Forever Fest, a new film festival in Austin, Texas, that runs Nov. 1-3, aims to flip the genre’s usual dude-heavy script and honor all things girly. Picture a giant slumber party of a weekend stuffed with chick flicks, mimosa brunches, a clip show of film’s best chiseled abs and biceps, and photo booths where you can get your picture taken with Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling cutouts. Lots of glitter, though not necessarily the movie Glitter. The co-founders Sarah Pitre and Brandy Fons have standards when it comes to their girly programming. They gave the stultifying ensemble mash-up Valentine’s Day as an example of a romantic comedy they’d never inflict on Forever Fest audiences.
Fons, 41, who handles publicity for Alamo Drafthouse, was obsessed with the movie Pitch Perfect when the idea for Forever Fest was first born. “In Austin there’s a gaming festival, there’s a television festival, there’s a beer and food fest,” she said, “but there’s not a festival celebrating films over a weekend like the Pitch Perfects of the world.” Pitre, 34, who works as a lead programmer for Alamo Drafthouse and runs the website Forever Young Adult, says they approached their inaugural fest as a chance to reclaim the term chick flick. “We define chick flick as any film that celebrates the female experience and by that definition that makes chick flicks a vital, important genre,” says Pitre. “For us we really want to lift up that term and provide a place for people to come and celebrate chick flicks without any sense of shame.” They named their baby Forever Fest because, as Pitre says, “forever is such a word that you use as a teenager. Like, best friends forever, I’ll love you forever. But it also brings to mind these movies that we’ve seen a hundred times but we’re going to love forever.”
The weekend’s scheduled revelry includes a screening of Sixteen Candles, with actors Liane Curtis (Samantha’s best friend Randy) and Debbie Pollack (Maureen, Long Duk Dong’s girlfriend) in attendance, and then a chance for folks to don an ’80s prom dress and get their picture taken atop a birthday-cake-laden kitchen table across from a Jake Ryan cut-out. (Fons and Pitre did attempt to find and
kidnap invite Jake Ryan actor Michael Schoeffling to the fest, but alas he remains a dream conquest for next year.) There will be a mimosa brunch featuring a sizzle reel of best abs and biceps moments in film history. “The clip show is just going to be ridiculous,” says Pitre. “We’ve packed in so much hotness into the show I think the audience might spontaneously combust.” There will also be a screening of the movie Empire Records, an ’80s dance party, a YA author panel, and an advance screening of the movie The Book Thief with a cocktail party and book signing with author Markus Zusak afterward. To cover their costs and keep the ticket prices reasonable the friends took to Kickstarter where on Friday they reached their $15,000 fund-raising goal.
To get in on this girly action, check out the Forever Fest website. And of course gentlemen are invited to partake in the festivities, as long as they come in the mood to party without judgment. “No haters,” says Fons.