AUSTIN -- It's only right that Fantastic Fest's signature event is the potent combination of intellectual discourse, visual culture and blood sport. The Fantastic Fest Debates have become more prominent with each passing year and according to Carrie Matherly, Assistant Director of Fantastic Fest, 2012's crop of showdowns will be no exception.
The premise remains the same: two combatants debate on a topic, and then fight -- or "fight" -- in a boxing ring. This year's crop of four debates includes a couple new twists, in that martial arts will replace boxing in some cases, and the opening fight will feature a woman-on-woman scuffle.
As for the latter, they're siblings -- twins, actually. And both are martial arts experts. And co-directors. And they'll be dressed as Kitana and Mileena from "Mortal Kombat."
Jen and Sylvia Soska, the directors of Fest U.S. premiering "American Mary," will literally kick things off on Saturday at the Debates, on the topic of remakes. "They had a hard time coming up with a topic, because they agree on almost everything," Matherly conceded.
Is Exploding Pants Syndrome a thing?
In the second or third slot of the night is filmmaker Joe Swanberg up against his critical foe, Badass Digest blogger Devin Faraci (or Devil, as my autocorrect seems to insinuate). Matherly this face-off has the most substantial "actual" beef, as Faraci's most considerable grenades toward the mumblecore master have included the terms "boring," "horsesh*t," "unwatchable," "villain" and worse.
Apparently Swanberg is pretty fit, but Faraci's been rockin' the WW*, and I will tell you something: that sh*t works. As for the meat, the subject of their dialogue will be "Mumblecore gives contemporary independent filmmaking a bad name." You can only guess who the defender of that topic will be.
Finally, Drafthouse founder Tim League will jump back in the ring for another fight with an professional fighter. Last year, the star of "Knuckle" had his day, but in 2012 Y.K. Kim will go up against the honcho over this theory: "Martial arts as a practice in film are decidedly inferior to pure, real-world martial arts."
Kim's real-world background is as a Grandmaster of Tae Kwon Do, and one-time director and actor of newly acquired Drafthouse title "Miami Connection" from 1987 (trailer cut by "Hobo with a Shotgun" helmer Jason Eisener). League has promised to "read a book" about martial arts in an aggressive preparation for the fight.
The fourth of four debates is as-yet-unannounced, as organizers are still in the middle of their own debate. Matherly said the dream would be pairing up buddies Russell Crowe and Texas governor Rick Perry. I personally would love to see HitFix's own Drew McWeeny against his thorn, Kevin Smith. I could also put a dent in Totoro.
Back to "Miami Connection," FF and Kim have successfully reunited five of the actors from the film, as well as the performing band, Dragon Sound, for the screening and the subsequent bash, Chaos Reigns Karaoke Party (presented by Well Go USA) on Friday night at the Highball. Curious film-goers will soon see it back up on the big screen on Nov. 2-3 in New York and Nov. 9 in L.A. with national later in the month. A DVD release will follow in time for holiday shopping, on Dec. 11.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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