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Austin's Fantastic Fest 2009

Running from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, 2009, Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. Held each year, primarily at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, Texas, this eight-day festival features the best new Sci-fi, Horror, Fantasy and genre films, as well as choice classic and obscure cult titles from all over the world. 

Fantastic Fest was created to offer exposure to genre films which are often overlooked by the traditional festival circuit. The organizers also strive to offer acquisition, media and exhibition opportunities for undistributed films as well as to spotlight upcoming genre theatrical releases and give audiences a chance to see 35mm prints of repertory genre classics.

The majority of screenings at the Fest are held on multiple screens of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The Alamo Drafthouse was named the best cinema in America by Entertainment Weekly in 2005 and features food and drink which is served without any disruption of the movie experience.

 Additional screenings are held at other venues in Austin including the historic Paramount Theater and the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz

Founded by the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's Tim League and Harry Knowles from Ain't It Cool News, the other co-founders are Paul Alvarado-Dykstra and Tim McCanlies. League serves as the Festival Director and the programming team includes founder Todd Brown, Cinema is Dope's Blake Ethridge,'s Rodney Perkins, and the Alamo Drafthouse's Lars Nilsen, Henri Mazza and Zack Carlson. Matt Kiernan is the Fantastic Fest Sponsor Coordinator.

In past years, world premieres of There Will Be Blood, Apocaltypto, City of Ember and Eagle Eye were presented. The guest roster has included such talent as Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Paul Rudd, Bill Pullman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky and Mike Judge. It features world, national and regional premieres of new and up-and-coming genre films.

During his Keynote Address at the International film Festival Summit in Las Vegas, Variety president and publisher Charlie Koones listed Fantastic Fest in a list of "10 Film Festivals we Love," a list which included industry heavy-hitters such as Cannes, Toronto and Telluride. 

Though you'll be gorging on movies at night, you won't have much time for the famous Austin nightlife but you have a chance to get a taste of Austin during the day. There is a list of some of the favorite Austin-area attractions and Austin restaurant recommendations on the website.

For recommendations of anything else to do in Austin, Tim League is available during the fest and he can steer you in the right direction.

Dates vary year to year, but the 2009 Fantastic Fest runs from September 24-October 1.

Go to Facebook or follow on Twitter for updates and special screenings throughout the year.

the Fantastic Fest
September 24 - October 1, 2009

LA Irish Film Festival Premieres Five Titles in US

The second Los Angeles Irish Film Festival (LAIFF) opens on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, with the Gala screening of Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse, which will be screened at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Running from the 23rd to Sunday the 27th, this non-competitive film festival focuses on celebrating the Irish love for story-telling and the deep-rooted Irish love for the tellers of tales. Coupled with the screenings that exhibit Ireland's movie making past, LAIFF presents modern cinematic works with the goal to create a cinematic barometer of the current cultural climate in Ireland.

Irish films receiving their US premieres at the festival include Lisa Barros D’Sa’s Cherrybomb, Macdara Vallely’s Peacefire and Pat Collins' Gabriel Byrne:Stories from Home; Tom Collins' The Boys of St Columbs, and the recently rediscovered 1988 Guests of Another Nation.

Other films being showcased include Vittoria Colonna di Stigliano’s ‘Identities’ and Tomm Moore’s ‘The Secret of Kells’. IFTA winner Lance Daly’s ‘Kisses ’ and Joel Conroy’s ‘Waveriders’ which won the George Morrison Feature Documentary IFTA earlier in 2009 will also be shown at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica’s American Cinematheque.

The LAIFF Festival Director, Lisa McLaughlin, remarked “We are proud of the exceptional programme for the second edition of The Los Angeles Irish Film Festival and are excited to be screening five US premieres".

There will also be a showing of several short films including the US premiere of Norman Whitten’s short silent film ‘In the Days of St Patrick’ made in 1920, Nicky Phelan’s animated Short ‘O'Grimm Sleeping Beauty’, Louis McCullagh’s ‘Call Me Son’, ‘Countdown’ by David Tynan, ‘Atlantic’ by Writer/Director Conor Ferguson, and Michael lavelle’s ‘Out of the Blue’.

The festival closes on Sunday 27th with a tribute to Hugh Leonard with a screening of DA, the feature film based on Leonard's award winning play of the same name and a discussion with Martin Sheen on his performance in the film.

