Evil, Sorcerers abound at Fantasia

Montreal genre film fest to open with Jay Baruchel-starrer The Sorcerer's Apprentice, while Tucker & Dale is also in the lineup

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

The 14th edition of Montreal’s yearly genre film festival Fantasia opens Thursday with the Canadian premiere of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the summer release starring Montreal actor Jay Baruchel, which was inspired by a sequence from the Disney animated classic Fantasia.

Baruchel, a long-time fan of Fantasia, will attend the opening, festival co-director Mitch Davis told a press conference in unveiling this year’s line-up at the Cinematheque Quebecoise. Dedicated to non-commercial fantasy, horror, other genre pictures, and Asian cinema, Fantasia runs July 8-28, and features more than 120 features and 250 shorts.

While the Montreal World Film Festival might be slipping in fan support, Fantasia gets more popular — nearly 100,000 fans turned out last year – almost 20% of them tourists who headed to Montreal specifically for the festival.

Davis believes festivals like Fantasia strike a chord with filmgoers fed up with mainstream studio blockbusters.

‘Big studio films are so expensive to make that they have stopped taking risks, which makes movies less interesting. At Fantasia, we are showcasing work from filmmakers that don’t make any compromises,’ he says.

Public and private sponsors are also more willing to support the festival than they have been in the past, which means programmers can schedule special events such as the July 28 gala screening of the uncut original version of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 science fiction flick Metropolis.

Also on the Fantasia agenda is the Canadian flick Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, a horror satire that was a big hit at the Sundance film festival, and won an audience award at SXSW. Noted British arthouse auteur Ken Russell (Women in Love, Aria) will be at Fantasia to receive a lifetime achievement award. The Cinematheque Quebecoise will also be hosting a retrospective of Russell’s oeuvre.