Alert! DACHRA is no longer screening in Theater 6. Boarding Groups A and B please go to theater 8. Groups C and Z please go to theater 2.

Fantastic Fest Staff

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell

Executive Director

Kristen Bell has been a part of the Alamo Drafthouse team since 2003 and Fantastic Fest since its inception in 2005. During this time she has held multiple leadership roles including General Manager of Alamo South Lamar (2005-2011), Director of Large Events (2011-2012), Director of National Programming (2011-2013), Fantastic Fest Director (2007-2017), Senior Project Manager (2016-current) and Fantastic Fest Executive Director (2017-current).



Board of Directors

Kier-la Janisse

Kier-la Janisse

Board Member

Kier-La Janisse has been a film writer and programmer since 1997. She is the owner/Artistic Director of Spectacular Optical Publications, founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and a programmer for Motel X in Lisbon. She is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (2007), House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (2012) and co-editor of Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, as well as contributing to and co-editing various other publications. She is currently writing a book about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter and developing a narrative television series based on her book House of Psychotic Women with Rook Films.

Peter Kuplowsky

Peter Kuplowsky

Board Member / Shorts Programming Director

Peter Kuplowsky is a film curator, producer, writer and hat enthusiast based in Toronto. Since 2005, he has established a career championing genre cinema and outsider art at various international film festivals, including Toronto After Dark, Fantastic Fest, and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program. Over the past few years, Kuplowsky has helped develop and produce a number of critically acclaimed short and feature films with emerging filmmakers that he supported on the festival circuit as a programmer. His credits as a producer include Manborg, the concluding segment Z is for Zygote in the anthology film The ABCs of Death Part 2, The Interior, The Void, and the short film adaptation of Dave Eggers’ short story Your Mother and I. He also co-hosts The Laser Blast Film Society, a monthly eccentric film series at The Royal Cinema that culminates annually with a contemporary outsider cinema program entitled What The Film Festival.

Curran Nault

Curran Nault

Board Member

Curran is the Founder and Artistic Director of the queer transmedia arts festival, OUTsider (2018 Austin Critics Table nominee for "Best Independent Art Project"), and a documentary producer: Before You Know It (PJ Raval, 2013) and Call Her Ganda (PJ Raval, 2018). Before founding OUTsider in 2013, he was the Artistic Director of aGLIFF (the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival) and the Director of Programming for AAAFF (the Austin Asian American Film Festival). Curran Nault is also the author of Queercore: Queer Punk Media Subculture (Routledge, 2018) and holds a PhD in Radio-Television-Film (RTF) from the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a joint lecturer in RTF, Asian American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He has published in such journals as Jump Cut, Feminist Media Studies and the Journal of Film and Video, as well as the anthologies Queer Love in Film and Television, Mediated Girlhoods and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema and Oxford Handbook of Punk.

Maya Perez

Maya Perez

Board Member

Maya Perez is a writer and producer. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Misadventures Magazine, and more. She is co-editor of the books On Story - Screenwriters and Their Craft (2013), On Story - Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films (2016), and the forthcoming On Story – The Golden Ages of Television (2018), all from University of Texas Press. Maya is also a producer on the television series Austin Film Festival's On Story, now in its eighth season on PBS. On Story won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014 and was nominated for a Lone Star EMMY Award® in 2016.

Maya is a 2018 recipient of a SFFILM Westridge Grant and is also a former Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Fellow, New York Stage & Film Emerging Filmmaker, and was named one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s “25 Screenwriters to Watch” for 2016. She received a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. Maya grew up in Kenya, Zambia, and the United States and now lives in Austin, Texas, where she teaches screenwriting at The University of Texas at Austin.

Suki-Rose Simakis

Suki-Rose Simakis

Board Member

Suki-Rose Simakis grew up in the arid deserts of Tucson, AZ, where she escaped the excessive heat at the local video store, indie movie theater and drive-in. She cut her teeth in LA working in repertory exhibition, which transitioned into production and development. As a Creative Executive for SpectreVision Films, she honed her instinct for standout material and developed the relationships that would support her eventual decision to go independent as a producer, developing an exciting slate of features. She is terrified of the dark yet has a deep affection for the things that dwell within it.

Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood

Board Member

With a career spanning 26 years, Elijah Wood has evolved his body of work with notable films and television programs including Grand Piano, The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Ice Storm, Wilfred, and Cartoon Network’s miniseries Over the Garden Wall. He can most recently be seen in Macon Blair’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. In 2010, with partners Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, Wood founded SpectreVision, a film production company with an aim to tell character-driven stories tackling emotional and human experiences that test the boundaries of the genre space. SpectreVision films include the comedy/horror film Cooties, The Greasy Strangler, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, and The Boy. At the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, SpectreVision’s parent entity, Company X, premiered their first production, Bitch.



