best of the fest
Fantastic Fest's yearly live game show, The Fantastic Feud, pits two teams—one comprised of US competitors and one of international contestants—against each other in a booze-filled battle of wits. For 2011, the Feud dropped the trivia-heavy rounds of previous years for a pure Family Feud-style experience: festival badgeholders were polled on a number of questions and the top 150 answers were used. The program was hosted, as usual, by sponsor FearNet's own Scott Weinberg and Alamo Drafthouse employee Devin Steuerwald, who took the stage in intricate Mario and Luigi costumes.
The US team consisted of House of the Devil and Innkeepers director Ti West, West Coast Editor of MovielineJen Yamato, Badass Digest editor Devin Faraci, the well-spoken and ex-Canadian James Rocchi and actor Elijah Wood. On the international side, competitors were actor Dominic Monaghan, Penumbra producer Andrea Quiroz, The ABCs of Death producer and exploitation film guru Ant Timpson, TwitchFilm founder and Fantastic Fest programmer Todd Brown and Timecrimes and Extraterrestrial director Nacho Vigalondo.
The game was lightning fast and lively. The US team swept the very first round, nailing the question: "What is the best sci-fi film you've ever seen?" Answers like 2001: A Space Odyssey,Blade Runner and Alien racked up quick and big points. Subsequent rounds saw many sweeps from both teams—and just as many steals.
A highlight of the Feud tends to be the in-fights that develop on stage, usually resulting in beer flying, wrestling and knocking contestants off the stage. The year was no different, with Nacho taking Ant out after a heated argument. A yearly point of contention is James Rocchi's eligibility for the US team—he is a former Canadian, but received his citizenship in the States three years ago. The fights are all in good fun and, in typical Fantastic Fest fashion, it was pure entertainment for the wild audience.
In the end, the reigning champion US team trumped the International team: 461 to 232. Of course, the Fantastic Fast audience went home happy (and most were substantially drunker).