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The Application for BNAT14: THE LUCKY NUMBER! Aka BUTT-NUMB-A-THON aka GEEK CHRISTMAS aka Best Thing Ever.


Hey folks, Harry here…  this time with the 14th Annual BUTT-NUMB-A-THON Application post.  This has been a wonderfully complex year.  I’m so incredibly happy with the show, but then AICN has had some of the hardest times it has ever had this year.  In the next couple of months we should be in the clear, but it’s been a very difficult time.   As a result, I find myself wanting to put together the best damn BUTT-NUMB-A-THON that I ever have.   With the end of the first season of the show marked after tomorrow’s taping, then a whole bunch of energy can focus upon nailing down some very real “HOLY SHITS!” 


Now – what is a “BUTT-NUMB-A-THON”?   It all began when Tim League asked me to put together a huge film geek event.  Originally it was going to be 100% films from Father Geek & Mine’s 16mm film library.   A chance screening of PITCH BLACK that Moriarty & I attended changed that forever.   Then when Paul Thomas Anderson messaged me about screening MAGNOLIA there…  well the concept of what a BUTT-NUMB-A-THON was going to be changed.  It’s still meant to be a film lover’s best 24 hours.   And for me, and many of the attendees, that’s precisely what it has become.   Film Geek Paradise.  Or as Massawyrm called it, GEEK CHRISTMAS.


Over at Wikipedia there’s a list of everything that has played in the last 13 years, as well as a history of the event.  It’s a great place to start.


Now, why the application?


Well, over the years I’ve fallen in love with this process.  You see, every year I have to put together a seating chart and it is especially cool if you know people’s interests and passions and you sit them in a close proximity and presto – a life long film friendship is formed.   By hand picking the audience based on this rather eclectic list of questions and tasks…  well, we all earn the right to own this 24 hour experience.   It also provides fodder for the YEARBOOK that everyone gets with their photo and some of their best tidbits from the application that makes an awesome keepsake.   Going through my yearbooks helps me to remember all the awesome attendees over the years.


What am I looking for?  People with a passion for cinema.  Not just the big splashy premieres, but the folks that hunger for a cinematic rarity that I pick that somehow creates an insane cinematic quilt like experience that by the end of the event…  you’ll feel a cinematic thread that can span a century of flickers!   People whose eyes yearn for Black & White, IB Tech, 70mm, IMAX, REAL D 3D.  And whose ears want musicians accompanying silent films, MONO, Optical STEREO and then the very  best fucking sound you can have in a theater.   This festival takes you through it all.


As always the cost of the event is split upon two considerations, the cost of the event, which is determined once all the film print shipping costs, tech, surprises, guests, etc…    And then, to pay for the year round film series, THE SATURDAY MORNING KIDS CLUB, which Butt-Numb-A-Thon has turned into the longest monthly film series in Austin.   It is a free show that allows kids to discover classic awesome cinema for free.  One of our early attendees grew up to become Emily Hagins, filmmaker.   It is based upon a series I attended as a boy. 




When?  Sometime upon the morning of SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8th, 2012 – The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar will welcome the lucky chosen audience of the 14th BUTT-NUMB-A-THON.   Then Sometime, hopefully early in the afternoon process…  we will emerge from the theater into the stunning daylight of SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9th, 2012.  You will be disorientated.


Where?  Well, I already said it’s at the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE on South Lamar… but that’s sort of loose – and half of the audience is chosen from outside the local area, so let’s be clear.   The EVENT IS IN AUSTIN, TEXAS.  Why? Cuz I live here.  And the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar is my favorite movie theater in the world.  As you’ll soon come to discover…  if you follow all the magical instructions better than I expect you to.  1120 South Lamar BLVD, Austin, Tx 78704, btw.


What?  Somewhere between 11 & 14 films, a mix between future cinema and vintage cinema.  Only Tim League & I & a couple of elves know what is playing.  But people become addicted to following my hints via Twiiter, Facebook and peppered in everything I write on  The show often has directors, writers, actors, actresses and shocking things that would make Johnny Knoxville blush.   Usually involving Jeff Mahler.


HOW?  You get in by filling out the following application, which is due upon midnight of HALLOWEEN, October 31st, 2012.   The next day on November 1st, 2012 – I will alert all the winners and post a list with further instructions upon


Now for the Application:



  1. List your full name, then a comma, then the name of your inner cinematic hero or heroine.
  2. List the number of seats you are requesting.  Followed by the names of the people that are applying with you.  (Note every attendee must fill out a separate application, be sure to coordinate with your co-attendees, if you have them)
  3. Your date of birth + what else happened on the day you were born?
  4. Your preferred T-Shirt Size
  5. Your Email Address (Yes, we do require those)
  6. Your Twitter ID (if you have one, we organize a BNAT Twitter Group with this)
  7. On the 14th Episode of Aint It Cool with Harry Knowles, what did Patrick Read Johnson see before anybody else? 
  8. The first thing that pops into my head when I think of the number 14 is the phrase, “The Lucky Number,” which of course is the theme of this year’s BUTT-NUMB-A-THON.  The Lucky Number, of course refers to Bilbo Baggins – our future cinematic hero – and when I was a kid, 6 years old to be precise, I watched the TV broadcast premiere of THE HOBBIT as a Rankin Bass production.  It became one of my favorite things ever.  I even played it at BUTT-NUMB-A-THON 2 in the year 2000.   When I read THE HOBBIT I still hear JOHN HUSTON’s voice when I ‘hear’ Gandalf in my mind.  John Huston is also one of my all time favorite filmmakers.  So…  if you could watch ANY John Huston related film, what would it be and why? 
  9. In that HOBBIT, Richard Boone was the voice of Smaug The Magnificent.  Richard Boone was a noted badass opposite John Wayne in a wonderful group of flicks.  But perhaps he’s best known as Paladin on that awesome old show HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL.   I love that scene in STAND BY ME when they all sing that song.  Man I miss River Phoenix.  His brother was amazing in THE MASTER by Paul Thomas Anderson.   What’d you think about that film?
  10.  Scariest moment of your life?  Is there a scar?  Let’s see.
  11.  What do you do?  Your profession & your passion.  Two wildly different things, but sometimes the yin to one another’s yang.   Basically, what do you do for a living, and what do you live to do?
  12. Where do you live and what is the coolest thing that ever happened there?
  13.   Luck has always been a major factor in getting into Butt-Numb-A-Thon.  So tell me punk, do you feel lucky?   How so?  How do you know you’re coming to this BUTT-NUMB-A-THON?  This is also a Birthday celebration for me.  What makes you so damn lucky?
  14.  What movie have you watched most in your life and how does that somehow define you?
  15. Now, Act out your favorite scene from your favorite movie in some fashion?  Interpret it to your life.   Make it work.  Interpretive dance adaptations welcomed.  I’ve been performing for you all year long.  It’s your turn. Submit as a youtube link.  Special Bonus consideration for those that morph that scene into a favorite scene in your favorite terrible movie. (OPTIONAL: Pure Bonus Points - To clarify - Question 15 is not a requirement, but a bonus point situation. & something fun for you to do.  )
  16.   You have psychic powers.  You can see into the future.  What played at this BNAT and why did you just soil your seat?
  17.   Show me what sort of Film Geek you are.   Take a photo that explains the film geek in you.  Whatever that means.
  18.   Now make the face you’ll make on November 1st if you don’t get into BNAT14?  Break my heart, make me afraid.  Include that photo.  This will be your Yearbook photo.
  19.   How’s your year been?  Is this the last BUTT-NUMB-A-THON?  Are the Mayans right?
  20.  Calculate how far it is from your front door to the front door of the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar in Austin, tx – and how do you plan to make that journey & why?
  21. Watch BLUE SUNSHINE and explain what it did to you.



You now have a couple of weeks to email all of the answers in a double spaced email with attachments to me right here.   Every attendee will have a complete application, or they will not be attending.  Lastly and most importantly…  HAVE FUN WITH THIS!  Make an application that makes you excited, that you share with family and friends…  one that you’re genuinely proud of.  BUTT-NUMB-A-THON application process should be something you throw yourself into.   Now get to it, time’s a wasting, but remember there’s no points for being FIRST.  It’s about getting it as right as ya can.


I’ve met some of the best people I have ever known through BUTT-NUMB-A-THON.  Some even feel that it changed their lives.   It’s corny, but it’s also true.  In addition to being a film festival.  It’s a family that grows and changes and never loses touch.  We love movies and people like you.

Watch for tweets marked #BNAT14, read the talkback below, ask questions...  BNATTERS will help you.  People travel from every corner of the world to sit and watch a screen filled with surprises and the very best times.   Come join us.  Give it a shot.  Surprise yourself.

By the way - at BNAT 14 I'll be 41 - isn't that a little weird?

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