By MICHAEL GINGOLD
With Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival now in its third week, the winners of its juried awards have been announced, representing a wide spectrum of genre fare.
In the top Cheval Noir awards, Daniel Roby’s DANS LA BRUME was named Best Film, with the jury saying, “The apocalypse hasn’t been this emotionally compelling in decades. With its striking, iconic visuals of a Paris buried in a toxic mist, Daniel Roby’s DANS LA BRUME is a lean, terrifying portrait of an extinction-level event from the point of view of a family determined to survive.” A special prize went to Dennison Ramalho’s THE NIGHTSHIFTER (reviewed here), of which the jury said, “Marriage is hell in this daring combination of subgenres and tones, creating a grisly original ghost story, fueled by revenge, infused with pitch-black comedy, and littered with assorted body parts.”
Other Cheval Noir winners were:
• Best Director: Nosipho Dumisa, NUMBER 37
• Best Screenplay: Isa Mazzei, CAM
• Best Actor: Joshua Burge, RELAXER
• Best Actress: Kim Da-mi, THE WITCH PART 1: THE SUBVERSION
The New Flesh Award for Best First Feature went to Daniel Goldhaber’s CAM, in which a “cam girl” finds her on-line identity being taken over by a mysterious doppelganger. The New Flesh jury calls CAM “an ambitious, empowered project devoid of moral policing with respect to sex work, smartly told through visually vibrant storytelling. CAM captures the complexities and contradictions of curated identities on- and offline. This talented team embodies a collaborative spirit of next generation of genre filmmakers.” Special mentions in this category went to Yoko Yamanaka’s AMIKO and Shinichiro Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD.
In the International Short Film Competition, the top prize went to Mael Le Mée’s AURORE, with a special mention to C.J. Obasi’s HELLO, RAIN. Other winners in this category were:
• Best Director: Santiago Menghini, MILK
• Best Screenplay: Travis Bible, EXIT STRATEGY
• Best Actor: Félix Grenier, FAUVE
• Best Actress, Manda Touré, PETIT AVARIE
In addition, the AQCC-Camera Lucida Award went to Jeon Go-woon’s MICROHABITAT; the Axis: Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation in the feature category went to Hiroyasu Ishida’s PENGUIN HIGHWAY, with a special mention to Busifan’s DA HU FA, and in the short category to Rocío Álvarez’s SIMBIOSIS CARNAL with a special mention to Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo’s MAKE IT SOUL; the Barry Convex Award for Best Canadian Feature went to David Paradis’ LE NID; and the Virtual Reality Jury Award went to Angel Manuel Soto’s DINNER PARTY, with a special mention to Alexander Aja’s CAMPFIRE CREEPERS series.
The Action!, Ecran Fantastique, Séquences and Audience Awards will be announced after Fantasia winds up on August 2; we’ll have the winners then!