Leadership Team

Zack Carlson

Zack Carlson

Creative Producer

Zack Carlson was probably born in a pizza. He's part of Bleeding Skull and a 13-year member of the Fantastic Fest/AGFA/Alamo family. He makes TV shows, has owned a punk record store and label, and owns a bone-crushing collection of over 4,500 forgotten VHS treasures. He lives in Austin, TX, where he writes with Bryan Connolly under the banner King Originals. Their new Adult Swim show Hunky Boys Go Ding-Dong, created with Todd Rohal, will be premiering soon, as well as an animated horror series they've created for children. Zack and Bryan also wrote a guide to punks on film titled Destroy All Movies, published by Fantagraphics Books. Zack doesn't believe in religion or nutrition.

Evrim Ersoy

Evrim Ersoy

Creative Director

Journalist, festival programmer, and filmmaker. Ersoy was born in Istanbul but has spent most of his life in London. His study of criminal psychology had a marked influence on his decision to work in film. After first earning a living as a journalist, he moved on to festival programming. In addition to being Creative Director at Fantastic Fest, he is also a programmer for Beyond Fest, MotelX, the Boston Underground Film Festival, and more. He has written and directed a number of award-winning shorts, including Abdullah, and he is currently working on his first feature.​

Damon Jones

Damon Jones

Executive Producer

Damon joined the Alamo Drafthouse family in 2007 as a theater manager of the South Lamar location, opened the original Highball as General Manager in 2009, then shifted exclusively to Fantastic Fest in 2011. Also in 2011, he and his wife, Laurie, sold all their worldly possessions and bought a live-aboard sailboat. Starting in Florida, they sailed for two years, travelling over 4,000 nautical miles from the U.S. to Panama and back, with Damon flying back to Austin for Fantastic Fest from wherever they happened to be anchored at the time. Damon's also an accomplished composer and performer, frequently devastating Nerd Rap audiences with his unerring lyrical prowess and passable showmanship, as well as scoring several video games, private commissions, and commercial projects. He is also semi-proficient in mischievous Photoshopping.



Feature Programming

Sonia Droulhiole

Sonia Droulhiole

Programmer

Raised in the South of France and London, Sonia Droulhiole started her film career working for the French Embassy in NYC on repertory cinema. Back in Paris, she traveled the world selling features for Studiocanal before following her heart to WTFilms, a company with a strong focus on genre, where she took care of international sales, festivals and acquisitions. In 2017, she joined Matthieu Zeller's new production shingle Octopolis where they develop and produce French and European movies. Sonia mainly likes to watch movies. And dinosaurs. But cats, mostly. And all wiz a French accent.

Brian Kelley

Brian Kelley

Programmer

Brian was raised on a healthy diet of Saturday morning cartoons and horror movies on VHS. In 2007, he quit his job and moved to Austin after falling love with Alamo Drafthouse. His first memory of Fantastic Fest is chatting with George Romero in the parking lot before Diary of the Dead. Now, by day he is a software engineer and by all other times, a programmer for Fantastic Fest where he is also involved in festival operations with a focus on badge holder experience and ticketing.

Noah Lee

Noah Lee

Programmer

Noah hails from El Paso, TX, but has lived in Austin for most of his life. He spent time at the University of Texas in the RTF program studying film and was also a contributor for Film Threat, where he covered local film festivals, including Fantastic Fest and SXSW. Having attended Fantastic Fest since 2007, he began working for the festival as a film screener in 2013. He is now a full-fledged programmer for the festival and always looks forward to delving into a pile of new films each year to find the best-of-the-best for the audience.

Annick Mahnert

Annick Mahnert

Director of International Programming

Born in Geneva, Annick Mahnert studied film production at the New York Film Academy and worked as a production assistant at Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons. Back in Switzerland, she went on to work in distribution and programming at 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Pathé Cinémas and Frenetic Films. Early 2012 she moved to Paris to join the renowned sales agency Celluloid Dreams, handling sales and acquisitions. Since 2013, she has worked as a freelance producer, acquisitions consultant and festival programmer, and is an expert at the Austrian Film Institute and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture for film funding. In 2014, her company Screen Division launched a new partnership with the Imagine Film Festival in the Netherlands, the Zagreb Fantastic Film Festival in Croatia and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. The project, called European Genre Forum, sets to boost the careers of future players in the genre biz through three days of trainings, panels and pitching sessions. In 2016, the European Genre Forum was granted support from Media Creative Europe.

Luke Mullen

Luke Mullen

Programmer

Luke Mullen is a lifelong cinephile. A resident of Austin, TX, Luke works as a DIT and assistant editor for features, TV and commercials but his true passion lies in presenting and preserving film. He pursues this through selecting films as part of the programming team for Fantastic Fest and through his work with the American Genre Film Archive where he provides technical support for their efforts in restoring classic gems from the celluloid wasteland. He is still enamored with physical media, and has a perhaps unhealthy amount of DVDs, Blu-rays, and 35mm prints. In addition to films of all kinds, he loves his wife, his dogs, the North Carolina Tarheels and baking cookies.

