Also known as QT-Fest, the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival in Austin, Texas is held semi-annually and features movie selections by Quentin Tarantino, as well as personal appearances by Tarantino himself. There have been six official Quentin Tarantino Film Festivals and two special QT-Fest events: the Best of the Fest event in 2006 and a Last Night at the Alamo event in 2007 to honor the closing of the original Alamo Drafthouse location.
The first Quentin Tarantino Film Festival took place on the University of Texas campus in 1997. The purpose of the QT-Fest is to showcase gems from Tarantino's private collection of movie prints, especially movies that have influenced his own movies. Each QT-Fest has a loose theme, like Italian crime films from the 1970s. Tarantino started the festival as a way of showing off his rare and bizarre film reel collection, to steer people towards movies that influenced his style, and to highlight the careers of overlooked directors, actors, and other movie types.
Adios, Sabata - One of the first films shown at a Quentin Tarantino Film Festival
Tarantino introduces each movie and gives a little talk about each. Every festival, there are reporters and industry types who are looking to interview Tarantino about his upcoming projects, but Tarantino is very serious about the QT-Fest's purpose, which is to highlight awesome overlooked movies. Think of the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival in Austin as a cult movie factory.
The first QT Fest was a strange mix of little-known spaghetti westerns, exploitation films, and B-movie horror titles. The movies were as diverse as the spaghetti western sequel Adios, Sabata (starring Yul Brynner in the role made famous by Lee Van Cleef) and the bedroom farce Boeing-Boeing starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. The lineup of the first Quentin Tarantino film festival set the stage for the eclectic festival lineups in years to come, with long forgotten low-budget horror classics like The Haunted House of Horror shown alongside big-budget 70s car chase classic Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry starring Peter Fonda.
Some video of Quentin Tarantino at the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival
Unlike QT Fest 1 (and all the other Quentin Tarantino Film Festivals), QT Fest 2 was relatively short and featured some fairly popular movies. The festival had such a short lineup, the entire film lineup is reprinted here:
Black Christmas - A 1974 horror film shown at a Quentin Tarantino Film Festival
The third Quentin Tarantino Film Festival returned to the Fest's roots, with a ton of oddball movies and QT favorites from many different genres. The focus of the third QT-Fest was 70s horror and exploitation, with movies like 1974's Black Christmas and the 1973 Italian horror movie Torso. Highlights include a screening of Mother, Jugs, & Speed, a black comedy from 1976 that is a precursor to 90s movie Bringing Out the Dead as well as a screening of 1974's The Four Musketeers, an important moment in Hollywood history because it led to many changes in the standard SAG contracts for movie casts and crews.
The fourth QT-Fest was the first one to be highly organized around specific themes. The fourth Quentin Tarantino Film Festival in Austin had as its themes: children's movies, Japanese monster movies, Italian horror films, heist thrillers, sex movies, spaghetti westerns, movies about pimps, and a Hong Kong triple bill on the final night, among other themes.
For the first time, Quentin Tarantino used QT 5 to introduce themes he was about to explore in his upcoming movies. Themes for QT Fest 5 included spaghetti westerns, sci-fi horror, children's movies, martial arts movies, Italian crime movies, good ol' boys movies, and exploitation films. QT Fest 5 set the stage for themes explored in Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2, both released within a few years of this particular festival.
Billy Jack - Another cult classic shown at a Quentin Tarantino Film Festival
There was a four-year hiatus between QT Fest 5 and QT Fest 6, a period in Tarantino's life that little is known about. QT Fest 6 took place in 2005, the year before his movie Grindhouse appeared, his first feature film in four years. In the interim, Tarantino had produced a few movies, but created nothing unique. He's said that he spent the time writing, watching movies, and preparing to finish his film Inglourious Basterds. QT Fest 6 featured lineups of secret agent movies, 80s horror flicks, Australian movies, Italian war epics, Italian crime movies, and grindhouse films.
This week-long event in 2007 took place a few months earlier than previous QT Fests and is considered a different event entirely from the standard QT Fest lineup. It featured films that had all been screened at previous Quentin Tarantino Film Festival events, hand-picked by Tarantino as the best movies from his collection. Titles include Billy Jack, Snake in the Monkey's Shadow, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, and The Gravy Train.
This event, held in 2007, didn't bear the official Quentin Tarantino Film Festival name but was a similar event hosted by Tarantino on the final night of the original Alamo Drafthouse location in Austin. The heavily-themed lineup represented the last nine movies ever shown at the theater:
The Quentin Tarantino Film Festival is an off-again, on-again film festival hosted and pretty much entirely put together by one of America's most popular and successful modern directors. QT himself is on hand to introduce films from his private collection and to offer fans a glimpse into the influences that helped him create his bizarre, gory collection of films with a huge cult following.