It’s strange but true: Monday night is one of the craziest nights of Fantastic Fest every single year.
This is the night that starts with awards and ends with feuds, where the festival gives away prizes, then pits the Americans versus the foreigners, where the drinking starts early and ends ugly. This is not like any other festival’s awards evening, and it’s pure spectacle every single year.
Where else do you have to drink beer from the actual prize you are given? And where else would they follow up the awards with a game show?
I didn’t make it into the room for the awards ceremony this year. I was seated outside on the patio of the Alamo instead, and I got the press release as the awards were being announced. By all accounts, there was much debauchery and madness over the course of handing the awards out this year, and a truly distressing amount of Shiner was consumed. I think they got a lot of this right, and they shined some attention on some truly worthy films, some of which I’ve reviewed now, some of which I haven’t. I’m here at Fantastic Fest until Friday of this week, though, so I’ll have plenty more for you in the days ahead.
There were jury awards and audience awards both given tonight, and here’s a rundown of who won what. AMD and Dell also present the Next Wave Awards, where the winner is given $1000 and a Dell multimedia laptop provided by AMD:
THE AUDIENCE AWARD:
“A Boy And His Samurai” (Yoshihiro Nakamura)
Runners-Up: “You’re Next,” “Juan Of The Dead”
AMD & DELL “Next Wave” SPOTLIGHT COMPETITION
Best Picture – “Bullhead”
Best Director – Michael R. Roskam (“Bullhead”)
Best Screenplay – Josh MacDonald (“The Corridor”)
Best Actor – Matthias Schoenaerts (“Bullhead”)
Best Actress – Jessica Cole (“Aardvark”)
Special Jury Award For Boldness Of Vision: “Beyond The Black Rainbow”
Best Picture – “You’re Next”
Best Director – Adam Wingard (“You’re Next”)
Best Screenplay – Simon Barrett (“You’re Next”)
Best Actor – Sean Harris (“A Lonely Place To Die”)
Best Actress – Sharni Vinson (“You’re Next”)
Best Picture – “Milocrorze: A Love Story”
Best Director – Noboru Iguchi (“Karate Robo Zaborgar”)
Best Screenplay – Olafur Egilsson, Grimur Haonarson (“Summerland”)
Best Actor – Julian Villagran (“Extraterrestrial”)
Best Actress – Sawa Masaki (“Underwater Love”)
GUTBUSTER COMEDY FEATURES
Best Picture – “Clown”
Best Director – Steffen Haars, Flip Van Der Kuil (“New Kids Turbo”)
Best Screenplay – Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam (“Clown”)
SHORT FUSE: HORROR SHORTS
Winner: “How To Rid Your Lover Of A Negative Emotion Caused By You” (Nadia Litz)
Runner-Up: “The Unliving” (Hugo Lilj)
Special Jury Award For Outstanding Achievement In Special Effects and General Badassery: “Brutal Reflex” (David Munoz, Rafa Dengra, Adrian Cardona)
Best Fantastic Short: “Decapoda Shock” (Javier Chillon)
Runner-Up: “All Men Are Called Robert” (Marc-Henri Boulier)
Special Jury Mention For Acting: Robert Picardo (“The Candidate”)
DRAWN & QUARTERED: ANIMATED SHORTS
Best Animated Short: “Last Norwegian Troll” (Pjotr Sapegin)
Runner-Up: “Lazarov” (Nietov)
After they finished with the awards show, they cleared the theater for a little while, and then we all headed back inside for the Fantastic Feud. Sure, some people went to see Panos Cosmatos’s film “Beyond The Black Rainbow,” and some other folks checked out a vintage screening of Fulci’s “House By The Cemetary,” but I saw a whoooooole lot of familiar faces in the room for the Feud.
For those not familiar with this tradition of the festival, this is completely different than the Fantastic Debates from a few nights ago. This is a game show loosely inspired by the “Family Feud” format, hosted each year by Scott Weinberg and Devin Steurwald, and it is a chance for two teams of nerds to face off in arcane knowledge. This year, as with last year, the teams were divided into USA panelists and Foreign guests. On the US side, Elijah Wood was the team captain, and he was paired up with James Rocchi, Jen Yamato, Devin Faraci, and Ti West. On the Foreign side, Dominic Monaghan was team captain, with Todd Brown, Nacho Vigalondo, producer Andrea Quiroz, and Anthony Timpson. It’s hard to root for or against either team when you have that many friends on both sides, so I was rooting for drama. I didn’t care who won… I just wanted things to get crazy.
Thankfully, with those personalities pitted head to head and with Weinberg in his element, hosting the chaos in an oversize Luigi costume, it was plenty crazy. And plenty funny. There was an inspired battle early on where Twitchfilm editor Todd Brown called shenanigans at seeing fellow Toronto native James Rocchi on the American team, but Rocchi defended the placement since he was naturalized three years ago. It set a tone of theatrical antagonism that just kept ratcheting up all night. The Feud almost always starts as a carefully organized event that is the result of lots of hard work by a great team of guys who pitch in to help Weinberg, and it almost always ends up with broken furniture, spilled beer, and at least one act of insane violence by “Extraterrestrial” director Vigalondo.
It is this sense of community and this tight feeling of inclusion that makes Fantastic Fest feel like home for so many people every year, and one of the reasons I am so pleased that HitFix has been a participating sponsor for the last few years. I can’t think of another festival where I would want to be involved in making it happen to this same degree, and obviously others feel the same way.
Congratulations to all the winners at the Awards, and to team USA, who fed the foreigners the backside of their hand in a preposterous bitch-slapping at the Feud.