The 2021 Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is Coming!

SFFF 2021 PosterJust look at that poster and tell me you’re not stoked for the 2021 edition of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival! (And their hoodie for the Fest looks even better!) This year’s schedule is loaded with intriguing titles including MMC! favourites like Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes and Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched. Take a moment and check out the SFFF’s press announcement below:

12th annual Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is live this month at the Broadway Theatre

Saskatoon – November 1, 2021 – The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, Saskatchewan’s largest feature film festival, returns for its 12th edition at the Broadway Theatre on November 22-27, and will bring the best in international independent cinema to Saskatoon.

“We heard from our fans that they want to have the theater experience, but safety is our number one priority again this year,” said Festival Director John Allison. “All of the movies will be in-person at the Broadway Theatre, and the theatre’s COVID protocol will be in effect to ensure everyone has a safe and happy festival experience.”

The Broadway Theater will have reduced seating capacity, all attendees will need to be double vaccinated or show proof of a negative test, and everyone will need to wear a mask.

“This year’s theme is ‘folk horror,’ so movies with elements including rural settings, themes of isolation, and the power of nature will be featured,” adds Allison. “On Saturday at noon we have the definitive documentary on folk horror, WOODLANDS DARK DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR and the new Welsh folk horror THE FEAST playing Friday evening.  We have two retro folk horror movies, CLEARCUT and EYES OF FIRE on Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday we’re excited to have Saskatchewan filmmaker Rueben Martell participate in a live Q&A along with actors Sheena Kaine and Sera-Lys McArthur after their new movie DON’T SAY ITS NAME.”

The festival also features movies outside of the folk horror movie genre, including comedies, the documentary ALIEN ON STAGE, and the Nicolas Cage film PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND opens the festival.

“We are also thrilled to have Canadian filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy participate in a video Q&A after her new film SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE,” says Allison. “Danishka’s first movie screened at our first festival, so it’s great to have her involved again 12 years later.”

This year’s festival features 21 feature length and many short films from around the world. For information on the full film lineup and festival passes, visit

For more information contact Jeff Drake, Assistant Festival Director, at

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The 2020 Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is Coming!

Great news out of the Paris of the Prairies – the 2020 edition of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival will be returning to the Broadway Theatre from November 23-28 and its socially-distanced line-up looks … fantastic! Dinner in America, a personal favourite, will make an appearance on “punk night” (with very enjoyable Uncle Peckerhead), and the SFFF has programmed films like Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, and Bloody Hell, all titles highly anticipated here at MMC! HQ. The current global situation will prevent MMC! from attending this year [insert fist-shaking], but anyone who can attend should be sure to sanitize, mask-up, and enjoy another great year of genre cinema.

For more information, check out the SFFF’s press release below:

11th annual Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is live this month at the Broadway Theatre

Saskatoon – November 3, 2020 ­– The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, Saskatchewan’s largest feature film festival, returns for its 11th edition at the Broadway Theatre on November 23-28, and will bring the best in international independent cinema to Saskatoon.

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SFFF Day 6 – Into the Unknown

The final day of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival opened with Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century (2019), a fictionalized portrait of Canada’s weirdest, longest-serving, and middlest-of-the-road Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. The film side-steps Mackenzie King’s secret spiritualism and instead creates a broader, stranger fantasy of Canada at the dawn of a new era. Rankin’s prerecorded introduction for the film described it as “nightmarishly Canadian” and his words were apt. The Twentieth Century is an Eraserhead/Isle of Dogs-esque imagining of Canadian history and culture, one obsessed with maple walnut ice cream, the scent of fresh timber, passive-aggressive manners, Indian leg wrestling, and medicinal “puffin cream.” Inspiration was taken from the Prime Minister to-be’s personal diary and Rankin connected with Mackenzie King’s tendencies toward vanity, repression, self-righteousness, and self-pity. Played by Dan Beirne with petulant primness, Mackenzie King struggles to achieve his maternally prophesied political and romantic aims (and sublimate his dominating shoe fetish), and the film traces his misadventures through the brutalist interiors of Rideau Hall, the frozen utopia of Quebec, a sunny and freshly logged, new age Vancouver, and a baseless and fetid Winnipeg.

