Fantasia Announces Virtual Event for Its 25th Edition; Opens with Québécois Zomcom “Brain Freeze”

After its wildly successful online edition last year, The Fantasia International Film Festival will once again go the virtual route as it celebrates its 25th edition from August 5 through August 25, 2021. The festival has announced its opening night feature film, the world premiere of Julien Knafo’s Québécois zombie comedy Brain Freeze, and revealed its terrific poster for this year’s edition. Following is the official press announcement.

The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 25th edition as a virtual event accessible to audiences across Canada, with a dynamic program of scheduled screenings and premieres, panels, and workshops running from August 5 through August 25, 2021, once again using the leading-edge platform created by Festival Scope and Shift72.

As the summer approaches, the festival will be following advice from local health authorities, with the possibility of also adding a range of flagship physical events to the lineup. 

Last summer’s virtual edition was a phenomenal success, screening to 85000 spectators and amassing a record amount of media coverage, with 475 accredited journalists from around the world covering Fantasia and its titles. The lineup showcased 104 features, a quarter of which were World Premieres, with the majority securing distribution out of the festival, with highlights including THE BLOCK ISLAND SOUND selling to Netflix, COME TRUE to IFC, THE PAPER TIGERS to WellGo USA, ANYTHING FOR JACKSON to Shudder, PVT CHAT to Dark Star, and MINOR PREMISE to Utopia

For the creation of its 25th anniversary poster art, pictured above, Fantasia has once again turned to the talents of renowned illustrator Donald Caron. Taking inspiration from Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s beloved LONE WOLF AND CUB, Caron has created a work that not only acknowledges the key role that Japanese culture has played across Fantasia’s history, but also one that hints and honours our upcoming edition’s embrace of Japanese cinema as a core cinematic theme. 

Fantasia is proud to be opening its upcoming edition with the World Premiere of a major Québécois genre feature – Julien Knafo’s BRAIN FREEZE. First pitched at Frontières, the festival’s world-renowned international co-production market, the film is a smart and stylish zombie comedy that slyly comments on social concerns both domestic and universal, telling the

tale of an environmental disaster that leads to a fast-spreading virus ravaging a wealthy gated community off the island of Montreal. BRAIN FREEZE joins the ranks of recently-released cinema that holds an eerie mirror up to our collective experience even though scripted and shot pre-pandemic. While production on the winter-set chiller was abruptly halted four days before completion following Quebec’s lockdown, shooting was miraculously able to wrap the following summer. There could not be a more perfect film for Fantasia 2021 to kick off with! Following the World Premiere on August 5th, BRAIN FREEZE will see theatrical release throughout Canada on August 13th from Filmoption International. 

Produced by Barbara Shrier (THE YEAR DOLLY PARTON WAS MY MOM, MÉMOIRES AFFECTIVES), the film stars Roy Dupuis (LA FEMME NIKITA, THE ROCKET), one of Quebec’s leading actors for the past three decades who celebrates his 50th feature with this role, alongside Iani Bédard (MON AMI WALID). The impressive cast is rounded out by an array of acclaimed figures in Québec cinema, including Marianne Fortier (AURORE), Anne-Élisabeth Bossé (LAURENCE ANYWAYS), Mylène Mackay (NELLY), Simon-Oliver Fecteau (BLUFF), Stéphane Crête (DANS UNE GALAXIE PRÈS DE CHEZ VOUS), Mahée Paiment (LES BOYS), Louis-Georges Girard (MAFIA INC), Claudia Ferri (BAD BLOOD), and Jean-Pierre Bergeron (SUR LE SEUIL). 

Equally gorgeous as it is bloody, BRAIN FREEZE presents a clever take on corporate greed, the growing rift between the haves and have-nots and a government in crisis that uses a zombie outbreak to express its truth and succeeds at being both a charming horror comedy, coming-of-age tale, and a story of unexpected friendship in hazardous times. 

The 25th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will be presented by Videotron in collaboration with Desjardins, and will be made possible thanks to the financial assistance of the Government of Quebec, SODEC, Telefilm Canada, the City of Montreal, the Conseil des arts of Montreal and Tourisme Montréal. 

Fantasia’s full programming lineup will be announced in several waves across the coming months. For more information, visit us on the web at

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.