Friday, September 26, 2008

Fantastic Fest 2008: Closing Night

Yes, this actually happened:

I met him briefly, shook his hand and expressed my thanks. His appearance helps put Fantastic Fest on the map more so than ever before and I look forward to exploiting it for sponsorship opportunities for the next year. :) But seriously, he was a prince of a man and I can't begin to describe how grateful we are that he showed. And a big thank you to the Fox Walden team for working with us on this.

I know I've been silent during the fest, but now that my duties are finished I'll have some updates. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fantastic Fest: Five Films You Shouldn't Miss

Like a kid who can't wait for Christmas, I'm all giddy these days at the thought of Fantastic Fest coming to town and sliding down the Alamo's chimney with its big bag of movies for all the good little boys and girls. Even though I work behind the scenes at the big show, I'm just as excited as everyone else is, if not more so, since I've seen some of this year's batch and I know how good the selection is. With this in mind, here are some of my suggestions of five films you must see at Fantastic Fest 2008:

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6:30pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 1:15pm.
I'm sick to death of stupid vampire movies, but this is something completely different altogether, a remarkably moving look at childhood, loneliness and friendship, in addition to being an excellent horror film. Every so often someone comes along to re-invent the genre, and there's no question that Tomas Alfredson has done that here. This isn't just the best film of Fantastic Fest, it's the best film of the year.

LA CREME - Sunday, Sept. 21, at 4pm and Monday, Sept. 22, at 4:15pm
A big surprise for me when I saw it at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal this year,
Reynald Bertrand's comedy has a great premise and a superb execution, in addition to a shitload of laughs. It may only dabble in fantasy, but LA CREME deserves a spot at Fantastic Fest for being a fantastic movie.

TREEVENGE (running as part of SHORT FUSE) - Thursday, Sept. 18, at 4pm; Sunday, Sept. 21 at 9pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 1:50pm.
Proof positive that HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was no fluke, TREEVENGE may only be 17 minutes long, but they may also be the most entertaining 17 minutes you will spend during all of Fantastic Fest - and that's saying something. It almost singlehandedly marks the return of the great gore comedy after too long an absence.

THE MAN FROM HONG KONG - Monday, Sept. 22, at 1:45pm and Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 11:59pm.
The centerpiece of our NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD Ozploitation retrospective this year, I've written about this one before, but suffice to say I think the film is a bit of a discovery, if only for it's incredible action scenes and perfect use of Jigsaw's #1 hit, "Sky High". Trust me when I tell you that Aussie action does not get more batshit insane than this.

I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW - Saturday, Sept. 20, at 1:50pm and Monday, Sept. 22, at 4:40pm.
This is unquestionably the creepiest, scariest film playing at Fantastic Fest, but by no means should that keep you away from it, because it stays with you for a very long time. You may think you're not anything like the two people featured in the film, but at some point you're going to see yourself in them and it's going to freak you the fuck out. Disturbing, but also pretty much unmissible.

See you at Fantastic Fest!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fantastic Fest Brings the Festival to YOU!!!

I know what you're thinking: I'd love to attend Fantastic Fest next week, but I can't afford it. Or, I don't have the time; or, I have to attend a seance in the desert; or, I hate your fucking guts, Matt Kiernan. Everyone has their reasons for not attending Fantastic Fest, but in a stroke of genius that I admittedly first thought was a bit nuts, Fantastic Fest and our pals at AMD have teamed up to bring a little bit of Fantastic Fest to you, no matter where you are. And we do know where you are! (Insert maniacal laughter here.) Can your heart stand the shocking truth of Fantastic Fest Online!?!

For the next week, if you sign up to B-Side (the fine people who host the Fantastic Fest website), you will have the opportunity to view 5 features and 5 shorts all for free on the Fantastic Fest website. One of the features, the terrific French comedy LE CREME, is one of my absolute favorites of the festival, while one of the shorts, Jason Eisner's TREEVENGE, is a brilliantly funny gore masterpiece that damn near had me pissing in my pants. There's also the terrifying Tiffany stalker documentary I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW and a whole bunch of stuff that, to be honest, I haven't seen yet. It's only up there for a week, from September 14 to September 20, but this is a film festival first from what I'm aware of, so take this opportunity while you can to see some of the hottest selections of the coolest festival on Earth.

