Taking films like David Robert Mitchell’s supremely scary STD horror tale “It Follows,” Alexandre Aja’s daffy Daniel Radcliffe starrer “Horns” and Austrian auteur shocker “Goodnight Mommy” to Fantastic Fest is an essential part of RADiUS’ nurturing gambit. The autonomous Weinstein Company subsidiary’s radical decision to unveil “Snowpiercer” on VOD two weeks after its theatrical opening was a seismic event in the film community (here’s why), enabling RADiUS to continue making bold leaps in the VOD space. And that’s what the company hopes to do with its 2015 slate, which I caught a good glimpse of at Fantastic Fest.
In between screenings this week in Austin, I camped out beside the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar to speak on the phone with Quinn, who was by then back in NYC after catching the fest’s first half. “It is my favorite place to go,” Quinn said of Fantastic Fest. He’s been attending since his days at Magnolia specialty label Magnet Releasing, where Quinn and RADiUS co-president Jason Janego were early pioneers of VOD genre films.
“Tim League and the rest of the Alamo Drafthouse crew have built something incredibly special. I’ve seen the glean in the eyes of people who have never been here. It’s as if cinema has been reinvented. Nobody does it like these guys,” Quinn said. Full interview below.
Ryan Lattanzio: Get me up to speed on the full RADiUS lineup at Fantastic Fest.
Tom Quinn: “It Follows,” which won my favorite prize at the
festival; a documentary called ” My Life Directed by Nicholas
Winding Refn,” directed by Liv Corfixen, and his wife, about the process
of him making “Only God Forgives,” after the success of
“Drive” and, also, how it affects their relationship, and moving to
Thailand, working together, and bringing the kids. We also
had “Everly,” starring Selma Hayek, directed by Joe Lynch. We had
“Horns,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, directed by Alex Aja. We also had
“Goodnight Mommy,” which we picked up out of Venice and showed in Toronto. It was a secret screening on Tuesday. And, we also had
“When Animals Dream,” which we picked up out of Berlin, earlier this
You first saw “It Follows” when it premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week. What a movie.
I saw it at Critics’ Week in Cannes, where we bought it
and took it to Toronto and Fantastic Fest. Not unlike a film which we
bought last year in Critics’ Week in Cannes, “Blue Ruin.” So, similar tracks for both movies, though different genres. But, I couldn’t have been happier with the response to David
Robert Mitchell’s film. It was really fantastic. For me, it’s so important to
come to Fantastic Fest and, especially in competition, you hope you make a
dent and to be embraced by the audiences and critics and other programmers that are
there. It was everything that I hoped for when we originally bought
it. I’m super stoked.
RADiUS isn’t exclusively genre-oriented, but the company does seem to be tapping into that niche well.
I started Magnet many years ago. It was an essential part of our year to be at Fantastic Fest. In starting RADiUS, I’ve always had deep genre roots, and I’m sort of
getting back to that core, both large and smaller, of genre films.
So, that, combined with the rest of our slate, whether it’s
“Bachelorette” or “The Last Five Years” or “Twenty Feet
from Stardom,” it’s a super eclectic slate, with genre films being one part of it.
I went to the secret
screening of “Goodnight Mommy” you mentioned. I was stunned by that film. What struck you at Venice?
It’s a shocker! A lot
of the influencers that are avid genre fans, or that are also journalists, all congregate at Fantastic Fest. And, in my mind, “Goodnight Mommy” is something that
would be a standout film for this group and subsequently something that we
could take out to a larger genre fan-base. Everything is a leap of faith. We did this without seeing all of the other films that were on offer at either Venice or Toronto. I’m really excited that it has taken on
cult-classic status out-of-the-gate. You have to
come to Fantastic Fest at some point in a film’s journey to get that stamp of
Looking at this slate of six films — “It Follows,” “Horns,” “Everly,” “When Animals Dream,” “My Life with Nicolas Winding Refn” and “Goodnight Mommy” — are you thinking VOD for some more than others? How does the decision to go VOD work in favor of one film, but maybe not another?
Absolutely, we have varying kinds of genre films. We have a movie with Daniel Radcliffe and then an Austrian film like
“Goodnight Mommy” from a producer who’s a well-known director [Ulrich Seidl] but it’s an auteur-driven
Genre film. These are two very different sides of genre film. But, I do think that
both of them, with very different release strategies, work very well on VOD. I always have had great success on VOD with my genre slate. It doesn’t mean
that these films work exclusively on VOD. I also think that these films work
theatrically. And, in some cases, can these films be wide releases? Yes. In some cases, can they be treated as traditional art releases, not unlike
“Let the Right One In” or “The Host”?
Why is Fantastic Fest an important stepping stone?
There is a crossover appeal that is interesting for these genre-driven movies that work as art films, as well. You know, with great
reviews, they can be curiosity pieces for nontraditional genre audiences, as
well. the festival that
I’ve been going to for years and years, since its second year, is Fantastic
Fest. I identify myself with Fantastic Fest more than any other festival
audience that I go to every year. I think it’s not unlike a traditional art
audience. It’s just younger, and it has no aversion to violence and, frankly,
has a much wider interest in genre movies, whether it’s action or science fiction.
Some of the larger, more prestigious festivals out there skew toward an older art
audience. This generational divide, for me, works beautifully.
Films out of
Fantastic Fest can launch in the absolute same way as older, specialized
art films. It’s just [about] how you
do it and where you put those windows.
Any release strategies in mind for the films we’re talking about?
It’s a sliding scale. And, some of it’s an organic decision. All of these are looking for a 2015 release, except “Horns,” which is set for a Halloween release. We have not made our decision yet on what is the best release strategy for
“It Follows.” And, I can see many, many options on the table for this
particular movie. I think it has wide appeal. I think it’s new and
interesting and frankly a breathe of fresh air in the horror genre. How we approach this is to be determined. It’s not exactly rocket science. But, it’s thinking about all of
the possibilities of what we can do with a multi-platform release and trying
to tailor that, specifically, to the movie. Not fitting the movie into the
release strategy, but doing the exact opposite.