For those who don’t know, one of the reasons that Film School Rejects has made its home here in Austin is that we love the film scene here in the capital of Texas. We love the late night screenings of the weirdest films you’ve never heard of, the karaoke sing-a-longs, the classic comedy quote-a-longs and screenings in the park. None of which would be possible without the visionary work of Tim League and his team at the Alamo Drafthouse. And while South by Southwest is Austin’s big festival, it’s still all about music and interactive, not just film. When it comes to film, there is no greater Austin institution than Fantastic Fest – the largest genre film festival in the United States.
This year, we will be all over Fantastic Fest and with today’s release of the first wave of films in its line-up, we couldn’t be more excited. Our genre experts – Coroner’s Report author Robert Fure and Foreign Objects collector Rob Hunter – will be boarding the private FSR jet and heading in to town to bring their industry-leading insight to the films listed below. Also, I will be there for the parties and to see the opening night film, Gentlemen Broncos, from director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite).
Also among the first wave of films announced are a few highly anticipated oddities from the Asian continent, including Yoshihiro Nishimura’s Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl and director Noboru Iguchi’s Robo Geisha, both from Japan. Nicholas Winding Refn’s awesome, twisted drama Brosnon – which I was very impressed with at Sundance – will also be among this year’s line-up, as will be Michael Dougherty’s long-gestating horror film Trick ‘r Treat. Overall, this first round of titles are very, very exciting. If you’re in Austin or anywhere near it and have a pulse, you should be hitting up FantasticFest.com and attempting to purchase any remaining tickets.
Have a look at the entire first round of films via the press release below.
Fantastic Fest 2009 September 24-October 1
Gentlemen Broncos to kick off Fantastic Fest 2009
A couple of months ago, the Fantastic Fest programming team had the pleasure of viewing an early cut of Gentlemen Broncos and absolutely loved it. In this his third film, Hess continues to craft his very rich alternate-reality universe dominated by awkward but lovable losers, inappropriate fabric pairings and charmingly homespun handicrafts. The themes of creativity and fantasy (let alone the interspersed movie-within-a-movie recreations of our protagonist’s sci-fi epic Yeast Lords) make this the perfect film to kick off the 5th edition of Fantastic Fest. We will be announcing more details about this very special screening and after-party in subsequent press releases, but suffice it to say we are ecstatic to be kicking off the festival with the likes of director Jarod Hess, screenwriter Jerusha Hess and star Jermaine Clement live in person.
About Gentlemen Broncos:
Benjamin (Michael Angarano), home-schooled by his eccentric mother (Jennifer Coolidge), is a loveable loner whose passion for writing leads him on an offbeat and hilarious journey as his story first gets ripped off by the legendary fantasy novelist, Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement) and then is adapted into a disastrous movie by the small town’s most prolific homespun filmmaker. Find out more at http://ronaldchevalier.com.
Jess Franco to receive Lifetime Achievement Award
For almost 50 years Jess Franco has been making his own kind of cinematic poetry, steeped with themes of sex, violence, jazz, and subversive black humor. He has made around 200 feature films, though no one can say exactly how many. Once an obscure but busy man, he has become a well-known and respected figure over the past ten or so years as audiences have joined earlier admirers like Fritz Lang and Orson Welles in acclaiming Franco’s talent and vitality. Last year he was even awarded Spain’s highest filmic honor, the Goya Award. Fantastic Fest is deeply honored to present its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Jess Franco. We will present a selection of three of Franco’s greatest works. We will also be braced with the presence of Franco’s muse and inseparable collaborator Lina Romay. This marks Jess Franco’s first ever North American festival appearance. This award is sponsored by Ain’t It Cool News.
First Wave of Fantastic Fest Features Announced
We are proud to announce our first 32 titles in the 5th edition of Fantastic Fest. Subscribe to the Fantastic Fest Blog or Twitter Feed for all of the latest updates. We will be announcing the 2nd wave of titles on August 10. You can view photos, watch trailers and find more information at www.fantasticfest.com.
42nd Street Forever Volume 5: The Alamo Drafthouse Edition
The hugely popular Synapse trailer compilation series 42nd Street Forever is featuring the Alamo Film Archive for it’s fifth volume. Here’s your chance to check out a sneak preview screening of the actual 35mm trailers which are featured in the DVD compilation.
(dir. YANG Ik-june, 2009, South Korea)
Breathless is a foul-mouthed drama that delivers an unlikely mix of pathos, brutality and humor. First-time director Yang Ik-June plays a angry thug named who gets involved in a dysfunctional relationship with a high-school girl. It eventually becomes apparent that the pair are linked in ways that neither of them realize.
(dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, 2009, UK)
The criminal career of Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner is the subject of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Originally sentenced to 7 years for a post office robbery, he reinvented himself into Charles Bronson, superstar, whose crimes behind bars have led to 34 years of incarceration (so far).
Buratino: Son of Pinocchio
(dir. Rasmus Merivoo, 2009, Estonia)
A space-born magic seed initiates the virgin birth of Buratino, the Estonian son of Pinocchio who quickly forms a rock band, commits terrorist acts, falls in love and gets embroiled in a maniac’s plot to conquer the world. And yes, it’s a musical.
(dir. Tom Shankland, 2008, UK)
Three families meet up at a country estate to celebrate the winter holidays together. Everything starts out idyllic but as the day wanes, the rambunctious playfulness of the kids takes on a sinister edge, and soon the freshly fallen snow is soaked in blood.
Clive Barker’s Dread
(dir. Anthony Diblasi, 2009, UK)
Graduate students are making a thesis film called Dread, videotaping fellow students talking about their innermost fears. The experiment turns into a nightmare when one of the team decides it will be therapeutic for the subjects to truly face those fears. Participants will be asked to reveal their innermost terrors on camera.
(dir. Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman, 2009, USA) Cropsey is a documentary about a real-life murder case in Staten Island, New York. A disturbed transient named Andre Rand was convicted of murdering two kids, but did he actually commit the crimes? Cropsey digs deep into the case, and in the process, exposes the weird, secret underbelly of Staten Island.
(dir. Pieter Van Hees, 2009, Belgium)
A head injury resulting from a disastrous film stunt gone wrong transforms shy, socially inept Diego into the confident, womanizing daredevil Tony T. Although his new personality captivates family and coworkers, Tony is unable to impress Jaana, an attractive and ambitious young neurosurgeon who wants him to undergo an experimental treatment that will restore him to his original self.
District 13 Ultimatum
(dir. Patrick Alessandrin, 2009, France) With the wealthy and powerful once again looking to eliminate District
13 – and turn a tidy profit while doing so – it is up to supercop Damien (Cyril Rafelli) and vigilante Leto (David Belle) to once again save the district and the residents, a task they can only complete with the help of five rival gang leaders.
(dir. Thanakorn Pongsuwan, 2009, Thailand) Freshly released from prison, Tai must go underground and infiltrate the shady world of Fireball to take revenge on the gang that put his brother into a coma. And what is Fireball? No holds barred, to-the-death, full contact combat basketball. Bring your lead pipe, ’cause you know the other guy is going to.
(dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2009, Japan)
In 1975, the year before the Sex Pistols released their first album, a Japanese punk band called Gekirin recorded their single, “Fish Story” and then they broke up, never to record again. Thirty-seven years later, in 2012, their song saves the world.
(dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977, Japan)
A bevy of young girls are swept up in a massively unearthly spazzride by the maniacal forces of the unknown in the craziest goddamn movie Japan has ever unleashed. Filled with airborne autonomous limbs, sinister house pets and other hell-born impossibilities, this lawless exercise in insanity plays like a psychotic’s brain melting across your eyeballs.
House of the Devil
(dir. Ti West, 2009, USA)
House of the Devil is an occult shocker that is not only set in the 1980s but invokes horror films from that era. In Ti West’s latest film, a simple babysitting job turns into a long night of terror for a college student.
Journey to Saturn
(dir. C. Frank, K. Vestbjerg Anderson, T. Christoffersen, 2008, Denmark) Denmark sends a team of astronauts to Saturn and start an intergalactic war in the process in this rude and crude CG-animated comedy from the directors of Terkel in Trouble.
K-20: The Fiend With 20 Faces
(dir. Shimako Sato, 2008, Japan)
The fearsome Fiend With 20 Faces – a master of disguise and thief without peer – is terrorizing the wealthy of Teito, striking at will and taking whatever strikes his fancy. But the police net is tightening and to escape the fiend frames a young acrobat to take the fall, leaving the young man no choice but to take on the Fiend’s identity and challenge the villain directly.
(dir. Esther Gronenborn, 2009, Germany)
Marc appears to be having a breakdown, the stern man now plagued by visions and prone to walking in his sleep, a situation that set in when he arrived in the village of Kaifeck with his young son. But could there be truth to Marc’s visions? And is history about to repeat?
Kamogawa Horumo – Battle League in Kyoto
(Dir. Katsuhide Motoki, 2009, Japan)
A group of freshmen at Kyoto University join the Azure Dragon, a perfectly ordinary social group, nothing unusual about it. But when the club meetings runs late into the evening, the beer starts flowing and the trousers start to come off, something distinctly out-of-the-ordinary happens.
