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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 06.13.17]

The 21st edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival runs July 13 to August 2 and if the first round of announcements is any indication, this year's festival is going to be just as impressive as previous instalments.

The event kicks off this year with the North American premiere of Jung Byung-Gil's The Villainess. Byung-Gil left an impression a few years ago with Confession of Murder and his follow-up, an action thriller which impressed Cannes audiences with its spectacular fight sequences, sounds like a hit.

Also announced are the North American premiere of Takashi Miike's latest manga adaptation Jojo's Bizzare Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, the return of 13 Tzameti director Gela Babluani with an eagerly anticipated crime thriller titled Money's Money, the feature debut of Ryan Prows' Lowlife which festival programmers call "one of the most gobsmacking crime film discoveries that we've come across in years," and the international premiere of South Korean thriller A Day.

Also announced is the world premiere of Brazilian writer/director Gabriela Amaral Almeida's Friendly Beast, Ted Geoghegan's follow-up to We Are Still Here: Mohawk, the North American premiere of the Cambodian action thriller Jailbreak and a Giallo from the Oscar-winning director of The Counterfeiters titled Cold Hell.

Additional first wave announcement titles include:

USA - Dir: Trent Haaga
Matthew Gray Gubler and AnnaLynne McCord incinerate the screen in this crazy scumbag thrill-ride of white-trash crime and kink that manages to subversively play with gender and be a toxic anti-romantic bloodbath of a comedy in the same breathless blow.
Winner: Audience Award (Midnighters), SXSW 2017. Canadian Premiere

Thailand - Dir: Nattawut Poonpiriya
When Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) discovers that her academic skills can bring her thousands of baht if she helps her wealthy friends cheat at exams, she elaborates a complex scheme. What if OCEAN'S ELEVEN would somehow meet THE BREAKFAST CLUB? Well, it happened! A breathtaking coming-of-age thriller that is way smarter than anything you can expect!
Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival. Canadian Premiere

Hong Kong - Dir: Tony Liu
Who will truly master the silkworm technique and bring balance to the martial world? The last surviving 35mm copy of the Shaw Brothers gem will blast you with its avalanche of unfettered lunacy. First Canadian screening in 30 years!

USA - Dir: Marianna Palka
The provocative tale of a woman (Palka) who snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. A sharp, feminist satire that's alternately uncomfortably funny and confrontational with a warrior soul, BITCH is a stunning achievement in every sense.
Official Selection: Sundance 2017, Chicago Critics Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

Argentina - Dir: Fabian Forte
Misogynist alpha male Angel has it all – money, power, family, sex. His only problem is, he's dead. Gender politics are unpacked in Fabián Forte’s subversive black comedy dosed with unexpected terror. Official Selection: Morbido 2016, Fantasporto 2017.
Canadian Premiere

Canada - Dir: Peter Ricq
A rural Canadian mix of DEAD ALIVE, SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, and '80s kids' movies! Director Peter Ricq (creator of the animated series FREAKTOWN) keeps things fast, light, and full of fight.
Official Selection: Neuchetal Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Lund 2017. North American Premiere

USA - Dir: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead
Two brothers return to the cult they fled from years ago to discover that the group's beliefs may be more sane than they once thought. SPRING and RESOLUTION announced Benson and Moorehead as unconventional genre forces to be reckoned with. THE ENDLESS – in which the gifted filmmaking duo also star – confirms their brilliance beyond any question.
Official Selection: Tribeca 2017. Canadian Premiere

Canada - Dir: Sebastien Landry and Laurence Baz Morias
A hard-partying pack of teens are forced into a desperate game of kill-or-be-killed after playing the wrong retro game in this high-energy, blood-spattered brainchild of Montreal filmmakers Sebastien Landry and Laurence Baz Morais.
Official Selection: SXSW 2017, Jeonju International Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

Australia - Dir: Damien Power
A young couple (Harriet Dyer; Ian Medows) on a romantic getaway in the Australian wilderness encounter a dangerous pair of locals (Aaron Pedersen; Aaron Glenane) and a make deadly discovery in this inventively intense thriller that brings audiences back to the glory days of Aussie genre cinema and sun-drenched outback horror.
Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival. Canadian Premiere

Japan - Dir: Yoshihiro Nishimura
People are turning into bizarre organic/mechanical creatures who terrorize the last survivors of a decimated, dome-covered Tokyo. Yoshihiro Nishimura (TOKYO GORE POLICE), Japan's master of extreme make-up effects, is back with more of his gory creativity and his formidable capacity to create hellish - but funny - monsters.
Official Selection: SXSW 2017, Night Visions 2017, The Overlook Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

USA - Dir: Joe Lynch
Amid a frightening viral outbreak that leaves the infected temporarily unable to control their impulses - and subsequently not criminally responsible for their behaviour - a lawyer (THE WALKING DEAD's Steven Yeun) and shafted homeowner (Samara Weaving) fight to confront the top executives who wronged them. A cheerfully ferocious middle finger salute to cutthroat corporate culture.
Official Selection: SXSW 2017. Canadian Premiere

USA - Dir: Natalia Leite
After being sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate, an art student (Francesca Eastwood) becomes an avenging vigilante, refusing the vulnerability of victimization and exacting cold-blooded - and bloody - revenge.
Official Selection SXSW 2017, Galway Film Fleadh 2017. Canadian Premiere

Taiwan - Dir: Giddens Ko
In a shabby Taipei neighborhood plagued by nocturnal killings, four teenage boys find trouble... and trouble finds them. A twisted coming-of-age film from the writer of MACHI ACTION and an impressive blend of genres, bouncing from comedy to horror in matters of seconds without ever making a mess.
Official selection: Hong Kong International Film Festival 2017, Udine Far East Film Festival 2017, New York Asian Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

