Posted in Film Screenings

First wave of films announced for Fantasia 2014

The staff at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has release a sampling of films to be screened. I’ve posted the Asian film parts of their press release below.

A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR MAMORU OSHII
A towering and truly unique figure in Japanese animation, director Mamoru Oshii will be a recipient of Fantasia’s Lifetime Achievement Award. From pioneering OVAs DALLOS and the haunting ANGEL’S EGG, and of course the beloved PATLABOR series, of the 1980s, through the dramatically influential global hit GHOST IN THE SHELL in the mid-’90s, to its award-winning sequel and other powerful, pensive works in the new millennium (SKY CRAWLERS, AVALON), Oshii has consistently strived to bring new ideas and in fact a whole new attitude to anime. With his meticulous and idiosyncratic near-future thrillers and dramas, linked by persistent themes, motifs and concerns, Oshii asserts a complex, deeply thoughtful and decidedly adult sensibility — while maintaining the highest technical standards in the field (and hardly confining his efforts to animation). In seeking a path to call his own, Oshii has blazed a trail for fantastic entertainment worldwide to follow.

Mamoru Oshii will be receiving his award on our opening night, July 17, before a special screening of the new HD master of GHOST IN THE SHELL, being re-issued by Manga Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the original manga’s publication. This will be the first time the GITS HD print has been made available outside of Japan, lovingly restored, unadulterated and awe-inspiring in its beauty.

ADDITIONAL FIRST WAVE ANNOUNCEMENTS INCLUDE:

CROWS EXPLODE
Japan  Dir: Toshiaki Toyoda
Fists will fly and beatings will abound, but the greatest battles are always in the hearts of the sneering, delinquent punks of the notorious Suzuran All-Boys High School. After Takashi Miike, it’s now BLUE SPRING director Toshiaki Toyoda’s turn to make a knuckle mark on the CROWS ZERO franchise. North American Premiere

GIOVANNI’S ISLAND
Japan  Dir: Mizuho Nishikubo
A gracefully executed anime from Production I.G, examining the struggles of the Japanese in the immediate aftermath of World War II, from the perspective of a child. As beautiful as it is devastating, GIOVANNI’S ISLAND received a Jury Mention at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Canadian Premiere

HAN GONG-JU
South Korea  Dir: Lee Su-jin
A troubled teenage girl flees her past — is she guilty or a victim? A multiple prize winner, notably attaining the Silver Tiger Award at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival, HAN GONG-JU is a magnificent yet devastating debut feature of incredible narrative virtuosity. Canadian Premiere

THE HUNTRESSES
South Korea  Dir: Park Jae-hyun
A trio of daring and dangerous bounty-hunting beauties find themselves in a high-risk, high-stakes game of subterfuge and swordplay in medieval Korea. A rousing and fast-paced action-adventure with a dash of romance and a barge-load of slapstick laughs! International Premiere

KILLERS
Indonesia/Japan  Dir: The Mo Brothers
Two serial killers. One likes to kill, the other seeks justice. The problem is, the first one is mentoring the latter… Social media will bring a storm of blood over both Tokyo and Jakarta in this shocking yet incredibly smart horror thriller in the vein of THE CHASER and COLD FISH that floored audiences at Sundance. Canadian Premiere

LIVE
Japan  Dir: Noboru Iguchi
When his mother is kidnapped and a stranger calls, Naoto is thrust into a public triathlon of death. DEAD SUSHI director Noboru Iguchi’s running go at the survival-race genre is loveably lurid, super-sanguinary fun. North American Premiere

MISS GRANNY
South Korea  Dir: Hwang Dong-hyeuk
74-year-old grandmother Oh Mal-soon has been magically transported into the body of her 20-year-old self. Seizing the opportunity to relive a youth she sacrificed in the name of her child, she sets out to explore a world of new possibilities. And it includes K-Pop… Canadian Premiere

MONSTERZ
Japan  Dir: Hideo Nakata
A sinister sociopath with psychic powers squares off against a cheerful everyman with a secret of his own. The 2010 South Korean superhero/horror hybrid HAUNTERS, remade by Japanese cult director Hideo Nakata (RINGU), with stars Tatsuya Fujiwara (SHIELD OF STRAW) and Takayuki Yamada (CROWS ZERO). Canadian Premiere

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SHANGHAI
Hong Kong  Dir: Wong Ching-Po
Opium and kung fu! The glory days of old Shanghai — or are they? Two generations of true kung fu experts collide in the spectacular martial arts feast, with breathtaking choreography by Yuen Woo-Ping and Yuen Cheung-Yan! Canadian Premiere

PUZZLE
Japan  Dir: Eisuke Naito
The staff and students at Noriaki Hill High School have been given a game to play, one in which mistakes can be fatal. A giddy, gory brain-twister of a teen survival thriller, in which vengeance is as much a first step as a final solution. North American Premiere

THE RUN
Malaysia  Dir: Ahmad Idham
A former soldier sets out to avenge his family in this slam-bang Malaysian effort, bursting with spectacular stunts and fights, showcasing Aaron Aziz. THE RUN is an action-packed gem that wants only one thing: to blow your face off. International Premiere

THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG
Australia/Philippines  Dir: Andrew Leavold
Andrew Leavold documents his unrelenting six-year quest to discover ever more about the extraordinary 2ft 9in tall actor-stuntman Weng Weng, and the weird and wonderful world of 1970s Filipino cinema. North American Premiere

SWEET POOLSIDE
Japan  Dir: Daigo Matsui
Two swim-team members, a hairless boy and a hirsute girl, discover the pangs and tangles of first love in SWEET POOLSIDE, one of the most astute examination of adolescence to screen in a long time. North American Premiere

THE WHITE STORM
Hong Kong  Dir: Benny Chan
Hopping from Hong Kong to Thailand to Macau, blending hard-hitting action with powerful drama, Benny Chan’s vividly stylish THE WHITE STORM is a sprawling, absorbing crime flick in the classic Hong Kong tradition. Canadian Premiere

YASMINE
Brunei Darussalam  Dir: Siti Kamaluddin
YASMINE is a one-two combo of sports drama and coming of age story in the vein of THE KARATE KID. First time director Siti Kamaluddin, newcomer actress Liyana Yus and veteran action choreographer Chan Man Ching form a winning team in this dynamic feel good film. The cinema of Brunei Darussalam makes a regal entry at Fantasia! North American Premiere


The Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal July 17 – August 5, 2014. For this year’s edition and onwards, Fantasia will be returning to the freshly renovated Concordia Hall Cinema as its main base, which now features an even larger screen, new seating and upgraded projection and sound.

The festival’s full lineup of screenings and events will be announced on July 10.

For more information, visit us on the web at www.fantasiafestival.com.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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