And now, for the record, the press release:

AMD Fantastic Fest Online

September 14-20

11 films from Fantastic Fest 2008 Streaming for Free!

As 2008 Fantastic Fest badges are sold out and some folks don't have the money to travel to Austin for the festival in the first place, we have teamed up with two of our festival sponsors, AMD and BSide, to give everyone a taste of the fun for free. From September 14-20, AMD FANTASTIC FEST ONLINE will provide five feature films and six shorts from the official 2008 Fantastic Fest lineup to also be available for online viewing for free via the BSide network. All films will stream in low-resolution for slow connections and in beautiful high-resolution for those with blazing speed.

You must be a member of the BSide community to watch the films, but the good news is that it is quick, easy and free to join. We encourage those who participate in AMD FANTASTIC FEST ONLINE to also rate and review the films, as we will be awarding cash and technology prizes courtesy of AMD to the 'online audience favorite' short and feature films. Awards will be presented on Monday, September 22 as part of the official 2008 Fantastic Fest awards ceremony.

Go to and check out the 11 films in competition at this year's AMD Fantastic Fest Online. If you return to this site from September 14-20, 2008 and are logged into BSide you will be able to click and view all 11 of these amazing films, it's as easy as that.

"I am personally very excited to be working with these filmmakers, BSide and AMD to provide this unique new experience for genre film enthusiasts across the globe. Utilizing technology to provide simple and free access to great new film talent, Fantastic Fest Online may very well be paving the way to redefining what the term 'film festival' means in the future." - Tim League, director, Fantastic Fest and Fantastic Fest Online

The AMD Fantastic Fest Online Films

The following 11 films are the official selections of the 2008 AMD Fantastic Fest Online Features:

Dr. Infierno (Spain)
A demented gynecologist discovers a cure for all the world’s illnesses and uses it as leverage to become sole dictator of the earth. Jam-packed with monsters, kung fu, battling robots and deviant sexual practices, DR. INFIERNO doesn’t let budget get in the way of executing a mountain of crazy ideas.

I Think We're Alone Now (USA)

This fascinating and deeply disturbing documentary takes you deep into the worlds and obsessions of Kelly McCormick and Jeffery Deane Turner, who have been separately stalking 80s pop icon Tiffany for nearly 20 years.

La Creme (France)
Under the Christmas tree, unemployed loser François Margin mysteriously finds a jar of face cream that once applied, temporarily turns him into the most famous celebrity in France.

Rule of Three (USA)
Set in one night in a seedy hotel, cult Novelist Eric Shapiro’s debut feature intertwines two stories of sexual encounters gone horribly awry.

South of Heaven (USA)
Two brothers on the wrong side of everyone must face an endless array of torture, terrors and indignities in this darkly comic and visually striking noir.

Cam to Cam (France)
Technology and intimacy are at war. This movie is a genuinely creepy exploration of the casualties.

Fish (USA)
The filmmaking team behind last year's FF hit THE BIRD, THE MOUSE AND THE SAUSAGE are back with a new stop-motion food tale that reveals the secret nature of pescatorial reproduction.

Kingz (Germany)
A botched drug deal spirals out of control in a subterranean night club filled with unnameable evils. The action is furious and so are the villains, so be prepared for some whirlwind brutality!

Rojo Red (Colombia)
Some people complain about their life unraveling, but it's rarely as pronounced as in this whimsical, bizarre short from a young Colombian visualist already on par with mighty artists like Michel Gondry.

Treevenge (Canada)
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN creators Jason Eisener and Rob Cotterill imagine a yuletide season where the Christmas trees finally evens the score for decades of living under the axe of mankind.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fantastic Fest: Getting More Fantastic By the Minute

So the final schedule for Fantastic Fest 2008 is online, as is a PDF of the entire program guide, which won't be hitting Austin until the end of this week (if we're lucky). You see those ads in the program? All my doing. That's the magic of sponsorship coordination for ya right there.

In addition to all that coordinatin', I also took the time to do the write-ups for the features ESTOMAGO, TERRA, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and LA CREME. Of all those film, LA CREME is unquestionably my favorite, although I think I come off sounding a little bit too effusive in my praise (read for yourself to decide), but god dammit, it really is that good a movie (and a damn funny one, too).

