Fantasia reports record attendance for 2012 festival

The Montreal festival says it improved upon last year's performance by 7,000 people, and meanwhile, Jason Lapeyre's Cold Blooded (pictured) won the prize for best Quebec or Canadian feature.

Numbers released by the Fantasia International Film Festival Friday show that it was a good year for the genre festival.

Indeed, with record-breaking crowds – estimated at 109,000 industry players and audience members – the Quebec-based festival says it was able to improve upon last year’s attendance by 7,000 people.

Fantasia kicked off with the North American premiere of Takashi Miike’s For Love’s Sake – a departure from the director’s usual slam-bang action films.

And it was also a good festival for Canadian genre filmmakers, with director Steve Kerr’s Columbarium making its world premiere, while Casey Walker’s A Little Bit Zombie and Michael Petersen’s Lloyd the Conqueror had their Quebec debuts.

Actor Stephen McHattie made the rounds in three films, including Walker’s A Little Bit Zombie, Pascal Laugier’s Canada-France co-pro The Tall Man and Boris Rodriguez’s Canada-Denmark co-pro, Eddie The Sleepwalking Cannibal.

Also revealed Friday were the winners of the festival’s remaining rewards.

Taking home the prize for best Quebec or Canadian feature was Jason Lapeyre’s Cold Blooded.

The film, starring Zoie Palmer, Ryan Robbins and Bill MacDonald, about a female police officer who must stop a prisoner from escaping a hospital while, at the same time, his violent partners come looking for him.

Meanwhile, in the jury prize category, Koji Wakamatsu’s 11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate nabbed the AQCC prize in the Asian Section, while Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Hail earned the Séquences Prize in the International Section, and Naoyoshi Shiotani’s Blood-C: The Last Dark claimed the L’Écran Fantastic award.

Elsewhere in the Audience Awards category, Takashi Miike’s Ace Attorney took home the gold for Best Asian Feature, Juan Martinez Moreno’s Game of Werewolves won gold for Best European/North-South American Feature, and Sid Zanforlin’s Attack of the Brainsucker earned the gold for Best Short Film.

Rounding out the list are Keiichi Sato’s Asura and Hiroyuki Okiura A Letter to Momo, which tied for best animation, Brian Knappenberger’s We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, which won best doc, as well as Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong, which was crowned Most Innovative Feature, and Rohit Shetty’s Singham, which earned the Guru Prize for Most Energetic Feature.

The festival closed Thursday with the handing out of the jury awards, and the Canadian premiere of the stop-motion, animated comedy Paranorman.

 Photo: Zoie Palmer in Cold Blooded (from Cold Blooded)