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The best of Fantasia 2021 honored with jury and audience awards

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | Fantasia International Film Festival, News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

North America’s top genre festival has revealed the very best of this year’s lineup.

The 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival, which concluded last night, screened genre features from 24 countries, with 25 world premieres, 12 international premieres and 34 North American premieres, as well as numerous shorts. This morning, the full lineup of jury and audience awards has been announced:

CHEVAL NOIR AWARD FOR FEATURE FILMS
The 2021 Cheval Noir jury was presided over by award-winning Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczyńska (THE LURE); other jury members include Kambole Campbell (freelance writer and critic), Paula Devonshire (producer on CLARICE, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, REMEMBER), Mónica García Massagué (author and General Manager of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival), and Simon Rumley (FASHIONISTA, RED WHITE AND BLUE).

BEST FILM: VOICE OF SILENCE (pictured above; South Korea, d. Hong Eui-jeong)
“We gave the award for best film to VOICE OF SILENCE, for the quality of its craft as well as its unparalleled ability to surprise. In a film festival that’s known as a melting pot of genres, VOICE OF SILENCE feels like an excellent representative for the top prize in the Cheval Noir section. It’s earnest and sincere in tone but also unpredictable and experimental, impossible to pin down, and truly idiosyncratic. Put simply, it’s unlike anything we’d seen before.”

BEST DIRECTOR: Igor Legarreta (ALL THE MOONS, Spain/France)
“The jury wants to highlight the beautiful work of this director, who has managed to capture poetic horror with pictorial precision.”

BEST SCREENPLAY: Mark O’Brien (THE RIGHTEOUS, Canada)
“For its compelling and intense script which investigates grief, compassion, faith, love, self-doubt and madness, all the things, therefore, that make us the creatures that we are, that make us human.”

BEST SCORE: John Adams (HELLBENDER, USA)
“The jury is thrilled to present the award for best score to a very talented family, in front of and behind the camera. The award for this nightmarishly cool music goes to John Adams for HELLBENDER.”

BEST ACTOR: Yoo Ah-in (VOICE OF SILENCE, South Korea)
“With a lot of extremely strong competition, Yoo Ah-in’s non-verbal performance blew us away. Communicating a vast wealth of emotion with physicality alone, he provides a clarity that anchored us among the film’s many swerves and obfuscations.”

BEST ACTRESS: Zelda Adams (HELLBENDER, USA)
“The power in her performance and her overwhelming presence confirm the award for this young actress.”

JURY SPECIAL MENTION–CINEMATOGRAPHY: Imanol Nabea (ALL THE MOONS, Spain/France)
“The jury decided that we absolutely must give a Special Mention to Imanol Nabea for their cinematography on ALL THE MOONS. Its expert visual narration, through beautiful light and evocative camera movement, just blew us all away. It was a highlight of an already exquisite work.”

JURY SPECIAL MENTION–RISING STAR: Sienna Sayer (MARTYRS LANE, UK)
“Her captivating performance both broke and chilled our hearts. The jury unanimously wishes to acknowledge this talent to watch with a Rising Star award for Sienna Sayer from MARTYRS LANE.”

JURY SPECIAL MENTION–SOUND DESIGN: Stef Lernous (HOTEL POSEIDON, Belgium)
“We felt that the sound design of HOTEL POSEIDON deserved a particular shout-out, paramount in the film’s visceral experience. The blurring of the line between score and sound effect proved particularly haunting for the jury!”

NEW FLESH AWARD FOR DEBUT FILM
The New Flesh jury, which awards debut feature films and their creators, was presided over by UK author, critic and broadcaster Kim Newman and comprised of Jill Gevargizian (THE STYLIST), Gigi Saul Guerrero (Blumhouse and Hulu’s INTO THE DARK entry CULTURE SHOCK, upcoming BINGO HELL), Brian O’Malley (LET US PREY, THE LODGERS) and Myriam Sassine (Co-Founder of the Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival and producer of AMAL, A SON, ALL THIS VICTORY).