Co-presenter of the festival is ELMA, a private foundation that partners with organizations seeking to make European films more widely-available to American audiences and looks to promote a greater understanding and appreciation between cultures. Executive director of ELMA, Pascal Ladreyt, yesterday told IFTN that he took on the role of executive director of ELMA having recognised a lack of Irish cinema presence in L.A.

Ladreyt is no stranger to Ireland having lived for six years in Cork and was delighted to be involved in promoting Irish cinema through the LAIFF in conjunction with Lisa McLaughlin and her team. He also shared his thoughts on this year’s upcoming event, commenting, “We are delighted to be co-presenters for the second year in a row of the Irish Film Festival LA and help celebrate Irish culture and bring the best of Irish cinema to Los Angeles.”

The festival's Industry Partner is the Irish Film Board, and is supported by Culture Ireland, IFI, Reel Ireland and IFTA.

The L.A. Irish Film Festival will run from the 23rd to the 27th September. For more information visit

The first HOWL! Arts Project Film Series

Using Allen Ginsberg (the inspiration for the Howl Festival) as a point of departure, the first HOWL! Arts Project Film Series showcases 4 nights of programs linking film and video to various creative movements transpiring in the East Village underground over several decades. In fact and in spirit these programs embrace  poetry, music, theater, performance, fine art painting, as well as protests affirming sexuality, opposing gentrification, and supporting the flourishing of a subversive culture.
The film program for this year’s Howl! Arts Project festival is conceived of and curated by Jon Gartenberg , a film archivist, historian, and programmer. All screenings are at: Millenium Film Workshop (66 East 4th Street). Programs are subject to change.
Thursday, September 17
7 PM
Allen Ginsberg on Film
Introduction by Callie Angell, Adjunct Curator, The Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art:
•SCREEN TEST A portrait of Allen Ginsberg filmed and directed by Andy Warhol on December 4, 1966.
16mm print courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art Circulating Film Library.
Cast:  Allen Ginsberg.  
B/W, silent, 4 min.
This was one of the very last of the hundreds of screen tests that Warhol shot of well-known personalities from the poetry, music, fashion, film, and other creative worlds that visited his famous Factory.
•COUCH  1964, directed by Andy Warhol.
Cast:  Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlo vsky, and others.
16mm print courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art Circulating Film Library.
B/W, silent, 52  min.
“Warhol had filmed Ginsberg once before in 1964 when he shot several rolls of a historic gathering of Ginsberg and his fellow Beats Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, and Peter Orlovsky hanging out in and around the Factory couch.”  (Callie Angell)

• WHOLLY COMMUNION 1965, Peter Whitehead.
Cast:  Gregory Corso, Harry Fanlight, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Horovitz, Ernst Jandl, Christopher Logue, Adrian Mitchell, Alexander Trocchi.
16mm print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York
Public Library for the Performing Arts, with the permission of Contemporary
Films, London.
B/W, sound, 35 min.
Introduction by Paul Cronin, author, filmmaker and historian:
“Peter Whitehead captures the unexpected, the intensity and the excitement of a Happening, as 7000 people jam into London’s Albert Hall on June 11, 1965 for four hours of poetry reading by many Beat poets.”  (New York Public Library Catalogue)
 Cast:  Peter Whitehead.
 B/W and color, sound.
DVD courtesy of Paul Cronin.
Historian/filmmaker Paul Cronin interviews Peter Whitehead, the filmmaker of WHOLLY COMMUNION about the significance of this unique Beat poetry event.
• PULL MY DAISY 1959, directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie.
Cast: Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Peter Orlovsky, David Amram, Richard Bellamy, Alic e Neel, Sally Gross, Pablo Frank, Denise Parker, Delphine Seyrig, Jack Kerouac (narrator), Music by David Amram.
16mm print courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
B/W, sound, 29 min.
Introduction by Alfred Leslie, filmmaker.
Made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and painters Alfred Lesllie, Larry Rivers, and Alice Neel, “PULL MY DAISY is a classic look at the soul of the beat generation, Written and narrated by Kerouac and based on his unproduced play ‘The Beat Generation,’ it tells the story of a bishop (Richard Bellamy) and his mother (Alice Neel) who pay a visit to Milo, a railroad worker.  At the same time his poet friends, Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso, hang around quizzing the bishop about the meaning of life and its everyday relationship to art and poetry.”  (Museum of Fine Arts catalogue)

Thursday, September 17
10 PM
Jack Smith and the Lower East Side (as Seen by Ken Jacobs)
Introduction by Ken Jacobs, filmmaker.
•  BLONDE COBRA 1963, directed by Ken Jacobs, based on images gathered by Bob Fleischner.
Cast:  Jack Smith
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Coop.
.B/W, sound, 16mm.  33 min.
“BLONDE COBRA is an erratic narrative – no, not really a narrative, it’s only stretched out in time for convenience of delivery.  It’s a look in on an exploding life, on a man of imagination suffering pre-fashionable lower East Side deprivation and consumed with American 1950s, ‘40s, ‘30s disgust.  Silly, self-pitying, guilt-stricken and yet triumphing – on one level – over the situation with style, because he’s unapologetically gifted, has a genius for courage, knows that a state of indignity can serve to show his character in sharpest relief.  He carries on, states his presence for what it is.  Does all he can to draw out our condemnation, testing our love for limits, enticing us into an absurd moral posture the better to dismiss us with a regal ‘screw-off’.” (Ken Jacobs)
•  FLAMING CREATURES 1963  directed by Jack Smith.
Cast: Francis Francine, Sheila Bick, Joel Markman, Dolores Flores, Arnold, Judith Malina, Marian Zazeela.
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Coop.
B/W, sound, 16mm.  42 min.
“Jack Smith has graced the anarchic liberation of new American cinema with graphic and rhythmic power worthy of the best of formal cinema.  He has attained for the first time in motion pictures a high level of art which is absolutely lacking in decorum; and a treatment of sex which makes us aware of the restraint of all previous filmmakers.  He has shown more clearly than anyone before how the poet’s license includes all things, not only of spirit, but also of flesh; not only of dreams and of symbol, but also of solid reality.  In no other art but the movies could this have so fully been done; and their capacity was realized by Smith” (Film Culture Magazine)
•  Plus sequences from other films made by Ken Jacobs starring Jack Smith, including TWO WRENCHING DEPARTURES and STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH.  
B/W and color, sound.  DVD courtesy of Ken Jacobs.
Friday, September 18
7 PM
PROGRAM: In and Around Tompkins Square Park
• B/SIDE, 1996, directe d by Abigail Child
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Color and b/w, sound, 40 min.
“Framed by on New York's Lower East Side, where some of the homeless of Tompkins Square Park settled after the riots of June 1991, the movie begins with the encampment's first night and ends with the fire and subsequent destruction of the lot in October of the same year. Applying rhythmic construction, poetic license and a generous eye to bodies in poverty, B/SIDE documents a gritty vision of late 20th century urban life.”  (New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative Catalogue)
• WHAT ABOUT ME, 1993, directed by Rachel Amodeo.
Cast: Rachel Amodeo, Judy Carne, Gregory Corso, Richard Edson , Richard Hell, John Peter Melendez, Jerry Nolan, Dee Dee Ramone, Rockets Redglare, Johnny Thunders, Nick Zedd.
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
B/W, sound, 87 min.
Introduction by Rachel Amodeo, filmmaker.
“WHAT ABOUT ME tells the story of a young woman, Lisa Napolitano (Rachel Amodeo), who through uncontrollable circumstances, finds herself homeless in New York City.   The film portrays her gradual deterioration as she exists on the streets, intermingling with outcasts of society.  Along the ways she encounters a shell-shocked Vietnam veteran, Nick (Richard Edson); a nihilistic east-villager, Tom (Nick Zedd); and a sympathetic good samaritan, Paul (Richard Hell).   WHAT ABOUT ME was shot on location in the Lower East Side and Tompkins Square Park.”  (New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative Catalogue)
Friday, September 18
10 PM
The Living Theater and the New American Cinema
Introduction by Jonas Mekas, filmmaker, author, director of Anthology Film Archives and Judith Malina, director of the Living Theatre .
•  NEWSREEL:  JONAS IN THE BRIG, 1964, directed by Storm de Hirsch.
With Jonas Mekas and members of the Living Theatre.
16m print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
B/W, silent, 5 min.
“A newsreel of Jonas Mekas shooting his filmed version of ‘The Brig” on the set of the Living Theatre production. ” (Storm de Hirsch)
• THE BRIG, 1963, directed by Jonas Mekas.
With members of the Living Theatre.
 16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
B/W, sound, 68 min.
“Part drama, part polemic, with shock-wave sound and a nightmare air that  suggests Kafka with a Kodak, the movie does exactly what it sets out to do – seizes the audience by the shirtfront and slams it around from wall to wall for one grueling day in a Marine Corps lockup.”  (Time Magazine)
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• STREET SONGS, 1983, directed by Jonas Mekas.
With Julian Beck and members of the Living Theatre.
16mm print courtesy of The New York Film-Makers Cooperative.
B/W, sound, 10 min.
“Made in 1966/1983 ‘STREET SONGS’ is a 1966 performance (shot in France); a section of the Living Theater’s ‘Mysteries and Smaller Pieces.”  Based on a chance-determined scenario written by Jackson Maclow in 1961, STREET SONGS weaves militant political chants into a mandala of mantras.  Julian Beck sits cross legged on an empty stage; the slogan he repeats – ‘Free All Men! Ban the Bomb! Stop the War! Free the Blacks! Change the World!’ – are both meditation and calls to action, as a crowd of voices answers each slogan and actors join him on stage to pace in a circle, clasp one another’s shoulders and collectively breathe ‘Ohmm…’” (the Village Voice)
Saturday, September 19         

