This guest blog article is by Robert Luke.
The newest Alamo Drafthouse location lies past the northwest, intersecting highways that precede the Lakeline area. Last week, that theater hosted the infamous Fantastic Fest. For the uninitiated, Fantastic Fest is an annual, ten-day film festival specializing in acclaimed science fiction, cult, and horror films from all over the world.
But the films are only half the fun. When the film geeks, movie stars and film makers are not sitting in a theater, the entire site is one insane, geeky party, featuring debates (with boxing matches), karaoke, and dunking tanks.
Fantastic Debates Feature…Boxing?
One of the highlights of every year is the Fantastic Debates. Typically, these debates feature two film personalities debating their two differing opinions on a subject, as you might expect. But what makes these debates unique is the accompanying boxing match between the two opposing debaters.
This year, the featured debate was between Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse founder, Tim League, and Keanu Reeves. Unfortunately, Keanu Reeves did not participate in the boxing match. He left that to his Man of Tai Chi costar, Tiger Hu Chen. Surprisingly, in Tim League’s corner was none other than Alex Winter. It was truly a Wyld Stallyns reunion.
Even if you can’t afford a badge next year, but want to check it out, there are many fun events happening in the lobby and in front of the theater. First of all, there is Fantastic Arcade. It is a 48 hour video game building expo designed around the theme of the festival. These games are free to play in the lobby and don’t require a festival badge or pass.
Behind the Scenes: Fantastic Fest 2013
The opening night of the 2013 film festival featured the world premiere of Machete Kills, with a live mariachi band playing in front of the theater outside.
However, the closing night party this year was even better, and absolutely unforgettable. It had stunt performances featuring an exploding car, a flaming base jump, and even a speeding car flip. After the stunt show, Tim League and even Elijah Wood sat in a dunking booth at the mercy of ball throwing festival attendees. This actually happened in north Austin!
And if you think you can attend this film festival and avoid a karaoke party, you are mistaken! Still not convinced? They were selling $1 Shiner beers in a can.
Planning for Fantastic Fest 2014
Next year, I have no doubt Fantastic Fest will be just as fun as 2013, if not more. It will also be back at the original South Lamar location, along with Highball, once that area finishes reconstruction.
Between the unique films and unforgettable parties, I can’t imagine that anyone left a festival party or film screening last week without thinking, “That’s fantastic.”
For more information, you can visit Fantastic Fest’s website.
Have you ever attended Fantastic Fest in Austin?
Robert is a film maker, born and brewed in Austin, TX. His favorite musician is Johnny Cash and he can frequently be found hiding at Alamo Drafthouse, Pinballz, or one of the many dive bars in East Austin.
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