Montreal's fantasy and genre fest bows July 3

MONTREAL — Montreal fantasy and genre film festival Fantasia will kick off with the world preem of “Truffe,” from Quebec helmer Kim Nguyen.

The festival, which runs July 3-21, has quietly become one of Canada’s hotter film events, last year selling 81,000 tickets, and it is credited with helping popularize the new wave of Japanese horror pics in North America.

It was the first fest in an English-speaking country to screen Hideo Nakata’s “Ringu” and the first in North America to showcase the work of Takashi Miike.

Last year, Fantasia programmer Mitch Davis signed a first-look production deal with Paramount-based Blumhouse Prods. to allow Davis to scout for new projects and foreign pics ripe for a remake.

There will be nine world preems, including “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” a U.S. pic from helmer Darren Lynn Bousman starring Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Paris Hilton, Sarah Brightman and Paul Sorvino. Based on the stage play, it is a rock musical set in a world of flesh, blood and leather.

Also world preeming is the U.S. pic “Midnight Meat Train,” directed by Ryuhei Kitamura (“Versus/Aragami”) and adapted from the Clive Barker short story. Vinnie Jones stars.

Fest will host the world preem of “The Echo,” Filipino helmer Yam Laranas’ U.S. remake of his own “Sigaw,” a film that played Fantasia several years back.

Fest will also preem “From Inside,” director John Bergin’s animated feature set after a nuclear apocalypse.

“Truffe” is an offbeat tale of a truffle specialist and his fight against an evil empire. It stars Roy Dupuis and Celine Bonnier.

Fest will also feature the world premiere of director Eric Shapiro’s “Rule of Three”; helmer Christopher Denham’s “Home Movie”; “Pig Hunt,” from “Jason X” helmer James Isaac; and “Lady Blood,” the sequel to French cult pic “Baby Blood,” starring Philippe Nahon.

Event will pay tribute to Thai directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom; festivities will include the international preem of their new pic “4BIA.”

Other guests include animator Bill Plympton and Hong Kong martial arts star Gordon Lui, who will be at a special screening of a new print of “Disciples of the 36th Chamber.”

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