10 PM
Punk Rock, Forever!
Introduction by filmmaker Amos Poe and  filmmaker/musicia Ivan Kral.
• THE BLANK GENERATION, 1976, directed by Amos Poe and Ivan Kral.  
Cast: Patti Smith Group, Television, Ramones, The Heartbreakers, Talking Heads, Blondie, Harry Toledo, Marbles, Tuff Darts, Wayne County, Miamis, New York Dolls, The Shirts.
16mm print courtesy of Amos Poe.
B/W, sound.  55 min.
“In 1976 Ivan Kral joined  the Patti Smith Group and became friendly with underground filmmaker Amos Poe.  Poe and Kral were both interested in the punk rock scene that was just beginning to emerge in New York City at venues like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. They began bringing cameras to shows, shooting silent footage of bands who were just developing potent reputations in the rock underground.  Poe and Kral married their silent footage with live tapes or demo recordings of the bands (most of whom had yet to release a record) to create a deliberately rough audio-visual record of the burgeoning scene.” (Wikipedia)
• SOUL CITY, 1979, directed by M. Henry Jones.
 Cast: The Fleshtones.
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Color, sound.  2 min.
Introduction by M. Henry Jones, filmmaker
“In Henry Jones' words, this film is intended to, ‘Visually counterpoint the music of a subculture.’ Punk rock group FLESHTONES perform the song "Soul City," as tiny black & white cut-out figures, (with hand-tinted flesh tones), against a flickering background of brilliant color. In SOUL CITY, Jones 'recycled' the same basic movements of his subjects by reconstructing totally new motions from the same severely limited amount of footage. This was done through alteration of perspective, and reversal of selected movements at varying intervals. The number of movements a subject can make, artificially created from a few basics, becomes almost limitless.” (Bikini Girl Magazine)

• PUNKING OUT, 1979, directed by Maggi Carson, Juliusz Kossakowski, and Fredric A. Shore.
Cast: Stiv Bators, Cheetah Chrome, Richard Hell, Hilly Kristal, Lydia Lunch, Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Helen Wheels.
16mm print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New
York Public Library for the Performing Arts, with the permission of Ric Shore, Managing Producer.  Punking Out has been preserved with funding from
the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
B/W, sound, 25 min.
“Documents the beginning of the punk rock movement in New York City at CBGB’s, a punk night club, and the lifestyle that revolves around this scene.  Presents a sometimes shocking look at the attitudes and motivations behind the movement through interviews with outspoken club-goers and band members of the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the Dead Boys.” (New York Public Library Catalogue)
Sunday, September 20
7 PM
A Moveable Feast:  A Tribute to the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative
Part 1:  Filmmakers Speak!
This program celebrates almost a half-century of the Coop’s existence, and the archive of more than 5,000 films that it makes available for distribution.
The Film-Makers' Cooperative, founded in 1962 as a filmmaker-run distribution center, is now the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world.   Since 1967 the Coop had its offices at Lexington Ave and 31st Street New York City. It then relocated to the Clocktower Gallery at 108 Leonard Street, and is currently in the process of moving to a new state-of-the-art facility at 475 Park Avenue South, thanks to the generosity of real est ate developer Charles S. Cohen.
Cast:  M.M. Serra (voiceover), Jonas Mekas (voiceover).
16mm print courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Color, sound, 14 min.
“The day the Film-Makers' Cooperative was forced by loss of lease to move from their offices at Lexington Ave and 31st Street in New York City filmmaker and Coop member Joel Schlemowitz showed up with a camera to document the historic moment. Rather than record the event per se, a freewheeling use of roving handheld, time lapse and double exposure were employed to create a visually evocative, impressionistic documentary about the Film-Makers' Cooperative. On the soundtrack Jonas Mekas, one of the Coop' s founders, and MM Serra, the current executive director, describe the Coop's beginnings, the organization's recent struggles, and the difficulties of finding space for the arts.” (New York Flm-Makers Cooperative Catalogue)