James Shapiro

James Shapiro

Industry Liaison / Programmer

James Emanuel Shapiro has been an executive in film for almost 20 years and recently moved to Austin, TX from Los Angeles to start the analytics division at the Alamo Drafthouse. James has formerly been the Chief Operating Officer at NEON and remains in that position for the dormant Drafthouse Films. He accumulated six Academy Award nominations while working at both companies. James started managing video stores while attending Brandeis University for a Master’s degree and eventually found his way to be Hollywood Video’s “B” title buyer and was proud to stock the nationwide chain with copies of THE PIANO TEACHER, OLDBOY, HIGH TENSION and LATTER DAYS. He was once disciplined in a company meeting for purchasing limited copies in select stores of Gaspar Noe’s IRREVERSIBLE. James is an avid fan of sports, rye, New Wave films, Galaxie 500, Michael Lewis and Bill James and owns three cats with his girlfriend Deb. James has attended Fantastic Fest since 2008, been part of its programming staff since 2014, writes an occasional industry column for Birth, Movies, Death, can be found on twitter at @jamesatalamo and the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln.

Logan Taylor

Logan Taylor

Programmer

Logan Taylor is an Austin-based film professor and programmer. After earning her Master's degree in Film and Television Studies from Boston University, she moved to Austin to pursue programming. Logan now works as an associate programmer for SXSW Film Festival and programmer for Fantastic Fest. She also teaches various courses in communications and film at Austin Community College and Austin School of Film. In her free time, Logan (unsurprisingly) watches lots of movies, takes her dog on lots of walks, and eats lots of queso.



Short Programming

Peter Kuplowsky

Peter Kuplowsky

Board Member / Shorts Programming Director

Peter Kuplowsky is a film curator, producer, writer and hat enthusiast based in Toronto. Since 2005, he has established a career championing genre cinema and outsider art at various international film festivals, including Toronto After Dark, Fantastic Fest, and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program. Over the past few years, Kuplowsky has helped develop and produce a number of critically acclaimed short and feature films with emerging filmmakers that he supported on the festival circuit as a programmer. His credits as a producer include Manborg, the concluding segment Z is for Zygote in the anthology film The ABCs of Death Part 2, The Interior, The Void, and the short film adaptation of Dave Eggers’ short story Your Mother and I. He also co-hosts The Laser Blast Film Society, a monthly eccentric film series at The Royal Cinema that culminates annually with a contemporary outsider cinema program entitled What The Film Festival.

Jean Lauer

Jean Lauer

Shorts Programmer / Program Manager

Jean Anne Lauer has promoted the development and exhibition of independent film and media on the festival circuit since 2004, specializing in Latinx, Iberoamerican, and Indigenous titles. She first discovered her passion for the field when working with the International Pitching Market at the Guanajuato International Film Festival (Gto, Mexico, 2004 through 2013). Since then, Jean has also joined the team at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (Austin, TX, 2008 to present), and at Fantastic Fest (Austin, TX, 2013 to present). Along with building a professional résumé and working with filmmakers in the US and abroad, Jean completed her Ph.D. in Radio-Television-Film at UT-Austin, and currently teaches courses in the Dept. of Philosophy, Religion, and Humanities and the Dept. of Radio-Television-Film at Austin Community College. The only thing Jean may be more passionate about than film is her love for her house rabbit companions.



Event Production and Operations

Jake Isgar

Jake Isgar

Events Director

Kimi Sandel

Kimi Sandel

Operations Director

Ryan Schibi

Ryan Schibi

Alamo Lamar General Manager

Devin Steuerwald

Devin Steuerwald

Event Manager



Guest Services

Mendy Black

Mendy Black

Guest Services Director

Bex Feldbin

Bex Feldbin

Guest Services Manager

Monte Monreal

Monte Monreal

Guest Services Manager

Madison Pope

Madison Pope

Guest Services Manager

Chris Swiderski

Chris Swiderski

Guest Services Manager



PR

Brandy Fons

Brandy Fons

PR Director

Ryan Fons

Ryan Fons

PR Director

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Publicist



Sponsorships and Marketing

Henri Mazza

Henri Mazza

VP of Special Events

Corey Wilson

Corey Wilson

VP, Brand Partnerships and Sponsorship



Volunteer & Transportation Services

Adrian Burwinkel

Adrian Burwinkel

Assistant Transportation Director

Brenda Kolas

Brenda Kolas

Volunteer Director

Mike Lawson

Mike Lawson

Volunteer Coordinator

Kayla Skroggs

Kayla Skroggs

Transportation Director



Program Managers

Windy Bowlsby

Windy Bowlsby

Program Manager

Jean Lauer

Jean Lauer

Program Manager / Shorts Programmer



Projection and A/V

Josh Brown

Josh Brown

Head Projectionist

Dan Cofer

Dan Cofer

Technical Director

Sara Cushman

Sara Cushman

Technical Coordinator

Jason Metcalfe

Jason Metcalfe

Technical Presentation Manager



IT and Web

Andrew McEathron

Andrew McEathron

Director Of Technology

Roger Tinch

Roger Tinch

Lead Product Developer