Don Coscarelli, Tim Burton, and an Indian cinema sampler descend on Austin for this year’s film fest.
It’s here. That magical time of year when we find ourselves growing unreasonably excited for a week of devouring films, friends, and food in the beautiful and increasingly crowded city of Austin, TX. I’m still wrapping up my coverage of another fantastic genre festival, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Fest, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start anticipating the glories of Fantastic Fest.
I’ve said it before, but the beauty of any film festival is in discovering new favorites among the titles and filmmakers you know little to nothing about. It’s fun having familiar names to look forward to, but nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the magical moment when a feature debut blows your mind in the darkened paradise of a theater.
The fine folks at Fantasic Fest have just announced their first wave of titles playing this year, and of the 26 films here a whopping 23 will be my first introduction to the filmmaker’s work. It’s a rare gift to walk into a theater with zero expectation based on marketing, past films, movie news, etc. It’s a gift we don’t receive nearly enough. The three familiar talents run the gamut from Andrea Arnold’s American debut to a remastered genre classic from Don Coscarelli to a film whose every frame screams “Tim Burton made this!”
And what exactly does “dishoom!” mean? I’ll let the official press release explain this year’s theme.
“This year’s Fantastic Fest has traveled all the way to South Asia for its annual theme as it embraces the “dishoom!” (the sound of a punch landing in 60’s Bollywood films) of Indian cinema and its superlative culinary delights. A dedicated Indian block of new and repertory features have been carefully crafted to showcase the wildly creative world of the second most populous country. Included in this program is the director’s cut of Psycho Raman, the hyper violent onslaught from India’s most notorious filmmaker, Anurag Kashyareap; the sweeping, 400-year epic of masala madness, Magadheera; and the ultra-stylish Bollywood gangster oddity,Khalnayak.”
Check out the complete list of first wave titles below:
24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
Canada, 2016 – World Premiere, 83 min – Director: Kevin Burke
Through interviews with art personalities from the past four decades, 24 x 36 examines the birth, death and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art.
A DARK SONG
Ireland, 2016 – World Premiere, 99 min – Director: Liam Gavin
Sophia is a determined young woman who hires a weird occultist to perform a ritual which will risk not only their lives and souls, but also the very essence of their being.
Switzerland, France, 2016 – US Premiere, 91 min – Director: Tobias Nölle
Aloys Adorn is a lonely private investigator who, after the death of his father, finds himself sucked into a mysterious “telephone walking” game with a mysterious woman who might be his only hope.
United States, 2016 – Texas Premiere, 158 min – Director: Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold’s first US feature follows 18-year-old Star as she leaves her home in Oklahoma and goes in search of adventure, adulthood and America.
BELIEF: THE POSSESSION OF JANET MOSES
New Zealand, 2015 – US Premiere, 89 min – Director: David Stubbs
The true story of the Wainuiomata exorcism provides the basis for David Stubbs’ striking debut feature, a documentary exploring the tragic death of Janet Moses in a traditional Maori exorcism ceremony.
France, 2016 – US Premiere, 81 min – Director: Julien Leclercq
It’s bad men versus worse men as thieves face off against dealers in this super slick French heist thriller from the director of Chrysalis and The Assault.
Laos, France, Estonia, 2016 – World Premiere, 100 min – Director: Mattie Do
After moving to the city, a poor woman realizes her recently blinded cousin can not only commune with the dead, but they can provide a path to much-needed wealth.
Australia, 2016 – North American Premiere, 87 min – Director: Abraham Forsythe
In the aftermath of massive race riots, two carloads of dim-witted alpha males set off to defend their respective territory with outrageous results in this sharp edged Australian satire.
THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY
Thailand, 2016 – World Premiere, 92 min – Director: Bhin Banloerit
A Thai village of little people is attacked by evil, butt-munching, fart-tracking Krause spirits – floating heads with attached intestines – in this slapstick horror-comedy.
France, 2016 – North American Premiere, 103 min – Director: Sébastien Marnier
After burning out in Paris, Constance returns to her home town only to find herself in lethal competition with a younger girl for her old job.
