Few film festivals happily brand themselves as the nexus of chaos and carnage, but Austin’s genre-driven Fantastic Fest proved itself as a very different kind of festival long ago. This year’s lineup speaks to that same impulse, as its 13th edition features a range of provocative films and a timely theme that aims to bring truly diverse cinema to genre fans nationwide.
This year, that audience will be larger than ever. For fans of Fantastic Fest’s sensibilities who can’t make it to the annual festival, the festival has a few new options: Alamo Drafthouse locations in San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Denver will feature an exclusive slate of 2017 Fantastic Fest titles over the weekend of September 29.
This year’s Fantastic Fest will open with the U.S. premiere of Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which stars Frances McDormand and will arrive at the festival hot off screenings at both Venice and TIFF. The festival will also play home to returning favorites, including S. Craig Zahler with his “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” Mike Flanagan with his Stephen King adaptation “Gerald’s Game,” Yorgos Lanthimos with his “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and Ruben Östlund with his Palme d’Or-winning “The Square.”
Additionally, the festival will feature a focus on Arabic films, with features from from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan on deck, including Marwan Hamed’s hit “Al Asleyeen” and the little-seen “Rocky Horror Picture Show” adaptation “Anyab.”
Other big titles to look out for include Takashi Miike’s staggering 100th feature “Blade of the Immortal” and the so-called zombie musical “Anna and the Apocalypse.” Appropriately enough, Stephen King will be doubly represented at the festival, as the U.S. premiere of “Gerald’s Game” will also play alongside Zak Hilditch’s adaptation “1922,” at the festival for its world premiere.
The first additions to the Fantastic Fest lineup are available on the next page, with official synopses provided by the festival. Stay tuned for more programming announcements in the days to come.
Fantastic Fest runs September 21 – 28 in Austin, Texas.