Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 Preview

Fantasia poster

Now in its 25th year, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival continues to push boundaries by showcasing the best in new international genre cinema since its inception. It’s a festival which just goes from strength to strength. 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 new eastern and western filmmaking.

Once again, for obvious reasons, this year’s event is very different. Taking place between 5-25 August, this edition of Fantasia will once again be largely online (accessible to Canadian residents). There’s still a breathtaking range of exciting and innovative work on show, with a mix of timed screenings and on-demand titles, as well as numerous great shorts and special events.

Some of the highlights include:

Brain Freeze

At the beginning of winter, in a posh enclave where leisure and money know no bounds, a golf club hires an unscrupulous Multinational to genetically modify its turf so that it can be open year-round. The water on Peacock Island becomes contaminated with a “revolutionary” fertilizer that melts the snow, but turns its inhabitants into mutants.

Baby, Don’t Cry

Baby, a withdrawn and sensitive 17-year-old Chinese immigrant from a troubled home, is living in the outskirts of Seattle. One day, she meets a 20-year-old delinquent named Fox. Together they embark on a twisted journey to escape their hopeless fate.

Mad God

Follow The Assassin through a forbidding world of tortured souls, decrepit bunkers, and wretched monstrosities forged from the most primordial horrors of the subconscious mind.

Birth of a Butterfly

After having her identity stolen online, Diana Dent leaves her family and goes on a road trip with her son’s pregnant girlfriend to track down the perpetrators. The mismatched travel companions form an unexpected bond as they concede to the hardships of their own lives, and their hunt for answers becomes a surreal journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Dreams of Fire

After running away from home to become a dancer in Tokyo, Yume (Bambi Naka) struggles against the harsh realities of what it takes to achieve success. She works as a hostess in the red-light district while taking dance lessons, and refuses to abandon her ambitions.

King Knight

King Knight is an outsider’s comedy starring Matthew Gray Gubler and Angela Sarafyan as Thorn and Willow, husband-and-wife high priest and priestess of a coven of witches in a small California community. When Willow unearths a secret from Thorn’s past, their lives are thrown into turmoil in this kooky, clever treat, decked with a wild cast that includes Nelson Franklin, Johnny Pemberton, Barbara Crampton, Ray Wise, Andy Milonakis, and the voices of Aubrey Plaza and AnnaLynne McCord.


Kyung-mi, a girl with hearing impairment lives with her mother. Working at the customer call center, one day she storms out of an unpleasant dinner with the client and drives home after she picks up her mother. Meanwhile, the murderer Do-sik spots Kyung-mi’s mother waiting for her daughter who went to park her car but changes his target when another girl So-jung passes him by talking on the phone. So-jung gets stabbed by Do-sik in the back alley and is found by Kyung-mi, who ends up becoming Do-sik’s new prey.


An ex-firefighter in Cape Town is forced to fight for his life after being accused of murdering his wife. As he struggles to survive, connections are revealed between his past, the origin of his PTSD, the mysterious death of his wife, and a government conspiracy with terrifying implications.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion

A grief-stricken video archivist becomes increasingly obsessed with the meaning behind a sinister television broadcast.

The Sadness

After a year of combating a pandemic with relatively benign symptoms, a frustrated nation finally lets its guard down. The virus spontaneously mutates, giving rise to a mind-altering plague. The streets erupt into violence and depravity, as those infected are driven to enact the most cruel and ghastly things they can think of. Murder, torture, rape and mutilation are only the beginning. A young couple is pushed to the limits of sanity as they try to reunite amid the chaos. The age of civility and order is no more. There is only “The Sadness”.


Glasshouse is set after The Shred, an airborne dementia, has left humanity roaming like lost and dangerous animals, unable to remember who they are. Confined to their airtight glasshouse, a family does what they must to survive – until the sisters are seduced by a stranger who upsets the family’s rituals, unearthing a past they have tried to bury.

To discover the full festival programme and buy tickets, visit the Fantasia International Film Festival website.

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