Report From Fantastic Fest Day One!
September 23, 2016 | Meredith Borders

Report From Fantastic Fest Day One!

We kicked off our 2016 festival with fire, swords, snakes and brilliant cinema. 

photos by Jack Plunkett, Arnold Wells and Rick Kern. 

Fantastic Fest has well and truly arrived, and our first night was an enormous success. But before we get into that: Night Zero was also a blast, with our annual pre-fest mixer held at Peter Pan Putt-Putt. 

Our opening night film was Denis Villeneuve's stunning Arrival, and beforehand Tim League and his extraterrestrial squad kicked off the festival in intergalactic style. Afterward, Christian Parkes conducted a Q&A with Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Villeneuve was unable to attend as he's currently filming, but he sent a letter to the festival to introduce the film and Heisserer). 

Chan-Wook Park brought his brilliant, beautiful film The Handmaiden to the festival, and before the screening participated in a conversation with Tim League, who confessed that after a screening of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance at Sitges, he conceived of Fantastic Fest because he wanted a place to show daring cinema like the film he'd just seen. So, yeah: Chan-Wook Park is basically the Father of Fantastic Fest. 

You can watch the conversation - and much more out of the festival! - by checking us out on Facebook Live

We also had rousing Q&As for the following screenings: Chris Peckover's Safe Neighborhood, Jim Hosking's The Greasy Strangler (produced by SpectreVision) and Jeremy Gillespie's The Void.

And we ended the day with a spectacular opening night party, a nod to our Indian cinema sidebar with South Asia’s sights, sounds, sustenance and swigs. We had fire eater Tom Perkins and sword swallower Matt Tardy, the April Rose Group, belly dancers from Epic Entertainment, music from Persian setarist and multi-instrumentalist Fared Shafinury (header image above) and  DJ Big Fun Dan, snakes from Austin Reptile Service and henna application from Nisha Henna Arts! 

Be sure to follow us here on the blog, on Facebook (don't forget about Facebook Live!), Twitter and Instagram for all the fantastic news you can use. If you're Snapchatting from the fest, use our FF geofilter and follow DrafthouseSnaps. Oh, and don't forget to stop by poor Jane Doe's autopsy in the theater corridor. If you take a picture with her and tweet it with the hashtag #whoisjanedoe, you could win a $50 Alamo gift card! 


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