Forever Fest celebrates the enduring legacy of ‘Mean Girls’

In Austin, sometimes a great idea for a festival happens while you’re at another festival.

Brandy Fons, a publicist for Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, and Sarah Pitre, a head programmer at the theater and force behind the Forever Young Adult website, noticed last year that the men’s bathroom line was much longer than the women’s at the annual Fantastic Fest film festival.

“And at the time I was obsessed with Pitch Perfect,” Fons told the Daily Dot. “And I started to think there wasn’t a festival celebrating the Pitch Perfects of the world, and I wanted to see the ladies’ line really full as well. Sarah already had an audience with [the Alamo Drafthouse series] Girlie Night.”

Their collective vision came together with Forever Fest, an annual “celebration of girlie pop culture,” which they launched over a weekend last year. This weekend, they’re focusing on the enduring legacy of Mean Girls 10 years after its release. On Friday night, they’ll host a Mean Girls quote-along with stars Daniel Franzese, Jonathan Bennett, and Daniel DeSanto.

“The power of Mean Girls has to be the fact that Tina Fey based it upon a nonfiction book about what it’s like to be an adolescent girl and the cliques and bullying and self-esteem issues,” Pitre explained. “And because it’s based on reality, it still really resonates with people. And with the Internet, I think every scene has been turned into an animated GIF.”

On Saturday, attendees can also take in a Nails Y’all workshop with nail artist Meghann Rosales (and yes, there will be a Forever Fest version of the mani-cam). Amira and Sam, the new film starring Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and Dina Shahibi, headlines the fest.

Also on Saturday is the Meme Girls: Women on the Internet panel, featuring the Toast’s Mallory Ortberg, the Hairpin’s Jazmine Hughes, Huffington Post Teen’s Taylor Trudon, and Hello Giggles’ Jennifer Romolini. After some general geeking out about how much we all love the goddess Ortberg, Pitre explained why a panel like this is important.

“To my knowledge, there hasn’t really been a panel like this before, where we’re bringing together writers from female-centric sites to talk about women online and feminism,” she said. “And I guess it’s common knowledge that there’s a lot of anti-women sentiment online with Gamergate and things like that. … We’re going to talk about what it’s like to build a community for women online. We’re going to talk about some of the bullying that happens online, but we’re also going to talk about what have been their favorite features to write.

“And one of the things I love about Mallory is that she’s wholeheartedly a feminist, but she’s also got a great sense of humor,” Pitre added. “And I think sometimes people think those things can’t go together.”

Since Forever Fest is focused on women in books, movies, and TV, I asked Pitre and Fons what shows are getting women right. They aptly called out two Comedy Central shows: Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City.

Broad City is what I wanted Girls to be,” Pitre said. “Not only is Broad City funny and subversive, but the friendship on the show is a really great, strong friendship. I’m hoping that one year we’ll be able to get those girls to Forever Fest.”

Now that’s a great idea.

Forever Fest takes place Nov. 14-16 at the Alamo Drafthouse. Visit foreverfest.com for more info.

Photo via Athena LeTrelle/Flickr (CC by ND 2.0)

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.