The world’s oldest continuous genre film festival that is dedicated to presenting an eclectic mix of films that go beyond conventional borders is returning for its 15th year to the sheer delight of it ever growing pool of hard-core fans.
In 1996, founders Pierre Corbeil, Martin Sauvageau and André Dubois got together and presented around 60 feature films mainly from Hong Kong and Japan. And now in 2011, 15 years later, over 140 feature length and 250 shorts from approximately 40 countries will be presented during a gruelling and intense 25 days between July 14th (at 6:45 with the Canadian premiere of Kevin Smith’s “Red State) and ending with a gala screening of Rupert Julian’s time honoured 1925 silent version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, with Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin. The copy is a magnificent 35mm with a Technicolor sequence. This gala event will be held in the Maisonneuve Theatre hall in Place Des Arts on Saturday and Sunday August 6th and 7th at 07:30 and will be accompanied by a live 30 piece orchestra performing a score composed and conducted by Gabriel Thibaudeau (pianist for the Cinémathèque Quebecois). Ticket prices will be $20.
In between, a wide-ranging mix of drama, comedy, horror, science-fiction and ‘documentaries from the edge’ that prove that the truth is often stranger than fiction will be presented. The day typically starts around 1pm until just about midnight and from 11am till the wee hours on the weekend mainly at either Hall Theatre or J.A. de Sève at Concordia. There will also be screenings at the Cinémathèque Quebecois (including a tribute to Cinepix).
Throughout the festival there will also be various panel discussions, master classes, book launches, special tributes and other events.
This year, a record 110 guests from the four corners of the world, will be presenting their works. Special highlights include:
1) John Landis who will be receiving a lifetime achievement award and presenting his latest film “Burke and Hare” (July 27th 09:30).
2) Live tribute to John Dunning et André Link before screening of “Shivers” (July 20th 06:45pm).
3) Robin Hardy (“Wicker Man”, 1973) will present the world premiere of “The Wicker Tree.”
4) Robert Charlebois (actor singer-songwriter) to present a 1975 Spaghetti Western “A Genius, Two Associates and a Clock.” (July 27th 5pm)
5) Guillermo del Toro who co-wrote and co-produced “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (August 4th 09:10pm)
6) Voltaire – animator and performer – to present his new show “Puppet Master of the Macabre” in the D.B. Clarke Theatre on August 5th 8pm. Ticket price is $15.
The third edition of Fantastic Weekend returns with panel discussions, conferences and master classes held at Reggie’s bar (mezzanine in Concordia’s Theatre Hall – near box-office) and screening in the Hall Theatre of 101 Quebec short films in eight programs.
Finally, new this year, will be a series of 3 programs of short films (50 in all) for children aged 8 – 12 in the J.A. de Sève Theatre at 1pm July 19th, 27th and August 3rd.