Fantastic Fest Announces New Board

Familiar faces make up directors for troubled festival

Fantastic Fest executive director Kristen Bell, now a member of the festival's newly appointed board of directors, intended to give the event a new direction after the troubles of 2017

There was an undoubted cloud hanging over Fantastic Fest 2017, so much so that some attendees openly questioned whether it would or could continue. However, the genre film festival has just announced a new board of directors – many of whom are already fixtures at the event – to reorient its future.

The controversy surrounding the festival was one of the first in the current wave of sexual harassment accusations that has hit the film industry. First, it was revealed that founder Tim League had rehired writer Devin Faraci, who had been fired a year previously as editor of the Drafthouse-affiliated Birth.Movies.Death film magazine over allegations of sexual assault. The festival then severed all ties with co-founder Harry Knowles, after similar allegations were leveled against him. The revelations caused programmer Todd Brown to quit in protest, while Fox Searchlight withdrew Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which was supposed to be the opening night film.

Yesterday afternoon, the festival announced that it had moved forward with appointing a board of directors, whose members will attempt to find a renewed direction. The members are:

– Long-time FF director and, most recently, executive director Kristen Bell

– Actor and producer Elijah Wood, who has been a fixture at Fantastic Fest for several years. His production company, SpectreVision Films, has screened movies at the festival (The Greasy Strangler, Open Windows) and acquired others that played there (LFO, Belladonna of Sadness).

Suki-Rose Simakis, creative executive at SpectreVision

– Author and publisher Kier-La Janisse, who was formerly a programmer at the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado, and has held launches for three of her books (House of Psychotic Women, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, and Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin) at the festival

Peter Kuplowsky, currently director of shorts programming for Fantastic Fest, as well as programming for Toronoto International Film Festival, and Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

In the announcement, Bell wrote that their board is aiming "to further enhance and refine the experience of the festival and to provide the best, most open and inclusive environment for our family of film-loving fanatics." She confirmed that the board had already met once, but they will be looking "to identify additional board members to diversify and bolster the board even further to meet the goals of our growth mission."

Fantastic Fest, which normally takes place late September, has yet to announce dates for 2018.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Fantastic Fest
They're Here! Fantastic Fest Wave One Arrives
First Fantastic Fest 2018 Titles
Overlord, Apostle headline fest opening salvo

Richard Whittaker, July 31, 2018

Exploring <i>The Endless</i> With Benson and Moorhead
Exploring The Endless With Benson and Moorhead
Filmmakers talk science, magic, and bickering brothers

Richard Whittaker, April 20, 2018

More Kristen Bell
We’re Fluffing the Guest Towels for Dax & Kristen As We Speak
We’re Fluffing the Guest Towels for Dax & Kristen As We Speak
'Hit & Run' stars would hide out in Austin

Kimberley Jones, Aug. 23, 2012

More by Richard Whittaker
Opera Fights, Puppet Plays, and More Arty Events
Opera Fights, Puppet Plays, and More Arty Events
Get an arts fix this week

March 1, 2024

South by Southwest Sends in the Clowns
South by Southwest Sends in the Clowns
Pamela Adlon, Frank Oz, John Leguizamo, and more for Comedy Festival

Feb. 28, 2024


Kristen Bell, Kier-La Janisse, Tim League, Fantastic Fest

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle