But, if I don't type out even total nonsense now, it will be locked forever in my brain, only likely to be accessed by one of those fancy cables they use in Vanishing Waves, my favorite sci-fi film of this fest.
I'm going to give it to you straight. I fucking loved the good hell out of Fantastic Fest in ways I was nowhere near prepared for. (And guys - I was pretty prepared to adore it.) I found it to be an intoxicating (in more ways than one) haven of awesome the likes of which I didn't totally know still existed on planet Earth. It does, y'all. It so does.
I'll make a list, then, of everything I loved about the festival. In no particular order.
|Actual Austin graffiti|
Oh hey. Hiiiiii. Bearded movie geeks galore. Hello!
Friends I knew already, and a bunch of new ones. I shall list them now for you here.
Shivvy - the dearest, funniest and sweetest person contained within Austin city limits and someone next to whom I was lucky enough to sit, for a couple (but too few) films and gab sessions
Nickrob - no less than #FF2012 royalty
Jordan Hoffman - NYC represent! #1 nicest human attending this festival.
Sunny - the official brightest smile of the Festival and my favorite person to catch the eye of and wave to, at regular intervals
JC Deleon - seriously good people, with beyond solid taste in short films
Neil Miller - BBQ devotee, Reject-in-a-good-way, general man of mystery
Brian Kelly - enthusiastic film-lover, purveyor of awesome tee shirts, Words With Friends champion and arbiter of midnight pancakes waitstaff standards
|Rich, Dor, Shivvy|
Rich - pizza slice stealer, onion ring peace offerer, Seattle advisor, cool dude
John Gholson - festival birthday boy, fantastic artist and all around bad-ass mofo
Larry Richman - a film festival staple and cornucopia of knowledge on Twitter
Jen Yamato - charmingest fashionista
Tom Clift - newest friend having met him at TIFF, and only person besides me and maybe Jordan Hoffman who'll have done TIFF, Fantastic Fest and NYFF. High five!
And special shout out to a number of folks that I just met in Austin and hope to run into again sometime:
Russ & Katie
Other people I'm embarrassed to have forgotten please don't kill me
Lack of Industry
If you've been to a film festival, you know you're going to spend a fair amount of time spitting out the word "entourage" in sentences accompanied by at least a couple eye rolls. And you resolve that Sundance, Toronto, and similar feasts offer solid enough film slates to put up with the sunglasses wearers inside, the black clothing from head to toe and even - sometimes - the blase smartphone users who have the juevos mas grandes to check their email during a screening.
No need to suck it up at Fantasic Fest, folks. If you saw someone like that at 1120 S. Lamar this week, it's more likely it was THE PLAYER cosplay as it was to be an actual Hollywood insider. Not that smart business minds aren't there - they're just the good ones, the ones that see the value and the potential in the films playing at this (relatively) little genre festival.
Roughness around the edges
Oh yeah. In addition to plying you with alcohol, surrounding you with cute boys and shoving cookies down your throat, this place also shows movies. Good movies!
Now…one thing that kept me from voraciously pursuing an appearance at Fantastic Fest any sooner is my, how shall I say this, lack of consistent enthusiasm for horror movies. I like them more now than I ever have, which means… I like them. The good ones. But I learned not too long ago not to judge a book by its intense, blood-starved, sinister, limbless cover. They show more than just horror, here!
In fact, my 15-film Fantastic Fest journey was completely devoid of blood, guts and gore, unless you count The American Scream, the stellar documentary about people who make haunted houses in their backyards and garages.
I did, though, see some horrifically hilarious Tae-Kwon-Do, some terrifyingly awkward, deliberately dark comedy, and some disturbing and challenging family drama. What I loved about this festival is that even though I may not go apeshit for horror movies, I generally tend to mesh well with people who do like them. So the slate here ends up being a perfect mix of movies that - horror or otherwise - appeal to that type of moviegoer. And although this festival was fairly small (75 features compared to 300 at TIFF the week before), it was possible to put together quite a varied mix of good quality films. And leave with a list of titles I missed that I need to see when they're released.
The alcohol quotient
I'm not gonna say I have any need to preface this with some sort of "What happens in Austin…" but I wouldn't have been terribly surprised if I left the town with a shortage of cheap white wine. (My sincerest apologies to any middle-aged housewives.)
No, no, I jest.
It wasn't just white wine. I probably cleared the town out of most of its red wine, and placed the vodka reserves in serious jeopardy as well.
When in Rome!
Soft, sweet, tender, warm, indulgent, and mine all mine. And all I have to do is agree to buy the next size up in all my jeans when I get home.
Carolee, Christopher and Josh
|Dor, Josh + tasty treats|
|Carolee, Christopher, Dor + yummers|
Lots of other things
The philosophy this festival has on bumpers - that is, the little trailers that play before each film. They played a different bumper in front of every movie! I never saw the same one twice. Take THAT, Uncle Marty.
The central location that encourages meeting new people and seeing/partying with/gossiping with/chatting movies with them multiple times.
The festival doles out awards. The awards are beer mugs and if you win, it's handed to you full of beer you must drink on stage. Don't drink? No problem. There's a bong up there too - you can just take hit instead. They have an award for the best badge photo of a festival attendee (making the infamous "shakey face"). And the prize? Not just a beer mug. A blanket, printed with the shakey face photo on it.
And now, I'm going to make a list of what I did not love about the festival:
- Drafthouse coffee. Can someone make a short horror film where the weapon of choice is this poisonous substance?
- That one day that the power outlets on the tables in the tent didn't work
- The fact that Mike didn't come, which would have significantly increased the cute guy quotient in Austin