Fantasia Fest Returns for the 26TH Year, Announces First Wave of Programming

The Mole Song: Final

The Fantasia International Film Festival will return for its 26th edition with a huge lineup of screenings, workshops, and launch events running from July 14 through August 3, 2022. Films will be presented in the Concordia Hall Cinema, with additional screenings at the Cinémathèque Québécoise, Cinéma du Musée, and the McCord Museum, all located in Montréal, Canada. While we have to wait until June for the full lineup, Fantasia has released a sneak peek at some of the exciting events.

Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo will be honoured with a Career Achievement Award. His filmography spans decades, from 70s martial arts films like The Dragon Tamers and Hand of Death, to American action flicks Face/Off and Mission: Impossible 2, and the Chinese two-part epic Red Cliff. He is currently working on Silent Night, starring Joel Kinnaman (The Suicide Squad) and Kid Cudi, who recently appeared in Ti West’s horror throwback X.

A highly saturated photo of a convenience store in a desert
“Convenience Story”

Satoshi Miki will showcase two films: the world premiere of Convenience Story and the North American premiere of What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? 

Convenience Story follows struggling screenwriter Kato (Ryo Narita, Just Remembering) on a routine trip to buy dog food. However, he manages to find a convenience store that carries everything he could possibly want. Convenience Story also marks the screenwriting debut of Japan Times film critic Mark Schilling.

What happens when a gigantic creature dies in a river? In Miki’s sci-fi comedy, What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? instead of disposing of it, authorities decide to use its decaying remains as a tourist attraction. Fantasia describes the film as “[…] a political satire in the spirit of Don’t Look Up takes a funny and pertinent look at our indifference towards environmental crises.”


A man lays on the floor laughing.

Rebekah McKendry’s Glorius, starring Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and J.K Simmons (Whiplash) brings comedy, horror, and sci-fi together. After a breakup, Wes (Kwanten) finds himself in a rest-stop bathroom, where a mysterious stranger starts speaking to him from the next stall.

Fantasia has also announced a new section in the festival’s programming: Septentrion Shadows, dedicated to showcasing Canadian cinema that captures “the weird, the dangerous, things full of wonder, and (almost) everything in between.” Curated by programmer, critic, and podcaster Carolyn Mauricette, the section will be launched this summer with the world premiere of Rodrigo Gudiño’s The Breach.

A partly melted man sits in a house, the windows boarded up
“The Breach”

Adapted from Nick Cutter’s novel, The Breach tells the story of a mysterious death in the Northern Ontario’s forests and the chaos that ensues. Ian Weir wrote the screenplay and guitarist Slash (Guns n’ Roses) wrote the score and is also executive producer, The Breach stars Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) and Emily Alatalo (Spare Parts). According to Fantasia, this film provides “tension” and “plenty of prosthetic gore.”

Also included is a world premiere of a new film by Andy Mitton (The Witch in the Window, We Go On), titled The Harbinger. This empathic supernatural horror film tells the story of Monique (Gabby Beans, House of Cards) whose family is in quarantine. Monique decides to go help a friend who is troubled by nightmares. However, Monique learns that her friend’s nightmares are more than what they seem. Fantasia describes the film as “Deeply sad, deeply scary, and all-out stunning in its power to probe collective trauma, The Harbinger bursts with occult imagination, exploring the anxiety and disorientation of the last few years in ways that only Mitton could.”

The Mole Song: Final

Concluding the “Mole Song Trilogy” with the North American premiere of The Mole Song: Final, Takashi Mike (Ichi the Killer) and screenwriter Kankuro Kudo (Too Young to Die!) tell the tale of mole Reiji who has infiltrated a yakuza clan who is trying to import speed-a-ronies—pasta made of methamphetamines. Fantasia says that the film “[…] masterfully recreates the extravagant universe of Noboru Takahashi’s manga, with endangered kawaii puppets, dirty jokes, larger-than-life characters, and an unforgettable finale. The stellar cast is led by Tomas Ikuta (Grasshopper), who outdoes himself with an absolutely hilarious physical performance.”

