We all know the saying: man plans, God laughs, man flinches because there’s a global pandemic and God’s standing less than six feet away and refuses to wear a mask because He thinks it “projects weakness” and oh god, has He been eating onions?
I think that’s how it goes, anyway. The point is, like just about every human on planet Earth, I walked into 2020 with a whole host of goals and aspirations that got swept clean off the board by the novel coronavirus. Chief among these goals for me was my aim to travel to cover an out-of-town film festival. This, of course, has been made ridiculously untenable for any number of reasons; as I write this, my pie-in-the-sky dreams include traveling from my Somerville apartment to Boston and seeing literally any movie in a theater. If nothing else, circumstances have brought my life focus.
But as a great scientist once said, life finds a way. Rather than scrap its 2020 edition, Montreal’s Fantasia Festival, one of the world’s most venerable genre film festivals, is taking its show online. And while the excitement of traveling abroad and writing from a hotel room will have to wait for a later date, I’m thrilled to announce that I will be covering this year’s offerings from the comfort of my own home! For the next two weeks, watch this space as I drive myself crazy with the freshest, wildest trips from some of the world’s most daring underground filmmakers. Ordinarily, I’d worry about losing my grip on sanity from such an endeavor, but in 2020, this feels like sand on the beach.
Before you rush to get your own virtual tickets, I should point out that the digital screenings are geolocked to Canadian audiences (though there will be a number of free virtual panels which will be available worldwide, and #ShakespearesShitStorm, the latest vulgar opus from Troma Entertainment, will be made available to US residents). However, the films on display at Fantasia will almost certainly make their way to our shores soon, whether via streaming or VOD or, god willing, in actual movie theaters. So consider this a glimpse into your own depraved cinematic future, and consider me your own personal Walter Mercado.
Anyway! Time’s a-wastin’, and I’ve got screeners to watch. See you at the virtual movies!
The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from Thursday, 8/20, to Wednesday, 9/2
Follow Hassle film editor Oscar Goff’s coverage of the fest by watching this space!