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Fantasia wraps with record attendance

160 films screened across its July 19-Aug 9 schedule.

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival wrapped last night (9) with its 16th edition attracting a record attendance of over 109,000 spectators and industry attendees, up 7,000 over last year.

160 films were screened over its 22-day schedule, with more than 50% (82 out of 160) holding their world, international, North American or Canadian premieres at the festival. Among these were 20 world premieres, including Jennifer Lynch’s Chained, Charles de Lauzirika’s Crave (which won the New Flesh Award for best first feature), Patricio Valladares’ Hidden In The Woods and Noboru Iguchi’s Dead Sushi.

In addition to the previously announced awards, Koji Wakamatsu’s 11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate won the AQCC Prize for the festival’s Asian section, the Séquences Jury Prize for the international section went to Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Hail and Naoyoshi Shiotani’s Blood-C: The Last Dark scooped the L’Écran Fantastique Prize.

Takashi Miike’s Ace Attorney, Juan Martinez Moreno’s Game Of Werewolves, Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong and Jason Lapeyre’s Cold Blooded were among the films winning the festival’s audience awards.

Speaking to Screen, co-festival director Mitch Davis [pictured] was “immensely thrilled” by the response to this year’s edition. “Screenings were almost across-the-board electric and even the most challenging and unconventional programming picks managed to find their audiences. Montreal filmgoers are an absolute force of nature. We took a number of pretty big risks this year and our audience jumped right in with us,” commented Davis.

“I’m extremely proud of the programming mix we were able to pull together and am excited beyond words with how well the films played here, for the most part. Charles de Lauzirika told me that Fantasia was the single greatest experience of his life and a number of guests told me that Fantasia was the best time they ever had at a film festival. That really makes us smile, to say the least. The energy has been inspirational.”

A record-breaking 150 directors, actors, screenwriters and producers came to the festival to present their films, with over 250 members of the film industry in attendance at the festival’s inaugural Industry Rendez-Vous. As part of this, Fantasia held its first-ever Frontières international co-production market with market director Stephanie Trepanier hailing it a success.

“Beside the two deals already announced, many more are in the works and should be rolling out in the coming weeks,” said Trepanier. “I believe it’s an event that has tremendous potential for growth, that could easily become an important fixture on the genre film industry circuit, but support from both local and international film institutions will be essential for its sustainability.”

Davis added: “I think the market proved itself to be a terrific new step for us and the filmmakers we love, as we all felt and hoped it would. We want to maintain Fantasia as an audience-driven event where industry can have fun and at the same time, make real discoveries alongside our crowds at public screenings and do business and develop projects. Stephanie and the Rendez-Vous team have done a tremendous job making the industry weekend function in an inviting and inclusive way for power players and emerging talents alike.”

Three acquisition deals were announced during the festival: Boris Rodriguez’s Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal was picked up by Music Box Films for theatrical release in the US, while Kern Saxton’s Sushi Girl and Wrong will be distributed by Phase 4/Magnolia and Drafthouse Films respectively.

Blanc Biehn Productions announced they were working on an English language remake of Hidden In The Woods, and France’s Metaluna Production’s Fabrice Lambot made a deal with Québec’s TCB Films’ Simon Trottier for an international co-production of Frontières project Séve.

Fantasia 2013 will run July 18-Aug 6

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