Country Gold

Oklahoma filmmaker Mickey Reece presents the world premiere of his 29th feature, Country Gold, which takes place in 1994 and tells the story of George Jones (Ben Hall, Minari) who plans to be cryogenically frozen. On the night before he’s scheduled to undergo the process, he invites country music superstar Troyal Brooks (Mickey Reece) for a night out in Nashville. Fantasia describes the film as “A heartfelt outsider rumination on legacy and what it means to reach the age where one has more to reflect on than to look forward to.”


Karim Ouelhaj, Méliès d’Or winner for The Frozen Eye (2016), presents Megalomaniac, his fourth feature film, which is based on the true story of the Belgian serial killer, “The Butcher of Mons.” Megalomaniac stars Eline Schumacher, and the story follows her character’s downward spiral into insanity. Fantasia describes the film as “[…] a nightmare of mystical violence anchored in the reality of female persecution and gendered abuse.”


Takashi Hirano’s directorial debut, Kappei, follows the titular character who is part of a group of doomsday warriors. Since childhood, they have been raised apart from society and trained to survived based on Nostradamus’ prediction that the world would end in 1999. It’s 2022, and Kappei and his group need to adjust and live a “[…] normal’ life with supernatural powers but no practical skills. Fantasia says that Hirano creates a wonderfully whimsical coming-of-age action-comedy with the help of screenwriter Yuichi Tokunaga (Fly Me to The Saitama) and a devilishly funny performance from Actor Hideaki Ito (Lesson of The Evil, Tokyo Vice).”

A group of people, their backs to the camera stand feet apart and look towards a wooded hill


This feature film debut from acclaimed Dutch filmmaker Nico van den Brink follows 38-year-old Betriek (Sallie Harmsen, Blade Runner 2049) who believes that something ancient stalks her at her home at the edge of a peat bog in the Northern Netherlands. Moloch is Nico van den Brink’s follow up to his award-winning shorts, The Burden (currently being adapted into a feature film co-produced by James Wan and Sam Raimi) and Sweet Tooth, both of which premiered at Fantasia.

Anime Supremacy! 

This film follows the rivalry of two directors, “soft-spoken but strong-willed”  Hitomi Saito (Riho Yoshioka) and Chiharu Oji (Tomoya Nakamura). Hitomi is an anime director who is set to direct a series of her own, and Chiharu is looking for his big comeback.  Fantasia describes Anime Supremacy as a “[…] heartfelt, hilarious and thoroughly researched comedy-drama shows the struggle of making it to the top without compromising on vision, from director and CG animator Kohei Yoshino.”


In this Argentinian folk horror tale by Fabian Forte (Dead Man Tells His Own Tale), demons descend on Argentina and the only one who can help humanity is a shaman (Germán De Silva, Wild Tales), who was once legendary and now incarcerated in a mental health facility. This horror comedy is described as “outlandishly fun […] reminiscent of early Álex de la Iglesia, steeped in cultural vibrancy, ritual magic, and a cavalcade of creatures.”


A man steps into a room with a dead body on the floor
“Next Door”

Next Door

This film follows Chan-woo as he contemplates trying to get into the police academy for the fifth time. He takes his friends up on an odd offer. They agree to pay his registration fee in exchange for one drink at the bar. The next morning, Chan-woo wakes up next to a corpse in his neighbor’s apartment. Fantasia describes Next Door as “[…]a meticulous script that rewards an observant viewer and an inspired comedic performance by lead actor Oh Dong-min (Kingdom), writer/director Yeom Ji-ho’s impressive first feature, Next Door, delivers an engaging, claustrophobic black comedy reminiscent of Sabu’s classic Monday set in a single location.”

Fantasia Underground Announces Delirious First Selection of 2022: All Jacked up And Full of Worms

Described as a “drug-induced creature feature nightmare, Trainspotting meets Brain Damage with a dash of Videodrome, ” All Jacked up and Full of Worms features “A cavalcade of upcoming performers, as flamboyant and daring as John Waters’ dreamlanders, bring a vibrating excess to their wormhead characters.” This is the world premiere of this debut feature from Alex Philips, a microbudget film with a “vastly creative design and twisted story.”

The Diabetic

This story tells how a diabetic’s night out takes a dark turn on West Island. Filmmaker Mitchell Stafiej (A, The Devil’s Trap) shot the film in 16 mm, edited on VHS, and converted it back to 16 mm. The Diabetic is co-resented by Les Fantastiques weekends du Cinema QC. Fantasia describes it as “An abrasive homegrown genre-adjacent film that mines West Island alienation for all its worth” and “a grimy underground film the likes of which the West Island has never seen.”

