Fantastic Fest

Sunday, May 11, 2008

First details on Fantastic Fest 2008

We printed a few little nuggets about Fantastic Fest in our most recent printed Alamo guide, but as not everyone has access to that, I thought it would be fair to mirror those tidbits on the Fantastic Fest website. The most important in my opinion is the tweak to the badge system. We are attempting to eliminate the long and sometimes frustrating lines that form for regular badge holders who are hoping to get tickets to the really big movies.

Here's the scoop from the printed guide. We are working on a major website overhaul soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.


Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the United States, and it all happens right here at the Alamo Drafthouse. By genre, I mean horror, science-fiction, fantasy, crime, animation, action and all-around badass cinema. It’s as if you packed the very best of what the Alamo offers and slams it all into one crazy week. All of the screenings of the approximately 65 features and 40 shorts take place at the Alamo South Lamar, so there’s no driving/walking from venue to venue. In our fourth year, we have already established ourselves as a worldwide leader in the genre film festival circuit.

We’ve devised a new system for tickets this year. VIP badge holders are still guaranteed to get into any show they desire, but we are asking that the VIP badgeholders commit to your schedule no later than noon on the day of the show. After noon, regular badge holders can pick up what tickets are left. Individual tickets will be sold 15 minutes before each show to non-badge holders. This refinement of the system still offers VIP Badge holders their guaranteed seat, but eliminates the problem of regular badge holders waiting all day and missing potential screenings so they can be first in line for the big movies. I think everyone will be satisfied with this new system.

The masterminds behind last year’s brilliant Nikkatsu retrospective, Harvey Fenton from Fab Press and Marc Walkow from the New York Asian Film Festival are at it again in 2008. Together with author Jasper Sharp (Behind the Pink Curtain; Midnight Eye), they have programmed a mini-retrospective of Japanese Pinku films for Fantastic Fest. Pinku describes Japanese softcore sex genre, but unlike in the states, these films are the breeding ground for new filmmaking talent. As long as they deliver the requisite number of minutes of nudity and softcore sex, the rest of the picture is theirs to craft. In the past two years we’ve shown THE GLORIOUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI and UNCLE’S PARADISE, two of the most delightfully surreal films in Fantastic Fest history. With this series we’ll be reaching back in the vaults to screen some very rare and very delicious treats.

Again, no firm details yet, but we’re working on another great repertory series for Fantastic Fest. Magnolia is producing a documentary on the history of Australia exploitation which we intend to show, and in addition we will be screening some of the classics of the genre. MAD MAX didn’t just come out of nowhere, Australians have been making our kind of movies for a long time, and we’ll be bringing you a small collection of those gems.

We’ll be making a major content announcement after the Cannes Film Festival in May with numerous updates to follow, leading up to the festival. In 2008, expect a return of the Fantastic Feud and Karaoke Party, as well as new concepts like the Fantastic Debates and the Celebrity 100 Best Kills Showdown, where visiting filmmakers and guests introduce their favorite cinematic kills and square off against the scenes provided by the audience. We’ll also have more parties, incorporate more signature Alamo programming into the mix, and of course, provide a boatload of the craziest new genre cinema from across the globe! Join us on Facebook or check the website ( for details as they come about. (Tim League, director and co-founder, Fantastic Fest)

During his Keynote Address at the International Film Festival Summit in Las Vegas, Variety president and publisher Charlie Koones listed Austin’s Fantastic Fest in a list of “10 Film Festivals we Love,” which he described as “interesting and exciting” events, not listed in order of importance. In addition to our festival, the list included industry heavy-hitters such as Cannes, Toronto and Telluride. What has drawn the interest of Variety is the caliber of our programming and the community that we have built around the festival. It’s that sense of community and collective passion for watching really fun movies that makes this week my absolute favorite of the year. If you love Asian cinema, giant robots, blazing gunfire and some truly unexpected craziness on your celluloid, you simply must join us this year. It’s going to be the best festival yet!


  • At 8:57 PM , Blogger Scott Weinberg said...


  • At 12:44 PM , Blogger Digs said...

    The ticketing plan is a great idea. Even with a VIP badge, there were a few shows I can't make, because they run as close at 15 minutes before something I just have to see. If I saw the first movie, I'd miss the line for the second. This sounds like it will work well for everyone; I'm more than happy to plan ahead.


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