As Fantasia International Film Festival’s kicking off this Thursday in Montreal (and running until August 3rd), celebrating its 20th anniversary, a lot of great memories come to mind. In fact there are too many memories to keep up.

Born from the passion of founders Pierre Corbeil, Andre Dubois and Martin Sauvageau, Fantasia showed (and still does) the major differences between home viewing and the Live experience.

From Jacques Lamarche, the old school (Cinema Paradiso style) projectionist of the Imperial movie Palace, obvious pride in showing the opening film (with a brand new print in its first ever showing) of Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Memories (1996) to, then programmer, Karim Hussain (yes, Antiviral‘s DOP) realizing, during the 1997 edition, a reel (15 mins) of Dario Argento’s masterpiece Deep Red (Profondo Rosso), containing the Bath tube murder sequence, was missing,  offering jokingly to perform the sequence (he had to actually do it in front of 700 people) in a way Argento would probably have approved, it went on and on.

I remember two people from the audience fainting during a showing of Takashi Miike’s (honored this July 16th by the festival for his career) infamous Ichii the Killer (2001). And Philippe Boivin, while nobody dared, telling to a nervous John Carpenter he can’t smoke in the lobby.

Of course the new team made it more Pro, the baby became more mature, but they managed to keep the vibe it is all about.

Starting Thursday, follow coverage of Fantasia 2016‘s program with input by esteemed colleagues Daria Gamliel and Pascal Grenier.