In cinema there’s a line. Few dare to cross it. Yet when it’s crossed amazing innovative, excessive and very strange things happen. Fantastic Asia Film Festival or FAFF for short celebrates this kind of cinema.
“Part of what I do here [at Monster films] is acquisitions of horror titles, and we’ve been looking for the best horror films and genre films around,” offers Neil Foley, founder of the Fantastic Film Festival, “and a lot of the ones we were seeing, it wasn’t by design so much, but the best ones we were seeing were coming from Japan and Korea, so we acquired a bunch of those titles.”
Yet this wasn’t enough for Foley, a man who delights in the excessive and extreme, in filmmakers who push the envelope and then crumble it up and spit it out with disdain.
“That’s what make these films so great,” laughs Foley. “These people are pioneers of the disgusting. They go where no one else has gone before, and now have a whole mechanism behind them for doing that. They’ve set up companies to do this.”
Foley believes that this sort of dedication should be rewarded, and set about rectifying the situation with it’s own film festival.
“There’s a lot of festivals around but I actually find a lot of festivals quite staid,” he offers. “There’s a Japanese and a Korea one but they’re quite mainstream. There’s the odd film that’s not, but they don’t show much genre stuff. I am a big genre fan and knowing how many genre fans there are out there and how well genre films usually do at things like MIFF, it will be great to expose people to this wave of exciting films from Asia. “
The result is 20 films over the course of 4 days, wall-to-wall horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, action, sleaze and erotica. Then there are a few high profile guests, such as Yoshihiro Nishimura, the director of the opening nights zombie gorefest Helldriver.
“You may remember him from Tokyo Gore police which he also directed. He’s quite famous all around the world as an SFX guy. He’s got a studio in Tokyo where he does all the Sushi Typhoon films as well as a bunch of other films. He’s got a real signature style, a real body horror thing. And these guys don’t just do a polite Q&A they get up and do a real show. He wears a sumo nappy thing, he throws up on stage and its all kind’ve crazy fun. “
It’s something that Foley delights in.
“There’s not a lot of really creative stuff going on, and this is a celebration of really outlandish and outrageous thinking and realising people coming up with these fantastic wild imaginings and then actually doing them which is just such a great thing. This is the exciting stuff; it’s colourful and busy and energetic, and well deserving of getting an audience on the big screen. “