So this post will be decidedly shorter than my previous screening post about Iron Man 2 since there's not really a ton to tell, even if equally awesome. Fantastic Fest is a film festival that happens every year for the past 6 or so years in Austin, TX. It was created by Tim League, CEO and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, and Harry Knowles, founder of Butt-numb-a-thon Film Festival and Aint it Cool News. The idea is that Fantastic Fest is a genre festival, specializing in action, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, etc genre films from all over the world. I was unable to attend the whole thing this year, but I did get a chance to attend the opening night gala premiere of Let Me In, the American "remake" of the Swedish vampire film, Let The Right One In. I placed remake in quotation marks because director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) didn't approach the film as a remake of the Swedish version, but as an adaptation of the same book both films are based on. I think he made the right decision, as obviously the two films will be the same in plot, but felt different in a lot of ways as well. On with the show!
So first thing that happened was Tim League took the stage to do some goofy stuff and kick off Fantastic Fest, all fun. Then Matt Reeves joins him and starts the intro to the film. Soon he was joined by none other than the great composer Michael Giacchino (LOST, Up, Star Trek, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, M:I:III) , who, as anyone who knows me knows, is my current favorite film composer. To me, this guy is the legitimate heir to John Williams' throne. If that sounds like hyperbole, I will just say that after you listen to his scores, especially for Star Trek, Up, LOST, and Let Me In, you'll know what I mean. So Giacchino tells us he has a surprise, then introduces these folks....
The Texas Boys Choir and their conductor and piano accompaniment came on stage and performed a live rendition of an overture from Giacchino's score. Beautiful, haunting stuff. They left the stage and the film begins. My full review of the film will be up shortly, but needless to say, it's one of the best films of the year and the finest American horror film in years.
After the film was over, Tim came back on stage, and introduced Matt Reeves, Elias Koteas, Michael Giacchino, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Dylan Minnette, and Jimmy Pinchak for a brief Q&A session.
(left to right: Matt Reeves and Elias Koteas)
(left to right: Michael Giacchino and Dylan Minnette)
Just like at the Iron Man 2 screening back in April, it seemed like I was the only person with the balls to start off the questions, so my question got answered first. I asked Giacchino (after embarrassingly gushing about his scores) what it was like to go from bombastic scoring of big blockbusters and Pixar films to something more creepy, atmospheric, and subtle. He gave a somewhat vague response about how ironically he can't deal with blood and such, so scoring for a very bloody horror film was a different experience for him, but he knew that as long as he drew from an emotional context that the beautiful story provided, he could do it. Vague indeed. There were a couple other questions I can't remember.
After everyone dispersed, I managed to get Giacchino and Reeves to answer a couple more questions and autograph this limited edition Mondo Tees designed poster for the film
(Michael Giacchino's autograph)
(Matt Reeves' autograph)
I asked reeves what it was like to go from the large scale, yet shaky-handheld "lost tapes) style of Cloverfield (a film I'm on the record of being a big fan of) to something much more stately and traditionally filmed like Let Me In. We chatted for a couple of minutes about how this was actually the kind of film he's always wanted to make, and that both films share some stylistic parallels in that they both take place form the point of view of these normal people (Cloverfield dealing with the college kids, Let Me In from the POV of the 12 year old boy Owen) and hwo through that, you get this sense of the main characters being caught up in something bigger than them unexpectedly, with no idea how to handle such circumstances. Fascinating stuff, wish I could have talked with him longer. Maybe a full length interview could be arranged later.
In any case, a really fun time, and my review of the film will be up soon. Until then, have at it in the comments section.