The director of international programming for Fantastic Fest has announced that he’s quitting the festival, over news that former Birth.Movies.Death. editor Devin Faraci has been rehired to work for the event. Faraci resigned from BMD—which, like Fantastic Fest, is owned and operated by Austin’s Drafthouse theater company—last year, after allegations emerged that he had groped and sexually assaulted a woman, an event Faraci said he didn’t remember, but also doesn’t deny occurred.
Yesterday, after Faraci’s byline in the Fantastic Fest guide was discovered and posted on social media, Drafthouse CEO Tim League made a long post to Facebook about Faraci’s re-employment by the company, highlighting the former editor’s newfound sobriety and League’s own belief in “second chances.” Faraci has apparently been quietly doing writing work for the theater chain for some time now, at first anonymously and more recently under his own name. As League puts it:
Once it became clear that his efforts were sincere, I offered Devin copywriting work at Alamo Drafthouse and have recently expanded that to include writing blurbs for our Fantastic Fest festival guide. He does not hold any leadership position at Alamo Drafthouse or Fantastic Fest and is not involved with Birth.Movies.Death. in any capacity.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the news was met with disappointment from a number of Drafthouse employees, including long-time Fantastic Fest programmer Todd Brown, who announced his resignation from the festival late last night. “I would like to be very clear,” Brown wrote on Facebook, “That despite over a decade of work as the director of international programming at Fantastic Fest, I had no advance knowledge of this decision nor knowledge that Devin was contributing to the program guide. I am still processing my feelings both about this decision and the fact that I—among others—was not consulted in the making of it.”
THR also quotes an anonymous former Drafthouse employee who states that they left the company in March over Faraci’s continued involvement. “I find the statement to be very disingenuous on Tim’s part because there was never any question of whether Devin would be given that opportunity. It wasn’t offered after a period of growth and change. Devin just very rapidly moved into his current copywriting/editing job after stepping down from Birth.Movies.Death.” They went on, attempting to establish a timeline for Faraci’s return:
Devin’s new position was not initially announced internally so it’s difficult for me to say with exact certainty when he began in it. But it was clear he was around, being cc’d on emails and such, within a month of his leaving BMD. After a number of employees expressed concern/outrage, an internal announcement was made much in the same spirit of Tim’s Facebook post, that he was ‘doing the work’ and deserved forgiveness and a second chance. …I don’t feel that a single month or less is long enough to properly reflect on, atone for and change such long-standing behaviors.
Fantastic Fest—which celebrates genre films, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror—begins next week in Austin, Texas.
Update: Austin360 reports that Faraci’s Fantastic Fest program blurbs have now been pulled from the festival’s site, and replaced by a different author’s work.