A former Winnipegger himself, Rankin carries on the prairie post-modernism of Guy Maddin and John Paizs, and like his predecessors, Rankin finds ways to make a hard earned dime look like an eccentrically spent dollar (or loonie). Hand-painted and animated in sections by Rankin himself and utilizing a palette that evokes the colours of Canadian banknotes, The Twentieth Century’s stunning production design recalls earlier film eras with its intertitle chapter cards while it also embraces the fresh Canadianness established in the aesthetics of Group of Seven painters like Lawren Harris and York Wilson and the modernist designs of Expo ’67. Rankin even loads his historical subject with a gleeful perversity and a shameless phallocentricism that would do Ken Russell proud – watch out for that ejaculating cactus and that narwhal horn! The Twentieth Century is an acid trip-take on peace, order, and good government and it is staunchly glorious.

Oscilloscope Laboratories has picked up the rights to Rankin’s brilliant film and we can only hope that its eventual hard media release will not only include The Twentieth Century but also many (if not all) of Rankin’s short films including Negativipeg (2010), the most Winnipeg-ish thing I’ve ever seen committed to film.

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SFFF Day 5 – J&B Straight Up!

After packing in 200 or so people for the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s second annual Saturday Morning All You Can Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, Day 5 was all about director Joe Dante, actress Belinda Balaski, and a trio of features film celebrating their work. Screenings of The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins (1984), and The Howling (1981) were each introduced by Dante and followed by a Q&A session. All three films looked great on the big screen and Dante and Balaski were open and affable with the SFFF audience, answering questions and recounting stories. Dante discussed working as a consultant to an upcoming animated Gremlins prequel and briefly acknowledged that his long desired project about Roger Corman, The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes, was being produced by SpectreVision and should see production in 2020. Balaski recounted a popular story about how the designers of Gremlins’ Gizmo obtained Steven Spielberg’s elusive approval of the creature when she recommended that they take inspiration from the King Charles Cavalier Spaniels Spielberg had recently acquired. When asked which of their films they felt deep-diving fans should explore, Balaski cited Mark L. Lester’s youth culture/crime drama movie Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976) while Dante nodded at his under-seen (and unfortunately prescient) political satire The Second Civil War (1997). The pair were generous with their time, even sitting down on the Broadway Theatre’s stage floor to sign programs and badges for remaining diehards, and they proved to be excellent guests for the SFFF’s landmark 10th year.

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SFFF Day 4 – Wives and Water Buffalo! Witches and Wes Craven!

The banner event for Day 4 of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival was the Drunken Cinema screening of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), described by Drunken Cinema‘s attending creator Serena Whitney as “the scary one.” Audience members had rules to follow, glow sticks to shake, and themed cards with personalized drinking rules to enhance their interaction and to get soused in the process. The event seemed an ironic success considering that nearly all the screenings at the SFFF are licensed and the Broadway Theatre’s concession stand was ready to make every screening drunken if patrons were so inclined. Still, the appeal of endorsed booze and rowdiness cannot be underestimated and Saskatoon movie fans can expect to seen more Drunken Cinema events between now and the next SFFF.

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SFFF Day 3 – Dark Places

Short films led the charge on the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s third day with an eight film block of female focused shorts and another two short films that could have probably fit into the same section. Readers of last year’s coverage might recall my frustration with shorts that offer little more than spooky premises or creepy contexts, however you’ll find few such complaints amongst Day 3’s titles. Yfke van Berckelaer’s Lili (2019), an MMC! favourite at this year’s Buried Alive Film Festival, was screened, as did the Chattanooga Film Festival short, Sydney Clara Brafman’s gory and brief The Only Thing I Love More Than You is Ranch Dressing (2018). Adele Vuko’s The Hitchhiker (2018) was an entertaining blend of female road trip goodwill, real world violence, and well-timed supernatural intervention and was probably the easiest short to enjoy on Day 3. Valerie Barnhart’s Girl in the Hallway (2019) offered a true crime tragedy that powerfully wrestled with guilt, grief, and inaction through pained and worn stop-motion animation. Daniel DelPurgatorio returned to the SFFF with In Sound, We Live Forever (2019), a beautiful short in the agrarian horror mode that finds two young lovers beset by a monstrous killer in the rural American heartland. The short looks gorgeous, contrasting the serenity of its pastoral present against the intimacy and then terror of its past tense soundtrack, and it elegantly pivots into the full present tense to depict a desperate escape and a grim conclusion that posits the monstrous violence of the genre but also a kind of existential smallness that makes its horror seem almost meaningless.

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