The Camera Lucida Section unveils five titles: Happer’s Comet, Topology of Sirens, Please Baby Please, Give Me Pity! and Just Remembering. 

Tylor Taormina’s Happer’s Comet depicts the late-night routines of various characters. According to Fantasia, “Tyler Taormina follows 2018’s askew coming of age film Ham on Rye with a foreboding midnight mosaic; evoking nocturnal loneliness, drifting uncertainty, and a pang of hope in the darkness.”

Topology of Sirens follows Cas (Courtney Stephens), an amateur musician and academic who finds a number of mysterious objects after moving into her aunt’s old home, including a hurdy-gurdy with microcassette tapes inside, which are labeled with cryptic symbols. The tapes contain abstract soundscapes. The film is a detective story set in a California town and “operates like an airy, sun-kissed subversion of traditional L.A. noirs.”

Please Baby Please tells the story of Beatnik, bohemian newlyweds Suze (Andrea Riseborough, Mandy) and Arthur (Harry Melling, The Queen’s Gambit). Both are committed to their bohemian lifestyle and convictions until they cross paths with the Young Gents—a gang that terrorizes their neighborhood. The couple begins to question their sexuality and their relationship. Please Baby Please co-stars Karl Glusman (Love) and Demi Moore (Ghost).

Give Me Pity! centers around Sissy St. Clair (Sophie Von Haselberg) and her obsession with attaining celebrity. She hosts an over-the-top variety show that focuses on gossip and glamour. However, a mysterious man lurks in the shadows, waiting to shut it all down. Fantasia says that “Amanda Kramer’s delightful horror-tinged cringe comedy is a satirical send-up of American television, propelled by the spectacular performance at its center.”

Just Remembering

Director Diego Matsui’s film tells the story of a former couple, ex-dancer Teruo (Sosuke Ikematsu, Shoplifters) and Yo, a cab driver in COVID-stricken Tokyo. Teruo is about to celebrate his 34th birthday, and, when Yo sees him on stage, she begins to reminisce. Fantasia writes that Matsui “[…] unspools rom-com conventions and beautifully depicts the ways we construct relationships and process memories. It’s a perfect match for the upset and melancholy of these past few years on Earth.”


A man stacks cups in a competition
“Fast & Feel Love”

Fast & Feel Love

Thai filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s first action film tells the story of Kao (Nat Kitcharit), who is dumped by his girlfriend Jay (Urassaya Sperbund). At 30-years-old, Kao finds himself at a crossroads. He’s spent his entire life devoted to cup stacking, a competitive sport. Fantasia describes Fast & Feel Love as “quirky” and “satirical” and “[…] a playful, surprising comedy about “competitive adulting!”


Documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe’s latest film features interviews with filmmakers including John Waters, David Lowery, and Rodney Ascher. Fantasia writes: “Philippe leads us through a maze where the green, emerald city and blue velvet curtain intertwine. Over the rainbow and underneath the surface, the story of David Lynch and the Wizard of Oz.”

The Pez Outlaw

Bryan Storkel (Fight Church) and Amy Bandlien’s new film, The Pez Outlaw, follows the adventures of the International Pez Smuggler Steve Glew. He’s managed to slip past the corporation for years. The film allows us into the Pez community, described as “an eclectic band of passionate hobbyists that will feel all-too-familiar to most of us festival-goers. Who knew true crime documentaries could be this sweet?”

Fantasia announces that its anime section will feature a Korean Animation Spotlight for 2022 that will showcase brand-new short films and retrospectives, a children’s program, and a masterclass with Kim Kangmin, director of the award-winning short KKUM.

Additional First Wave titles include Baby Assassins, Deadstream, Employee of The Month, Incredible but True, On The Line, Resurrection, Sharp Stick, and Speak No Evil. More titles will be announced in June, with ticket sales following soon afterward.

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Written by Lor Gislason

Lor is a body horror enthusiast from Vancouver Island, Canada who can be found chilling with their two cats and playing farming simulators. Find them on Twitter: @lorelli_

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