The Austin, Texas-based film festival Fantastic Fest, the largest genre festival in the U.S., announced the first wave of programming for its 12thh annual get together.
Tim Burton is scheduled to appear with his adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” This year’s festival will run Sept. 22-29 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin.
Fans of genre filmmaking, a catch-all phrase that can include horror, fantasy, science fiction, crime pictures and just about anything, now have a strong international network of festivals that includes Spain’s Sitges Film Festival, Montreal’s Fantasia festival, London’s FrightFest, Los Angeles’ Beyond Fest and Screamfest and curated sections at festivals such as Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Fantastic Fest in particular has often pushed at the edges of its own definition, showing films that might not obviously fall within the boundaries of genre filmmaking. Among the unexpected selections over the years have been the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.” Last year’s festival included such films as Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” Ben Wheatley’s “High-Rise” and Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room.” This year will feature the Texas premiere of Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” a languidly intense drama that is the film debut for its lead actress, Sasha Lane, a Texas native.
“We really wanted to challenge the edges of what ‘genre’ means this year,” said Tim League, Fantastic Fest founder and Alamo Drafthouse CEO in a statement. “This world of cinema has evolved so dramatically since our first festival in 2005, and we want to be part of the change by exposing audiences to films, formats and filmmakers that they may never otherwise see.”
This year’s festival will feature a special spotlight on Indian cinema, with new and older titles. The program will include the U.S. premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s 2016 cops and crime story “Psycho Raman” and repertory screenings of S.S. Rajamouli’s 2009 epic “Magadheera” and Sughash Ghai’s 1993 gangster film “Khalnayak.”
"It is a dream come true to bring the glorious excess and pageantry of Indian cinema to Fantastic Fest,” said Evrim Ersoy, the festival’s head of programming, in a statement. “We are celebrating not only Bollywood but also Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cinema, highlighting the kaleidoscope of textures and content that is as wide and varied as the subcontinent itself.”
As many other film festivals, including Sundance and Austin’s South by Southwest, have been featuring virtual reality presentations over the past few years, for the first time Fantastic Fest will get into the VR space as well. A virtual reality experience from Los Angeles studio Dark Corner will have its world premiere, with the program announcement declaring the experience known as “Mule” to be “an emotional, fast-paced hell-ride that catapults the viewer through the final shocking moments of a man’s life (and beyond.)”
There will also be a presentation of a two-part experience with “Burlap,” which includes a traditional 2-D short film and an immersive VR experience.
Revered filmmaker Don Coscarelli will be celebrated for his long-running “Phantasm” series with the world premiere of “Phantasm: Ravager,” directed by David Hartman. There will be a special presentation of the recent remaster of Coscarelli’s influential 1979 “Phantasm,” which will stream to art house theaters across the country as part of Art House Theatre Day on Sept. 24.
The initial programming release also spotlighted the world premiere of “Jungle Trap,” by “Lady Street Fighter” director James Bryan. Shot in 1990, “Jungle Trap” remained unedited and without a score at that time but has more recently been cut and given a musical soundtrack.
In all 26 titles were included in the festival’s initial announcement on Tuesday. Speaking to the international nature of Fantastic Fest, the program included films from Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, France, Laos, Australia, Thailand, France, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico, Italy and Russia as well as the United States.
For the full program announcement plus ticket information, go to www.fantasticfest.com.
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