The Fantasia International Film Festival experience has always been a hybrid one for critics, simply because it’s too long for most to stick it out the whole time. The influential, long-running genre fest is three times the length of most film festivals, sprawling out over three weeks (July 14—August 3 this year) at a handful of venues in downtown Montreal.
The 2022 lineup, the fest’s 26th annual edition, included 135 feature films and more shorts than programmers could count, as they announced before in-person screenings—a respectable number, but hardly the most extensive slate in the festival’s 28-year history.
Given that this year’s Fantasia marked a return to in-person festivities after two years of geo-locked virtual screenings, perhaps a ‘dip’ in film selection numbers was inevitable. (It feels absurd to type that about a festival with more than 100 films on its slate, but these are the standards to which Fantasia holds itself.) Audience enthusiasm burned brighter than ever on the ground, however: local audiences turned out in droves during the week that our correspondent Katie Rife was on the ground, particularly for the festival’s thriving slate of Asian films, which dominated the larger of the festival’s two main theaters.