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Magnet Attracts Filmmakers, Karaoke Brings Hysteria to Fantastic Fest

Magnet Attracts Filmmakers, Karaoke Brings Hysteria to Fantastic Fest

I’ve never been to Telluride, but from everything I’ve heard, I can assume that the connections between that fabled cinephile event and Austin’s Fantastic Fest, are more or less correct. Like Telluride seems to be, Fantastic Fest is a very intimate gathering of very excited audiences. However, unlike almost any niche festival I’ve ever seen, this is one where the filmmakers, actors, press, fans, and industry mingle to the extreme. It helps that the entire festival is in one location, but it especially helps that the Alamo Drafthouse staff, and owner Tim League especially, make anyone in the room feel like family. The festival continues through this week, but I’m (unfortunately) leaving town for some business on the West Coast. There are at least four secret screenings left to happen, as well as the festival’s awards. Stay tuned for those developments, but for now, here are some final photos I took:

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(Following the Donkey Punch boat party, Alamo programmer Henri Mazza, left, invited a small group to his downtown condo. Despite what this photo implies, with Donkey Punch director Olly Blackburn, it was pretty calm. Blackburn’s film, however, is an intense and effective thriller you should see later this year in theaters.)

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(Hanging outside on Henri’s balcony, with a view of downtown Austin, is Arianne Ayers and Tom Quinn of Magnolia/Magnet. The two came to town for to support their films and filmmakers in the festival, including Donkey Punch. Magnet is prepping an upcoming “Six Shooter Series” of titles to open theatrically. Many of them, including Donkey Punch, have a history at Fantastic Fest.)

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(Outside the Alamo on Saturday night, IFC News’ Matt Singer tapes an interview with Seventh Moon stars Tim Chiou and Amy Smart before the film’s world premiere. Note: Cinetic Media is repping the film in America.)

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(Hanging out in the hallway of the Alamo Drafthouse, two festival programmers who made the trip to check out the films: Doug Jones of LAFF, left, and James Faust of AFI Dallas.)

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(It’s always fun to run into Chilean wunderkind Nicolas Lopez, left, posing here with AICN’s Harry Knowles. Lopez was in town to premiere his sophomore feature, the comic book fantasy, Santos. He was a hit with Austin audiences a few years back when his debut, Promedio Rojo, screened at SXSW.)

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(Rob Williams of Liberation Entertainment and Chris Hyams of Bside, catch up in the lobby of the Alamo, re-charging between screenings.)

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(Sunday night meant late-night karaoke. One of the karaoke all-stars, as usual, was Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo. The Spanish filmmaker tore through a rousing version of “Sympathy for the Devil.” It was crazy. Timecrimes is another Magnet “Six Shooter” film in theaters this Fall.)

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(Unable to properly sing due to strained vocal chords from a karaoke session a few days before, Alamo owner and Fantastic Fest director Tim League took an inspired chance to “sing” Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” And, like Dylan did for that song, Tim let a bunch of cards do the work.)

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