BEST FILM: THE SADNESS (Taiwan, d. Rob Jabbaz)
“We are pleased to present THE SADNESS with the New Flesh jury award! Though the jury had their jaws dropped to the floor, they were incredibly impressed with such a slickly produced rampage of gore. A wild ride that doesn’t stop! Sadists, cannibalism, lust…one could say it has been a while since a film has managed to horrify and scare them in the level this film did. THE SADNESS was not afraid to take risks and go beyond any infection film we have seen to date, touching on political themes that our world isn’t too far off of, but still maintaining thrilling entertainment for the viewer. Congratulations to the entire team of THE SADNESS!”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES (Japan, d. Junta Yamaguchi)
”BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES receives a special jury award for its outstanding achievement in filmmaking. Remarkable in both its mind-bending concept and its expert execution, the whole jury marveled at the sheer cinematic brilliance of this magnificent contribution to the time travel genre.”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: OFFICE ROYALE (Japan, d. Kazuaki Seki)
“A feast for the eyes, OFFICE ROYALE is a bonkers and hilarious debut film which we are awarding with a special jury mention. Its intensely feminine aesthetic mixed with extreme violence and gore is as thrilling as it is refreshing.”

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
The International Short Film Competition jury was presided over by co-jury presidents Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (LET THE CORPSES TAN, THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS) and comprised of Prano Bailey-Bond (CENSOR), Yfke van Berckelaer (XANGADIX LIVES!, Fantasia 2019 award-winning short LILI) and Faye Jackson (STRIGOI, Fantasia 2020 special jury mention short SNOWFLAKES).

BEST FILM: VULNERABILITY (Japan, d. Eiji Tanigawa)
“The direction, visuals, editing, narration and performances from the two main actors combine to create a deeply powerful cinematic experience. It’s a playful, clever portrait of humanity’s beauty, flaws, and fascinating destructive impulses. We were particularly taken back by the chaotic side of the film.”

BEST DIRECTOR: Cory Williamson (SILLY HUMAN, USA)
“Director Cory Williamson crafts a menacing, totalitarian sitcom set in SILLY HUMAN that manages to convey a whole sinister world in a few contained scenes. Beautifully paced with brilliant performances, Williamson’s confident hand tightens the tension moment by moment, perfectly balancing it on the edge with pitch black humor.”

BEST SCREENPLAY: Steph Kwiatkowski (RACHELS DON’T RUN, USA/France)
”A beautifully paced script that taps into our need for connection whilst gracefully allowing us into the character, painting her needs, desires and vulnerabilities through the action, story and behavior of others. This is a really smart and neat concept, skillfully executed, which builds us up only to crush us emotionally.”

BEST ACTRESS: Victoria Villier (INHERITANCE, USA)
“From the moment she first appears on screen, Victoria Villier makes you feel like you’ve known her for years. Her performance is pitch-perfect, entirely grounded in truth and absolutely captivating to watch from beginning to end. With just one look, she can make you feel for her, fear for her, and make you want to see everything else she’ll ever be in.”

BEST ACTOR: Ian Cramer (OTHER BODIES, USA)
“Ian Cramer manages to suck you into his tale and slowly tighten his grip on you throughout the entire movie. Much like he does to the protagonist, he leaves you feeling seduced, haunted, depraved and, quite literally, breathless.”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: THE TENANT (Spain, d. Lucas Paulino & Ángel Torres)
“For its fun and efficient establishment which leads to relentless suspense, congratulations to the directors Lucas Paulino & Ángel Torres and actress Belén Rueda for having achieved the challenge of creating such tension in just a few minutes!”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: HENCHMEN (Singapore, d. Alistair Quak)
“HENCHMEN is a brilliantly choreographed, wildly entertaining slice of action comedy. Director Alistair Quak expertly subverts narrative expectations and wields screen violence with the sort of playful, creative, manic glee that genre audiences will never get enough of.”

JURY AQCC-CAMERA LUCIDA AWARD
The AQCC-Camera Lucida Jury, annually arranged from members of the Quebec Critic’s Association, was comprised of local film critics Jean-Marie Lanlo, Martin Gignac, and Claire Valade.

AQCC-CAMERA LUCIDA PRIZE: THE STORY OF SOUTHERN ISLET (Malaysia, d. Chong Keat Aun)
“For its contemplative atmosphere, its fantastic cinematography in which reality collides with surrealism and its portrait of evaporating cultures, the AQCC-Camera Lucida jury gives its award to the Malaysian film THE STORY OF SOUTHERN ISLET.”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD (Philippines, d. Dodo Dayao)
“For the progressive affirmation of a cinematic identity, the AQCC-Camera Lucida jury decided to give a mention to the Filipino film MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD.”