United States, 2016 – Texas Premiere, 53 min – Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp
A family’s home movies document a desperate crime, and the subsequent bid to escape the consequences in this impressionistic meta-fiction born from the manipulation of hundreds of hours of innocuous uploads to YouTube. An extraordinary feat of editing, a provocative parable of the pursuit of happiness and a disturbing demonstration of the mutability of the stories we share in the Internet age.
THE GREASY STRANGLER
United States, 2016 – Special Screening, 93 min – Director: Jim Hosking
Ronnie fears his first love affair is turning his father into a bloodthirsty monster who’s covered in grease and has an 18-inch penis that looks like a dead chicken.
JUNGLE TRAP : Presented By Bleeding Skull
United States, 1990/2016 – World Premiere, 80 min – Director: James Bryan
Exploitation demigod James Bryan’s massively entertaining, decapitation-fueled shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths, shot in 1990 and unreleased until THIS VERY MOMENT.
India, 1993 – Repertory Screening, 190 min – Director: Subhash Ghai
Ballu is an unrepentant gangster who has dedicated his life to the celebration of villainy. He is a bad, bad man and not ashamed one bit. However, with the help of his mother and a sympathetic cop, Ballu will rise above his circumstances to gain satisfying redemption.
India, 2009 – Repertory Screening, 157 min – Director: S.S. Rajamouli
Harsha, a dirt bike racer, lives for thrills. One day he crosses paths with Indu, a girl with whom he feels strangely connected. Through this bond, Harsha discovers his hidden identity: a reincarnated warrior king.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
United States, 2016 – Special Screening,123 min – Director: Tim Burton
From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Germany, 2016 – Texas Premiere, 95 min – Directors: Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen
In the heart of Mumbai, behind the screen of one of the last Hindi Film cinemas, lives Sheik Rahman, the city’s last painter of film posters. This is his story.
PHANTASM: REMASTERED (1979)
United States, 1979 – Special Screening, 88 min – Director: Don Coscarelli
One of the most influential and important horror films of all time, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm returns to Alamo Drafthouse’s screens in a gorgeous 4k remaster.
United States, 2016 – World Premiere, 87 – Director: David Hartman
The fifth and final film in the classic Phantasm film series, Phantasm Ravager follows our intrepid everyman hero Reggie on his quest across dark dimensions as he struggles to confront and vanquish the sinister Tall Man.
The Netherlands, 2015 – International Premiere, 85 min – Directors: Erwin van de Eshof & Martijn Smits
Festival favorite Huub Smit (New Kids Nitro; New Kids Turbo; Bros Before Hos) stars as a Dutch cop raised on far too many American action films in this outrageous action comedy.
India, 2016 – US Premiere, 127 min – Director: Anurag Kashyap
Raghavan is a cop: brutal, violent, and drug-addicted. Ramanna is a criminal: psychotic, unpredictable, and vicious. It’s only a matter of time before they meet and when they do, Mumbai’s slums will be colored deep crimson.
SALT AND FIRE
Mexico, 2016 – North American Premiere, 93 min – Director: Werner Herzog
Herzog’s most wildly unpredictable film, Salt and Fire is a meticulously slow burning, quasi-ecological thriller punctuated by moments of the lyrically poetic and the inexplicably, outrageously absurd.
S IS FOR STANLEY
Italy, 2016 – North American Premiere, 82 min – Director: Alex Infascelli
Alex Infascelli’s documentary about Emilio D’Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick’s personal assistant for more than thirty years, which provides never-before-seen insight into the private auteur.
Canada, 2016 – World Premiere, 90 min – Directors: Steven Kostanski & Jeremy Gillespie
Trapped in a hospital with a handful of people, a small town sheriff finds himself caught up in the demented plot of a death-obsessed madman.
WE ARE THE FLESH
Mexico, 2016 – Texas Premiere, 80 min – Director: Emiliano Rocha Minter
Somewhere within a ruined city, a man makes an offer to a pair of siblings who wander into his abandoned building: food and shelter in exchange for building a strange room…
Russia, France, Germany, 2016 – US Premiere, 87 min – Director: Ivan I. Tverdovsky
Natasha is a lonely, middle-aged woman who still lives with her mother and feels insecure about her tedious life… until she grows a tail.
Fantastic Fest 2016 runs September 22nd through the 29th.
Related Topics: Fantastic Fest, Film Festivals