by Bill Chambers While I was composing this "curtain-raiser," a fellow critic tweeted that she'd been offered press credentials for an upcoming film festival but didn't see the point of accepting them, since travel and lodging would inevitably cost more than she would make reporting on the festival. Montreal's venerable genre-film festival Fantasia, now in its 22nd year, has attempted to solve this kind of dilemma and broaden awareness of its brand by inviting online outlets to view the majority of its slate remotely via streaming links. Obviously "screeners" are not a new concept and have for the last few years helped sites like ours round out our coverage of various festivals, but nothing has ever been attempted on this scale, with most of the films accessible via a centralized hub. We're proud to have been invited to participate in this experiment, because with Telluride and TIFF hitting so soon after, and with travel being a challenge even for those of us who live relatively close to Montreal, it's improbable that we'll ever get the chance to attend Fantasia in person. It's something that had always given me, personally, a bigger case of FOMO than Cannes, because if we have a niche, Fantasia fulfills it.
This is barely scratching the surface of Fantasia's line-up. There are also short films that sound promising, such as David Burrows's Granny, and there's a curated selection of music videos called "DJ XL5's Stereosonic Beach Party" that tantalizes from the pages of the Fantasia site with the thumbnail image of Rick James and Eddie Murphy from Murphy's "Party All the Time" video. I'm not sure if this is an actual party or just a feature-length compilation; life's a beach, I guess. Anyway, off to the races!