What's that you're saying? CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES? Why yes, we are screening that underrated '72 classic in its original uncut version, with more violence and politics than previously seen. This version of the film will be available on the upcoming PLANET OF THE APES Blu-Ray set (coming out November 4), but Fantastic Festers get to see it first on September 20 at 12pm. For free. This screening? All my doing. Even wrote the press release. Why yes, this is pretty damn cool. You're welcome.

(Seriously, Fox Home Entertainment has been great to us this year, and I love them for it. Fox Walden has also been phenomenal, and even though Fox itself opted not to do anything sponsorship-wise, they've been nothing but supportive. Great buncha folks over there.)

Fest is less than a two weeks away and things are super crazy this year, but if we don't screw this up it's going to be one to remember. Wish us luck!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fantastic Fest 2008: The Last Batch

So, here it is, the final batch of titles announced for Fantastic Fest 2008, with a full schedule to be announced on Thursday. We had the announcement that ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO would be the opening night film last week, and now here's the rest of the fest.

My life is currently a whirlwind of craziness and I don't really mind:


Subject: Final Slate of films announced for Fantastic Fest 2008

Where: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar, Austin, TX

Fantastic Fest, September 18-25, 2008

We are proud to announce the final slate of feature film programming for the 2008 edition of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. With over 100 films representing over 30 countries, Fantastic Fest is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. The 2008 schedule will be announced online on Thursday, September 4, 2008. If you are planning on coming to Fantastic Fest and have not yet secured a badge, act quickly as we only have 30 film badges left and expect to be sold out by the end of the week!

final batch: Fantastic Features:

Alien Raiders

Special Advance Screening / dir. Ben Rock / USA / 2008 / 85 min

Director Ben Rock live in person!

A squadron of trained gunmen lay siege to a supermarket at closing time. What first appears to be a robbery soon takes on otherworldly dimensions.

Astropia (Dorks and Damsels)

North American Premiere / Dir. Gunnar Gudmundsson / Iceland / 2008 / 93 min

Director Gunnar Gudmundsson and screenerwriters Otto Borg and Johann Grimson live in person!

Hildi, a high-society socialite, is left bankrupt and alone after her corrupt husband is whisked off to prison. With no other prospects, she gets a job selling role-playing games and accessories at Astropia, the town's geek Mecca.

The Burrowers

US Premiere / Dir. J.T. Petty / USA / 2008 / 97 min

Director J.T. Petty live in person!

A cross-country manhunt searches for an abducted woman and a marauding Indian tribe, but the real villains don't ride horses... they burrow from beneath the ground.

The Chaser

North American Premiere / Dir. Hong-jin Na / South Korea / 2008 / 123 min

A serial killer is preying on call-girls from various escort agencies. In the midst of police indifference and incompetence, Jung-Ho (Yun-Seok Kim), an ex-cop-turned-pimp must dust off his old flatfoot skills to find the killer and save the life of one of his girls who has gone missing.


Special Advance Screening / Dir. Kyle Newman / USA / 2008 / 90 min

Director Kyle Newman, producer Matt Perniciaro, screenwriter Ernie Cline and star Jaime King live in person!

Desperate to see STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE, five high school friends break into Skywalker Ranch to steal an early cut of the film.

The Good, The Bad and The Weird

Regional Premiere / Dir. Ji-woon Kim / South Korea / 2008 / 139 min

Directed by Ji-woon Kim (A BITTERSWEET LIFE, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS) and setting an all-time Korean box office opening weekend record this year, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE WEIRD, an homage to Leone's similarly named classic, is one of the year's most anticipated genre titles.

Just Another Love Story

Regional Premiere / dir Ole Bornedal / Denmark / 2007 / 100 min

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY is not as benign as the title might suggest. A mild mannered forensics photographer is involved in a traffic accident with a young woman. Curious, he visits her in the hospital only to be mistaken as her boyfriend. When she awakens blind and suffering from mild amnesia, he continues his charade. As you might expect, things don't turn out so well.

Late Bloomer

Regional Premiere / dir. Gô Shibata / Japan / 2004 / 83 min

In Gô Shibata's controversial film, Masakiyo Sumida, a severely disabled mute, is driven to madness and violence by his loneliness and isolation.

Left Bank

Dir. Pieter Van Hees / Belgium / 2008 / 75 min

A young woman moves in with her new boyfriend on the fashionable "left bank" in Antwerp only to discover that the building may have a very disturbing past.

