“I’m not joking when I say that Fantasia was our film school,” says François Simard of the Canadian directing trio RKSS, who were in attendance at the 22nd Annual Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal to promote their new thriller, Summer of 84.

“Our film school was basically renting every horror movie from the video store and going to Fantasia since the beginning. We’ve learned so much here.”

Simard—along with RKSS co-directors Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell—are just some of thousands who flock to the fest every summer for the three-week-long celebration of genre cinema.

Fantasia 2018 featured a packed schedule of new offerings from celebrated filmmakers (Japanese cult favorite Satoshi Miki’s rock comedy Louder, Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’ Wimp!, which saw its world premiere at the fest), imaginative indie efforts (veteran animator Mike Mort’s stop-motion action-vampire epic Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampiresand a crop of assured debut features from new talent (21-year-old Japanese director Yoko Yamanaka’s introverted coming-of-age drama Amiko; Jenn Wexler’s punk-horror anthem The Ranger).

In addition to its program of screenings, Fantasia also plays host to Frontières: a four-day international film market in collaboration with Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes, designed to foster the financing and co-production of genre films in Europe and North America. Many Fantasia films (including The Ranger) have gone into production as Frontières projects, and the overall climate at the fest is as focused on making films as it is on watching them.

MovieMaker was on the ground during Frontières week to meet the filmmakers and discuss how they made their genre films. Hit the break for directorial insight from Miki and more. 

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