There are a few days out of the year that are considered holy for cinephiles. More often than not those days revolve around film festival announcements as they unveil what treats await attendees.
Tuesday was one such day, with arguably the biggest reveal for this time of the year: the first wave of Fantastic Fest’s programming. This one is a doozy.
Take a look at the full official press release:
Fantastic Fest, Alamo Drafthouse’s annual descent into chaos and carnage, returns for its thirteenth year, screaming “Yalla!” at full throttle. Loosely translated as “Let’s go,” this year’s rally cry is informed by the Arabic theme that will permeate the festival as it once again delves deep into the corners of the world’s best cinema.
“I’m proud to say that this is truly lucky thirteen for us,” said Tim League, festival founder and Alamo Drafthouse CEO. “We have another ferocious slate celebrating new and returning filmmakers from all over the world. It’s again an honor and privilege to welcome them and their brilliant, brave work.”
Kicking off proceedings with this year’s opening night film is Martin McDonagh in attendance to present the US premiere of his beautifully comic and delightfully dark tale of loss and redemption, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. S. Craig Zahler makes his triumphant return with the US premiere of 2018’s most hyper-violent slice of brute force, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99. Not to be outmuscled, Zahler’s bringing backup in the form of the thunderous trifecta of Vince Vaughn, Don Johnson and Udo Kier. And Barry Keoghan marks his first Fantastic Fest, sharing Yorgos Lanthimos’ savage horror epic THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER for the first time in the US.
Embracing cinema spanning from Egypt to Lebanon to Iraq to Afghanistan, the festival turns an eye to celebrate the best of the region. Highlights include Egypt’s rarely seen Rocky Horror Picture Show adaptation ANYAB and the International Premiere of the box office smash AL ASLEYEEN (aka THE ORIGINALS) directed by Marwan Hamed. “It’s truly a joy to be able to showcase a variety of Arabic genre films never before seen in the US to shatter preconceptions.” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “Cinema from this region is as exciting, inventive and as wild as anything we’ve ever seen and we’re here to prove it. It’s going to be a wild ride! Yalla, Habibi!”
Fantastic Fest’s global reach isn’t relegated exclusively to Arabic nations, as it has once again scoured the corners of the globe to bring the best cinema to Austin, TX. Sweden is well represented with Ruben Ostlund’s brilliantly sardonic THE SQUARE; Japan’s master of malevolence, Takashi Miike, hits a bloody century with his 100th feature, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL; Scotland flies its flesh-eating flag with John McPhail’s zombie musical, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE; and Austrian Oscar winner Stefan Ruzowitsky delivers a brutal and relentless ride with COLD HELL.
Maine’s finest son, Stephen King, is gorgeously represented with two standouts from Netflix’s burgeoning genre slate. GERALD’S GAME receives its US premiere along with the welcome return of Fantastic Fest alumni Mike Flanagan, who delivers a chilling adaptation of one of King’s most beloved bedside tales starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. And Fantastic Fest first-timer Zak Hilditch will be in attendance to share his perfectly precise vision of King’s uber-creepy novella, 1922, for its world premiere.
Sticking with the theme of world premieres, this year’s program features a selective set of titles from first-time feature filmmakers whose wildly impressive debuts belie the depth of their filmographies. Spanish short master Yayo Herrero excels with his fantasy horror, MAUS; Bradley Buecker explores wasted youth and packs a visceral punch from the wrong side of the tracks with JUVENILE; and Lukas Feigelfeld shocks with his atmospheric exploration of a medieval hell in HAGAZUSSA – A HEATHEN’S CURSE.
Fantastic Fest alumni are well represented this year as DAN DREAM reunites KLOWN’s dynamic duo of Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam for an electric road trip back to the ‘80s; GENERATION B sees WASTE LAND director Pieter Van Hees return with a mad comedy; and RON GOOSSENS: LOW-BUDGET STUNTMAN delivers the warm embrace of directors Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil, whose previous NEW KIDS features and BROs BEFORE HOs crushed at previous editions of Fantastic Fest.
For those unable to make the pilgrimage to Austin this September, there’s still reason to rejoice as we’ll be realizing a long-brewing strategy of bringing Fantastic Fest and its finely curated programming to three Alamo Drafthouse flagship theaters over the weekend of September 29th. Fans of the best in genre films in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Denver will all feature an exclusive slate of Fantastic Fest titles. Tickets and badges are scheduled to go on sale in the coming weeks.
Well, isn’t that something! There’s a lot of BIG news in there. From world premieres, to directors and actors showing up, it sounds like it’s going to be a huge year for a festival that keeps getting bigger by the year. Plus, it’s the Alamo Drafthouse’s 20 year anniversary, so they probably have a few special tricks up their sleeve.
For more information on the festival and ticket purchases, be sure to visit fantasticfest.com