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By Jay Slater | July 9, 2007

Fantastic Fest founder and all-round top guy, Tim League, has reasons to be cheerful. Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, has been accepted as part of the prestigious Méliès Federation brushing shoulders with renowned international festivals such as Sitges and Fantasporto. A multitude of top-quality movies are exhibited at the wonderful Alamo Drafthouse cinema – a Mecca for moviegoers. League also runs a slew of themed movie nights (often exploitation flicks with Tarantino as regular attendee) as well as premieres such as “Apocalypto” and “The Fountain” with directors Mel Gibson and Darren Aronofsky as guests who are actively encouraged to mingle and converse with the audience. League knows how to treat his audience and crew (as a Film Threat and Hotdog journo, we were on the jury and day trips to barbeque houses, the house in the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film and a set report on “Grindhouse” were impeccably arranged) with respect. The Alamo literally riffs with energy and raw power – there’s nothing quite like it. Trust me.

“We started the process of joining the Méliès Federation at the 2005 Porto Fantastic Film Festival (incidentally the scene of much drunken revelry and hijinks involving rogue journalist Jay Slater). A year and a half later, we have joined ranks with the infamous band of European genre festivals,” League beams. “When we first decided to create a Fantastic Film event in Austin, we were modelling ourselves after Sitges, Brussels and the other Méliès festivals. To be joining their ranks as a supporting member in our third year is the highest honour I can imagine. The Méliès Federation Festivals set the bar for what we are trying to do in Texas and we will do everything we can to live up to their reputation,” League adds, smiling like the cat that got its cream.

And what really stands out is Fantastic Fest’s groundbreaking stance – from conception to being internationally recognised on the festival circuit within two years. Amazing, eh? And Méliès contender within three years. Even Superman on Viagra and a bottle of vodka couldn’t pull it off, but League and company did just that. And Film Threat makes a humble forecast and state that it’s within reason that Fantastic Fest will go onto higher and better things to be one of the most acclaimed genre festivals in America, if not the world. High praise indeed!

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