• SERRA’S MORNING, 2001, directed by Saul Levine.
Cast:  M.M. Serra.
VHS video courtesy of the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative.
Color, sound, 10 min.
Introduction by Saul Levine, filmmaker:
“Director of the Film-makers Coop M.M. Serra recollects her morning on September 11, 2001. The Coop is a few blocks from the New York Worlds=2 0Trade Center. The tape was shot a month after, while we were waiting to have lunch together.”  (Saul Levine)
• Followed by a presentation/screening from each current Coop filmmaker Board member of a work from the  collection that has influenced his or her work.
Titles to be announced.
Sunday, September 20
10 PM
PROGRAM:  A Moveable Feast:  A Tribute to the New York F ilm-Makers’ Cooperative
Part 2:  Through the Decades
Introduction by Jon Gartenberg, Curator, Howl Film Festival, and M.M. Serra, Executive Director, New York Film-Makers’ Coop:
This program also celebrates almost a half-century of the Coop’s existence, and the archive of more than 5,000 films that it makes available for distribution.  These films and videos date from 1921 to the present, and this program presents a brief (by no means comprehensive) survey by decade of the creative richness of the films in the Coop’s collection.  Titles to be announced.

All screenings are at:
Millenium Film Workshop
66 Easta 4th Street
NY NY 10003
Programs are subject to change.

The Sikh International Film Festival 2009

Identifiable by their colorful turbans which can be seen in every borough of New York, the Sikh community has established a major presence here. To celebrate its rich heritage, traditions and culture, the first Sikh International Film Festival does so through a diverse mix of independent features, documentary and short films at the Sikh International Film Festival 2009 this September 18-19, at the Asia Society.

Three films--1984 and the Via Dolorosa Project, My Mother India and Flying Sikhs: A History of Sikh Fighter Pilots (a World Premiere)--open the SIFF '09 with the Feature Session on Friday, September 18. One film addresses the genocide in India 25 years ago when thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed in the aftermath of assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi; an intimate portrait of valiant Sikh pilots during WWI and WWII ends this emotionally charged set on an upbeat note. 

On Saturday, September 19 the Documentary Session explores the topic of urban gang violence in A Warrior’s Religion. Through an enchanting history of turban--from ancient Christianity to modern day Sikhs--Turbanology (in its US Premiere) explores the impact of the war on terror and western society’s reaction to this humble article of faith.

A formal black-tie event at Cipriani Wall Street--The Sikh Heritage Gala--concludes the Festival. Acclaimed film-director and producer Mira Nair is the Guest of Honor for an evening of dance performance, art auction, and live entertainment accentuated by Bhangra pioneers RDB from the UK.

Film Festival Chair Dr. Paul Johar, explained, “The primary goal of the films we show is to hold a mirror not only for Sikhs but to an audience worldwide. We have a diverse set of films, and encourage film makers with our support every year by awarding $15,000 in prize money!”

Winners in the Documentary and Short Films will be selected by a notable panel of jury, including Ocean of Pearls Director Dr. Sarab Singh Neelam, Monsoon Wedding screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan and ABC News Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey.

In 2008, Governor David A. Paterson has issued a proclamation declaring the Sikh International Film Festival dates as Sikh Heritage Week, in recognition of the Sikh Art & Film Foundation’s efforts to promote cultural diversity in New York.

For a complete schedule, film details and tickets go to:

Quick Facts about Sikh-Americans

Sikhism originated in Punjab region of South Asia (India) over 500 years ago
It's the 5th largest religion with over 25 Million Sikhs worldwide
They have lived in North America for over 100 years
Dilip Singh Saund was the first Asian-American and Sikh Congressman in 1956
Over Half Million Sikhs live in North America


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