Alamo Drafthouse has hired brand management pro and film festival programmer Christian Parkes to serve as Chief Brand Officer. The Austin-based Drafthouse operates the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas chain, Drafthouse Media, Drafthouse Films, poster company Mondo, annual film festival Fantastic Fest, and the Rolling Roadshow screening series, all of which Parkes will help steer under the overall Drafthouse brand. He should fit right into the Drafthouse culture that co-founder Tim League has cultivated into an expanding genre cinema empire. Parkes has 12 years experience in brand management for Puma, Nike, Levis, and the Nasty Gal apparel line and worked with CEO Sophia Amoruso on her debut book which hit No. 2 on the New York Times Best Seller List. He’s also a co-founder of the world genre film festival Beyond Fest, held in LA in October in partnership with the American Cinematheque.
Controversy put Randy Moore’s Escape From Tomorrow on the radar at Sundance, where critics predicted that the fictional drama filmed without permission at Disney World would have to get past a courtroom before it reached theaters. As Escape nears its October multi-platform release, it has been deafening silence from Disney; not even Jiminy Cricket is chirping. That is the worst thing that could happen to a film where the venue is the only recognizable thing in a feature made on the cheap with no stars. Escape earned early notoriety for its subversive shoot after the filmmakers got The New York Times to flog a brewing David Vs. Goliath battle at Sundance. Turns out that newspaper was simply slinging hype and reflecting wishful thinking from the film’s backers. Disney doesn’t seem to care and the film is left to fly or die by its merits. At this weekend’s genre-heavy Fantastic Fest, where movie geeks gobble up subversive films, the pic screened with a whimper.
Cinetic sales rep John Sloss, whose Producers Distribution Agency is releasing the picture after it went unbought at Sundance, tells me some interested buyers were wary of crossing Disney when the film first screened. Sloss said he had offers, but Deadline has heard they were smallish and that Disney’s ire wasn’t the big factor. Getting a rise out of a corporation can be the best thing that can happen to a small film; earlier this year, the documentary Blackfish got on the map after its subject, Sea World, publicly griped about the characterization of multiple deaths involving its killer whales. Disney hasn’t made a peep, robbing Escape From Tomorrow of a lot of free publicity.
Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem screened in competition at the Venice Film Festival and will now have its North American premiere as the closing night film September 26 at the annual genre-packed Fantastic Fest. It stars Christoph Waltz as an eccentric and reclusive computer genius determined to discover the purpose of existence – or the lack thereof – once and for all. Pic also stars Matt Damon, David Thewlis, and newcomer Melanie Thierry.
Keanu Reeves will trek to Austin’s Fantastic Fest for the US premiere of his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi. The pic sold out of Cannes to Radius-TWC with designs on a late 2013 release. Reeves also stars in the pic opposite Tiger Chen, who plays a martial artist lured into an underground fighting circuit. Also in the initial lineup for the annual genre festival held September 19-26 are SXSW award winner Cheap Thrills and Erik Matti’s Filipino crime pic On The Job. As previously announced, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills will open the fest. Scroll down for more just-announced titles.
Robert Rodriguez‘s grindhouse sequel Machete Kills will get a hometown debut in Austin, Texas at the annual genre-packed Fantastic Fest. Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale turned vigilante Machete, who is recruited by the President (Charlie Sheen – billed as Carlos Estevez) to stop an eccentric billionaire (Mel Gibson) from launching a missile into space. Rodriguez has again assembled a B-movie dream team of name actors and unorthodox stars for his gory actioner, including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demian Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., William Sadler, and Marko Zaror. Machete Kills will have its world premiere September 19 at the new Lakeline location of the Alamo Drafthouse theaters, home to the annual horror, action, sci-fi, fantasy, and foreign film festival. Two weeks later Open Road Films releases the pic wide on October 4. This year’s Fantastic Fest runs from September 19-26, 2013.
Red Dawn, based on the 1984 film of the same name, stars Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, and Adrianne Palicki and will have its world premiere September 27 at the Austin-based festival. FilmDistrict is releasing the action pic domestically November 21. The genre fest, which has hosted world premieres of movies like There Will Be Blood and Apocalypto, runs this year from September 20-27 at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Red Dawn’
Disney’s stop-motion animated Tim Burton movie Frankenweenie has been set to world premiere as the opening-night film at Fantastic Fest on September 20, organizers said this morning. The studio opens the movie wide domestically on October 5. The black-and-white 3D pic, written by John August, is about a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life — with just a few minor adjustments. Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder are among the voice cast. The genre festival runs through September 27 in Austin. UPDATE: As part of Disney’s promotion of the pic, it has released a cool 360-degree tour video of the set with interactive elements to click into. It’s certainly a different way to tell a behind-the-scenes story. Here it is: