Fantasia 2024 Elijah Wood Bookworm
Nell Fisher and Elijah Wood in Bookworm, courtesy of Fantasia

The second wave of programming has been announced for Fantasia 2024, and it includes the world premiere of the opening night film, Ant Timpson’s Bookworm starring Elijah Wood.

Taking place from July 18 to August 4, the 28th edition of Fantasia International Film Festival will include a program of screenings, workshops, and launch events at the Concordia Hall and J.A. de Sève cinemas in Montréal, Canada. Aditional screenings and events will take place at Montréal’s Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée.

Bookworm reunites New Zealand director Timpson with Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, Yellowjackets), who also starred in Timpson’s 2019 horror-comedy Come to Daddy.

In Bookworm, Wood stars alongside Nell Fisher (Evil Dead Rise) who plays Mildred, a precocious eleven-year-old bookworm who escapes her humdrum existence by immersing herself in novels where literary adventures abound, with a long-dreamed quest to capture proof of a mythological beast known as The Canterbury Panther. When an unusual accident occurs, Mildred’s long absent father Strawn Wise (Wood), a washed-up illusionist, flies to New Zealand to look after a daughter he’s never met. When they agree to go camping despite neither being the outdoorsy type, this ultimate test in family bonding leads the duo on a string of increasingly absurd and treacherous adventures. 

Also of note, Fantasia’s 2024 Canadian Trailblazer Award will go to filmmaker Vincenzo Natali, in recognition of his 1997 debut genre film CUBE.

Program Includes Bookworm Starring Elijah Wood and More

Kit Harrington in The Beast Within courtesy of Fantasia

Other new films that have just been announced in the genre festival’s second wave lineup include MONONOKE THE MOVIE: THE PHANTOM IN THE RAIN directed by Kenji Nakamura; Alexander J. Farre’s narrative feature debut The Beast Within starring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones); Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s The Count of Monte-Cristo; Isaac Ezban’s PÁRVULOS; Vivieno Caldinelli’s Scared Shitless; Veerapatra Jinanavin’s MANTRA WARRIOR: THE LEGEND OF THE EIGHT MOONS; Matthew Fifer’s Haze; Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s The Soul Eater;  Fábio Powers’ THE OLD MAN AND THE DEMON SWORD; Maurane and Billy Pedlow’s ME AND MY VICTIM, and Niles Atalah’s ANIMALIA PARADOXA.

The full festival lineup will be announced on July 3, with tickets going on sale soon after.

Also Read: Fantasia 2024 First Wave of Programming Includes Witchboard and Shelby Oaks

