An intimate relationship between a fisherman and a lobster. An ice cube waxing on the topic of modern refrigeration. A team of kung fu chefs, negating peril from aggressive, mutated chickens. A woman with orange juicers for breasts. It can only be Fantastic Fest, Austin's annual celebration of grind house, horror, sci-fi, and action films, which is just around the corner, running September 20 to the 27.
Many of you will call in to work, claiming West Nile, and actually slink down to the Alamo Drafthouse for the week. (I salute you, terrible employees.) In addition to now-yearly signature events, like the Air Sex championships and Fantastic Debates, this gore-loving fest has added more to its line-up, including Tittie Bingo (a combination of bingo and edited porn parodies) and 100 Best Kills, a celebration of the most spectacularly messy deaths, dismemberments and general cranial explosions in the history of film.
One of FF's other big draws is its collection of off-beat short films, and the entire list of this year's picks was just announced. Whether you're leaning towards the bizarro, sexual world of Manuel Arija's World Premiere, Little Appliances, or the animated showing of Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens -- you'll find something captivating in this list. Now go forth and gore, my dark children.
38-39°C (2011) Regional Premiere Director: Jason Hong, South Korea, 8 minutes A father and son confront the emotional divide that separates them in the intimate setting of a Korean bathhouse.
88:88 (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Joey Ciccoline, USA, 14 minutes Val has lost control of her life. Those around her deny the reality of the extraordinary experiences she feels powerless against. Realizing she must stand alone, she has only one remaining option - to find a way to fight back.
ADVANTAGEOUS (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Jennifer Phang, USA 23 minutes Gwen is the spokesperson for a radical technology allowing people to overcome their natural disadvantages. But when her job and family are in crisis, will she undergo the procedure herself?
AT THE FORMAL (2012) Austin Premiere Director: Andrew Kavanagh, Australia, 8 minutes Modern and ancient rituals collide in this macabre depiction of a high school formal.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER MUTANT CHICKENS (2011) Austin Premiere Director: Nayeem Mahbub, Bangladesh, 15 minutes In the near future, Bangladesh is terrorized by killer mutant chickens. A team of kung-fu fighting chefs must hunt the killer chickens in order to keep chicken on their menu.
BENDITO MACHINE IV (2012) North American Premiere Director: Jossie Malis, Spain, 10 minutes An improbable hero embarks on a crude journey by land, sea and air -throughout all the attractions of a planet turned into a massive petrochemical park... and beyond
BIO-COP (2012) US Premiere Director: Steven Kotanski, USA, 5 minutes A new super drug is about to hit the streets of New York, and only one man can stop it: Bio-Cop. He's crime's worst enemy...and his own.
BOBBY YEAH (2011) Texas Premiere Director: Robert Morgan, UK, 23 minutes Bobby Yeah is a petty thug who lightens his miserable existence by brawling and stealing stuff. One day, he steals the favourite pet of some very dangerous individuals, and finds himself in deep trouble. He really should learn, but he just can't help it.
BRAINS? (2012) North American Premiere Director: Giles McNeill, New Zealand, 7 minutes Four sociable Zombies enjoy a meal of delicious brains, but are confronted by terrifying, yet tasty-smelling humanity, which will change their un-dead existence forever.
THE CAPTURED BIRD (2012) US Premiere Director: Jovanka Vuckovic, Canada, 12 minutes In this dark fable, a little girl is drawn to a mysterious mansion where she witnesses the birth of five horrifying apparitions.
CATERWAUL (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Ian Samuels, USA, 14 minutes An aging fisherman develops an intimate relationship with a lobster at the risk of reawakening an irresolvable loss. CHILLY (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Dylan Kohler, USA, 5 minutes As the heat rises in a stuffy hotel room, a talking ice cube pitches the wonders of modern refrigeration to a strangely distracted man.
CROWN (2012) Austin Premiere Director: AG Rojas, USA, 8 minutes A gang of street kids turns an unassuming house into a haven for middle aged junkies hooked on a most bizarre narcotic. Doug, a habitual user, returns to experience a surreal high from which he may not return.
