The Fantasia Film Festival is one of the most exciting times of the year for film fans as one of the most diverse selections of films gets screened and celebrated. The 2023 edition of the festival kicks off July 20th and runs to August 9th. With an incredible lineup of over 100 feature films, the lineup can be a daunting one to explore. In this article, 9 of the most promising feature films in this lineup will be highlighted. Make sure to keep an eye on Buttered Popcorn for reviews from Fantasia and find the full screening lineup on the festival's official website.
Following up his 2017 A24 effort, The Ballad of Lefty Brown, filmmaker Jared Moshé is back with a story looking at the powerful effects of grief. Led by the wonderful Judy Greer, Aporia sees a mother get forced to make an impossible choice as she is presented with a secret time-bending machine that could allow her to rewrite her past and avoid the heartbreaking reality she and her daughter find themselves in. With an intriguing plot, strong cast, and strong emotional foundation, Aporia could be one of the big hits of the festival!
Between his work on White Reindeer and Little Sister, filmmaker Zach Clark has made a name for himself looking at the complex emotions of the human condition through more grounded expressions. The Becomers sees a new change in pace for the filmmaker who turns his attention to two body-swapping aliens who fall in love and try to find their place on Earth. This is an exciting new prospect and could mark one of the most unique films of the festival!
Originally premiering at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Laura Moss' Birth/Rebirth recreates the Frankenstein narrative to find a new exploration of what happens when one breaks the traditional rules of nature. Filled with meaning and plenty of tension, this was one of the standouts of Sundance and is sure to be one of the standouts of Fantasia. For more words on the film, read Buttered Popcorn's full review here!
By all accounts coming out of the film's debut at Berlinale earlier in the year, Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping's feature directorial debut, Femme, is a must-watch of Fantasia! Adapting their short film of the same name into a full feature effort, the film earned immediate praise for its bold style and message which only promises to be enhanced by the film's fantastic cast including the likes of Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay!
Hundreds of Beavers
Out of all the various film festivals to take place over the year, none have embraced weirdness quite as much as Fantasia with each new edition of the festival providing some of the most unique features of the year. 2023 promises to be no different with one of the clear highlights being Mike Cheslik's Hundreds of Beavers. A self-described silent supernatural winter epic, the film follows a fur trapper who wages war with hundreds of beavers. What isn't there to love?
While Fantasia might be known for its more enjoyable array of horror and comedy features, the festival also offers more serious and dramatic works with Pier-Philippe Chevigny's Richelieu being one of the most anticipated this year. Following a translator who gets caught up in trying to improve life for the seasonal workers hired by a food processing plant, the film is both important and relevant with its positive reception from the Tribeca Film Festival earlier in the year only adding to the belief that this could be one of the best films of the festival!
One of the most exciting and talked about features of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival was Junta Yamaguchi's Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes which stood tall as one of the most unique and creative features of 2021 as a whole. In 2023, Yamaguchi returns to the festival with River! Taking a gimmick similar to his previous film but providing a new story and tone, one has to be curious about what Yamaguchi has to offer here.
Sympathy for the Devil
Any project featuring Nicholas Cage is immediately going to spark interest. Continuing his modern run of darker features, Cage teams up with Joel Kinnaman in a twisted version of cat and mouse that promises plenty of twists and turns. With this cast and platform, Sympathy for the Devil could be a big jumping-off point for filmmaker Yuval Adler and could be one of the big hits of the festival!
Vincent Must Die
Stéphan Castang's Vincent Must Die shocked audiences at Cannes with its chaos and is sure to rattle audiences at Fantasia also. Following a man who finds himself under attack for no apparent reason, the paranoia and volatility of the film have been compared to the work of the Safdie brothers making the film an instantly worthwhile film to watch out for and seek out.