Thank you to everyone who makes Fantasia happen. We couldn’t enjoy this festival without you.


It’s time to wrap it up, moviegoers. The 2016 Fantasia Film Festival comes to an end. No more meows. Nongshim will continue moving the world with the taste of Korea, but not in theatres. But before we say goodbye, it’s time to congratulate the winners. Of course, you can see the official list of winners in Screen Anarchy, but coincidentally enough, my list tends to coincide with a lot of titles from the official one.

Before you ask, these are completely made-up awards, I have nothing to send to the filmmakers but my gratitude 😉

The One-Not-To-Be-Missed Award: Train to Busan by Yeon Sang-ho

This award goes to the movie that made the festival for me, the one that I’d have to pick if I only, very unfairly, perish the thought, could only pick one movie to see from the entire festival. It’s also been officially recognized with both top prizes, this blockbuster won both the Cheval Noir for Best Feature and the Gold Audience Award for Best Asian Feature. According to The Hollywood Reporter, several studios including Sony and Fox are competing for the remake rights. I’m glad we got to see the original South Korean version. Runner-up: The Lure by Agnieszka Smoczynska.

The Secret Ninja Award: Psycho Raman by Anurag Kashyap

This award goes to the movie that nobody expected, a surprise hit that was supposed to be just decent and instead turned out excellent. It’s also the award to the one that might have been overlooked by a few people, but holy crap did it deserve much more attention and praise. By definition, it’s also the one that was passed on by the juries, but could’ve easily won everything. Runner-up: If Cats Disappeared from the World by Akira Nagai.

The Scream And Shout Award: Too Young To Die! by Kankuro Kudo

My equivalent to the audience favorite award, this is the movie that made me laugh out loud, cry, scream, shout and cheer along with the crowd. It’s usually an irreverent, unredeemable comedy/horror/drama film and I though for sure I’d be giving it to Assassination Classroom: Graduation by Eiichiro Hasumi. Then Bakuman by Hitoshi Ohne was just amazing and I thought I’d have to give it the top spot. However, Too Young To Die wins not also as a crowd pleaser, but as a more-clever-than-you-think film. Rare is the silly film that I enjoyed in the festival also have a sensible and intelligent plot. Okey, it’s not brainiac film, it’s just very cleverly made to make you laugh silly. It won the Silver Audience Award for Best Asian Feature. Runner-up: Bakuman by Hitoshi Ohne.

The Killer Unicorn Award: The Lure by Agnieszka Smoczynska

The rare film, usually by a new director, that’s so full of charm and whimsy that becomes an instant favorite before it even ends. It usually has some element of both innocence and fable, but is definitely in Fantasia territory with a little bit of horror thrown in. You can’t go wrong with sirens that love, die, kill, strip and sing. This film was just the little jewel that charmed everyone beyond its modest but brilliant execution. It won the Special Jury Award in the Cheval Noir and tied in Bronze Audience Award for Best European/North-South American Feature. Runner-up: We Go On by Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland.

The Overachiever Award: The Wailing by Na Hong-jin

A film that excels at its genre and takes on another genre, being excellent at both. Comedy horror has been made several times, but this is a rare horror movie that starts as comedic and ends up in the pure horror genre without ever mixing the two. On top of that it’s a family drama and left me figuring out the ending long after it was over. It took the Bronze Audience Award for Asian Feature. Runner-up: The Lure by Agnieszka Smoczynska.

The Craftsman Extraordinaire Award: Realive by Mateo Gil

The film that carefully crafts an entire world with a meticulous attention to detail. Sometimes it’s hard to see how beautiful the scenery is because of the strong performances that permeate the movie. Runner-up: Judge Archer by Haufeng Xu.

The Mastermind Award: Three by Johnny To

A movie where everything that is going to happen is crafted from the start. Unavoidably filled with characters that are more than they seem, the unraveling is as fun to watch as the clues we saw as earlier coincidences. Runner-up: Too Young To Die! by Kankuro Kudo.

The Philosopher Award: Embers by Claude Carré

A low key slow burn that made you think for a long time after the movie was over. This one is about the apocalypse, except it’s not – it’s about memory loss. There’s no explanation how it happen. There’s no solution in the movie. It’s more about contemplation and very strong performances by the entire cast. Runner-up: Realive by Mateo Gil.

The Small-Step-Into-A-Larger-World Award: Ingrid and the Black Hole by Leah Johnston

A short film that uses a small view to present us with a bigger idea than movie running time. Runner-up: Beautiful Dreamer by David Gaddie.

The Beyond Animation Award: Psychonauts by Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero

This is a strong film that transcends the animated media it uses to tell the story. The story itself is brutal and violent, and not in a cool way, but needs to be told. Winner of the Satoshi Kon Award for Best Animated Feature. Runner-up: Seoul Station by Yeong Sang-ho.

Of course, there are plenty more film jewels. I know I’m forgetting a ton and I would give a prize to everyone if I could. And before we say until next year… Be aware there will be some post-fantasia film reviews coming at you soon.

That will do for now.