CRUSH THE SKULL (2012) Austin Premiere Director: Viet Nguyen, USA, 9 minutes It's too familiar of a scenario for a young couple who break down on a desolate road and an ominous stranger shows up out of nowhere to assist them.
DIALOGUE (2012) World Premiere Director: Josh Johnson, USA, 1 minute A couple struggles with an unexpected development. FOLLOW THE SUN! (2012) Texas Premiere Director: Teddy Dibble, USA, 4 minutes While we have a few minutes before the show, why not stop by our refreshment stand? We have all kinds of tasty treats -- delicious pizza, ice-cold refreshments, fresh popcorn and Milk Bombs! Tempt your taste buds today with our selection of sweets and all-American beef products! Popcorn for all eternity! Hell's on it's way!
GAME (2012) US Premiere Director: Josh MacDonald, Canada, 8 minutes Through the woods, a cat-and-mouse game unfolds between a businesswoman and her three monstrous pursuers.
GET REAL! (2010) US Premiere Director: Evert de Beijer, Netherlands, 12 minutes A high school student is addicted to a computer game in which he portrays a bodyguard protecting a sexy female singer. He overcomes his obsession once a real girl in his class gives him his first kiss. HELL CAT (2012) Austin Premiere Director: Ged Murray, Ireland, 10 minutes Charlotte is obsessed with her talking cat Charlie's Youtube hits. But when her new boyfriend tries to muscle in between her and her cat, all hell breaks loose.
LE LAC NOIR (2011) US Premiere Director: Victor Jaquier, Switzerland, 20 minutes Madeleine and Jean are living on the shores of an alpine lake. One day, Jean catches a huge fish, and in the stomach he discovers a young boy that sets Madeleine's memories in motion. LEGEND (2012) US Premiere Director: Pau Teixidor, Spain, 15 minutes Claudia, a ten-year-old girl, leaves with her family to spend the weekend out of town. During their car trip, they decide to take a short rest at an abandoned gas station. The appearance of a strange woman will reveal her true fate to Claudia.
LIGHT FRIDAY (2012) North American Premiere Director: Asier Abio, Spain, 10 minutes Feliciano is eating french fries with light mayonnaise while watching TV. It's a boring Friday night until he stumbles upon a racy channel. LITTLE APPLIANCES (2012) World Premiere Director: Manuel Arija de la Cuerda, Spain, 9 minutes A shy couple on their first date will discover each other's unexpected compatibilities.
LOVE (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Kaveh Nabatian, Canada, 7 minutes New Years' Eve. Boy meets girl. Boy doesn't have condom. A film about unprotected sex, destiny, and soul music.
MEAT STICK MAN (2012) World Premiere Director: Jared Bentley, USA, 3 minutes A dark take on the "Snap in to a Slim Jim" ads. Meat Stick Man bursts into a young boy's room to personally "feed" his hunger, only to find the boy needs some convincing.
MI BURRO! EP. 1 ESOS HUESOS (2012) Austin Premiere Director Zach Passero, USA, 8 minutes Orphaned Niño loves Burro and would do anything for his friend. Burro, a retired Donkey loves that Niño would. Together they have banded together as a support system for one another as Niño and his parasitic friend navigate gonzo adventures in a Mexican seaside village.
MI BURRO! EP. 2 SOLO EN SUEÑOS (2012) World Premiere Director Zach Passero, USA 13 minutes The continuing adventures of Niño and Burro!
MODERN FAMILY (2011) Regional Premiere Director: Kim Kwang-bin, South Korea, 18 minutes Hyun-soo hears unexpected news when he receives a call from home during a meeting. OUT OF ERASERS (2010) Austin Premiere Director: Erik Rosenlund, Sweden, 15 minutes As the world transforms, you're the last one to find out. PAPERMAN (2012) Austin Premiere Director: John Kahrs, USA, 6 minutes The crown jewel topping off the Drawn and Quartered program this year, PAPERMAN introduces a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques. First-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction using a minimalist black-and-white style. The short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute.
POSTHUMAN (2012) Texas Premiere Director: Cole Drumb, USA, 6 minutes A genius hacker and his dog help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subjects of a black ops ESP test lab.
