Meet a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD: Scott Schalchlin
By Jason Whyte
Posted 09/23/11 10:05:41
What’s another day at Fantastic Fest without another Die Hard interview? Today we talk with Austin resident Scott Schalchin on his love for the 8 day festival in Austin.
“I live in Austin. I work for the Health and Human Services Commission. I have a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and a J.D. from Texas Tech School of Law. I am a fan of film, chess, and reading; especially spiritual writings like Christianity and Taoism. I’m an avid beer drinker and especially love hanging in pubs. I’m also a sports fan; big fan of the Houston Texans, Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and – of course -- Texas Tech. Football is my favorite.” The downlow on Fantastic Fest Die Hard Scott Schalchlin.
What makes you a Fantastic Fest DIE HARD?
Two years in a row, I went to the Alamo South Lamar shortly after Fantastic Fest had taken place and thought, “Man, that would have been fun!” So finally in 2008, I got a second half badge. I was immediately hooked. The South Korean films really blew me away. I believe The Chaser and The Good, The Bad, The Weird both played that year. I believe Ex Drummer was the first film that I saw, followed by Let The Right One In. It was an amazing four days and I knew, at that point, I would never miss the festival again. I talk about it all year long and then attend. Then, the rest of the year is waiting for it to come around again.
How do you explain Fantastic Fest to someone who is not familiar with the film festival? What would you do or say to get them to attend the following fest?
It’s the most amazing eight days of the year. You get to see the craziest films and the festival is managed so professionally and smoothly. As well, the parties are fun and made for people who really love being there. It’s simply the bomb!
Every attendee experiences Fantastic Fest differently, so I'm curious as to what a day is like for you at the festival.
I hit the movies pretty hard. I usually see around 35 each year. I love the parties, but do struggle between going to them or seeing another movie. So, I typically hit the films hard early and then start attending the parties or hanging out at the Highball when I’m wearing out towards the end. It’s always fun to see people from year to year at the festival, my “Fantastic Friends.” There’s just no snobbery or pretentiousness there, which makes it very enjoyable. Of course, watching great flicks with movie lovers really makes the experience that much better.
Overall, what are you looking forward to the most at Fantastic Fest, 2011 edition?
Looking forward to Nacho Vigolando’s new film. Also, very excited about anything out of South Korea. Other than that, whatever Tim League has given us, I trust will be a great experience.
]Would you say that you have a particluar genre or filmmaker that you follow at the festival every year?
South Korean cinema is my favorite. I love revenge flicks as well and try to watch for them.
What is your favorite food/drink combo at the festival's key venue, the Alamo Drafthouse? Better yet, do you have any favorite area places to get food and/or drink inbetween films?
The Steak Sandwich is the best. Also, Home Slice Pizza is not far from the Alamo. I try to get over there at least a couple of times.
What has been your favorite non-film related event of past editions of the fest?
The closing night parties are always good. So are the fantastic debates. The addition of the High Ball has been a game changer to me. Gives you a place to let your eyes rest and drink while still seeing your Fantastic Friends around.
Looking to the future, Is there anything you wish the festival would try out for the 2012 edition?
I think they already nail it. I would keep it going as is and stay close to what has made the festival great.
What has been your favorite moment or experience at any previous FF that you have attended?
Singing Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” with Elijah Wood and Nacho at the closing night party last year was probably my top moment.
What is the single, greatest movie that you have seen at any Fantastic Fest?
Unfair question! I really am struggling to name just one, but if I had to, I would probably say either The Chaser or Let the Right One In. There, I slipped two in!
And finally, what is your all time favorite movie and why?
The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides.
Be sure to follow Scott’s Fantastic Fest updates on his Twitter account at @scottmshack.
For more information on Fantastic Fest including programming, ticketing information and updates, point your browser to fantasticfest.com.
Be sure to follow my updates on Fantastic Fest via my Twitter page which can be found HERE.
Jason Whyte – efilmcritic.com