Fantastic Fest 2015 Preview: 10 Films to Look Out For

Austin and festivals go hand in hand. Each spring, the eyes of the world turn to the Texas capitol in search of the next big thing as SXSW takes over downtown. Music is, of course, never in short supply in Austin, but in recent years movies have gained a higher predominance in this bustling college town. As Austin nurtures its burgeoning movie culture, film festivals have begun to take a larger precedence in the scene at large. SXSW has, of course, long been a bastion for independent and arthouse movies, but more and more, other festivals have come for their slice of the pie. Austin Film Festival, ATX TV Festival, the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, all of them showcase some of the best and brightest cinematic movements the present has to offer. Of course, there is no festival as awesome, or as uniquely Austin, as Fantastic Fest.

Now in its 11th year, Fantastic Fest is a different breed of film festival, one that showcases and celebrates genre films. Sci-fi, horror, action, neo-noir, if it’s weird or off beat, then it fits right in here. As a joint effort between Alamo Draft House and Ain’t It Cool News, Fantastic Fest is known for debuting some of the finest and most celebrated genre films of the last decade, and they have no intention of slowing down.

Beginning this Thursday, September 24, Fantastic Fest 2015 once again takes over Alamo Drafthouse for a solid week of mind-bending genre films from across the globe. While the festival has recently gained international attention for their now cancelled feral hog hunt, it’s important not to lose sight of what really matters: the groundbreaking and imaginative cinematic achievements set to invade our movie screens for the next eight days. What follows is a list of 10 movies to either make room on your schedule for, if you’re lucky enough to attend, or to watch for in the coming months.

The Keeping Room

A post-Civil War tale framed in as a post-apocalyptic narrative, where food and medicine are scarce and most of the population has been killed off. Tensions run high as three southern women find themselves in a standoff against to stray Union soldiers.

The Lobster

What’s being billed as a light-hearted black comedy about a dystopian future where people of a certain age are sent to “The Hotel” and given 45 days to find a mate or be transformed into an animal. The upside here is you get to be the animal of your choice, so there’s that.

Victoria

Since last year’s Birdman cultivated a renewed appreciation for the ‘single shot’ technique, it’s been popping up everywhere. Victoria, however, is said to be the best use yet, as it follows a Spanish barista through a dance club, Berlin, a coffee shop, and ultimately her destiny.

Assassination Classroom

The kind of feel-good movie that examines the important relationships that a teacher cultivates with their students. Of course, the first twist here is the teacher is training his students to be assassins, with the second twist being that the class needs to kill him before he destroys the world.

High-Rise

One of the most star-studded films at Fantastic Fest this year, as well as a fantastic parable for the 99%, it stars Tom Hiddleston as a young doctor who joins a group of wealthy individuals in their building in Thatcher, England. Their continued isolation from society, however, eventually divides them into increasingly violent tribes. Based on the novel by J.G. Ballard.

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The Brand New Testament

The film’s protagonist, Ea, is fed up with her father’s shit. Her father just so happens to be God, who lives in Brussels. Looking to strike out on her own, she follows in her brother’s footsteps, gathering her own apostles and looking to write her very own testament.

April & The Extraordinary World

An animated feature set in an alternate reality where Napoleon’s heirs rule a world run by coal and steam. As the scholars have all gone missing, April takes it upon herself to find her missing scientist parents in this adaptation of Jacques Tardi’s comic.

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Anomalisa

Already receiving lots of buzz for the involvement of Charlie Kaufman and Charlie “Jax Teller” Hunnam, it’s a stop-motion animation about a customer service rep who looks to escape the monotony of his life. If that wasn’t enough reason to see it, Community creator Dan Harmon’s company, Starburns Animations, helped out on the stop-motion.

Lazer Team

While scientists created a kind of super-suit of space armor to defend Earth from an advanced alien race, their invention is stumbled upon by four idiots who split it up among themselves. Told in the vein of 1980s sci-fi/comedies, Lazer Team promises a kind of cinematic silliness that’s been lost to the ages.

Yakuza Apocalypse

Takashi Miike’s latest film concerns a vampire yakuza boss, a tale of revenge, and a group of assassins led by a giant plush frog. Typing that sentence just felt so, so great, you guys. Anyway, judging by the hype on Twitter about this movie, it looks to be the one that everyone will be talking about after.

We will be on hand at Fantastic Fest, which runs from September 24-October 1, so stay tuned for daily recaps and first impressions!

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