Hey folks, Harry here... Being a life long Austinite. I was born here at St. David's Hospital in 1971 and as a FILM GEEK raised by FILM GEEKS - that had to do it with 16mm prints showing on sheets at each others' houses which were constantly filled with pot smoke. And ol Father Geek through those AUSTIN FANTASY FILM FESTS back in the seventies. But then in the Eighties, the culture of Film in Austin went on a retreat. Theaters began to close. All my favorite theaters closed. Why? Rents, film apathy. It blew. The day THE AMERICANA closed... our 70mm cathederal. Dark days. And THE FOX. Oh man. Loved that place. Richard Linklater, who talks quite honestly about that period has it right. The only film events for film fans came if they happened to be thrown by the Austin Chronicle, whose publicity screenings were the way to see films early. But basically the Eighties were dead. Unless you went to the Varsity or Hogg Auditorium screenings and the occassional awesome that would go down at The Paramount and the real rare Bass Concert Hall screenings. I know. I did everything. Went to all of it. When Tim League opened the Alamo Drafthouse - I was there, we quickly decided to start playing together. FANTASTIC FEST is our baby - and it is more than a festival. It is a recruiting center for fucking awesome people. Essentially if you attend FANTASTIC FEST, there's a 75% chance, at least, that you end up residing here. Now - AUSTIN is a place where film and film events are constant and wildly diverse. All of the programmers here feed off of each other and celebrate each others' successes. As people that love FILM first should. I've always seen the focal point for a shift here in Austin as beginning when SXSW and THE AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL came to town. That's definitely when my film consciousness beyond historic cinema & Mainstream cinema got hit with a heavy dose of independent cinema. And I've been a happy film going Austinite ever since. I know I talk about film differently than most, alot of that is because I see film as that thing that I've dedicated my life to. I want better quality, viewing experiences... I mean I tried to recruit Douglas Trumbull to move his operation here so that we could all experience the future here first. WHY? Because film is cool. I love film people. They do everything, vote every which way, dress completely differently... they just happen to be in love with film. That's such a great culture point. I think culturally about Austin, because I grew up in Austin watching KLRU. The amazing things I've seen at AUSTIN CITY LIMITS tapings is just wow. So when some filmmakers at KLRU asked if they could do a Doc on FANTASTIC FEST and if I'd do the interview... I thought... Sure, why not.
Man, I really like what they came up with. This is a little of what FANTASTIC FEST is. KLRU - you rule! JJ Weber is the manliest man ever.