By Liz Lopez

The Fantasia International Film Festival will launch its 25th edition as a virtual event composed of screenings, panels, and workshops, August 5th to August 25th. The festival will be accessible across Canada, geo-locked to the country, and will maintain unique film admittance quantities in line with the cinema experience.

In celebration of Fantasia’s 25th anniversary, the festival will host a special event screening of Warner Bros. Pictures superhero action adventure. The in-person screening will be held on August 4 at Montreal’s historic Imperial Theater (birthplace of the fest) and tickets will be available to the public. The film releases in theaters on August 6.

The Suicide Squad is written and directed by long-time Fantasia friend James Gunn, who first attended the fest in 1997 and whose previous comic book blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy made its Canadian Premiere at Fantasia in 2014. Gunn’s no-holds-barred take on the DC team-up finds Super-Villains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of cons incarcerated at Belle Reve prison joining the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.

Brain Freeze – On August 5, Fantasia will officially open with the world premiere of the Québec production, Julien Knafo’s Brain Freeze. the film is a smart and stylish zombie comedy that slyly comments on social concerns both domestic and universal, telling the tale of an environmental disaster that leads to a fast-spreading virus ravaging a wealthy gated community off the island of Montreal. Equally gorgeous as it is bloody, Brain Freeze presents a clever take on corporate greed, the growing rift between the haves and have-nots and a government in crisis that uses a zombie outbreak to express its truth and succeeds at being both a charming horror comedy, coming-of-age tale, and a story of unexpected friendship in hazardous times.

All The Moons – A Spanish-Basque film by director Igor Legarreta (International Premiere)

Spain. 1876. A young girl (Haizea Carneros) is severely injured when a religious orphanage is bombed during the third Carlist war. On the verge of death, she is healed by a mysterious woman (Itziar Ituño) whom she perceives to be an angel. They are soon separated, the child left to fend for herself – for decades upon decades. With All The Moons, director Igor Legarreta masterfully employs the tenets of vampire lore as the basis for an intimate epic dealing with themes of life and death, love and loneliness, devotion and intolerance. Impeccably crafted, it ranks among the best of vampire cinema.

Ghosting Gloria – World Premiere (Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser)

Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) needs an orgasm. When was the last time she had one? She doesn’t know if she’s ever had one. So begins Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser’s sophomore feature, following 2016’s Los Modernos, Ghosting Gloria, a charming and surprising genre-bender that switches between horror, fantasy, and offbeat comedy — all wrapped up in a whimsical and subversive romance. Gloria’s orgasm issue is easily solved when she finds the right man. There is just one issue: he’s a ghost. What brings real spark is the film’s sex-positive spin on the theme of finding Mr. Right, its boisterous moments of mindblowing (sometimes wholly inappropriate) erotic comedy, and Gloria’s rich, wider world. If you ever wanted to know what something like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! would look like if it was crossed with The Entity, here is the place to find out.

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horrow (Canadian Premiere)

Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW, Kier-La Janisse’s navigates through over 200 films and 50 interviewees, including Robert Eggers (The VVitch), Alice Lowe (Prevenge), and Piers Haggard (Blood On Satan’s law). Starting with British cult classics of the 70s, then travelling to all continents and beyond, and landing in our era alongside the films of Ari Aster and others. A groundbreaking, extensively researched work made over a span of many years, truly no stone is left unturned in this definitive documentary on the expansive genre of folk horror.

Prisoners Of The Ghostland USA – Dir. Sion Sono (Canadian Premiere) Official Selection: Sundance 2021.

A notorious criminal (Nicolas Cage) must break an evil curse in order to rescue a girl (Sofia Boutella) who has mysteriously disappeared in the insane US debut of legendary Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish). Co-starring Nick Cassavetes, Tak Sakaguchi, and Bill Moseley.

The 25th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will be presented by Videotron in collaboration with Desjardins and will be made possible thanks to the financial assistance of the Government of Quebec, SODEC, Telefilm Canada, the City of Montreal, the Conseil des arts of Montreal and Tourisme Montréal. For more information and tickets, visit www.fantasiafestival.com  

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