Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Q&A: Fatso's Steve Austin on Fantastic Fest 2012

Resident Fatso film fiend Steve Austin had the time of his life at Fantastic Fest 2012. Fatblog interrogated him when he returned...

Q: How would you describe Fantastic Fest for someone who's never been? 
A: Fantastic Fest is an eight day film festival that happens every September at the legendary Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. Where other festivals around the world are quite staid and arty, Fantastic Fest cuts all of the boring bits out and plays only genre movies - horror, sci-fi, action, thrillers and "cult" - from all over the world. But more than that, it's a celebration of film nerd-dom, with parties every night, events during the day and other fun activities tied into the films playing. It features red carpet premières right beside fresh new independent features and screenings of older films from the vault. Fans brush shoulders with industry heavy-weights, critics, and celebrities in one massive party over the week. You're guaranteed to be exhausted (and pretty hungover) but massively happy by the end of it!

Q: How many films did you see?
A: I kinda lost count in all the madness! It was between 3-6 films per day, so lets say somewhere around 40, give or take?

Cloud Altas
Q: Best film(s) and why? 
A: So many highlights! The Secret Screening of Cloud Atlas with writer/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski in attendance for a Q&A absolutely blew my mind. It is quite simply an incredible film and I really cannot wait for it to arrive on NZ shores to catch it again with friends and be able to talk in-depth about its complex structure and characters. Tom Hanks and Jim Broadbent knock it out of the park, waaaay into the stratosphere. It truly excites me that this film was not made under any sort of major studio financing.

Looper was the sort of stunning, action-packed science-fiction I have not seen in a cinema for quite a number of years. Classy, vivid and never lets up.

Of the more independent films, I was most impressed by I Declare War: A feature about kids playing at war that is just so well thought out and acted by its all-teen cast that it soars high above its very Lord of the Flies-type premise and sustains itself perfectly.

Berberian Sound Studio
Berberian Sound Studio: Toby Jones plays a British sound engineer with moral objections to the 70s Italian Giallo horror movie that he is working on. An extremely detailed visual study of an unusual character falling apart from the inside. A bit of an audience divider, but I loved it to bits.

Flicker: Awkward, hilarious Swedish comedy about a Telecommunications company being brought to its knees by a militant anarchist group. Brilliantly quirky characters and head-spinningly silly situations. I was gasping for air when not rolling on the floor.

The History of Future Folk: This one is inevitably going to get compared to Flight of the Conchords but I think that's a bit unfair, as this great romantic sci-fi comedy about space aliens from the planet Hondo who decide to start a Bluegrass band sustains its brilliant premise without any sideways winks to the audience or trite self referencing. I hope this gets given a chance to find an audience here.

The American Scream: Documentary from Michael Paul Stephenson (Best Worst Movie) about home-made Halloween haunted houses and the obsessives who go to all of the effort one day of the year to spook up their family homes. I went in a little nervous that I might not connect with this, not having much of a culture of Halloween celebrations in New Zealand, but found that it was populated with such a bunch of affable weirdos and was so universal in its approach to telling its story that I fully engaged with it.

The Final Member: Doco about an Icelandic penis museum. I shit you not! The basic story is the search for the first human penis to be housed in the collection, but it is populated by such great characters and is such a genuinely twisted insight into such a strange world. Having Veal Testicles in Chipolte Mayo served to us halfway through the movie was inspired... and slightly gross!

Honorable Mentions: The ABCs of Death, American Mary, Errors of the Human Body, The Mafu Cage, The Warped Forest (hands down the weirdest film of the festival!), The Miami Connection.

Q: Worst film(s) and why? 
A: There were very few films in the fest that I intensely disliked, but I did walk out of Eli Roth's Aftershock when the earthquake of the title hit, simply because the characters failed to engage me, and I wasn't really too interested in where it was going from there.

Q: If one's going for the first time, what would you recommend to prepare... 
A: Make sure you're ready to have the BEST time at the movies you've ever imagined and be prepared to party hard! Take plenty of money, so you can sample ALL OF THE DELICIOUS FOODS on the Alamo Drafthouse menu (and so you can tip the excellent wait-staff well!) Expand the capacity of your stomach, so you can fit all of the BBQ, tex-mex and beers that the environs of Austin TX has to offer. Two pieces of advice that I received within the first day of the fest that were invaluable: "You don't go to Fantastic Fest to network; you go to Fantastic Fest to make friends!" "Fantastic Fest is both the best and worst first film festival - it is such great fun, it spoils you to all others!"

For more Fantastic Fest reading, head over to Flicks for Steve's wrap-up report.

No comments:

Post a Comment