Monday, August 3, 2009

Japan wins big at Montreal's Fantasia Festival

by Chris MaGee

I can't think of another film festival that's as much of a marathon as Montreal's Fantasia Festival. Three weeks of films?! I'm exhausted after 10 days of films, but three weeks... Well, those three weeks have passed in Montreal and Fantasia has announced its award winners for 2009 and the Japanese won big time.

The winner for Best Asian Film went to Fantasia Fest regular Sion Sono and his 4-hour epic "Love Exposure" (above). Best Animated Film was taken home by Yoshiki Yamakawa's "Hells". Most Innovative Film of course was again taken by "Love Exposure", but the bronze was tied between German director Andreas Schaap's "Must Love Death" and Studio 4°C's "Genius Party Beyond". I was much more of a fan of the first "Genius Party", but "Beyond" still stands head and shoulders above most animation out there these days. Best Short Film was another tie, this time between UK-based Robert Nevitt and his film "Mortified" and Atsuya Uki's "Cencoroll" (check out a trailer for "Cencoroll" below).

I think that one of the most representative awards for Fantasia, which definitely has the Midnight Screening feel to it, is the Guru Prize for Most Energetic Film of the Festival. Two Japanese films grabbed awards in this slot, with the gold going to Fantasia opener "Yatterman" directed by Takashi Miike and Yoshihiro Nishimura's "Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl", which again tied for the bronze with Thai director Thanakorn Pongsuwan's "Fireball".

Congrats to Mitch Davis and crew for yet another successful year. Here's looking forward to Fantasia 2010! Thanks to Twitch for the details on this.

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