Fantastic Fest Travels to Lakeline for 2013


Twilight of the Alamo on South Lamar

The most highly-anticipated Austin film news question has finally been answered. No, not the name of the villain Benedict Cumberbatch plays in Star Trek Into Darkness. On Friday morning with this blog post, Fantastic Fest announced that its 2013 location will be the as-yet-unfinished Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline, which opens in July. Construction at South Lamar won't be complete in time to host the fest that's called that Alamo Drafthouse home for its eight-year history.

Reactions have been mixed but generally positive. Local festgoers most affected by the venue change will be those who live and work in south Austin, some of whom have already begun to plan sharing hotels and rides. Other Austinites, confusing Lakeline for the existing Alamo Lake Creek (which Lakeline will replace) have mistakenly complained about the inappropriateness of that spot.

In fact, Alamo Lakeline will have 10 screens, making it the largest Drafthouse to date -- and will have 35mm projection, which is necessary for many titles that screen at Fantastic Fest.  As with The Highball and 400 Rabbits, Lakeline will have an adjoining bar, though a location for Fantastic Arcade and other festival events is still in the works. Hopefully there will be an adequate substitute for the much-beloved porch at South Lamar (pictured at top).

The new location is across the street from Lakeline Mall, making it a short drive from indoor skydiving, Jumpstreet Trampoline Park and many great dining establishments that are as of yet undiscovered by the local Fantastic Fest crowd due to their far-north locations.

Unfortunately, the area is not flush with bars open until 2 am or the all-night eateries that tend to accompany such bars, but we will keep you informed abput what we find. Slackerwood is already planning guides to highlight nearby food options, accommodations and attractions ... and especially businesses with late-night service.  

In the meantime, the most important question for visitors to Austin will be "where should I stay?" Fantastic Fest has not yet worked out local hotel discounts, so visitors can either reserve space now with no discount or possibly wait until discounts are announced, and hoping the best rooms haven't already been booked.

A hotel appears to be under construction right next to the site and will likely be open by September. Until then, three hotels are within a long walk or very short drive of Alamo Lakeline, which is actually a better accommodation situation than at South Lamar.

The closest hotel is the Extended Stay America, 13858 N US 183. Next is La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin/Cedar Park/Lakeline at 10701 Lakeline Mall Drive. The third is a Holiday Inn Express, 12703 RR 620 North. Many other hotels at various price points are within easy driving distance. The area also offers a number of non-hotel lodging options such as short-term house rentals and bed and breakfasts in nearby neighborhoods.

What do you think about the new Fantastic Fest location? And what would you like to see the fest organizers do this year to bring us the best Fantastic Fest ever? I'd love to get a discussion going in the comments.

Thanks to Rod Paddock for helping me prepare this article.

[Photo credit: "Twilight of the Alamo on South Lamar" by J. Kernion, all rights reserved.]