Repo! A Genetic Opera

Special Advance Screening / Dir. Darren Bousman / USA / 2008 / 98 min

Director Darren Bousman and star/co-writer Terrance Zdunich live in person!

Darren Bousman, director of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th installments of the wildly popular SAW franchise, pulls a "what-the-f..." 180 degree turnaround to create a very personal, very demented, bloody goth rock opera about organ repossession with lead performances by Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton and Ogre from Skinny Puppy.


US Premiere / Dir. Antti-Jussi Annila / Finland / 2007 / 93 min

While mapping the new border between Russia and Finland after the war, the joint task force stumbles upon a mysterious sauna in a remote swamp, a sauna that allegedly has the power to wash away all sins.

The Wild Man of the Navidad

Regional Premiere / Dir. Duane Graves and Justin Meeks / USA / 2008 / 86 min

Directors Duane Graves and Justin Meeks live in person!

Purportedly based on actual events, THE WILDMAN OF THE NAVIDAD tells the story of a small Texas community along the banks of the Navidad River who were terrorized for years by a mysterious creature.

The Wreck

World Premiere / Dir James Koya Jones / USA / 2008 / 79 min

Director James Koya Jones live in person!

A very pregnant woman and her husband are trapped in the woods in a demolished sedan and her water has just broken. They are in a really bad situation, and it gets a LOT worse.

The complete festival schedule including our patented secret screening times will be posted online on Thursday, September 4 at


Important dates have been announced for the 4th Annual Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

Thursday, September 4, 2008: Final schedule announced

Sunday, September 14, 2008: Fantastic Fest online begins

Thursday, September 18, 2008: Fantastic Fest begins

Saturday, September 20, 2008: 2009 Festival Badges go on sale

Monday, September 22, 2008: 2008 Fantastic Fest Awards Ceremony

For more information about Fantastic Fest, please visit our official website:


Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the United States featuring over 100 films from over 30 countries. The event highlights the best new sci-fi, horror, fantasy and genre films, as well as choice classic and obscure cult titles from all over the world. The festival director and head programmer is Tim League (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema), with additional programming by Harry Knowles (Ain't It Cool News), Todd Brown (, Blake Ethridge (Cinema is Dope), Karrie League (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema), Zack Carlson (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) and Lars Nilsen (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema). Fantastic Fest is a supporting member of the prestigious Melies European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation and a founding member of the North American Fantastic Festival Alliance. Fantastic Fest is sponsored in part by Gamecock Media, AMD, Fosters, Embassy Suites, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, CITY OF EMBER, DVD Empire, Best Buy, Dark Sky Films, Envy Magazine, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Texas Film Commission, Image Entertainment, Viz Pictures,, Book People, Room Service Vintage, Media Blasters, Big Top Candy, Austin Chronicle, The Onion, Fangoria Magazine, Rue Morgue Magazine,, Ain't It Cool News, and Simply

Product Placement I Can Really Get, Uh, Behind.

Movie product placement are such a dime-a-dozen these days, but it's always a lot more fun when movies make up products of their own, items that might possibly be real. The likes of Red Apple cigarettes and Duff Beer, when they work, add to the fun of a movie, helping to create a world that these characters live in that's just a little bit different from our own. Occasionally, such fake products become real (like Scooby Snacks and Cheezy Poofs), but are any of them any good? Not really. That said, I've got to admit that I've been enjoying a fair amount of Booty Sweat these days.

For those who haven't seen Ben Stiller's entertaining TROPIC THUNDER yet (not the funniest thing I've ever seen, but still a good time) Booty Sweat is an energy drink from one of the film's characters, hip-hop star Alpa Chino (played by Brandon T. Jackson) and it plays into the plot at certain points, even showing up as a commercial at the start of the film (seen below). Thing is, Dreamworks actually produced a run of Booty Sweat and made it available at theaters showing the movie and it turns out a be pretty damn good. It might even be the best energy drink I've ever had, although I'm no expert. It's pretty much a spikier version of Cherry 7up, but it goes down pretty easily and it certainly does supply one with a lot of energy; I've been using it to help me stay up for the Weird Wednesdays and Terror Thursdays midnight shows here and it works real well. Best thing about it is that it really does taste like booty, and fine, curvaceous booty, at that. I know that it won't be around very long, but for as long as Booty Sweat is on the market (and I've seen it on shelves) it's my energy drink of choice. Love that Booty!

Now where's Bust-a-Nut?