(dir. Carl Astrand and Mats Lindberg, 2009, Sweden)
A Swedish sci-fi comedy about a moronic Galaxy Hero in training (Kenny Starfighter) and his quest to avoid becoming a hairdresser in the family business. Kenny has the charm and attitude of Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber, the mullet of MacGyver, and nonsensical catchphrases that you’ll be repeating for days! A Swedish Spaceballs for the ages, this is not to be missed for anyone who loves fun!
(dir. Marco Kreuzpaintner, 2008, Germany)
What price is attached to power? This is the lesson that Krabat must learn, a lesson learned while apprenticed to a grim Lord training Krabat and a select group of other orphans in the dark arts of black magic. But magic leaves no room for love and a beautiful village girl has caught Krabat’s eye…
The Legend is Alive
(dir. Huynh Luu Luu, 2009, Vietnam)
Dustin Nguyen (The Rebel) plays a mentally challenged martial arts expert who is hell-bent on breaking every dirtbag face, back and flower pot that stands in the way of saving a young girl from the clutches of a human-trafficking gang.
(dir. Sion Sono, 2009, Japan)
A devoutly religious young man masters the art of upskirt photography in an effort to save his father’s soul, and meets his true love in the process in this new four hour long epic from Sion Sono, director of Suicide Club and Exte: Killer Hair Extensions.
(dir. Aleksey Balabanov, 2008, Russia)
A vastly inexperienced rural doctor develops an unquenchable thirst for the morphine in the hospital medicine supply room. Morphine is another dark tale from Aleksey Balabanov, director of last year’s Fantastic Fest critical sensation Cargo 200.
(Dae-min Park 2009, South Korea)
A medical student in 1910 Korea discovers a corpse in the woods and secretly takes it for dissection practice. When he discovers that the body is the son of the city’s most powerful gangster he enlists the help of a shady private detective to find the killer before the murder is pinned on him.
(dir. Uwe Boll, 2009, Canada)
Fed up with his dead-end life, Bill constructs a full-body kevlar armor suit and rampages through the streets of his hometown killing everyone in sight, particularly the barista that failed to make him a proper macchiato.
(dir. Kerry Prior, 2009, USA)
An Iraq war casualty turns the frown of returning from the dead as a blood-sucking vampire upside-down by reveling in the power of infallibility and feasting on the dregs of humanity.
(dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2009, Japan)
This geisha army can transform into tanks, their nipples can squirt acid or propel rapid-fire bullets, their mouths can contain chainsaws or frog-tongue samurai swords and they are aided by a giant shinto temple robot. The war of the Geishas is beginning, and I’m getting a front row seat!
(dir. Lawrence Gough 2009, UK)
On Christmas eve in a sleepy Liverpudlian suburb, terror strikes without warning. Paramilitary forces start gunning down the residents, but it’s unclear whether they are hunting the citizens or protecting them, and if protecting… from what?
(dir. Cory McAbee, 2008, USA)
In order to earn back their freedom, two cowboy space-convicts must accept a dangerous mission to save an innocent young girl from a self-obsessed ruler in this one-of-a-kind science fiction serial musical comedy from the director of The American Astronaut.
Trick ‘r Treat
(dir. Michael Dougherty 200, Canada/USA)
Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.
(dir. Kim Nguyen 2008, Canada)
Charles is the undisputed champion of Montreal’s truffle miners, a man with an incredibly sensitive nose. And that nose makes him valuable, especially to the sinister pair of furriers plotting to seize control of the local truffle industry with the help of their furry, mind-controlling creatures. Note: one of the screenings of Truffe will feature a 5 course Truffle feast created by Alamo executive chef John Bullington.
Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl
(dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura 2009, Japan)
Fantastic Fest 2008 winner Yoshi Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) is back with the craziest, bloodiest spin on the high school love triangle ever, bursting with mad scientists, dismemberment, black-face comedy, hallucinations and lots and lots of arterial blood spray.
First Wave of Fantastic Fest Shorts Announced
Alma (dir. Rodrigo Blaas, Spain, 5 min)
A young girl is intrigued by the contents of a mysterious toy shop.
Attack of the Robots from Nebula 5
(dir, Chema GarcÌa Ibarra, Spain, 6 min)
Almost everybody is going to die very soon.
Black Dog’s Progress
(dir. Stephen Irwin, UK 3 min)
A series of flipbooks tell the sad story of the Black Dog.
