Greetings from Fantastic Fest Day 5! It's hard to believe we're now in the back half of the festival, but there's still plenty of chaos to be had. Tonight we have the Fantastic Awards followed by the Fantastic Feud, always a rowdy time, and as always we'll be live-tweeting the festivities from @fantasticfest, so be sure to follow us there!
Day Three brought us screenings of JODOROWSKY'S DUNE (with director Frank Pavich and moderator Devin Faraci, who's also featured in the film, in attendance), NIGHTBREED: THE CABAL CUT (with director Russell Cherrington, who cut together the lost footage from Clive Barker's 1990 film), R100 (in which programmer Todd Brown literally had to eat his shirt - luckily stewed for 24 hours with veggies - after losing a bet to merciless FF founder Tim League), and MAN OF TAI CHI, the film directed by Keanu Reeves and starring martial arts master Tiger Chen, who attended the Q&A with Tim League. We also had the annual Fantastic Fest shotgun adventure, which was a huge macho success. (Photos by David Hill, Gary Miller and Jack Plunkett).
But the big event of the evening - and of the fest, and of every Fantastic Fest - were the Fantastic Debates. Moved this year to John's Gym and presented by MAN OF TAI CHI, I truly believe as someone who's attended the debates every year that this was the very best one we've ever held. The night was full of raucous, high-spirited madness, and each bout was damn near too close to call - but call it we did! Hosted as always by the hilarious and amazing Owen Egerton, this was one for the books.
Debate One: Alamo programmer Greg MacLennan versus /Film Managing Editor Russ Fischer. RESOLVED: Sylvester Stallone is the Only Truly Great Action Star in Film History. Greg, who fought on the pro side, won this match.
Debate Two: Denver film critic Brad McHargue versus Austin film critic Jacob S. Hall. RESOLVED: 28 Days Later, Which is Widely Considered One of the Great Zombie Movies of the Century, is NOT a Zombie Movie. Jacob Hall, who fought pro this argument, walked away with the win.
Debate Three: LOOPER and BRICK actor Noah Segan versus New Zealand writer and filmmaker Andrew Todd. RESOLVED: Good-Looking, Well-Adjusted People Have Infiltrated and Destroyed Nerd Culture. Andrew Todd, also on the pro side, defeated Segan in a very close match.
Debate Four: THE MATRIX actor and MAN OF TAI CHI director Keanu Reeves and MAN OF TAI CHI actor and martial artist Tiger Chen versus Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest founder Tim League. RESOLVED: Tai Chi is a martial art relegated to elderly Chinese women and is inferior in every way to Tae Kwon Do. Keanu debated Tim in the verbal round while Tiger Chen bloodied his nose very gracefully when things got physical, but hometown champ Tim League - ALSO on the pro side! - won the match. Watch the amazing videos, courtesy of Arts + Labor, and check out the photos from David Hill.
And in Day Four, we had screenings of BLUE RUIN (with director Jeremy Saulnier and star Macon Blair), WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE (with producer Justin Duprie and directors Simon Hawkins and Zeke Hawkins in attendance) , ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (including producer Keith Calder) and our AICN Presents: Secret Screening of THE GREEN INFERNO (with AICN editor-in-chief Harry Knowles, writer/director Eli Roth and star Aaron Burns)! All photos by David Hill, Jack Plunkett and Gary Miller, video by Arts + Labor.
And we had one of my favorite events every Fantastic Fest, the third annual Nerd Rap competition! Hosted every year by Henri Mazza, competitors write a rap about something super nerdy, and it's followed by a hip-hop karaoke fest. Defending champ Andrew Todd rapped about how fast Tom Cruise runs, first inaugural Nerd Rap champ Damon Jones (and his matching puppet!) rhymed about the all-time best Superman, Christopher Reeve, Aaron Hillis took on the ALIEN franchise and Tim League - his first time competing - tackled STAR WARS, and also he wet his pants with a water balloon. In the end it was down to two finalists, Damon and Andrew - same as last year! - but Andrew won a very close match in the freestyle portion. That guy has this place wired. (Photos by Jack Plunkett.)
That's it for Days Three and Four! Remember to tune in as we live-tweet the awards tonight, and meet us back here tomorrow for another report from the frontlines. Stay hydrated, get a little sleep, pace yourselves - we still have miles of fun to go!