As many of you are no doubt aware, I have recently made the decision to step down from my role as director of international programming at Fantastic Fest. After over eleven years in the position this was in no way a decision that I took lightly. My reasons for making the decision - which have played out very much in public, so should be easy to find if you're looking for the background on this - were mine and mine alone. I have kept the conversation around the move to my personal Facebook account up until this point so as not to create confusion between what were personal decisions and what were official Screen Anarchy policies. That said, with the start of the festival now less than a week away, it does feel necessary to state a clear position and outline our plans for coverage.
We do not believe that it is the responsibility of the ground level festival - particularly not the films, the filmmakers who have struggled for years to tell their stories, and certainly not the fans who have laid out hundreds of dollars to experience and share in those stories - to bear the consequences of this particular shitstorm. We do not believe that the community the festival was created for is served by a boycott or media blackout and so we will be maintaining our planned coverage. At present our plan is to focus purely on the films themselves while passing over side events, but would certainly be open to engaging in broader cultural conversations should a constructive opportunity to do so present itself.
While this is the official stance of the website, we also recognize that the issues that led to my departure are deeply personal and emotionally difficult for many - including many within our own writing community and many will choose not to attend as a result. I have cancelled my plans to be there. Our managing editor, Peter Martin, has announced his own decision not to be there. Noted critic and former contributor to this site Scott Weinberg has announced he will not be there. We support and embrace these decisions and the people who are making them. My only personal thoughts on this matter is that regardless of whether you choose to attend or not attend, to cover or not cover, that you be mindful and deliberate about your decisions. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
On that note, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to our community here at Screen Anarchy and my business partners at XYZ Films, who have been swept up into this shitstorm with me with no notice whatsoever and have offered incredible support. I thank you, our readers, for being a loyal community and promise to get back to our regularly scheduled weirdness just as soon as we can. I thank the friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have reached out as well. I've almost certainly lost some friends here and while I've been a bit overwhelmed and unable to respond personally to all of you who HAVE reached out the way I would have liked to, please know that I have seen your messages and they have been a help. I would like to thank all those people who I don't know at all, who I've never met, who have reached out to share their stories. You are part of a body and we are strong. And I would like to publicly thank my wife Kristy, for consistently challenging me to be better.
This is not a position that I want to be in, but it is the position that I have. I'm trying to do the best with it that I can.