Big Day of Fishing
(dir. Tim Cawley, USA, 9 min)
Two old pals spend the morning together on the ocean, one of them aware that their friendship is about to end. Hard.
Cold and Dry
(dir. Kristoffer Joner, Norway, 12 min)
A brilliant scientist has discovered a way to remove humans from their troubles, and his invention is more of a success than he ever dreamed.
(dir. Pedro Pires, Canada, 9 min)
For a period of time, while we believe it to be perfectly still, lifeless flesh responds, stirs and contorts in a final macabre ballet.
(dir. Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Tjahjanto, Indonesia, 26 min)
AUDITION meets SAW in this slice of genre-blending perfection from Indonesia. Mother always said you are what you eatÖ
(dir. Richard Bates USA, 18 min)
An angry, awkward young woman’s obsession with surgery brings some unexpected changes to the family.
(dir. Philip Eddols, Canada, 2 min)
It must be great to be stupid. Everything is surprising and new!
I Am So Proud of You
(dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 22 min)
Dark family secrets cast a shadow over Bill’s recovery, in this second chapter to Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘Everything will be OK’.
(dir. Aleksander Leines Nordaas, Norway, 10 min)
In a filthy, dingy hospital room, a woman awakens without a memory. The other residents attempt to help her, when not being dragged away into the darkness.
(dir Andy Muschietti, Spain, 3 min)
Two sisters cower in their bedroom, fearing their mother’s arrival. When she finally returns home, there’s no escape.
My Love Lives in the Sewer
(dir. Manuel Arija De La Cuerda, Spain, 18 min)
Coded messages lead to forbidden love and lovers doomed never to meet. Striking, surprising, and deeply deviant: an experience not to be missed.
(dir. Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 12 min)
A delicious feast of exotic meaty organs is placed before the most elite upper class gastrophiles, and they tear into it for a shocking multi-course, multi-floor meal.
(dir. Trevor Crawford, Canada, 8 min)
Everyone has problems. Some people’s problems just happen to be enormous dancing concrete robots.
Fantastic Fest Parties
Every year, Fantastic Fest offers badgeholders a variety of elaborate parties and events, and the 2009 slate is already taking shape. The opening night party will be themed to Gentlemen Broncos (more details later this Month). On Friday September 25, we will be featuring a “meet the Japanese” Sake and Shochu party followed by what can only be described as a reckless, debauched and borderline dangerous karaoke party. To augment the song choices that evening, visiting filmmakers are encouraged to take part in our “Karaoke Video War” and create their own karaoke video to their favorite anthem. We are also amping up our Fantastic Debates party. The debates are leaner and meaner this year, and each round of debate will be followed by a manditory boxing match between the two dueling film industry authorities. Many of the parties will be held at “The Highball,” a brand new entertainment mecca adjacent to the Alamo South Lamar. “The Highball” will feature 8 lanes of bowling, 7 themed karaoke rooms, a diner, cocktail lounge, 6 lanes of skeeball and a ballroom. The bowling, karaoke and skeeball will be free for Fantastic Fest badge holders throughout the week and there will be parties every night in the Highball Ballroom. We’ll be posting more details on all the parties closer to the festival.
About Fantastic Fest
Fantastic Fest was founded in 2005 by Tim League (founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) and Harry Knowles (founder of Ain’t It Cool News).
The Alamo Drafthouse was named “Best Theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly and Ain’t It Cool News is one of the most popular internet movie sites in the world. Now in its fifth year, Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., and has hosted a large number of world premieres over the years, including THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCAPLYTO, HOSTEL, CITY OF EMBER and many more. Fantastic Fest was named by Variety president Charlie Koones as “one of the 10 festivals we love,” alongside industry heavy-hitters Cannes, Telluride and Toronto. We were also named by MovieMaker Magazine this year as “one of the 25 coolest film festivals.”
Fantastic Fest is programmed in part by Tim League, Harry Knowles, Todd Brown, Rodney Perkins, Blake Ethridge, Zack Carlson, Lars Nilsen, Henri Mazza and Eric Vespe.
Special thanks to Colin Geddes and Marc Walkow for their programming guidance and support as well as festival co-founders Tim McCanlies and Paul Alvarado-Dykstra.
Fantastic Fest is sponsored in part by G4, RealD, Stella Artois, the Radisson Hotel and Suites, Embassy Suites, Viz Pictures, Trick ‘R Treat from Warner Home Video, BSide, Magnet, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Book People, Louie Mueller BBQ, Smitty’s Market, Ain’t It Cool News, The Austin Chronicle, The Onion, Twitchfilm, Fangoria, Rue Morgue, hitfix.com, Geek Magazine and Moving Pictures Magazine.