I’m in New York for 48 hours, having meetings and attending the annual IFP Market (plus, moderating a panel on music docs). What this means, though, is that I’ll miss Opening Night of Fantastic Fest (which I helped program). The 2nd annual genre extravaganza kicks off Thursday night with Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and a whole slew of special guests. I can’t wait to get back to town, though, and plunge into the watery depot that is Fantastic Fest 2006. Marc Savlov offered up a great preview piece for the Austin Chronicle. And, I can tell you that you do not want to miss the “surprise screening” set for Wednesday… But, here’s some of what Marc has to report:
Buzz, hype, and runaway breakthroughs aside, ultimately it all boils down to the films, and you, the filmgoer, sitting in a darkened theatre with 300-plus other devotees of Hollywood’s ugly stepchild, the “genre” film. But stepchildren grow up, get smart, and – with any luck – lash out and knock the stuffing out of middlebrow, mainstream mediocrity. And nowhere is this more likely to occur than at events like Fantastic Fest. In the end, it’s not about swords ‘n’ sandals versus bear-traps and viscera; it’s about respect, the hard-won, tooth-and-claw kind that Hollywood lost sight of ages ago. And it’s about revelations.
“Honestly,” as [Harry] Knowles so eloquently puts it, “the stuff I’m looking forward to seeing is the stuff I don’t yet know I’m looking forward to seeing.”