Fantasia is a festival that I’ve always wanted to attend but never been able to. As much as the world is on fire right now, the festival going online and allowing me press access has been a great experience.
I was able to take in more than twenty four at the festival and of those, these six are my favourites.
(Written by Daan Windhorst, Directed by Ivo Van Aart)
Everyone has their breaking point, and The Columnist features a woman who has reached hers. Katja Herbers takes a hilarious turn as Femke Boot, a dutch journalist who goes ends up on a murder spree as she hunts down the trolls that comment on her work.
This satire is one that anyone who has written anything for the internet can relate to, and I had a blast watching.
(Written by Christian Alvart and Siegried Kamml, Directed by Christian Alvart)
A bleak story of murder in a post-fascist era, Free Country follows two detectives, one an idealist from West Germany and the other a former Stasi agent from East Germany, and examines whether or not they are good men. Come for the mystery, stay for the characters, stunning photography, and depressing investigation of what the world is like in places freshly out from under the yoke of oppression.
The Oak Room
(Written by Peter Genoway, Directed by Cody Calahan)
It takes a lot to make a movie that mostly features scenes of two men talking, but this film has managed just that. Each story starts with its ending, and each story has further stories woven into them.
Adapted from the play of the same name The Oak Room is a showcase for actors to chew the scenery and play off one another, while also being beautifully staged and shot. Featuring a wealth of Canadian talent, I adored watching it and I hope I get to see the play one day.
(Written by Tim Mielants and Benjamin Sprengers, Directed by Tim Mielants)
This Belgian comedy-drama about a man child coming into his own is touching, well performed, and manages to make a man looking for his missing hammer have the highest of emotional stakes. It also won Best Flemish Film at this years Magritte Awards (The Belgian equivalent of the Oscars).
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
(Directed by David Darg & Price James)
Remember when David Arquette was a young actor and part of a whole generation of up and comers who were poised to take on The Hollywood? Yes, that’s a true story. A dash of typecasting here and a dalliance with professional wrestling there, and the career laid out ahead of him never materialized.
Love of professional wrestling endured though, and this documentary following him and his attempt to re-enter the world of pro wrestling will have you firmly in his corner by the end.
(Written & Directed by Quinn Armstrong)
I haven’t been able to get Survival Skills out of my head since I first watched it, and I have now watched it twice. A scathing satire about how police are trained and the systems they work within, and how those systems will eventually grind good people down into the kind of complacent monster that we keep seeing on TV right now.
Survival Skills is my favourite film of this festival and will almost certainly end up on my list of favourites from this year.