5th. article in our 7week series on Sci-Fi/Fantasy
With our Sci-Fi/Fantasy series slowly coming to its end, we decided to look at the most popular Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film Festivals so our readers could continue delving deeper into this world! It goes without saying that there are many Sci-Fi Film Festivals out there, so we had a difficult time trying to narrow it down. If there’s a favourite that’s not mentioned, please feel free to add them in the comments section!
San Diego Comic-Con International
- Comic-Con or the San Diego Comic-Con International to give it its full name, was founded in 1970. Originally named Golden State Comic Book Convention, it has grown to be the largest convention in North America and the fourth largest in the world (the first three are solely focused on comic books). Although it started purely for comic books it soon added a film section. It started the Comic-Con International Film Festival where movies that don’t have distribution deals are shown. Also up and coming feature films and TV programmes can show previews and hold panel discussions with their stars and creators. This year it will be held on the 12th to the 15th of July. There’s not much news regarding the film line up, giving its close proximity to the start date, news will be coming thick and fast soon!
Fantasia International Film Festival
- The Fantasia International Film Festival, or simply called FanTasia, originally started out as a festival that showed Asian fantasy and action films in 1996. However, it quickly expanded to include sci-fi, fantasy, action and horror films from around the world. The festivals aim is to bring a wider audience to smaller lesser known films and film makers alongside some wider known film makers and classic films. It fashions itself to be like the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival and wishes to become the North American version. The festival also holds a competition like more traditional film festivals do. FanTasia takes place in Montreal and the next festival starts on the 19th of July and ends on the 7th of August. News is scarce at the moment (the website goes live in July) but going on past films, it sure to have a good line up this year too. Previous films shown are Shaun of the Dead, Jeepers Creepers 2, Ringu, Let the Right One In, Thirst and Inglourious Basterds.
- Fantastic Fest takes place in Austin, Texas and was established in 2005. It’s one of the largest film festivals in the U.S.A solely for sci-fi, fantasy and horror films. In just a few short years, it has quickly become one of the most popular genre film festivals in the U.S.A. Fantastic Fest seems to be an eccentric mix of a film festival and a fan convention. While hosting a competition, also present is its arcade (adding an independent gaming section) and hijinks such as “knuckle debates” (industry professionals debate a fan issue, then fighting in the ring to end the issue once and for all!). This festival also shows small foreign movies as well as more main stream films and classics too. Many film professionals attend Fantastic fest also. This year’s fest goes from the 20th – 27th of September. News about the film line up will start being announced in late July.
- The Sci-Fi London Film Festival is now in its 11th year and has just finished its 2012 festival (it ran from the 1st to the 7th of May). They show low budget and/or foreign films alongside documentaries and Sci-Fi classics. There is a challenge to make a short film in just 48 hours. The winners are offered a feature film development deal with Vertigo Films. Runner ups could still be offered some kind of deal with other companies. Last year the festival started a Sci-Fi Parade, where visitors can dress up in whatever Sci-Fi/Fantasy related they like! This year’s classic films shown were Paul Verhoeven’s films Robocop, Total Recall, Hollow Man and Starship Troopers. Also there was a tribute to Boris Karloff, who is well known for his Frankenstein portrayal. The tribute included not just Frankenstein but his role in other films, The Invisible Ray, The Black Cat, The Mask of Fu Manchu and Black Friday. It was a big year for Star Trek fans too. Two must see documentaries had their premiers there. The first, The Captains had its UK premier at the festival. Directed by William Shatner, it follows him meeting other Star Trek Captains and them sharing their experiences with him. The other is the beautifully shot Trek Nation, a documentary by Star Trek’s creator’s (Gene Roddenberry) son exploring the impact his father’s work had with fans. It features never seen before home footage and interviews with former cast, celebrity fans and most importantly, the general fandom!
Sitges Film Festival
- Sitges Film Festival (Sitges is a coastal town in Spain, not far from Barcelona) is one of the oldest fantasy and horror film festivals around. It was founded in 1967, and mostly shows films that are classified as fantasy or horror. The festival attracts the world’s famous media professionals and most critically praised fantasy/horror films have been shown here, either as new releases or as classic or in some cases both! Like any other prestigious film festival, it has its own competition with many categories. Although this year’s festival doesn’t start till the 4th of October (and ends on the 14th), there has already been a small news announcement. “The End of the World” has been chosen as this year’s iconic theme art work. Despite most of the festival being focused on work, there is a fun side to it too. There’s an annual “Zombie Walk”, where festival goers dress as zombies go to its beach party and later on to local bars that are involved with the festival. Or they can attend a zombie movie marathon!
- Wonder Con was founded in 1987 and was initially called the Wonderful World of Comics Convention. Its popularity grew and in 2001 the owners decided to partner with Comic Con International (who also run the famous San Diego Comic-Con) to help it expand further. Since the deal it has gone on to become even more popular! While Comic Con has expanded into other genres, Wonder Con remains focused on Comic Books, Science Fiction and movies/TV programmes of those two genres only. This year’s convention was on the 16th to the 18th of March in Anaheim, California. Usually it is held in San Francisco but the usual centre where it is held is undergoing renovation so it was moved to Anaheim. This year the convention held panels and sneak peeks at some of the most anticipate films of this year. Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Resident Evil: Retribution and Amazing Spider-Man were prominent features at the festival.
Please join us for a discussion Thursday 5/10/2012@7pmE/12UTC