Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fantasia: Part Two

Fantasia never fails to impress! The number of directors coming in day to day is huge and you never quite know who you are sitting beside over beer or a movie. Tons of great directors, producers, and actors from Japan, Hong Kong, Serbia, Europe, USA, Canada... icons such as Herschell Gordon Lewis and the great Stuart Gordon coming in today... independent Canadian directors like Lee Demarbe sitting in the audience and I even had the pleasure of meeting a great Danish actor Tomas Villum Jensen, who is in Montreal with his new film that he directed called At World's End. His Q&A was pretty amazing. He pretty much told close to 45 minutes worth of incredible shooting stories from Australia, Indonesia and their various obstacles and encounters. He could have told stories for hours if we weren't on a tight schedule for the next film. Oh, and he invited the new draft pick for the Montreal Canadians to his film, who is also from Denmark. For those interested in hockey, that was pretty cool having him join everyone over drinks. I also happened to be sitting in my first film where an audience member actually fainted. I was watching the world premier of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and during the very lively Q&A (with director Steven Monroe, the lead actress Sarah Butler AND the director of the original version Meir Zarchi, who also produced this new version, all on stage), Mitch Davis announced that one of the audience members had fainted during the show while leaving and actually hurt himself. The film is definitely intense, but I still found it quite shocking actually that someone fainted. The overall enthusiasm has been awesome during all the films I have attended so far, and there is a super broad range of genres being showcased. Lots of sold-out screenings already including Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Tucker & Dale vs Evil (shot in Alberta!). Have you noticed how many 'vs' movies there are this year?? Tons. One hint though is hopefully there is a special one in this years Late Shows! Anyway, I have seen most of what I can on this trip, but will end tomorrow night with the new film HEARTLESS by director Philip Ridley who directed The Reflecting Skin in Calgary in 1990. This new film is his first in 14 years, and I am pretty curious.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CIFF at Fantasia, Montreal

Well, even though Montreal had a blistering hot day that 'felt like' 46 degrees (which they are getting used to, and I am melting... fast), Fantasia went off without a hitch last night with the Canadian premiere of THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE! They even had Disney reps in the house!! That and major security to keep an eye on anyone trying to record the movie. Anyway, Montreal's Jay Baruchel is the lead in the film, and he was there for the intro and Q&A. The movie... super fun! His Q&A... hysterical. Disney was worried about his performance looking PG, and his Q&A was for totally 18A. I am sure they were freaking out! The coolest part though was how much he loves Fantasia, goes every year, how much he attributes his acting success to having worked on such great Canadian films, and how he always will. He also said that he wished all his films would premiere there, where he is from. I like his attitude!

Following the screening many went to IP Man 2, but I of course went to the after-party. Extremely well attended, free for everyone and tons of fun. Films projecting on walls.... djs... and weird dancing girls throughout the night.

Fantasia will be running all of July from now until July 28, but I will be here until the 15th looking for some great Late Shows, and a few add-ons to World Cinema, Canadian and American indie genre films!

Tonight... I am going to check out PHOBIA 2 from Thailand, which CIFF screened the first one two years ago, SECRET REUNION which is the second film from the Korean director of ROUGH CUT, which CIFF screened last year, and definitely will make sure to meet Herschell Gordon Lewis! .... oh, and they just announced Rubber, the lead actor in RUBBER will be in attendance for the midnight screening.

This festival is the geekiest film fun you can have for sure!

More updates to come ---

Brenda Lieberman

CIFF Programmer