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Fantastic Fest announces it will require vaccines, plus first films on 2021 lineup

Eric Webb
Austin 360
"Titane," the toast of the Cannes Film Festival, will open up Fantastic Fest in Austin.

"No vaccine, no Fantastic Fest, no exceptions": Austin's annual celebration of weird and wild genre films announced on Friday that it will require all attendees of its 2021 festival to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

"Please bring physical or electronic proof of vaccination to check-in," organizers for the Alamo Drafthouse-affiliated film festival said in news release, adding that "masks must be worn at all times indoors when not eating or drinking."

News of Fantastic Fest's vaccine policy came with the reveal of the first wave of films on their 2021 lineup, which will mark a return for their traditional festival. Last year, they pivoted to a "celebration" instead of a full event, due to the pandemic. The 2020 event featured online screenings and programming, as well as limited in-person movies.

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The mandatory vaccine policy also marks the latest live entertainment in the region to make such a move, following the Kerrville Folk Festival and ACL Live's run of Jason Isbell shows.

On the film side of things: The U.S. premiere of Julia Ducournau's "Titane" headlined Friday's announcement. The 2021 winner of the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival — "a poignant study on loneliness, isolation and gender identity wrapped in a constantly surprising world of body horror, muscle cars, violence, and disco-dancing firemen," according to the fest — will open in theaters on Oct. 1, but Fantastic Fest attendees will get a sneak peak at the event, which runs Sept. 23-30. The opening night party also will be dedicated to "Titane."

Other highlights in the first-wave announcement include the U.S. premiere of A24 film "Lamb," Blumhouse production "Bingo Hell" and Netflix's "The Trip," which stars Noomi Rapace.

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Austin film experts Lars Nilsen and Kier-La Janisse also will launch their new book, "Warped and Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive," at Fantastic Fest, paired with 35mm screenings of exploitation film classics.

Fantastic Fest also touted the launch of the new BingoDome event, paired with Bruce Lee classic "The Dragon Lives Again." Also on the kung fu flick front, famed rapper RZA will be in attendance for a screening of "Master of the Flying Guillotine" to give live commentary, which also will be livestreamed.

"Lamb," the latest from film distributors A24, will make its U.S. premiere in Austin at Fantastic Fest.

“We’re thrilled at how the program is coming together,” Fantastic Fest director of programming Annick Mahnert said in a statement. “For this Post-Apocalyptic edition, we’ve scoured the four corners of the globe to find weird, silly, terrifying, entertaining and fantastic movies directed by established and emerging filmmakers. Opening this year’s fest with a Palme d’Or winner from a Fantastic Fest alum is a real treat."

Go to fantasticfest.com to peruse all 39 titles in the lineup drop (more will be announced later) and to purchase badges.