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Fantastic Fest 2020 is on after all, sort of

The film festival had been canceled in July but details were unveiled Thursday confirming a virtual version of the event titled a Celebration of Fantastic Fest will take place later this month.

Courtesy of Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest, the largest annual genre film festival in the United States, will (sort of) take place this year after all. The week-long virtual celebration presented by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be held from Sept. 24-Oct. 1, according to an announcement and schedule posted today to the event website.

This year’s virtual party, dubbed a Celebration of Fantastic Fest, kicks opening night off with a showing of “Teddy” from Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, followed by the world premiere of Tyler Russell’s “Cyst.” “Short Fuse,” a set of 11 horror shorts, and Canadian body horror film “Bloodthirsty,” directed by Amelia Moses, will be the final movies shown as part of this year’s offerings. Two to four movies will be shown each day.

Holding a virtual version of Fantastic Fest is somewhat of a reversal of a previous announcement staff posted on the event website on July 7, when the in-person film festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the statement released that day reads:

“While the interactions that happen between, before and after films, interactions that make the festival ‘Fantastic’ simply cannot be recreated through Zoom, and we therefore don’t believe a ‘virtual film festival’ would capture the spirit of Fantastic Fest, we do still want to gather the Fantastic Fest community on our regular dates for an online event, a ‘Celebration of Fantastic Fest,’ to reconnect and share an online experience.

“We’re currently in the lab working on a program of fun online gatherings and events for that celebration. Our goal will be to have a virtual event every night from September 24th through October 1st – shorts programs, 100 Best Kills, secret screenings, an online Fantastic Feud, other fun surprises, and a look back at some amazing films from Fantastic Fest history — for us all to interact and reunite. We aren’t ready to announce all the details, but we’ll be in touch in the weeks ahead.”

The Austin, Texas-based film festival began in 2005. It was co-founded by Tim and Kerrie League, married co-founders of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, screenwriter and director Tim McCanlies, producer Paul Alvarado-Dykstra, and disgraced film critic Harry Knowles, who is no longer affiliated with the event.

The first Fantastic Fest was held in October 2005. Last year’s festivities took place in September at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar location in Austin and included the U.S. premieres of several notable films, including “Jojo Rabbit” and "Color Out of Space.”

Organizers plan to hold the 16th edition of the film festival in person next fall from Sept. 24-30.

To see a full schedule of films being shown virtually as part of a Celebration of Fantastic Fest, visit the event website by clicking here.



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