Volume 16, Issue 5 / May 2012

Fantasia 2011

In this issue

In this issue we look back, way back, given the lateness of the coverage, to last year’s 2011 Fantasia. With the 2012 edition literally just around the corner, the lateness serves the added bonus of introducing the new edition, with a brief look at some of the expected highlights soon to appear in our ‘events and releases’ section. This year marks the 10th year that Fantasia has used Concordia University as its venue. This past month Concordia and Fantasia signed a formal agreement that cements their partnership but, more importantly, opens the door for future initiatives between the festival and the university, which includes scholarships, internships and master classes. As a teacher at Concordia I am particularly happy that this relationship is moving forward, and feel especially proud of having played a small part way back eleven years ago in hooking the two of them up. The Concordia internal newspaper The Concordian has a sneak preview of this year’s edition. I would also like to take this opportunity to plug one of these new initiatives that I took part in, along with colleagues Peter Rist and Randolph Jordan, programming a special screening of Concordia student films that are in the spirit of Fantasia, “When Concordia Meets Fantasia”, which plays on August 9 at 9:30pm at the J.A. De Seve theatre. The 10th year Concordia-Fantasia anniversary inspired Jordan to come up with a report that looks back at some of his favorite Fantasia moments, while looking ahead to some of the things that excite him about the 2012 edition. The next two articles dedicated to Fantasia 2011 are my own pieces, the first an analysis of the 2nd Fantasia Gala presentation, the silent version of The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Rupert Julian, starring Lon Chaney, and an interview with the director of The Wicker Tree, 1973, Robin Hardy, who attended the festival in celebration of his much anticipated sequel, The Wicker Tree (2011). The final two non-Fantasia related pieces are Philip Gillett’s report on the 18th Bradford International Film Festival, and (happily) making his Offscreen debut Matthew Hays, with his (no doubt in the spirit of Fantasia) somewhat tongue in cheek appreciation of oddball 1970s retro-cult hit, Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973). Hays surveys the film’s tepid reception, but balances the ledger with some of the film’s more obvious saving graces —its cinematography, the music of Neil Diamond— but is far more enthralled by the acting voice of James Franciscus in the lead. Can a film featuring a soul-searching, introspective, talking seagull change someone’s life? (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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