AXIS: SATOSHI KON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION
The Axis jury, which oversees awards for the festival’s animation programming, was presided over by jury president Hefang Wei (animator, Weilaï Productions Co-Founder, Kazak Productions Art Director) and comprised of Ashkan Rahgozar (author, director, Founder and CEO of Hoorakhsh Studios) and Kalp Sanghvi (director, writer, Co-Founder of Ghost Animation Collective).

BEST FEATURE: CRYPTOZOO (USA, d. Dash Shaw)
“This film is a psychedelic paean, it is a modern and fascinating mythological painting, and it is also a strong political metaphor.”

SPECIAL JURY MENTION: FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO (Japan, d. Ayumu Watanabe)
“The jury mention award goes to FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO because of its creative storytelling and stunning animation.”

BEST SHORT FILM–GOLD: SEEN IT (India, d. Adithi Krishnadas)
”This film instantly stuck to me in terms of its graphic style. Lovely visuals and brilliant portrayal of haunting experiences with the use of humor.”

BEST SHORT FILM–SILVER: GHOST DOGS (USA, d. Joe Cappa)
“This film is about a dog’s feelings during midnight. The author’s sense of humor and the creepiness of the environment elicit a strange and fantastic emotion in the viewer.”

BEST SHORT FILM–BRONZE: MONDO DOMINO (France, d. Suki)
“Because of the important message of the film, its outstanding animation, and music.”

AUDIENCE AWARDS

BEST ASIAN FEATURE–GOLD: BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES (Japan, d. Junta Yamaguchi)
BEST ASIAN FEATURE–SILVER: MIDNIGHT (South Korea, d. Kwon Oh-seung)
BEST ASIAN FEATURE–BRONZE: THE SADNESS (Taiwan, d. Rob Jabbaz)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE–GOLD: ALL THE MOONS (Spain/France, d. Igor Legarreta)
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE–SILVER: ULTRASOUND (USA, d. Rob Schroeder)
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE–BRONZE: KING KNIGHT (USA, d. Richard Bates, Jr.)

BEST CANADIAN FEATURE–GOLD: DREAMS ON FIRE (Canada/Japan, d. Philippe McKie)
BEST CANADIAN FEATURE–SILVER: THE RIGHTEOUS (Canada, d. Mark O’Brien)
BEST CANADIAN FEATURE–BRONZE: BRAIN FREEZE (Canada, d. Julien Knafo)

BEST DOCUMENTARY–GOLD: WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR (USA, d. Kier-La Janisse)
BEST DOCUMENTARY–SILVER: ALIEN ON STAGE (UK, d. Lucy Harvey & Danielle Kummer)
BEST DOCUMENTARY–BRONZE: SATOSHI KON, THE ILLUSIONIST (France/Japan, d. Pascal-Alex Vincent)

BEST ANIMATED FILM–GOLD: MAD GOD (USA, d. Phil Tippett)
BEST ANIMATED FILM–SILVER: HAYOP KA! THE NIMFA DIMAANO STORY (Philippines, d. Avid Liongoren)
BEST ANIMATED FILM–BRONZE: THE DEER KING (Japan, d. Masashi Ando & Miyaji Masayuki)

MOST GROUNDBREAKING FILM OF THE FESTIVAL: MAD GOD (USA, d. Phil Tippett)

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT–GOLD: DIGITAL VIDEO EDITING WITH ADOBE PREMIERE PRO: THE REAL-WORLD GUIDE TO SET UP AND WORKFLOW (South Korea, d. Hong Seong-yoon)
BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT–SILVER (TIE): DANA (Spain, d. Lucía Forner Segarra) and VIEWERS:1 (Japan, d. Daigo Hariya & Yosuke Kobayashi)
BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT–BRONZE: DEATH AND THE WINEMAKER (Switzerland, d. Victor Jaquier)

BEST CANADIAN SHORT–GOLD: FREYA (Canada, d. Camille Hollett-French)
BEST CANADIAN SHORT–SILVER: FRUIT (Canada, d. Ivan Li)
BEST CANADIAN SHORT–BRONZE: SHE WHISTLES (Canada, d. Thirza Cuthand)

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.