Fantastic Fest 2011–It was truly FANTASTIC!!


Wow! What a week!  As a Fantastic Fest  first time badge holder, I kept hearing that this is many of the veteran festival attendees “favorite week of the year!”  And now I understand why.  Fantastic Fest is a genre film festival that is a film geek’s dream–I should know because I am said geek.  It showcases independent films from all over the world–(70+)–that focus on the strange, sci-fi, action and horror forms of entertainment.  One of their taglines is ” A film festival with the boring parts cut out.”  And that is the truth. 

First of all, it is held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, TX–which happens to be my favorite theater house.  You get to eat delicious food and drink while watching movies–can it get any better?  Yeah–add 8 days of awesome movies! 

Another thing I loved was the casual atmosphere that promoted conversations and allowed you to mingle with everyone from film guests to the fans.  And the coolest part is that we were all similar–why else would we be there?  Starting debates and discussions was easy and fun.  I actually made a few friends and look forward to keeping in touch. 

Besides movies, the special events were super fun and a nice break from being in a darken theater.  We enjoyed the Opening Party–Karaoke Apocalypse–Prom Night–and the Closing Night Superhero Carnival.  We missed some events  to watch movies–and did not regret that decision since watching movies was our main directive.  But next year, (yeah–gotta do this again!) we might check out the Debates, which include some boxing matches–crazy fun, so I heard.

I watched 26 films and a block of animated shorts.  Interestingly enough, I liked most–loved a handful–thought a few could have been better–and disliked only 3.  That is pretty cool and stands as a testament of how good the festival programmers are in finding quality films. 

I am not going to review each film–that would take a while 🙂 — instead I will list them and rate them with stars–5 stars being the best, of course.  I will try to find trailers and/or links so you can check it out for yourself and keep an eye out if they get US distribution and/or American remakes, which some of them have. 

Overall, I did have one of the best weeks and may have to join the chorus…It has become one of my favorite weeks of the year!  Now, I get to look forward to Fantastic Fest 2012!!

 An American Werewolf in London  (US)  ***** –Nice to see this classic on the big screen!

Aardvark (US)  **

Blind (Korea)  ****

Borderline (France)  ****

A Boy and His Samurai (Japan)  *****  — # 1– Absolutely wonderful!

The Corridor (Canada)  *** 

The Day (US)  **** 

The Devil’s Business (UK)  ***

Extraterrestrial (Spain) ****

Haunters (Korea) ****

Headhunters (Norway)  ***** — # 3

The Innkeepers (US)  *****   — # 5

Juan of the Dead (Cuba)  **** — # 10

Last Screening (France) ***

Let the Bullets Fly (Hong Kong)  ***

A Lonely Place to Die (UK)  *****  — # 4

Melancholia (Denmark)  **  (Sorry Von Trier fans–did not like this…)

Penumbra (Argentina)  ****

Retreat (UK) ***

Sleep Tight (Spain)  *****  — # 7

Sleepless Night (France)  ***** — # 6   (optioned for a US remake)

Snowtown (Australia)  ***

The Squad (Colombia)  **** — # 9

Take Shelter (US)  *****  — # 8

You’re Next (US)  *****  — # 2  (picked up by Lionsgate–will be released in  2012–which is awesome!) 

Animated Shorts (Various Countries)  ***** Favorites… Lazarov (France) –Bedtime for Timmy (US)–The Last Norwegian Troll (Norway)–Create (US)