lovely Dark And Deep with Barbarian's Georgina Campbell, Victor Ginzburg's Empire V (which was shot by Come And See cinematographer Aleksei Rodionov), a new Larry Fessenden werewolf movie, and a new one from our favorite creepy filmmaking family, the single "d" Adams Family premiering Where The Devil Roams.
As rich as that first wave was, we couldn't fathom the riches still awaiting us in the second wave announcement. Pascal Plante's Red Rooms will kick things off this year, Nicolas Cage implores you to have a little Sympathy For The Devil, Bangladesh folklore anthology Pett Kata Shaw will likely give you all sorts of new nightmares to lose sleep over, and the Phillipou Brothers' Talk To Me makes its Canadian premiere. You've heard us talking that last one up plenty in recent months, and for very good reason.
The festival's 27th edition will be marked by a program of screenings, workshops, and launch events running from July 20 through August 9, 2023, taking place at the Concordia Hall Cinema, with additional screens at the Cinémathèque Québécoise and Cinéma du Musée.
The festival’s complete lineup will be announced in early July. In the meantime, enjoy some of the highlights from Fantasia's second wave of titles below, and visit the official website for the complete list of second wave selections.
OPENING THE FESTIVAL, PASCAL PLANTE WILL BRING US INTO RED ROOMS Coming to christen Fantasia’s 27th edition days after its Karlovy-Vary competition debut, RED ROOMS (Les chambres rouges) is the haunting third feature from celebrated Quebec filmmaker Pascal Plante (FAKE TATTOOS, NADIA, BUTTERFLY). The high-profile case of serial killer Ludovic Chevalier (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, STANLEYVILLE) has just gone to trial, and Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy, BOOST) is obsessed. When reality blurs with her morbid fantasies, she goes down a dark path to seek the final piece of the case’s puzzle. Opening Film. North American Premiere.
NICOLAS CAGE. JOEL KINNAMAN. YUVAL ADLER. SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. Award-winning director Yuval Adler (BETHLEHEM) reunites with Joel Kinnaman following 2020’s THE SECRETS WE KEEP and brings Nicolas Cage on board to deliver one of the most intense performances of his career in SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. After being forced to drive a mysterious passenger at gunpoint, a man finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems. This riveting crime thriller will leave you breathless. International Premiere.
2023’s SCARIEST FILM IS COMING TO HAUNT CANADA:
TALK TO ME
When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces. An astonishing feature debut from Australian filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou, TALK TO ME is an exhilarating roller coaster that balances imaginative scares with emotionally nuanced characters and an ingeniously original concept. It became an instant classic from the moment of its lauded Sundance premiere, and Fantasia couldn’t be prouder to host the film’s national debut. Stars Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen and Miranda Otto. Canadian Premiere.
A TENSE UKRAINIAN SCREENLIFE THRILLER SHOT AGAINST THE RUSSIAN INVASION WILL COMPEL YOU TO STAY ONLINE
An urgent Ukrainian screenlife film that will have your heart in your throat, shot against the actual Russian invasion, STAY ONLINE is the gripping feature debut from Eva Strelnikova. Katya (Liza Zaitseva), a volunteer from Kyiv fighting against the invasion of Ukraine, uses a laptop donated to the resistance and comes into contact with the young son of the computer’s original owner, who is desperately in search of his missing parents. Her attempts to help the child will see her risk all she holds dear. Being the festival where screenlife storytelling was first introduced to audiences with Unfriended in 2014, Fantasia is especially proud to be World Premiering this landmark film, an intimately human thriller about war, made in war. World Premiere.
DOES ROMI KNOW ALL YOUR SECRETS?
In ROMI, AI takes control when a young woman hides out in a state-of-the-art smart home while evading the law. As her reality unravels, she discovers she's not the only one with secrets. Director Robert Cuffley first explored the horrors of AI in his 2019 short of the same name and now he’s expanded the terror to a feature-length film. Starring Alexa Barajas (YELLOWJACKETS), Juan Riedinger (EXCESS FLESH, RICEBOY SLEEPS), Pavel Kríz (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-GHOST PROTOCOL) and Jocelyn Chugg as the omniscient ROMI, this safe house is anything but.
