In honor of Fantastic Fest 2007’s Opening Weekend, local film journalists Chris Garcia and Marc Savlov each delivered extended previews of the event, for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin Chronicle, respectively.
From Savlov’s piece:
Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema bigwig and prime mover behind the third annual Fantastic Fest, which opens at the Alamo South today, sounds relatively calm on the phone at T-minus seven days and counting. The note of sheer hysteric excitement that informed our earlier conversations has been replaced by anticipation of what is going to be a week of heaven for fans of the weird, the outré, and the fantastique, not to mention the Asian- and the cordite-and-copper-projectile mad.
“I must be feeling in control,” League says, “because I spent the afternoon renovating our garage, which we’re turning into a guest apartment for the fest. The Spaniards are staying there. I guess it’s stupid to be doing that right now, because there’s a million other things to do, but I feel confident enough, obviously, to do that with [wife and Alamo Drafthouse co-founder] Karrie.”
And, then, from Garcia’s article:
Organizers know their little festival is growing up by its name recognition at festivals, even giant mainstream ones like the Toronto International Film Festival, around the globe. But the true coup came this year when Fantastic Fest won accreditation from the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, which also goes by the Méliés Federation, named after immortal silent French fantasy director Georges Méliés. The federation includes genre festivals in Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Canada and beyond.
“It’s amazing we got in so soon, because that organization has been around for a really long time,” [programmer Harry] Knowles says. “For them to look across the ocean at this little town in Texas — which isn’t the most beloved state in the world right now — was incredible.”
Being a member of the federation carries benefits. It makes it easier for Fantastic Fest to draw top titles from fellow member festivals and net A-list talent as guests. Not that that’s a problem. The past two pre-membership fests boasted such names as Mel Gibson, Jon Favreau and Darren Aronofsky, as well as a slew of hot up-and-comers. Horror maestro George Romero is tonight’s opening guest.