Volume 12, Issue 11 / November 2008

Fantasia 2008

For this issue Offscreen dedicates itself fully to its favorite festival, FanTasia. Now in its 12th year, FanTasia’s profile continues to grow, with a full roster of international guests, Canadian and World premieres, and packed, enthusiastic audiences. While FanTasia seems to be growing what makes it special is that it remains committed to being an intimate experience for the legion of local attendees who remain the heart and soul of the festival. It is also nice to see that after so many years of going at it alone financially FanTasia is finally starting to get some government recognition in the shape of grants. Though their support lags far, far behind other established local festivals, it is, hopefully, a trend that will grow because there is little doubt that what the festival brings to the city during its three week period is not only revenue, but a tremendous source of cultural energy and vibrancy, which can’t be measured in dollars and cents. The issue begins with two reports from Randolph Jordan and Donato Totaro which discuss over thirty films that were showcased at FanTasia. Rather than the usual (to us anyway) organic report both Jordan and Totaro tackle the festival in a more direct, film by film approach. Following the two reports are two interviews, the first with Frank Henenlotter and the second with the Thai directors behind 4bia and Alone. Henenlotter has made a career out of working on the margins of the film industry, making seminal independent films in the 1980s and helping to restore visibility to these margins with his archival and restoration work at Something Weird Video. In this exclusive interview Henenlotter discusses his early career, his work with Something Weird Video and his recent film, Bad Biology. One of the highlights of this year was the double dose of films directed by the team that brought us the impressive Shutter, which played a few years back at FanTasia, Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. Both directors were here to accompany their latest feature, Alone, and a portmanteau film to which they contributed two of the four stories, 4bia. Offscreen was pleased to meet with Pisanthanakun, Wongpoom, and the two other directors who contributed to 4bia, Youngyooth Thongkonthun and Paween Purikitpanya. No doubt for many FanTasians, the highlight of this year was the mini-retrospective of the gangster/crime films produced at the Japanese Nikkatsu studios in the late 1960s. Peter Rist concludes the issue with an overview of the three of the nine films from the traveling retrospective that played at FanTasia: Velvet Hustler, Gangster VIP, and A Colt is My Passport. [Donato Totaro, ed]

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