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Meet a Fantastic Fest First Timer Gabriel Ruzin

Gabriel Ruzin at Fantastic Fest
by Jason Whyte

I'm a 34-year-old married guy with an almost five-year-old daughter. The three of us live in a cozy condo in lovely Denver, Colorado. My wife brings home the bacon while I play Mr. Mom to our daughter and write on the side when I can. I've always loved to write and, even though I've always been a huge film fan, I didn't really get into the entertainment writing biz until three or four years ago. I started with a little WordPress blog, ranting about politics, movies and so forth. That got me noticed by the founder of a UK entertainment site called Shadowlocked. I've written for them for a few years and was U.S. Editor for a couple of those. Since then, I've also written for fellow Denver and Fantastic Fest fan Brad McHargue's Mile High Cinema, Gordon and the Whale, A.V. Club Denver, and, most recently, Screen Invasion. I was recently promoted to editor at Screen Invasion due to my grammar and punctuation Nazi tendencies. Thank you, public schooling. Gabriel Ruzin, who is attending Fantastic Fest for the first time this year.

Do you attend any other film festivals around the year? If so what are your favorite things about those festivals?

This October will mark my second stint at co-hosting the Telluride Horror Show in Telluride, Colorado. It's a burgeoning horror film festival that has really started to turn some heads despite only being in its third year. Last year was a blast; lots of wacky films, great people. My role as kid-raiser has made it pretty difficult to travel around and attend film festivals, so I'm still pretty new on the festival front. I hope to be able to attend more in the coming years.

What made you decide to attend Fantastic Fest this year?

Since I've begun breaking into the business in my own small way, I've met a lot of awesome fellow writers. Over the last couple years, I've had to endure repeated instances of these writers regaling me with tales about Fantastic Fest, gently ribbing me about not making it down to Austin and telling me about everything that I missed. Last year was especially hard to take and I vowed to do everything I could to be a part of it this year.

What are some of your favorite types of films? (And least favorite types of films if you are so bold)

My film tastes have really changed over the past several years. The younger version of me was all about the action and adventure films; sci/fi, fantasy, shoot-em-ups, and so forth. While I still enjoy those movies, I've found myself drawn to deeper films in my advancing years. I've become a huge fan of the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Paul Thomas Anderson, and the like. Although brainless comedies and things going boom are still guilty pleasures of mine, I generally look for more emotion and meaning out of movies these days.

What do you expect to see when you arrive in Austin for Fantastic Fest this year?

I honestly have no clue. I've never been to The Alamo and have never even been to Austin, so this will be a totally new experience. All I know for sure is that I will be around many, many like-minded movie nerds who will undoubtedly be down for some debating, reminiscing, and throwing back a beer or two. My people.

Do you plan to see only movies at Fantastic Fest, or attend parties, or a little bit of both? What's your gameplan?

I can't attend for the entirety of Fantastic Fest, unfortunately. I'll be missing the first couple days and last couple days. So I won't be around for the opening party or closing party. That being said, I am sure that, in between lots of movies, I'll still have time to meet new friends and attend a handful of events. I've been told by a few friends of mine that they will make sure I get the full Fantastic Fest experience, so I'm not worried.

Are you planning to hit up any barbecue or any non-Fantastic Fest events during the festival?

I have it on good authority that if I don't have at least one authentic barbecue meal while I'm down in Austin, then I'll have done it wrong. As far as anything beyond that, probably not. I only have about four days in Austin, so I imagine I'll be concentrating on Fantastic Fest for the duration.

Overall, what are you looking forward to the MOST at Fantastic Fest 2012?

There are too many things for me to narrow it down to just one. I've been itching to see a film at The Alamo Drafthouse for many years, so the first time I sit down in that theater, I'll be particularly psyched. There are also a lot of people who I've only spoken to via social media and have never had the pleasure to meet in real life. I won't list them, for fear of forgetting somebody, but the author of this very piece, Jason Whyte, is one of them. Several of them will be in Austin for Fantastic Fest and it'll be a delight to finally hang out with them in person. There are also a bunch of Colorado movie folk who will be there, including Brad McHargue, Jason Cangialosi, and Ted Wilson, the director of the Telluride Horror Show, among others. Basically it all boils down to being able to finally visit the Mecca of movie theaters while seeing some awesome films, surrounded by awesome people. A big movie fan could hardly ask for more.

Finally, a question I ask everyone...what is your all time favorite motion picture, and why?

As a man in my mid-thirties, I can watch masterpieces like THERE WILL BE BLOOD, PSYCHO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, JAWS, etc. and appreciate their brilliant nuances, genius cinematography, and towering characterizations. I love those movies and hundreds more. But I doubt that the nerd in me will ever allow me to answer anything besides STAR WARS when asked for my all-time favorite movie. I was born seven months after it was released, it's one of the first films I ever remember seeing, and the beautiful set designs, the fun space opera trope, the amazing score, and the badass action never get old. I've always loved it and always will. Is it the best movie I've ever seen? No. But it's my favorite.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @jasonwhyte for more up to date pictures, quick reviews and commentary, live from Austin, Texas!

This is one of the many interviews featured for coverage at Fantastic Fest this year. For more information about the fest please feel free to check out

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 09/25/12 08:54:07
last updated: 09/25/12 08:54:42
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