The Alamo Drafthouse-affiliated Fantastic Fest is calling off the party this year.
Organizers for the film festival — which celebrates genre cinema, as in sci-fi, horror, crime and all things in-between — announced Tuesday evening that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led them to cancel the event in what would have been its 16th year.
"Up until just a couple of weeks ago, the Fantastic Fest team had been diligently poring over screeners and considering movies from the Cannes Film Market. While we knew it wouldn’t be the same as pre-COVID fests, we were clinging to the hope that the trajectory of the virus would improve and we would be able to execute some manner of safe, socially-distanced, film festival at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar," a statement posted to the Fantastic Fest website reads.
Organizers eschewed the idea of a virtual film fest, saying in the statement that interactions between fans are integral to the "spirit of Fantastic Fest." They still plan "to gather the Fantastic Fest community on our regular dates for an online event, a ‘Celebration of Fantastic Fest,’ to reconnect and share an online experience." Details for that online event will be announced at a later date, according to the statement.
The festival is offering both refunds and rollovers to 2021 for badge holders. It also will refund submission fees to filmmakers, according to the statement.
The film festival has built a passionate fan following over the years and each year screens everything from cult classic grindhouse flicks to indie fare to major Hollywood projects that fit under its genre umbrella. In 2019, notable programming included Rian Johnson’s "Knives Out," Taika Waititi’s "Jojo Rabbit," the Texas premiere of "Parasite" and secret screenings of "The Lighthouse" and "Dolemite Is My Name."
Fantastic Fest plans to return Sept. 24-30, 2021.
Fantastic Fest at 15: An Austin couple’s love for Alamo Drafthouse’s big event
Alamo Drafthouse to reopen ‘one or two’ theaters in July, releases safety plan
State Fair of Texas canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus