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Fantastic Fest hands out awards; James C. Leary’s blog rules

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com

“Green Room,” a punks-vs.-Nazi skinheads feature with killer buzz and starring Patrick “Captain Picard” Stewart, took the audience award at Fantastic Fest. Those who saw it during the fest made the right call: “Green Room” doesn’t open until April 2016.

Károly Ujj Mészáros’ “Liza the Fox Fairy” came in second while Ross Sutherland’s “Stand By for Tape Back-Up” took third.

Nikias Chryssos’“Der Bunker” won best picture in the “Next Wave” Spotlight competition, while Can Evrenol took best director in the category for “Baskin.”

Heath Cozens took best director in the documentary feature category for “Doglegs,” his disturbing look at a Japanese wrestling league in which wrestlers with disabilities fight those without.

Check out the Austin Movie Blog (movies.blog.austin360.com) for the full list of winners.

AAAFF lineup announced

The Austin Asian American Film Festival has announced the lineup for the fest, which runs Nov. 12 to Nov. 15 at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre.

The fest includes 12 documentary and narrative features and 12 short films, a K-Pop opening night party and an Asian-American comedy showcase, a filmmakers’ brunch, a badgeholder social and a closing night party.

This year’s headliner is “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor,” which examines the life and legacy of Oscar winner Haing S. Ngor, one of the most well-known and outspoken survivors of the Cambodian genocide. In 1996, Ngor was murdered in a Los Angeles Chinatown alley at the age of 55.

Additional films include: “The Chinese Mayor,” winner of a special Sundance jury award for “unprecedented access”; indie dramedy “The Purple Onion” with star and co-writer Edwin Li in attendance; coming-of-age romantic comedy “Seoul Searching” with lead stars Jessika Van and Justin Chon in attendance; “Top Spin” with filmmakers Sara Newens and Mina Son in attendance; “La Salada,” winner of the Films in Progress Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival; “Placebo,” jury award winner at the EBS International Documentary Festival; and Ali Ahmadzade’s surrealist feature “Atomic Heart.”

All films will be screened at the Marchesa. Individual tickets ($10), film passes ($45), and festival badges ($65) are currently on sale. The Austin Movie Blog has the full slate.

‘Confessions of a G-List Celebrity’

James C. Leary is an Austin actor who recently starred in “Late Night Time Machine with Teddy Hancox” but he is likely best known for a role that didn’t feature his face at all: a two-year recurring stint as Clem, the loose-skinned demon, on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He’s also had roles in the HBO series “The Comeback” and NBC’s “Passions.”

He has also started an excellent blog called “Confessions of a G-List Celebrity” over at GeekNation.com (the “G” standing in for both celebrity level and geek). There have only been two entries so far, but it is a blast, a funny, thoughtful, sometimes moving look at the sort of comic/nerd-culture level celebrity who does the convention circuit and, well, until getting sober two years ago, turned drinking himself blind into a nasty addiction.

I am mildly allergic to recovery memoirs, but I really like Leary’s tone in this thing. A few random sentences:

“I was 24 years old when I got to La La Land and surprisingly I did a few things right … and then a whole hell of a lot wrong … that ultimately led to me being 39 years old face down in an Austin, Texas field covered in ant bites.”

“My first (convention) ever was San Diego Comic Con in 2002 which was kind of like losing your virginity to a porn star. People actually paid money for my autograph. They wanted pictures with me. I got … attention. For the shy, chubby kid that got picked on, beat up, and laughed at by middle school girls … it was a drug like no other.”

Find Leary’s awesome, awkward memories over at geeknation.com.