Talk about starting strong at Fantastic Fest! After the first few days of the festival, I ended up taking a day to catch up with some online films before heading back to the festival for another fun few days before the festival wraps up. I was able to shift gears and catch some of the bigger titles that this festival has to offer and also chatted with one of the filmmakers of said film, not too shabby!
The atmosphere after the first weekend was just as energetic as ever. There were still long stand by lines of folks waiting at a chance to get into their film, folks waiting outside in the hot, Austin sun and plenty of hijinks happening at The Highball. One cool thing about festivals is you never know what or who you’ll run into! I actually ran into a friend I grew up with and had not seen in over a decade. He was volunteering at the festival and it’s been fun to see him around and get to catch up in between waiting for films. I’ve also been able to chat with other fellow film friends and critics at the festival which makes the waiting and anticipation of whether you’re going to get in, much more bearable.
I was very excited to watch V/H/S 85 because it was my first V/H/S movie to experience. I know, I know, I’m not sure why I haven’t seen any of the others, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It was very fun to experience the sixth installment in the franchise on the big screen. This was the second screening of the film, so only one of the directors was in attendance to introduce the film, Mike P. Nelson but he did not disappoint. When asked about his relationship with the other films in the franchise he mentioned that he was still pinching himself in getting to make one of these films in the series. Nelson gushed over getting invited and shared what was really cool about being part of this franchise. “The great thing about these movies is the team behind them just lets you go and lets you create and they want that and what they feel the movies thrive on and that’s what makes them so special and I’m indebted to them for this opportunity.”
And if you’re curious if each director knows about the other one’s story, Nelson was asked and let the audience know that, “you do live in a bubble, at least for this one we did. We knew the other directors involved, I didn’t know any of them personally. It’s a testament behind the [producers] who brought in the team they thought would bring something special to this specific project. We were that lineup. We went in blind and all did our thing and David Bruckner, had the difficult and awesome job of taking all of those and making his piece based on what all of ours felt like as he watched the movie.”
Nelson also praised the producers of V/H/S 85 at now having over 31 horror short films in this franchise which means giving 31 filmmakers a chance at making a short film. And it was nice to hear for first-time V/H/S series folks like myself what we were in for and what to expect. ”What’s fun about the series, each feature really has its own vibe and that’s what makes it so special. I think what’s been really unique about these last three has been this idea of period. It’s really brought this cohesive nature together with the films and what we expect from horror in that moment in time. We all had a respect for films of that era. We tried to do that justice and give our really nasty, dirty spit to it.” And they did that indeed! Not knowing what I was in for, it was really fun to experience this film and go back to the 80s.
After a brief break, another highly anticipated film was nigh, The Creator. Lisa Dreyer mentioned at the intro of this film that it was highly requested by the Fantastic Fest audience to screen at this year’s festival, so she couldn’t not have it in the program.
Oren Soffer, the cinematographer on The Creator introduced the film after being called down like the Price is Right from Dreyer. He jokingly asked if he was going to get a car and spoke about this film being a labor of love by the whole cast and crew. “We were hoping to be able to develop A.I. to the point of uploading Gareth’s consciousness to one of our robot friends here but we didn’t finish in time so instead he recorded a special message.”
In that special message, Edwards jokingly stated that we would be the first audience in the south United States (besides California) to have seen this film, so definitely not the first, but just as special since he spoke high praise of his time here with his 2010 film, Monsters. It’s always a delight to see filmmakers who had some of their first films at festivals come back even after doing a little ole Star Wars film. It speaks to the regard filmmakers have for festivals and especially Fantastic Fest that is very open to genre filmmakers.
And I was able to have a full conversation with Soffer the next day about the film that you can read here!
I’m very excited to see what is up next in these last few days of the festival! Stay tuned.