Japan - Dir: Keishi Ohtomo
Fantasia favorite Keishi Ohtomo (the RUROUNI KENSHIN trilogy) is back with MUSEUM, based on Ryosuke Tomoe's 2013 manga of the same name. It's overworked cop vs. sadistic, frog-headed killer in this gruesome and deranged, horror-tinged thriller in the tradition of David Fincher's SE7EN!
Official Selection: Sitges 2016, Busan 2016. Canadian Premiere

USA - Dir: Marc Meyers
Ross Lynch stars in the haunting, sad, funny, and true story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school, based on Derf Backderf's critically acclaimed 2012 graphic novel of the same name and Meyers's own 2014 Black List script. Also starring Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, and Vincent Kartheiser.
Official Selection: Tribeca 2017. Canadian Premiere

Japan - Dir: Kenji Kamiyama
The divide between teenage Kokone's fanciful reveries and the real world is crumbling in NAPPING PRINCESS, a sleek Japanese anime that blends steampunk fantasy and plugged-in techno-thrillers. From acclaimed director Kenji Kamiyama (GHOST IN THE SHELL: SAC, CYBORG 009, and EDEN OF THE EAST). Canadian Premiere

Spain - Dir: Roberto San Sebastián
The first time is often clumsy and awkward, but for Nico the virgin, it's the beginning of an endless nightmare. An unmissable comedy/horror rollercoaster of blood and lust that features some of the most grotesquely imaginative grossouts we've seen in years.
Official Selection: Fantaspoa 2017, FrightFest 2017. Canadian Premiere

New Zealand - Dir: Matt Murphy
A trio of young misfits in pursuit of lost love race the length of the country in a stolen Mini Cooper S. Avoiding the law and with nothing to lose, they become folk heroes and most wanted criminals as they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of a media frenzy and escalating police operation. North American Premiere

Germany/Canada - Dir: Norbert Keil
Afflicted with a dermatological disease, young and beautiful Kira discovers she can replace her skin with that of other girls. REPLACE is a visually sumptuous and grotesque horror/science-fiction creation, co-scripted by Richard Stanley and co-starring genre legend Barbara Crampton. Canadian Premiere

Netherlands - Dir: Steffen Haars and Flip Van der Kuil
A failed stunt makes Ron Goossens an overnight national celebrity in Holland, in the incendiary new comedy from the team who gave you the insane NEW KIDS films!
Official Selection: Fantaspoa 2017, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2017. North American Premiere

USA - Dir: Graham Skipper
A loner's budding romance is menaced by a mysterious arcade game that's a portal to the cosmos in this masterful melding of retro '80s horror nostalgia and Lovecraftian doom. The directorial debut of actor Graham Skipper (THE MIND'S EYE), SEQUENCE BREAK won Best Feature Film at the 2017 Chattanooga Film Festival.
International Premiere.

South Korea - Dir: Choi Kook-hee
A fallen bowling champion (OLDBOY's Yoo Ji-tae) attempts to team up with an autistic prodigy (POETRY's David Lee) to rack big money with underground bowling gambles. Built like a genuine sports drama, SPLIT has way more to offer than the traditional competition story... but it will still make you cheer for the protagonists until the end credits!
Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

USA - Dir: Kevin Phillips
An emotionally incinerating and strangely dream-like gaze into the shadowy crevices of teenage psychology, directed with vivid imagination, telling a powerful story about adolescence's end and the darkening of innocence, friendship, loyalty... and murder.
Official Selection: Rotterdam Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

France - Dir: Eric Valette
From the maker of MALEFIQUE and ONE MISSED CALL comes a compelling story about wine, drugs, neighbors, neophobia, and politics, in which a hitman seeks a place to hide. Starring Tomer Sisley (SLEEPLESS NIGHT).
Official Selection: Rotterdam Film Festival 2017. North American Premiere

UK/Canada/Japan - Dir: Kyoko Miyake
"Idols", girl bands and their pop music, permeate every moment of Japanese life. TOKYO IDOLS peeks behind the curtains of this industry, explores a cultural phenomenon driven by an obsession with young female sexuality, and the growing disconnect between men and women in hyper-modern societies.
Official Selection: Sundance 2017, Hot Docs 2017, DOXA 2017, Japan Cuts 2017. Québec Premiere

Finland - Dir: Dome Karukoski
Award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski (LAPLAND ODYSSEY) brings the life and work of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture to the screen in this extraordinary story of revolution and acceptance through counter-cultural art.
Official Selection: Goteborg Film Festival 2017, Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017, Tribeca 2017. Canadian Premiere

Hong Kong - Dir: Yan Pak-Wing and Chiu Sin-Hang
A motley crew of misfits tackle the bloodthirsty hopping vampires descending on Hong Kong! Laughter, kung fu, horror, and insanity, with a gallery of HK icons!
Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2017, Bucheon International Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

Japan - Dir: Yoji Yamada
The Hirata family is back, and Grandpa is acting up again! This sequel reunites legendary director Yoji Yamada (of the TORA-SAN series) with the exceptional cast of the first film for another round of hilarious, multi-generational slapstick comedy!
Official Selection: Beijing International Film Festival 2017, Shanghai International Film Festival 2017. Canadian Premiere

China/Hong Kong - Dir: Derek Kwok
Award-winning director Derek Kwok (GALLANTS) reboots the famous Monkey King legend from the popular novel, with fresh vigour of epic proportions that you'll love for 10,000 years. To be released during the same week in China and North America. Québec Premiere

Recommended Release: Turbo Kid

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