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Fantasia Festival Announces First Wave Of 2022 Titles

2022 is the year that many festivals are feeling confident enough to return to in-person events. We've recently reported on Annecy, almost certainly the most significant animation event in Europe. Now we have confirmation that one of North America's biggest events is planning a return to a physical festival this summer.

The Fantasia Festival, held annually in Montreal, Canada is one of the biggest genre film festivals in the world, and always has a significant animation component. This week it has announced its first wave of titles. The Festival's animation content is screened as the Axis Strand, with all films in competition for the Satoshi Kon Award for Outstanding Animation.

This year the strand is including a spotlight on South Korean Animation. The country is best known for producing outsourced animation for the US and Japan, but it also has a thriving domestic scene that only continues to grow. The spotlight includes a new program of South Korean shorts, retrospectives, a children's program and the North American premiere of Chun Tae-Il: A Flame That Lives On.  Director Hong Jun-pyo’s film is an animated biography of the eponymous figure, whose true life story has already inspired documentary films, books and comics.

Also announced are a couple of feature films from Japan. Masaaki Yuasa's Inu-Oh comes to Montreal after screening to considerable acclaim at festivals elsewhere.  The Girl From The Other Side is an adaptation of the manga by Nagabe by up-and-coming talents Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya. Described as a "gothic fairy tale", the film is a feature-length adaptation, following on from their short film adaptation which was screened at Fantasia back in 2019.

Last but by no means least we come to Opal, the second feature from Alain Bidard, who hails from the French overseas territory of Martinique in the Caribbean. Following on from his debut feature 2015's Battledream Chronicle, Opal is described as a "sumptuous animated fairy tale, filled with a rich Afro-Caribbean sensibility and profound psychological undercurrents," that has already seen it scoop up 18 awards from its screenings elsewhere.

Additionally, the festival's non-animated line-up includes documentary Anime Supremacy, which follows two up and coming Japanese creators as they try to make a splash in the county's competitive animation industry.

This year's Fantasia Festival will take place in Montreal from July 14 until August 3, and will be returning to a full in-person event after having been in virtual format for the 2020 and 20021 festivals. Additional titles will be announced at a later date.