See More Fantasia 2024 Second Wave Programming Below

100 YARDS (China) – Dirs. Xu Haofeng and Xu Junfeng
Family secrets, demimonde politics, and romantic entanglements complicate the rivalry between two skilled martial artists in the 1920s. The latest from masterful genre auteur Xu Haofeng (THE SWORD IDENTITY, THE FINAL MASTER), co-directed by his own brother, once again reconciles authenticity and inventiveness, and rewards its attentive audience a hundred times over. Quebec Premiere.
AZRAEL (USA) – Dir. E.L Katz
In a post-apocalyptic world, Azrael (Samara Weaving, READY OR NOT) must fight tooth and nail to rescue her partner from a cult of mute religious fanatics in the year’s most vicious tale of revenge. From the acclaimed director of CHEAP THRILLS and the screenwriter of YOU’RE NEXT and this year’s GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, this relentless thriller also stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (FEMME), Sebastian Bull (SONS), and Victoria Carmen Sonne (HOLIDAY). Winner of Best Feature, Best Actress, and Best FX Audience Awards at Panic Fest 2024. Canadian Premiere.
BRAVE CITIZEN (South Korea) – Dir. Park Jin-pyo
A former boxer, now a part-time teacher, dons a mask and deals with high school bullying the hard way. Based on the popular webtoon, BRAVE CITIZEN is a stylishly entertaining Korean action flick from the director of VOICE OF A MURDERER and YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, with great characters and intense fight scenes. Canadian Premiere.
BRUSH OF THE GOD (Japan) – Dir. Keizo Murase
Two teens must save the world from a many-headed, mythological dragon in this generously self-referential giant-monster movie from 88-year-old master tokusatsu artisan Keizo Murase, who makes his directorial debut following a lifetime crafting monster suits for all of Japan’s best-known kaiju films. Canadian Premiere.
CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS (Australia) – Dir Alice Maio Mackay
Alice Maio Mackay (T-BLOCKERS) returns to Fantasia with an early Christmas present (with some help from THE PEOPLE’S JOKER’s Vera Drew, on editing duty). Bloody, ironic, and uproarious, CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS tells the story of true-crime podcaster Lola who returns to her hometown at Christmas for the very first time since running away and transitioning – meanwhile, the vengeful ghost of a historical murderer and urban legend seemingly arises to kill again! Official Selection: Salem Horror Fest, Inside Out Toronto. Underground Section. Quebec Premiere.
DARKEST MIRIAM (Canada) – Dir: Naomi Jaye
Following her debut feature THE PIN, Naomi Jaye now adapts the Giller Prize short-listed novel ‘The Incident Report’ by author Martha Baillie as DARKEST MIRIAM. In it, Miriam (Britt Lower of AppleTV’s Severance) is a library worker dealing with her father’s death, threatening letters at work, and an unexpected lover, all of which threaten to change her solitary life forever. Starring Tom Mercier (THE ANIMAL KINGDOM), Sook-Yin Lee (SHORTBUS), and Jean Yoon (CBC’s Kim’s Convenience), and executive produced by Academy Award-winner Charlie Kaufman (ADAPTATION). Septentrion Shadows Section. Canadian Premiere.
DON’T CALL IT MYSTERY (Japan) – Dir. Hiroaki Matsuyama
In this compelling whodunit adapted from a popular, award-winning manga and subsequent hit TV series, college student Totonou (Masaki Suda of THE BOY AND THE HERON), known for his sharp observation skills, becomes entangled in a complicated family feud involving mysterious deaths. Canadian Premiere.
FAQ (South Korea) – Dir. Kim Da-min
A stressed-out elementary-school student secretly befriends a bottle of rice wine that can communicate through Morse Code. Director Kim Da-min’s debut feature is a heartwarming sci-fi/coming-of-age story guaranteed to make you smile. Canadian Premiere.
KRYPTIC (Canada, U.K.) – Dir. Kourtney Roy
A part of XYZ Films’ New Visions with a World Premiere at SXSW 2024 and Canadian Premiere at CUFF, Kourtney Roy’s debut feature KRYPTIC follows Kay (Chloe Pirrie of THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT and HANNA), a woman on a mysterious quest. A strange forest encounter leads her to search for a missing cryptozoologist – who bears a striking resemblance to Kay – and the monster she was hunting. KRYPTIC is a doppelganger story of self-discovery and empowerment, and a must-see for audiences wanting a colourful spectacle that defies genre with strange, gooey interludes and atmospheric landscapes. Septentrion Shadows Section. Quebec Premiere.
THE MISSING (Philippines) – Dir. Carl Joseph Papa
The death of Eric’s uncle triggers a suppressed childhood memory – and the return of his alien abductor – in director Carl Joseph Papa’s third animated feature: a queer, surreal hybrid of romance, drama, and sci-fi embracing digital rotoscope animation and featuring internationally renowned Filipino actress Dolly De Leon (TRIANGLE OF SADNESS). Animation Plus Section. Canadian Premiere.
NOT FRIENDS (Thailand) – Dir. Atta Hemwadee
Hoping to win a short-film competition, Pae decides to direct a tear-jerking tribute to former classmate Joe, who tragically passed away, even though they weren’t actually friends. Atta Hemwadee’s feature debut was Thailand’s entry in the Best International Feature category for this year’s Academy Awards. Canadian Premiere.
ODDITY (Ireland) – Dir. Damian McCarthy
A blind medium (Carolyn Bracken, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER) uncovers the truth behind her sister’s death with the help of a frightening wooden mannequin. One of the scariest and most imaginative films you’ll see anywhere this year. Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW 2024. Quebec Premiere.
WAKE UP (Canada / France) – Dirs. François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell
This tense, gore-soaked new shocker from homegrown Fantasia favorites RKSS (TURBO KID, SUMMER OF ’84, WE ARE ZOMBIES) pits a gang of Gen Z activists against a hulking security guard murderously protecting the big-box store they’ve invaded after hours. Official Selection: Fantastic Fest 2023, Sitges 2023. Canadian Premiere.
YIN YANG MASTER ZERO (Japan) – Dir. Shimako Sato
A wily apprentice sorcerer and his dim but good-hearted best friend (Kento Yamazaki of KINGDOM and Shota Sometani of PARASYTE) confront dark forces in Heian-era Japan. Handled with panache by writer-director Shimako Sato (EKO EKO AZARAK, K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK), the popular historical-fantasy franchise returns to the big screen. Canadian Premiere.

Main Image: Nell Fisher and Elijah Wood in Bookworm, courtesy of Fantasia courtesy of Fantasia.

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