The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas has long been a mecca for movie lovers, and will once again be home to one of the largest genre film festivals: Fantastic Fest. The eight-day festival celebrates the best in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and movies that defy all genre categorization. Launched in 2005, the festival plays host to numerous premieres, secret screenings, themed parties, as well as a wide variety of events for the most devoted of cinephiles.
"It's been far too long since we've all been able to gather together and celebrate film the Fantastic Fest way," says festival director Lisa Dreyer. "We've really put our all into crafting an extraordinary week, from the exceptional programming that spans exciting discoveries to highly-anticipated features, to our signature events that will inject a much-needed dose of fun into 2022."
Films compete in traditional categories such as Best Film and Best Direction, while Special Mentions are typically divided into genres such as Horror, Next Wave, Competition, Drawn and Quartered, Fantastic Shorts, Short Fuse, and Shorts with Legs.
When and where is Fantastic Fest?
Fantastic Fest 2022 will be held from Sept. 22 - 29 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in the heart of Austin. The nine-auditorium theater is fit for 35mm, 4K, and RealD 3D projection, ready and able to showcase films in any format.
What's being screened during the fest?
This year's festival will be host to 21 world premieres, as well as 14 North American premieres and 21 U.S. premieres, including movies such as Blood Relatives, The Menu, and Smile, the latter of which was chosen as the fest's opening night screening. Directed by Parker Finn, Smile follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) as she starts "experiencing frightening occurrences that she can't explain." Like The Ring, once you've seen the titular smile, you have one week before you die a gruesome death.
Fantastic Fest is perhaps most famous for its coveted "secret screenings" of movies that aren't revealed until the crowd is in their seats. Past secret screenings have included The Lighthouse, Suspiria, and Gravity.
What about documentaries and retrospectives?
Documentary-wise, the fest will feature a variety of movies about genre movies, including The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, an in-depth look at the lasting legacy of the seminal horror classic, and Lynch/Oz, which looks the works of acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch through the lens of his obsession with The Wizard of Oz.
Retrospectives of beloved genre favorites are a staple of Fantastic Fest, and this year's festival promises a brand-new 4K restoration of four episodes of the legendary 1966 Japanese TV series Ultraman, a perfect precursor to the Texas premiere of Shin Ultraman, the highly anticipated superhero kaiju film written by Hideaki Anno and directed by Shinji Higuchi.
How can I get tickets?
Six levels of badges offering various levels of access are available to buy on the Fantastic Fest site. If you can't make it to Austin, or if you would like to watch your favorites from the festival again, for the second year "FF@Home" will make festival offerings available online Sept. 29 - Oct. 4 as an add-on to in-person badges or as a stand-alone item from the Fantastic Fest site.