THE QUIET GIRLS GUIDE TO VIOLENCE (2012) World Premiere Director: Rafael Antonio Ruiz, USA, 15 minutes A victim of childhood bullying decides she will no longer suffer silently in this darkly comic story of revenge and Christmas.
THE RECIPE (2012) US Premiere Director: Jason Noto, Italy, 5 minutes After a boy is confronted with death for the first time, he turns to his imagination for protection and understanding.
RECORD/PLAY (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Jesse Atlas, USA, 11 minutes A malfunctioning cassette tape captures more than just audio in this sci-fi love story.
SÉANCE (2012) Texas Premiere Director: Zachary Beckler, USA, 15 minutes Alice and Daniel are married and expecting their first child. They just bought nice little house for their new family. Unfortunately, the house appears to be haunted. They host a séance party to cast the spirit out. It awakens something... SKINFECTIONS 1: MY MAIN SQUEEZE (2011) US Premiere Director: Chris Nash, Canada, 9 minutes A socially inept introvert with an emotional dependency on bubble wrap finds herself on an unexpected blind date SKINFECTIONS 2: BLACKHEAD (2009) Regional Premiere Director: Chris Nash, Canada, 14 minutes A man with intimacy issues wakes up one morning to find an abnormally large blackhead growing in the middle of his back SKINFECTIONS 3: LIPLOCK (2011) US Premiere Director: Chris Nash, Canada, 18 minutes A lonely woman's plan to hook up with her ex while her current boyfriend is away on business goes horribly wrong.
SLAGBRØDRE (2012) Texas Premiere Director: Kristoffer Jørgensen, Norway, 9 minutes Northern Norway 1929: A man returns home after years of absence and receives a less than cordial welcome from his brother. THE SLEEPOVER (2012) World Premiere Director: Chris Cullari, USA, 5 minutes The town of Derry has a secret, but no one told the new kid. It's gonna be a long night.
SPACEWRECKED (2012) North American Premiere Director: Kalle Doniselli Gulbrandsen, Norway, 14 minutes After witnessing the total destruction of planet Earth 20 years earlier, two Norwegian astronauts must fight extreme boredom while living inside a cramped space station. SUGAR (2010) Austin Premiere Director: Jeroen Annokkeé, Netherlands, 8 minutes Klaasje, Bert's scantily-dressed downstairs neighbor, stops by to borrow a cup of sugar. What appears to be a normal situation becomes Bert's worst nightmare.
THE TEA PARTY (2012) North American Premiere Director: Cameron McCulloch, Australia, 12 minutes Princess has waited a long time to finally meet her Prince Charming, the only thing standing in their way is her foul mouthed pets and the lack of a Afternoon Tea condiment. THIS IS NOT REAL (2011) Texas Premiere Director: Gergely Wootsch, UK, 7 minutes A young boy's chimerical journey from a small town to the Himalayas with an all-defining conclusion.
TOO LATE (2012) World Premiere Director: Rani Naamani, USA, 2 minutes On a dark and gloomy night, John finds himself struggling against time as he painfully morphs into something else...
TRAM (2012) Texas Premiere Director: Michaela Pavlatova, Czech Republic, 7 minutes A co-production of Sacrebleu Productions and Negativ Film; the humdrum daily routine of a Tram conductress takes an interesting turn when she allows her imagination to wander. THE TRANSMISSION (2012) Regional Premiere Director: Brian Lonano, USA, 6 minutes While a storm rages outside and Henry drinks his bottle of absinthe, he receives a television transmission...from his dead wife.
VIDEOBOY (2011) US Premiere Director: Stian Kristiansen, Norway, 33 minutes The relationship between 13 year old Hasse and Pål is tested the day they accept an offer to visit a boy who is famous for his collection of videofilms. The journey they take gets darker and darker, and the young boys are forced to meet boundaries that they never have been even close to. Nothing will ever be the same.
VIENNA WAITS FOR YOU (2012) North American Premiere Director: Dominik Hartl, Austria, 26 minutes After breaking up with her boyfriend Daniel, Anna just wants to hole up somewhere and recover. But she should have had a closer look at the fine-print of her rental contract - for the old Viennese apartment is a creature with never ending appetite, living of the youth of its residents.