Fantasia 2021, Part I: Introduction and Preview

Fantasia 2021, Part I: Introduction and Preview

Summer’s come around again, and with it another installment of the Fantasia International Film Festival, the Montreal-based genre festival it’s been my pleasure and privilege to cover for Black Gate since 2014. Fantasia’s back up to a full three weeks after last year’s two-week version, starting today and running until August 25; here’s the full schedule. COVID-19’s still out there, though, so this year like last most of the films are streaming rather than shown in a threatre. Some are at scheduled times, others are available on demand over the course of the festival, and all movies are geo-locked to Canada though panels and discussions will be available worldwide through Zoom or YouTube.

But a few films have in-person screenings at Montreal’s venerable Imperial Theatre. This briefly caused me to ponder: doubly vaccinated as I am, am I comfortable going to a movie theatre? I never came to a conclusion because at the start of July I felt a pain in my foot, and when I finally bothered to have a doctor look at it two weeks later, found out it was a stress fracture. I now have a boot cast to wear through the end of August, and while it lets me get around it’s probably still a good idea to avoid needless strain on the foot. So I’ll be taking in the festival from the comfort of my couch.

Which should still work out fine. I’ll have a lot of reviews coming over the following weeks; there’s a lot to look forward to at this year’s festiva! This is the 25th anniversary of Fantasia, and the festival’s got 110 feature films (including revivals of genre classics) and over 200 shorts — many of them gathered into feature-length showcases. I’m happy to be able to take part, broken bone and all, and I look forward to bringing Black Gate another year of reviews from the strange new worlds of genre cinema Fantasia unleashes upon the world!

Find the rest of my Fantasia coverage from this and previous years here!


Matthew David Surridge is the author of “The Word of Azrael,” from Black Gate 14. You can buy collections of his essays on fantasy novels here and here. His Patreon, hosting a short fiction project based around the lore within a Victorian Book of Days, is here. You can find him on Facebook, or follow his Twitter account, Fell_Gard.

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