Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has shared the best in anime since its very first edition, and as its 23rd edition (11 July – 1 August) approaches, Fantasia’s Axis section, home to the festival’s animated films, proudly announces an extraordinary array of anime titles — all in competition for Fantasia’s prestigious Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation!

Fantasia has just announced its Closing Film, and anime fans will agree — extreme heat never looked so cool! In the embers of the globe-engulfing great flame war, the maverick firefighters of Burning Rescue confront the fiery terrorists of Burnish Mad. Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and writer Kazuki Nakashima, who’ve together previously on GURREN LAGANN and KILL LA KILL, are at the wheel for the first feature film from edgy anime studio Trigger, PROMARE. A raging riot of bright colours, daring design, crazy characters and whiplash action, PROMARE isn’t just the most thrilling anime feature of the year, it’s a genuine Pop Art masterpiece. (Canadian Premiere)

Preceding PROMARE is a special anime treasure — the World Premiere of short film THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE! The screen debut of manga artist Nagabe’s affecting gothic fairytale is brought to life by rising young animation talents Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya, whose short films have screened at the Annecy, Ottawa, Hiroshima and Zagreb animation festivals, and produced by Wit Studio (ATTACK ON TITAN). Yutaro Kubo, Satomi Maiya, and Wit Studio producer Kenta Yamada will be present to introduce their film.

“Promare”

From the lively, liberated imagination of Masaaki Yuasa (LU OVER THE WALL, Netflix’s DEVILMAN CRYBABY, the masterful MIND GAME) comes RIDE YOUR WAVE (North American Premiere), an anime about losing love, leaning on friends and learning how to find oneself. Yuasa plays with the very elements here, fire and especially water, fluid and amorphous and almost… alive.

Teenager Akane and her daffy aunt Chii step down into the basement — and out of this world! — in THE WONDERLAND (North American Premiere), a fantastical anime adventure bursting with imagination, from Keiichi Hara, award-winning director of COLORFUL and MISS HOKUSAI.

Overseen by Katsuyuki Motohiro, a veteran of the FLCL and PSYCHO-PASS franchises, and directed by Fuminori Kizaki (AFRO SAMURAI), HUMAN LOST (North American Premiere) is a gripping cyberpunk anime thriller, packed with political intrigue, philosophical challenges, savage techno-horror and exciting action!

“The Relative Worlds”

Teenage romance, ontological science fiction, and fierce, acrobatic mecha clashes collide in THE RELATIVE WORLDS (North American Premiere), the dazzlingly intense feature-film rebuild of his own successful web animation series by digital animator Yuhei Sakuragi (the INGRESS anime, NEON GENESIS IMPACTS).

Imbuing the prosaic with something a bit like magic, WAKE UP, GIRLS! creator Yutaka Yamamoto’s crowdfunded indie teen-romance mini-feature TWILIGHT (International Premiere) is an anime postcard from Fukushima Prefecture, with love, laughs, tears, and the occasional perfect moment. It shares a bill at Fantasia with Masanao Kawajiri’s short film A JAPANESE BOY WHO DRAWS (North American Premiere), an inspired exercise in innovative visual narrative, mashing up live-action with a myriad of animated approaches.

From South Korea comes the fantasy adventure anime THE MOON HIDDEN IN THE WOODS, directed by Takahiro Umehara (BEYBLADE, CLAYMORE). A princess and a musician confront marvels and monsters as fate shakes the world… and the heavens above! An exquisite animated blend of steampunk, Korean folk styles and otherworldy fantasy, peppered with innovative ideas and dazzling visual delights.

“Shishigari”

Fill your pockets with pujok, omamori and fu talismans for THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE EAST! It’s Fantasia’s shivery short-film showcase, 11 Asian animated tales of spooks, spirits, monsters and mystery — a mixed bag of the magical and the macabre in a multitude of techniques, from Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea. World premieres include SHISHIGARI, a calling card (with music by the legendary Kenji Kawai) for the new, independent Studio Durian of Japan’s Kiyotaka Oshiyama!

Since the 1980s, Keita Amemiya (ZEIRAM, TWEENY WITCHES) has left his mark in countless corners of the universe of tokusatsu — Japanese science-fantasy cinema and TV. Amemiya-san visits Fantasia this summer to present the International Premiere of GARO – UNDER THE MOONBOW, the latest entry his ongoing chronicle of otherworldly conflict, and to conduct a Master Class! A prolific director, Amemiya is equally celebrated as a renowned designer of uncanny characters, creatures, and costumes, never lacking for surprising innovation and a self-aware flair that stands out in his field. For his special Fantasia Master Class, Keita Amemiya takes a look at the masks, monster and marvels of his imagination!

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 11th to August 1st in downtown Montreal, QC, Canada. For more information on the titles listed in this press release, as well as the complete line-up of films, events, and guests, please visit fantasiafestival.com

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Ever since I watched Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi" for the first time (and many times after that) I have been a cinephile. While much can be said about the technical aspects of film, coming from a small town in Germany, I cherish the notion of art showing its audience something which one does normally avoid, neglect or is unable to see for many different reasons. Often the stories told in films have helped me understand, discover and connect to something new which is a concept I would like to convey in the way I talk and write about films. Thus, I try to include some info on the background of each film as well as a short analysis (without spoilers, of course), an approach which should reflect the context of a work of art no matter what genre, director or cast. In the end, I hope to pass on my joy of watching film and talking about it.