The Austin Chronicle

Fantastic Market Transforms

By Richard Whittaker, August 17, 2016, 1:15pm, Picture in Picture

It's scarcely a month before Fantastic Fest, Austin's biggest genre film fest, shows the state of the art. Now Fantastic Market, the industry sidebar to the main festival, has announced a big change, big speakers, and the first flushes of the future of out-there movie making.

Fantastic Market, aka Mercado Fantastico, launched in 2013 as meeting place for genre filmmakers in the Spanish-speaking world to connect with potential investors, buyers, and distribution partners. Over the years, it has evolved beyond that simple but vital remit. Now, it undertakes a full-blown transmogrification.

Market Director Rodney Perkins explained, "We have transformed the market into a full-fledged industry event with screenings, talks, panels, film pitches and special guests from all over the world. Our goal is to become the premier industry forum for genre films."

Fantastic Market (Sept. 22-25) runs alongside the larger festival (Sept. 22-29), and it's open to badgeholders with industry and market credentials. Today's round of programming additions includes:

• A keynote by Blumhouse's Ryan Turek and Snowfort Pictures' Travis Stevens

• Rodo Sayagues (Panic Attack!, Evil Dead) on the state of the genre film industry

• SpectreVision founders Elijah Wood and Josh C. Waller, and CEO Lisa Wallen on their company's oddball slate (The Boy, Open Windows, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and confirmed FF 2016 title The Greasy Strangler) and future cross-media plans

Aside from the panels and speaker, there will still be the film projects hoping to find partners and a way to the screen. The list includes:

Birthday Present (Regalo de Cumpleaños)
D: Christian Cueva (Jiron), Ricardo Farías
Producers: Adrián García Bogliano (Scherzo Diabolico, Here Comes the Devil), Andrea Quiroz Hernández (Scherzo Diabolico, Here Comes the Devil)
When you accept a gift, you also accept its consequences (presented in partnership with the Blood Window Latin American Film Fantasy Market).

El Cucuy
D: Gigi Saul Guerrero ("El Gigante")
Producer: Raynor Shima ("El Gigante")
A group of troubled kids at a residential treatment center are forced to work together despite their differences to defeat an ancient creature that is stalking and feeding on all of the naughty children within the facility.

Dirt Eaters
Director: Chris Nash (ABC's of Death 2)
Producer: Peter Kuplowsky (The Void, ABC's of Death 2, Manborg), Shannon Hanmer (ABC's of Death 2), Ant Timpson (ABC's of Death 2, Deathgasm)
A down-and-out woman befriends a squirm of intelligent carnivorous worms, and seeks revenge on the small town officials that turned their backs on her, in this poli-sci-fi horror satire that evokes Black Mirror and Tremors.

It Waits Below
D: Eric Red (The Hitcher, Near Dark)
Producer: Soyoung Jung, Brendan McCarthy (Let Us Prey, Wake Wood), John McDonnell (Let Us Prey, Wake Wood)
A three-man submarine crew dive to the deepest part of the ocean to salvage priceless treasure from a sunken shipwreck, unleashing a nightmarish extraterrestrial organism they must survive when the sub gets stranded at the bottom of the sea.

Jairo's Revenge (La Venganza de Jairo)
D: Simón Hernández (Pizarro)
Producer: Ivette Liang (Venice)
A documentary about cult terror film director Jairo Pinilla, in his attempt to finance and produce his last dream project he's been working on for six years, The Spirit of Death, the first 3-D terror film made in Colombia (Presented in partnership with the Blood Window Latin American Film Fantasy Market).

D: J. Xavier Velasco
Producer: Javier Gonzalez (Valedictorian)
A police detective investigates a missing person case that leads her to a body-snatcher creature who uses humans as hosts in order to survive.

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