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The Fantasia International Film Festival, established in 1996, is the largest genre film festival in North America, and one of the most prestigious of its kind in the world. The following is from the festival website:


For her ground-breaking work as an author, filmmaker, historian and curator, Fantasia presents its 2022 Canadian Trailblazer Award to Kier-La Janisse, who has shifted the paradigm of genre film discourse and inspired a new generation of artists.

Over the last 23 years, Janisse founded the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, The CineMuerte Film Festival (1999-2005), The Big Smash! Music-on-Film Festival (2006), Plastic Paper: Winnipeg’s Festival of Animated, Illustrated and Puppet Film (2008-2011) and co-founded the beloved Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine (2010-2012). She was the head programmer for the legendary Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, from 2003-2007 and an original programmer for Fantastic Fest, among work for organizations such as The Winnipeg Film Group, Pop Montreal and Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia.

Janisse is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (2007) and the landmark film memoir House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (2012). The book World Premiered at Fantasia in 2012 and an expanded version will launch at the festival this summer, along with a special screening series (more below). Under the Spectacular Optical publishing imprint, Janisse has co-edited critical anthologies such as Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015), Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017) and Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017). She is currently co-curating an anthology book on the films of Robert Downey, Sr., as well as writing a monograph about Monte Hellman’s COCKFIGHTER.

Born out of her extensive, award-winning work as a curator and disc producer for Severin Films, Janisse recently made her documentary debut with WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR (2021). The film went on to win major prizes at SXSW, Fantasia, the Nashville Film Festival, Chattanooga and beyond.

That the above is only a partial overview of Janisse’s endeavors speaks volumes to her extraordinary accomplishments. She is a Canadian trailblazer in the truest sense.