Since its inauguration back in 1996, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has been pushing boundaries by showcasing the best in new international genre cinema. Now in its 24th year, the festival’s reputation continues to grow. With a commitment to diversity and screening challenging ground-breaking cinema from Canada and around the world, it’s one of the most vibrant melting pots of eastern and western filmmaking.

This year, for obvious reasons, is very different. Taking place between 20 August and 2 September, this edition of Fantasia will be virtual. There’s still a breathtaking range of exciting and innovative work on show, with a mix of timed screenings and on-demand titles which are restricted to Canadian residents. As well as numerous premieres there will also be a number of talks, panels and a host of special events.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

The Columnist

Katja Herbers plays columnist and writer Femke, who is flooded with (anonymous) nasty messages and death proverbs on social media. One day she is completely done with it and the anger ignites in her. Femke decides to take revenge.

The Oak Room

During a raging snowstorm, a drifter returns home to the blue-collar bar located in the remote Canadian town where he was born. When he offers to settle an old debt with a grizzled bartender by telling him a story, the night’s events quickly spin into a dark tale of mistaken identities, double-crosses and shocking violence.

Wildland

Following a car accident, which kills her mother, 17-year old Ida moves in with her estranged aunt and her aunt’s grown sons. The home is filled with physical tenderness and love, but outside of the home, the family leads a violent and criminal life. When an unforeseen murder pressures the family and their loyalty to each other, tension builds as love and violence become impossible to separate.

Legally Declared Dead

When insurance agent Yip is called to visit Tak and Ling’s home to follow up on a life insurance policy, he discovers their son’s corpse hanging in the room. Principled and kind-hearted, Yip suspects that the child may have been murdered. As Yip digs for the truth, the real perpetrator turns the tables and forces Yip into a psychological battle of wills.

Lapsis

In a parallel present, delivery man Ray Tincelli is struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother. After a series of two-bit hustles and unsuccessful swindles, Ray takes a job in a strange new realm of the gig economy: trekking deep into the forest, pulling cable over miles of terrain to connect large, metal cubes that link together the new quantum trading market. As he gets pulled deeper into the zone, he encounters growing hostility and the threat of robot cablers, and must choose to either help his fellow workers or to get rich and get out.

Crazy Samurai Musashi

Japan’s most legendary swordsman defeats hundreds of opponents in a single, 77-minute shot. An almost transcendental marathon of mayhem.

Dinner in America

An on-the-lam punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band embark on a series of misadventures through the decaying suburbs of the American Midwest.

Tickets are on sale from 10 August. To see the full program and buy tickets, please visit the Fantasia Festival website.