“FantasPorto”, also known as “Fantas”, is an international film festival, annually organized since 1981 in Porto, Portugal.
Giving screen space to fantasy/science fiction/horror-oriented commercial feature films, auteur films and experimental projects from all over the world, “Fantasporto” has created enthusiastic audiences, ranging from cinephiles to more popular spectators, with an annual average of 110,000 attendees.
It was rated in “Variety” as one of the 25 leading festivals of the world.
In its past editions the festival reached 104,000 people and 5,000 media references, both domestic and international, with a record of 187 hours of TV time. Present in Porto were about 100 members of the foreign press and about 250 Portuguese journalists and media representatives.
What began as an idea amongst a group of friends at artists’ favourite Café Luso in the early 1980s, went on to become one of the oldest and the longest-running independent film festivals in Portugal.
The festival has since launched the European careers of some (now) great names like Guillermo del Toro (Oscar-nominated for 2018), Peter Jackson (Academy Award Winner), David Lynch, and others.
This year’s festival exhibited over 100 films from 59 countries in its four main competition sections – Fantasy, Directors’ Week, Orient Express, and Portuguese Cinema – and six films as part of a special Taiwan B-Movies retrospect.
The festival’s theme was ‘Ethics – The boundaries of Science, Arts, and the Cinema’, with parallel events, including lectures and debates, happening throughout the two weeks.
“FantasPorto” has been the only SF, fantasy and horror film festival in Portugal to attract a crowd of loyal fans and welcome European and World premieres of films by future well-known directors like Peter Jackson (won the “FantasPorto” Award in 1993 for “Braindead”) and Guillermo del Toro (won the “FantasPorto” Award in 1994 for “Cronos”).
Canada and South Korea had taken the top prizes at Fantasporto 38 : Robin Aubert’s “Ravenous” (Les Affamés, Canada, 2017) and Kim Jin-Mook’s, “True Fiction” (South Korea).
The Korean feature “A Day” by Cho Sun-ho, received a Special Mention and tells the story of a father trying to prevent his daughter’s death, reliving the same day incessantly.
Best Screenplay was awarded to Korean “Glass Garden”, by Shin Su-Won, a fantasy about a woman scientist studying human and tree genes.
The Philipino actor Ian Veneracion was rewarded for his role in “Ilawod – The Water Spirit” by Dan Villegas, with Jessica McLeod winning Best Actress with her performance in “The Hollow Child”, by Jeremy Lutter.
The Japanese “Ajin – Demi-Human” by Katsuyuki Motohiro was awarded Best Visual Effects.
The winning Fantasy Short film was the French “Belle à Croquer”, by Axel Courtière.
The Special Award of the Jury went to “FantasPorto” past honoree, Milcho Manchevski, for his feature “Bikini Moon”, telling the story of a Afganistan veteran now living in the streets of New York.
“The Charmer” by Milad Alami, a Danish production got Best Actress Award to actress Soho Rezanejad, a story about the problems that Middle East migrants face in Europe nowadays.
The Best Actor Award went to Eric da Silva for his performance in the Portuguese feature by Luis Diogo, “A Sublime Life”, playing the leading part of a doctor who discovers two radical ways to happiness.
The Official ‘Orient Express’ section was won by the Japanese “Ajin – Demi-Human” by Katsuyuki Motohiro, a production coming from Toho, one of the biggest production houses in the world, and telling the fantastic story of humans who don’t die and can do whatever they want.
The Special Orient Express Award was granted to “Bhoy Intsik” by Joel Lamangan, Philipines, a film set in the streets of Manila and another great example of the state of the art of today’s cinema coming from this country.
The Audience Award went to “The Child Remains”, by Canadian Michael Melski, and the Critics Award was granted to the Hungarian feature “The Butcher, The Whore and the One-Eyed Man”, by János Szász.
“Aparição” by Fernando Vendrell won the top Best Portuguese Film in “Fantasporto” 2018, and a Special Mention for creativity went to the film “Quem Bate à Porta” by Afonso Marmelo.