The Austin, TX.-based Fantastic Fest is known for showcasing genre films from all around the world — and the 2015 event, which runs Sept. 24-Oct. 1, continues that tradition. But this year’s festival is also putting the spotlight on a movie made close to home by hosting the world premiere of Lazer Team at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar venue, tonight.
“Lazer Team is a story about four idiots who come into possession of a super-advanced suit of power that is given to them somewhat accidentally by a benevolent alien species,” explains Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum, who directed and co-wrote the film. “They’ve been warning us that there are hostile forces in the galaxy that are coming to attack earth. The suit was supposed to be destined for a champion of earth that the military had been raising in secret to be the ultimate savior of humanity. And these four guys, they shoot down the drone delivery-ship with fireworks by accident, put this thing on, and suddenly we’re off to the races where these guys now have to save the world.”
The cast of Lazer Team, set for a release this winter, includes several of Hullum’s Rooster Teeth colleagues, among them Michael Jones, Gavin Free, and Burnie Burns, another of the film’s co-writers. Did Hullum have any difficulty directing actors who are also his friends and co-workers? “It is sometimes hard to do the directorial ‘point’-thing — you know, ‘Let’s go over here!’ — and you’re trying to make your directorial gestures, and then somebody just wants to grab your finger and pull it, for a fart gag,” says the filmmaker. “But they were great. We’ve all worked together for so long at this point that it’s all really natural and I think there’s a lot of trust between all of us. They felt comfortable that I was going to execute on a vision that wasn’t going to embarrass them — unless it was specifically scripted to embarrass them. And in that case, I embarrassed the hell out of them.”
Hullum is thrilled for his film to be premiering at Fantastic Fest. “We love everything regarding the Alamo Theater chain,” he says. “I think it’s the greatest theater chain in the entire world. Being able to show a movie at the Alamo is just awesome.” The director says it’s also possible the Rooster Teeth crew might wind up participating in the festival’s annual series of debate-fights. “I wouldn’t surprised,” he laughs. “Hopefully, we’ll make it through the event without anyone going to the hospital, but you never know.”
You can see the trailer for Lazer Team, above, and an exclusive clip featuring Jones, Free, Burns, and Colton Dunn, up top.