Living dead take over in Porto

Living dead take over in Porto
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They may not be alive but they are certainly kicking at the Fantasporto Film Festival in Porto, Portugal.

This year, zombies ruled, vanquishing their vampire brethren. ‘Miss Zombie’ by Japanese director Hiroyuki Tanaka, won best film.

Far from a gory classic, when a family adopts a female zombie, things take a strange turn.

Greek film director and jury member Vassilis Mazomenos said: ‘‘I think the best film won. The vision, the cinematography, the direction were excellent – a very unique film.’‘

Festival director Mário Dorminsky said this year fantasy was to the fore: ‘‘This year’s festival was different to past years, with more of a focus on fantasy. Then, during Directors’ Week, we showed what we thought were the best films to an audience of cinema-goers.’‘

The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, explained the significance of the event for the city: ‘‘For Porto, this festival is very important. We must cherish it, because the simple fact of seeing this cinema full, even late at night, shows us this audience appreciates cinema and knows how to watch movies.. this is something we should really hold on to.’‘

Now in its 34th edition, this year the festival screened 11 world premieres, many from new directors.

The Special Jury Award went to Switzerland’s Olivier Beguin, for ‘Chimères’.

The main character, played by Yannick Rosset, becomes convinced he’s a vampire, after receiving a blood transfusion in Romania.

‘‘I knew I wanted to make a fantasy film. We had the idea of making a monster movie and the most suitable in terms of what wanted to do and budget was to make something around vampires. We weren’t going to make Godzilla. We didn’t have the money for that. I think that’s how it all started,’‘ Olivier Beguin told euronews.

‘‘When he looks in the mirror, what he sees is something really really violent, loads of blood, a beast, but in reality he’s just sick, he’s simply tired, injured, that is what I found fascinating,’‘ said Rosset.

The festival also rewards films outside the fantasy genre.

The critics award went to the Ukrainian-Turkish film ‘Love Me’. A touching story about love at first sight between strangers who don’t speak the same language.

‘Heavenly Shift’, a dark comedy by Hungarian director Márk Bodzsár, won the Directors’ Week competition.

‘‘This award is special for me, because it was my first feature film. Actually, it’s the second prize the film has won having received one in Luxembourg,’‘ Bodzsár said.

And while the screen was full of gore, fortunately people’s glasses were filled with stuff that was far less bloody. The festival is seen as a chance to showcase Portugal’s second biggest city to the world.

Reporting from Porto, euronews’ Ricardo Figueira said: “Vampires may not exist but they were very much alive in this city. Porto has become a must in Europe’s film festival calendar, especially when it comes to fantasy as this year Fantasporto backed debut directors and new films.’‘

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