Does Austin really need another film festival? We must have well over a dozen in this town, including the high-profile Fantastic Fest and The Austin Film Festival. Is it possible to O.D. on movies? Nah. If you love cinema as much as I do, there’s no such thing as too much. But my loyalty to the flickering image will be put to the test next month when Austin hosts a brand new film event called Forever Fest, a celebration of “chick flicks.” Am I up for this one? And what exactly is it?
If you’re a lady who loves DIRTY DANCING, or a woman who’s seen SIXTEEN CANDLES a thousand times, or a guy who can’t stop quoting CLUELESS, welcome to the weekend of your dreams. Forever Fest is guaranteed to be more thrilling than your first kiss, more fun than your first co-ed party and more memorable than your senior year. It’s a festival that welcomes your inner teen while appreciating the fact that some things, like movies and people, just get better with age.
Forever Fest is the creation of Brandy Fons and Sarah Pitre. Sarah Pitre is the lead programmer of films for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and hosts Girlie Night, a monthly series dedicated to slumber party favorites. She is also the founder of ForeverYoungAdult.com, a website devoted to “YA fans who are a little less Y and a bit more A.” Brandy Fons is the co-owner of Fons PR- a film and entertainment company based in Austin that oversees multiple films festivals and studio clients in addition to the legendary Alamo Drafthouse and their family of companies. Through her work in the Austin festival scene, celebrating a diverse spectrum of interests in film, gaming, and TV, she realized there wasn’t a festival opportunity dedicated to the chick flicks she loved. Like puzzle pieces of magic, these two ladies were ready to unite on the day that Brandy Fons approached Sarah Pitre with the idea to establish a female-focused film festival.
I know Brandy Fons well from her dynamic presence at the past four Fantastic Fests I’ve attended. She manages to keep things moving smoothly at one of the most raucous film gatherings on the planet. Darting through the throngs of geeks and fanboys, Brandy is a blast of yin energy that lifts some of the yang a few inches above the primordial ooze.
When I got wind of Brandy’s new project devoted to romantic comedies and girly-pop I wanted to find out more. Shifting from the hard-core exploitation, sci-fi freakiness, splatter and martial arts mayhem of Fantastic Fest to John Hughes movies and pajama parties is a tonal shift as radical as Miley Cyrus going from teenyboppin’ to twerkin’.
In my talk with Brandy and her collaborator Sarah Pitre, I was struck by how completely devoted they were to a genre of film I knew very little about….or knew about and didn’t much care about. Why were two adult women willing to spend so much energy and money on films that most film snobs consider silly and shallow? Then I started thinking about a few of my favorite films and shit there were some movies that would fit right into Forever Fest’s programming. Valley Girl, Say Anything, About a Boy, Before Sunrise, The Sure Thing and even some of my beloved Truffaut, Rohmer and Bollywood flicks would be at home in FF’s template. Maybe not Sid And Nancy and The Honeymoon Killers, but damned if I didn’t have at least a handful of chick flicks in my list of guilty pleasures. Fuck art, let’s romance!
Brandy and Sarah are going to get this fest up and running whether or not their Kickstarter campaign meets its goal. They’re putting their money where their hearts are and that’s pretty fucking cool. For tickets and more info about Forever Fest click here. It runs from November first through the third.
The ladies get positively dreamy-eyed when they talk about their festival.