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FFX is on the way. Are you ready? (hint: you’re not ready)

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Today the second-wave programming was announced at last for FANTASTIC FEST… a.k.a. the tenth year of karaoke madness, fightin’ filmmakers and oh yeah… some really great cinema you might not get the chance to see again (I’m talking to you, A BOY & HIS SAMURAI) and loved to pieces.

fantasticfest2014posterFantastic Fest is now an Austin institution, and is the brainchild of Harry Knowles, Tim League, Paul Alvarado-Dykstra, and Tim McCanlies, who surely did not know that just three years in that their baby would be dubbed “… one of the 25 film festivals worth the entry fee” by Moviemaker Magazine.

They collectively could not know that the Japanese film contingent would start and host the drink-crazed Karaoke Madness at The Highball, [the coolest joint this side of 1963] where socializing, parties, dances and punk/metal karaoke (with live backing band Karaoke Apocalypse) happens for the duration.

How could they know how adding the Fantastic Arcade a few years in would change things, give people the chance to play new and experimental video games and chat with the designer-creators like Phil Fish, creator of the game FEZ?

Did they know that the Fantastic Debates would draw filmmakers (and their critics), astrophysicists (and theirs too), former Hobbits, and even Keanu Reeves to what some might think could be a boring film debate in the vein of, “Is CITIZEN KANE really the best movie ever?” — And that instead after making their points, they then strapped on boxing gloves to REALLY make the points for their resolution? This event includes shouting for your debater when they make a good point at the podium (i.e. Resolved: Sylvester Stallone is the best action hero of all time), wincing at a well-thrown punch and cheering for all the debaters and the sweaty camaraderie you share now with a roomful of (former) strangers.

This year’s Debates look already to be a hot-ticket item as the Chief Content Officer over at BitTorrent, Matt Mason,  is taking on comers:

Mason is placing an open call to all fighters to tackle the debate of whether is a valuable tool for creative artists or a playground for theft.

All of this (and more, oh so much more) has happened over the last nine years of Fantastic Fest’s not-quite autumnal (it’s still about 105 degrees Celsius in September, after all) amazing cinematic experience and I cannot wait to see what FFX (official shorthand) is going to be like. Small brag, but it was pointed out to me that I seem to be the one who coined the term FFX for Fantastic Fest Ten in the Fantastic Fest Fiends FB group. (whew! try saying that fast five times)

The NERD RAP THROWDOWN is entering its fourth year, and two-time returning champion, Andrew Toddwill be defending his title and bringing the ruckus (or some such) along with everyone else who competes.


Here are the links for both the first and second waves of programming. There are so many good films coming I can’t even begin to list them here. Go click and you’ll see that I’m right.

You’re back? Good!


This year also heralds the beginning of MONDO CON, an offshoot from the Alamo’s boutique printshop — that while starting with film related t-shirts over a decade ago, has branched out to vinyl, VHS films, apparel and now even toys and action figures. Poster drops on the MONDO website are an exercise in both patience and cussing, and depending on your personal internet speed, more of the latter then you might like.

To have them having an off-site convention at the Marchesa Theatre in Austin with such big names as Geof Darrow, Jock, Mike Mignola, Alex Pardee, William Stout and Bernie Wrightson in attendance (and more as well)  that it’ll make your head swim and your wallet cry. Maybe even your not-yet-born children who don’t get to go to college now will shed a few tears.

There are panels about designing for film (Darrow did a huge chunk of design for the MATRIX Trilogy), toy-making, the “lost” score for the Kubrick classic 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and Mondo will have pop-up shops in the Marchesa parking lot making it even easier than losing all your money in Vegas. At least after MONDO CON, you’ll have more to take home then stories about how you nearly won against the house. The screening of the documentary on 2000 AD Comics is one I really hope not to miss!

Check out the links above for all the cool things and films that will be happening in and around FFX this year, and start saving your shekels for FFXI in 2015. I know I will be; as soon as I get back from this year’s kick-ass festival.

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~~ H. Blain is attending her fourth year at FFversity and is generally super grateful to be doing so at all, what with that stupid boob cancer messing up her schedule and life this past year. A great many of the Fantastic Fest Fiends stepped up in ways large and small to assist her this year and for that too many hugs and inappropriately hard high-fives will be given out soon. Oh yes. They will indeed. You can find her on the Tweety if you really want to at @MediaTsarina.


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