DECADES IN THE MAKING, THE PRIMEVALS WILL SOON LIVE
Fantasia’s world premiere of THE PRIMEVALS represents the culmination of a longtime dream harboured by visual effects wizard David Allen, whose career stretched from 1970’s EQUINOX through Oscar-nominated work on YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, WILLOW and beyond. Allen first conceived THE PRIMEVALS as a vehicle for his stop-motion talents in the 1970s and finally began directing the film in the 1990s under producer and Full Moon Features Founder Charles Band, for whom he’d brought all manner of beasties to life. Sadly, the film’s completion was scuttled by Allen’s death from cancer in 1999 at just 54 years old. For the last many years, Band and longtime Allen associate Chris Endicott (THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) have worked to see the film to completion, and it emerges at Fantasia as a glorious tribute to the classic films of Ray Harryhausen, with a true sense of adventure and eye-popping stop-motion animation. Special-effects fans will not want to miss this. World Premiere.
LIFE FALLS INTO CHAOS AND VINCENT MUST DIE
Random strangers have suddenly started attacking the otherwise unremarkable Vincent (Karim Leklou) with murderous intent. As things spiral violently out of control, he is forced to flee and change his life completely. Coming to Fantasia hot off its acclaimed Cannes Critics Week debut, Stéphan Castang’s phenomenal VINCENT MUST DIE (Vincent doit mourir) is a high-energy kaleidoscope of genres – at once a horror, comedy, romance, fantasy and thriller – all working together. This is a thoughtful, pure-cinema experience to be savoured and reckoned with. North American Premiere.
BANGLADESHI FOLK HORROR REINVENTED: PETT KATA SHAW
Bangladeshi folklore is rife with ghosts and unforgiving spirits, all deeply connected to its people’s collective history of injustice and societal dread. PETT KATA SHAW, an anthology inspired by oral legends from Bangladesh, is written and directed by Nuhash Humayun, the breakout star of Bangladeshi horror cinema. Winner of the Midnight Shorts Competition at SXSW as well as a Gold Audience Award at Fantasia 2022, his short film MOSHARI is the first
Bangladeshi production ever to qualify for an Academy Award, catching the attention of Jordan Peele and Riz Ahmed. Reinvented in a contemporary setting, the spine-chilling tales of PETT KATA SHAW don’t shy away from issues such as mental health, religion, climate change, and gender roles. North American Premiere.
BLOCKERS PROVES WHY YOU DON’T MESS WITH QUEER FILMMAKERS Though just eighteen years old, Alice Maio Mackay (SO VAM) is a fearless heir to the Queer Horror Canon. T BLOCKERS, her third feature, is an unapologetically trans homage to INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS brimming with youthful energy and a punk attitude. Equal parts gross-out comic horror and heartwarming coming of age, T BLOCKERS is about a young trans filmmaker obsessed with a thought-to-be long-lost film and the spread of a violent infectious parasite. Mackay channels Gregg Araki and John Waters in this playful and defiant sci-fi horror. Canadian Premiere.
JOE LYNCH TRIBUTES STUART GORDON WITH LOVECRAFT ADAPTATION
SUITABLE FLESH A psychiatrist falls into a downward spiral of sex, possession, and death when a young patient shows up at her door with symptoms that are of another world. Heather Graham and Judah Lewis star in Joe Lynch’s loving tribute to the late Stuart Gordon that reunites actress Barbara Crampton, Screenwriter Denis Paoli, and Executive Producer Brian Yuzna to forge a macabre supernatural erotic horror film straight from the depths of the abyss. Adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP. Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2023. Canadian Premiere.
A career best performance by David Dastmalchian headlines this innovative and nightmarish horror treat in which a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation's living rooms. Accurately hailed by Stephen King as “absolutely brilliant”. Official Selection: SXSW 2023. Overlook 2023. Canadian Premiere.
MY ANIMAL (Canada) – Dir: Jacqueline Castel
First pitched at the Frontieres Market in 2019, this transformative queer horror drama flips the script of GINGER SNAPS, giving the slow-burn lycanthropic love story at its core some serious bite. Stars Bobbie Salvör Menuez and Amandla Stenberg, with Stephen. McHattie, Scott MacDonald and Heidi von Palleske topping off Castel’s stunning feature debut about young lovers and an accursed family legacy. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Septentrion Shadows section. Canadian Premiere.
PERPETRATOR (USA) – Dir: Jennifer Reeder
Kiah McKirnan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell and Ireon Roach star in a poetic and hyper-original genre creation of the kind that only Jennifer Reeder could make. At its core, it is a horror film inspired by the shared experience of generations of women. Official Selection: Berlinale 2023, Tribeca Film Festival 2023. Canadian Premiere.
LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL (Australia) – Dirs: Colin and Cameron Cairnes
A career-best performance by David Dastmalchian headlines this innovative and nightmarish horror treat in which a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation's living rooms. Accurately hailed by Stephen King as “absolutely brilliant”. Official Selection: SXSW 2023. Overlook 2023. Canadian Premiere.