Like it does every year (and certainly the last two I have been in attendence) the film festival with the most is bringing even MORE this year.
FANTASTIC FEST is September 19-26th in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse’s newest theatre, the ALAMO LAKELINE and is probably responsible for way more cool/weird/gross/did-I-just-see-that cinema than anywhere else in America. But, did you know FF is way more than movies?
Here’s brief rundown of the events that are not movies that are happening at the coolest film festival around:
- Opening night film and party: The opening film is MACHETE KILLS — from Troublemaker Studios and a return to Robert Rodriguez’ gratuitous shoot-em-up violence with Danny Trejo’s titular character, Machete!
Wear something moderately flame-retardant, because we’re going to detonate North Austin with a rampage of film-themed experiences to satisfy everything from your thirst to your need for blazing fireballs.
PS.. the last time Michelle Rodriguez (returning co-star) was in town at the Alamo for an event, she fought Tim League (FF co-founder and Alamo Drafthouse owner) in a boxing ring at the Fantastic Debates (more on that soon) over whether or not AVATAR should have won best picture at the Oscars.
- FANTASTIC ARCADE is one of these cool events — free video games for the first four days of the festival (including drink specials) and tournaments with awards given for both audience awards and a juried competition. Some of the spotlight games are:
Q.E.D. (Stephen Ascher) Q.E.D. is a breakdancing videogame. It is bouncy and squishy. It is about the joys of kinesis. It is about busting an unfathomably wicked move in front of your rival and then striking a b-boy pose and uttering, coolly but decisively, “Q. E. D.”
Starwhal: Just the Tip (Breakfall) Starwhal is a multiplayer game of floppy mayhem. Use all your space narwhal skills to pierce other players’ hearts while keeping yours safe!
- DOUG LOVES MOVIES — no really. He totally does. Returning FF’er Doug Benson star and subject of SUPER HIGH ME and Fantastic Fest pot-umentary THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER ROLLED will be hosting cocktails and playing the Leonard Maltin game.
- CHAOS RIEGNS KAROKE PARTY is full of revelry and potential humiliation combined! Started by Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo as a shouted chant after ANTICHRIST (skip to 55 seconds) screened at FF — the now-officially titled event has everyone saying “Goodbye, sweet, sweet dignity…” as they prove that they do, in fact, want to Rock and Roll all night and party EVERY day!
- FANTASTIC DEBATES – These are not the stuff of: Was CITIZEN KANE really the best film of all time? Where else you can see a man with a PhD in Astrophysics punching a much shorter man who says that NASA is holding out on free energy and aliens… and be so happy about it?
And this year, actor and first-time director *KEANU REEVES will be in the debate with Tim League. He will be doing the debating, and Tiger Chen, star of Reeves’ new martial arts film, MAN OF TAI CHI will get in the ring. If you watch the trailer here, you might want to mail your sympathy cards to Tim’s lovely wife and twin daughters care of the Alamo Drafthouse ASAP.
- CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY Sometimes you just need a break from all the blowin’ up, shooting, screaming, stabbing and what have you at today’s cinema. Time to step next door to the newly opened GLASS HALF FULL and play a little with your fellow man. Crush them with paper then buy them another round for their troubles!
- LIKE TEQUILA? – FANTASTIC ARCADE AFTER-PARTY – Once the Fantastic Arcade tournament events and awards are over, what’s next but boozin’ the night away?
London-based indie game roughhousers The Wild Rumpus travel all the way to Austin, Texas to hold hands with Devolver Digital and see out Fantastic Arcade fantastically with a load of booze, dancing & videogame funtimes.
- NERD RAP THROWDOWN brings together some Fatboy Roberts tracks and whatever topic you want to rap about. The judges choose who goes head-to-head in a freestyle battle at the end to take the title (and a VIP-pass for next year). One of my favorites in 2012 was when Texas’ own Marc from GoSeeTalk gave us an epic story all about Big Trouble In Little China. But it was New Zealand that gave us the winner in Andrew Todd, whose Babe, Pig in the City flow was not to be believed. As I can’t find video of this, I’ll give you 2011’s winner (and damn fine fellow) Damon Jones in his 2012 performance right here.
- FANTASTIC FEUD – horror and movie trivia with the USA Vs. THE WORLD in an epic battle of the beers and brains.
- GEEKS WHO DRINK – back with more Fantastic Trivia sure to get all the Cinema Street Cred on the table for once and for all
- DOUG BENSON’S MOVIE INTERRUPTION – think MST3K with boozes and blunts and you’re on the right track. Film is THE RUNDOWN.
- KARAOKE APOCALYPSE – local, live, and kicking ass, the band Karaoke Apocalypse will back you on the metal or punk song of your choice while you belt it out to the angry, angry, world. Since THROUGH THE NEVER plays the same night (METALLICA’S new film) they tease with the fact that members of the band may join in on some Karaoke. Apocalyptic indeed!
- DANGER GODS! — I am just going to post their info because I can’t top it:
Easily the most bombastic, explosive event in FF history, Danger Gods! is an in-person tribute to the top five surviving, pioneering stuntmen from Hollywood’s greatest action era, the ’70s and ’80s. The following decades-spanning stunt legends will appear live for the show… Chuck Bail, Bob Ivy, John “Bud” Cardos, Gary Kent, and Bobby Sargent. The night will start with an in-theater overview of their daredevil history, featuring eye-bulging clips and a Q&A with the stuntmen. THEN… the audience will move outside for an explosive, turbo-fueled, death-defying LIVE STUNT SHOW featuring the legends themselves! Death-defying stunts include car rollovers! Stunt fights! High falls – on fire! Cars on fire! Men on fire! Monster trucks… possibly on fire! It’s going to be an evening of nerve-shredding thrills and wild impossibilities performed by Hollywood’s real, immortal DANGER GODS!!! —
Did you just read that…? That was THREE exclamation points. Yep. I’m in.
What could possibly top that? —
Well, the closing film is Terry Gilliam’s THE ZERO THEOREM – wherein he goes back to the dystopian visions he’s grown to make us love, despite our glass half-full outlook on life. Oh wait. Maybe that’s just me. Epic party to follow.
Oh yeah, and somewhere in there I’ll be watching a bunch of films. Wish me good deep sleep (even if it’s not as long as I’d like) for the next two weeks, would you? If you’re there and want to find me, or just want to follow me on the tweety, you can do so @MediaTsarina.