[News] Fantastic Fest Announces Lisa Dreyer as Festival Director

[News] Fantastic Fest Announces Lisa Dreyer as Festival Director
Lisa Dreyer l PC: Trevor Garza
Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest, the largest genre festival in the United States, is proud to announce the appointment of Lisa Dreyer as the full time Festival Director. In this role, Dreyer will be responsible for overseeing the creative direction and operations of the festival, which showcases the best in horror, fantasy, science fiction, and other boundary-pushing and groundbreaking genre films from around the world. She will also be expanding the festival’s yearly presence, with year-round programming of festival favorites at Alamo Drafthouse nationwide. The 18th edition of Fantastic Fest will take place in Austin, Texas, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, from September 21-28, 2023.

Dreyer’s appointment comes at an exciting time for Fantastic Fest. During the Berlin International Film Festival, Fantastic Fest was voted to receive accreditation from the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), joining other FIAPF accredited world-class festivals like Cannes, Berlinale, Karlovy Vary, and Venice. Fantastic Fest will be the first US festival in several years to receive this prestigious designation.

Dreyer brings a wealth of experience and deep love and knowledge of genre film, having previously served as a Programmer on the Fantastic Fest team, and working on acquisitions for Drafthouse Films. She stepped into the Festival Director role in a contract capacity in 2022, leading the festival’s first full-capacity in-person edition since 2019. 2022’s festival featured a special Lifetime Achievement award celebration for Park Chan-wook, honored guests like directors Martin McDonagh and David Bruckner, and the world premiere of horror smash hit Smile, which became the 10th film to premiere at Fantastic Fest and go on to open to #1 at the US box office.

“To watch Lisa’s rapid rise from watching screeners just six years ago to now helming the festival has been fabulously exciting,” says Fantastic Fest founder Tim League. “At every turn, Lisa has shown true leadership and vision all while both preserving and growing the very strange heartbeat of this crazy beast. The rudder of Fantastic Fest is in fantastic hands.”

“I am unbelievably excited to continue my work as Festival Director, and expand Fantastic Fest’s footprint throughout the year,” said Dreyer. “Fantastic Fest is the best week of the year for genre film lovers, and I am honored to be entrusted with building on its legacy and taking the festival to new heights, ensuring we stay one of the most innovative, eminent, and just plain fun fests for genre films in the world. With the huge recent box office successes of genre films like Smile, Fantastic Fest is more relevant than ever, and I’m proud to continue our mission of supporting and expanding the appreciation of genre film.”

The theme of the 2023 festival will dive into the world of the 1980s’ fascination with the occult, and guests can expect themed events from the wild decade that brought us Freddy Krueger, the heyday of heavy metal, and the Satanic Panic. As always, the festival will feature heavily anticipated world premieres, special guests, and unforgettable events. Dreyer and her team are already hard at work putting together an incredible line-up that will celebrate the past, present, and future of genre cinema.

Sarah Musnicky
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