We didn't plan for this to happen, but it did.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema brand has always had a reputation for showcasing so-called "outsider" cinema. Let's face it: studio filmmaking keeps the whole machine running, but it can get rather boring rather quickly. There's always something exciting and refreshing about seeing something different, so there's been a commitment with the brand from the very beginning to scour the earth, to turn over every stone, to find anything different, weird and interesting. Lots of indie movies can qualify, and particularly the often-overlooked treasure trove of non-English speaking films...it's easier to find the strange in quantity.
But it takes a very special kind of film to be considered The Holy Grail of Holy Fucking Shit.
That's how our latest repertory release was first described to me in 2011 by our friends Evan Husney, Drafthouse Film's passionate former Creative Director, and Hadrian Belove, the head of The Cinefamily in Los Angeles. I had just been hired and was coming to Austin for the first time as a full-fledged Alamo employee. We had some cool brainstorming sessions about potential acquisitions. Miami Connection was a big one, and that turned into an even bigger success than I had ever imagined. This was another. "YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO SEE THIS WITH AN AUDIENCE!" I was told. Hadrian had a print. I just had to bring it with me to Austin and we could watch it here. So I collected said print, stuffing my clothes into my laptop bag so that I could carry it with me on the airplane. And then we screened it. To a packed audience. Who adored it.
People burst out in applause multiple times during the screening. My brain didn't know how to process it. It was partially melted with joy, partially frozen by fear ("WHAT THE FUCK DID I GET MYSELF INTO"). One thing was clear: we had to try to get it. Everyone wanted us to get this. My new boss, Tim League, wanted us to get this.
Flash forward three and half years, several hundred e-mails, text messages, phone calls, late nights, early mornings and one long night of collecting nine PRISTINE 35mm prints and driving them to Austin in the dead of night for them to join the AGFA collection.
And here we are. We're going to unleash this latest addition to the Drafthouse Films Holy Fucking Shit Library––alongside Miami Connection, Roar and The Visitor––at Fantastic Fest next Tuesday, in what we hope will be an annual tradition of showing our newest repertory mind-melter to an audience who is just there because they crave something different and new.
But this year is very special. This year is the first, and it's truly the Holy Grail of Holy Fucking Shit. So our brilliant and insane trailer editor, Greg MacLennan, cut a teaser trailer just for the screening itself. If you're coming to Fantastic Fest, don't miss this. Watch it, get excited, and we'll see you next Tuesday.
James Emanuel Shapiro