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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Plague horror from Neil Marshall and a double dose of Brea Grant lead Fantasia's first virtual wave

Illustration for article titled Plague horror from Neil Marshall and a double dose of Brea Grant lead Fantasias first virtual wave
Photo: Fantasia Film Festival

Fantasia Fest, the international genre festival held annually in Montreal, isn’t taking any risks this year. Although some movie theaters are starting the slow process of reopening, organizers have moved the 24th edition of the festival online due to—you guessed it—coronavirus concerns (please do not use this as a band name, we beg you), moving the dates from their usual spot in mid-July to late August and early September.

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Today, the fest officially unveiled its first wave lineup, which includes films from the likes of Neil Marshall, whose new film The Reckoning, a gnarly-sounding thriller “set in 1665 against the backdrop of the Great Plague and the subsequent witch hunts in England,” opens this year’s virtual festival. (This is Marshall’s second time opening Fantasia, after The Descent in 2005.) Then we’ve got two films from Brea Grant—12 Hour Shift, which she wrote and directed, and Lucky, which she wrote and stars in—both refugees from spring festivals (SXSW and Tribeca, respectively) canceled due to the pandemic.

As usual, Fantasia’s lineup of Japanese films is also strong this year: They’ll be hosting the Canadian premiere of Labyrinth Of Cinema, the final film from legendary House director Nobuhiko Obayashi, as well as Special Actors, Shinichiro Ueda’s highly anticipated followup to his festival hit One Cut Of The Dead. Other highlights of the first wave lineup are #Shakespeareshitstorm, the latest from Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman, as well as the Tiny Tim documentary Tiny Tim: King For A Day, the Belgian zombie hit Yummy, and the harrowing German horror film Sleep. Last year’s Fantasia also launched the breakout horror hits Ready Or Not and The Wretched, so keep an eye on world-premiere horror titles like The Curse Of Audrey Earnshaw and Unearth as well.

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Part of the reason Fantasia has been able to get more and higher-profile world premieres than, say, Amazon’s SXSW initiative is that its screenings on the Festival Scope and Shift72 streaming platforms are geolocked for Canada. That means that a Fantasia online premiere still has some air of exclusivity about it, as well as leaving the door open for Fantasia films to play festivals in other regions as well. So while, yes, it is a bummer that only Canadians will get to watch these films online as Fantasia official selections, there is a reason for it.

If you live in Canada and you’re able to virtually attend, a full list of the Fantasia Film Festival’s first wave of 2020 titles is below. Fantasia will take place online from August 20 to September 2, and more details can be found at the festival’s official website.


#SHAKESPEARESSHITSTORM

Dir. Lloyd Kaufman
USA
World Premiere

12 HOUR SHIFT
Dir. Brea Grant
USA
International Premiere

A COSTUME FOR NICHOLAS
Dir. Eduardo Rivero
Mexico
Canadian Premiere

COME TRUE
Dir. Anthony Scott Burns
Canada
World Premiere

THE CURSE OF AUDREY EARNSHAW
Dir. Thomas Robert Lee
Canada
World Premiere

FRIED BARRY
Dir. Ryan Kruger
South Africa
Canadian Premiere

KRIYA
Dir. Sidharth Srinivasan
India/UK
World Premiere

LABYRINTH OF CINEMA
Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi
Japan
Canadian Premiere

LAPSIS
Dir. Noah Hutton
USA
Canadian Premiere

LUCKY
Dir. Natasha Kermani
USA
International Premiere

THE OLD MAN MOVIE
Dir. Oskar Lehemaa, Mikk Mägi
Estonia
North American Premiere

THE RECKONING
Dir. Neil Marshall
UK
Special Screening

SLEEP (Schlaf)
Dir. Michael Venus
Germany
North American Premiere

SPECIAL ACTORS
Dir. Shinichiro Ueda
Japan
Canadian Premiere

TEZUKA’S BARBARA
Dir. Macoto Tezuka
Japan
North American Premiere

TIME OF MOULTING
Dir. Sabrina Mertens
Germany
North American Premiere

TINY TIM: KING FOR A DAY
Dir. Henrik Von Sydow
Sweden
World Premiere

UNDERGODS
Dir. Chino Moya
UK/Belgium/Estonia/Serbia/Sweden
World Premiere

THE UNDERTAKER’S HOME (La Funeraria)
Dir. Mauro Iván Ojeda
Argentina
World Premiere

UNEARTH
Dirs. John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies
USA
World Premiere

YUMMY
Dir. Lars Damoiseaux
Belgium
Quebec Premiere

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