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Meet a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD: Barbara Kennedy

Barbara Kennedy - A Fantastic Fest
by Jason Whyte

Continuing our look into Fantastic Fest Die Hards, film fan Barbara Kennedy is an Austin native and one of the first people I ever met at the annual Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

“My dad was in the army, so we moved every couple of years throughout most of my life; I've lived in Colorado, Tennessee, Germany, and Texas. He retired when I was around 11, and decided Austin was the place to be. Initially, I hated the Texas heat, but the city was amazing, and I too grew to love it here with its thriving music scene, great attitude, and energy and decided to stay long term. I work as a business systems analyst for the city of Austin, and really do love my job (well, 95 percent of the time) as I work with great people. In addition to film, I love music, craft beer, college football, and trying new things.”


So what makes you a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD?

My first Fantastic Fest was in 2008 and the experience was incredible! I met amazing people while waiting for films, and I loved so many of the films I saw. I have attended other film festivals, and I usually like about 40 percent of the movies, love 30 percent, not so enthusiastic about 25 percent and hate about 5 percent of what I see. My first year at Fantastic Fest, I LOVED 95 percent of the films and liked more than 4 percent. In fact, there were only two out of the 24 films I saw that I didn't like or love. The people made it an even better experience. I did not encounter any "film snobs." Oh yes, I met tons of people who loved and knew films, but they were kind, approachable, and enthusiastic to discuss movies with those of us who didn't have the vast knowledge they did.

How do you explain Fantastic Fest to someone who is not familiar with the film festival?

I tell them Fantastic Fest has the best programming of any festival. I explain the ticket process and that you are guaranteed to get into a film during any time slot if you want, and that often times, not getting into the film you think you want to see is a good thing, as you end up seeing something better anyway. You really can't go wrong with the selection of films screened. I mention the awesome people and the insanity of the karaoke and closing night parties. I've convinced people to attend, and they all come back after the first time.

Every attendee experiences Fantastic Fest differently, so I'm curious as to what a day is like for you at the festival.

I focus mostly on movies, but I love my Fantastic Fest friends and try to spend time with them in between screenings and at the couple parties I attend. I generally see a minimum of 24 films, and attend about two parties.

Overall, what are you looking forward to the most at Fantastic Fest, 2011 edition?

I cannot wait for this year! I am excited to see what amazing films the programmers have selected. I'm especially looking forward to seeing some of the French filmmakers who will be attending because I have a passion for French horror. And I'm psyched for a reunion of sorts with those friends I only see annually.

Would you say that you have a particluar genre or filmmaker that you follow at the festival every year?

I don't really follow a particular filmmaker, but I tend to lean towards martial arts and horror films in general.

Do you have a particular favorite menu item at the festival’s key venue, the Alamo Drafthouse?

I enjoy the Alamo's Fish and Chips a lot, so I guess that's my favorite, although their salads are very tasty, too.

What has been your favorite non-film related event of past editions of the fest?

I think my favorite non-film event was the Cave Rave closing night party in 2008, followed closely by the Norwegian Boat Party and Ghost Town closing party in 2010.

Looking to the future, Is there anything you wish the festival would try out for the 2012 edition?

I would like to see Fantastic Fest run for two solid weeks, show movies from 9am to 2am, and have a different themed party every night from midnight to 2am. Insanity, I say, insanity! But that would be AWESOME!

What has been your favorite moment or experience at any previous FF that you have attended?

This is by far, the hardest question you are asking. To pick a single moment or experience that is the best at Fantastic Fest is like asking me to pick my favorite strand of hair. There are too many wondrous, incredible moments that complement each other so that to pick one wouldn't do justice to it or the experience as a whole.

What is the single, greatest movie that you have seen at any Fantastic Fest?

For me, I absolutely loved “The Good, The Bad, The Weird.” It was incredibly beautifully filmed, dynamic, colorful, and thoroughly enjoyable.

And finally, what is your all time favorite movie and why?

My favorite film changes frequently based on my mood, most recently viewed and so forth, so it's really hard to pick one. If I had to say, I guess it's a tie between “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” and “IP Man”. “Scott Pilgrim” is so fresh and fun. There are so many small things that make that movie amazing to me and I find it fascinating. “IP Man” is one of those rare action films that is more about the person and less about the action, but still manages to have tons of amazing action in it. It's a movie that grabs my heart, tells a powerful story, does both in a way that is exciting, and Donnie Yen is amazing.

This is a continuing series of Fantastic Fest Die Hard interviews for efilmcritic.com. For more information on Fantastic Fest including films, schedule and other events, point your browser to www.fantasticfest.com. You can also follow Barbara’s Fantastic Fest exploits on her Twitter at @barbara1112k.

Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com -- Follow me on Twitter @jasonwhyte


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3300
originally posted: 09/26/11 01:21:47
last updated: 09/26/11 01:22:38
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