Thursday, June 04, 2015


A few more announcements included in the First Wave from the Fantasia International Film Festival (Fantasia)—scheduled to run for three weeks (July 14-August 4, 2015) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada—include the opening night features Miss Hokusai and Ant-Man, as well as the World Premieres of Jeruzalem and Tales of Halloween.

Miss Hokusai (Japan, dir. Keiichi Hara)—Fantasia is proud to open its 2015 edition with the North American Premiere of the astonishingly beautiful Miss Hokusai (2015), one of this year's most heralded animated films. Katsushika Hokusai is perhaps the most renowned ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) artist, but very few are aware of his talented daughter O-Ei's influence on his work. Centered on their relationship and the young woman's rebellious personality, this mix of classical art and pop-culture, based on Hinako Sugiura's manga Sarusuberi, is masterfully brought to the screen by multiple award winning director Keiichi Hara (Colorful, 2010) and Production I.G, the legendary studio behind such contemporary animated masterpieces as A Letter to Momo (2011) and Giovanni's Island (2014). North American Premiere. Official Site [Japanese]. IMDb.

At The Asahai Shimbun, Atsushi Ohara claims that Miss Hokusai shines with its superb attention to detail. Ohara writes: "Having paid close attention to detail, the imagery of the film conveys the pleasing atmosphere of Edo, or present-day Tokyo. Scenes featured in the movie range from people crossing the Ryogokubashi bridge to the hustle and bustle of the Yoshiwara red-light district and the heat and excitement of a fire raging out of control." Ohara particularly praises a fantasy sequence where the film's protagonists wander into the world of the famous ukiyo-e titled "Under the Wave off Kanagawa" (aka "The Great Wave") from Hokusai's "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji."

Ant-Man (U.S., dir. Peyton Reed)—One of the most anticipated tent pole summer releases is Marvel's Ant-Man (2015), starring Paul Rudd, Corey Stoll and Michael Douglas. Fantasia shifted its dates two days earlier this year to ensure Ant-Man's Opening Night status, several days before the film's theatrical release. In Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Rudd) must help defend the Ant-Man technology of Dr. "Hank" Pym (Douglas)—the original Ant-Man in the Marvel universe—and plot a heist with worldwide ramifications. His nemesis? Darren Cross (Stoll), a former protégé of Pym, who has taken over Pym's company and militarized a similar version of the Ant-Man technology to create his own suit as the villainous Yellowjacket. Official Site. IMDb. Wikipedia. Facebook.

JeruZalem (dirs. Doron Paz, Yoav Paz)—The Paz Brothers (Phobidilia, 2009) have crafted a chillingly intense found-footage horror film set in Jerusalem. JeruZalem follows two American teenage girls and a handsome anthropology student whose visit to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur turns into an unimaginable nightmare as the city's prophecies and superstitions prove terrifyingly real. Trapped between the ancient walls of the holy city, the three travelers must survive long enough to find a way out as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them. "Jerusalem is normally seen through the lens of news coverage," Doron Paz recently commented. "We wanted to show the city through the eyes of a backpacker. There's no better way to do it than a genre film." World Premiere. IMDb. Facebook.

Tales of HalloweenThis horror anthology features 10 stories woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in a sleepy American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents. Segments include nightmares by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II), Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider), and Neil Marshall (The Descent), among others (dubbed "The October Society"), with a stellar assortment of genre icons among the cast (including Joe Dante, John Landis, Adam Green, Stuart Gordon, Barry Bostwick, and Adrienne Barbeau). World Premiere. IMDb. Facebook.

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