- For the people who don’t know you and what you do, could you introduce yourself and your company?
My name is Patricia Lucia Locche though most people know me as Kyrsten, the reason behind my nickname is definitely too long but I have been using that name for 15 years now so it kind of became my real name. I’m the founder of FantasyEvents a no-profit Cultural association created to support the Fantasy genre culture through different kind of events, rumour has it we organise some hell of a Convention.
- How did Fantasy Events get started?
It actually started when I was going through a difficult time in my private life, so I took refuge in movies and books, what a better world when you don’t like the one you are living in? I became a Twilighter, went to Montepulciano to be an Extra in the New Moon movie, attended LCC, RingCon and Eternal Twilight Convention, then went to the Rome International Film Festival and everything was so different than abroad. The Rome Festival is an amazing event for people pertaining to the Industry but it didn’t allow the same kind of interaction with the talents I had the luck of experiencing abroad. I spoke English and had a job so could afford travelling abroad to attend Conventions, but it was not the same for the majority of the Italian fandom base, and back in 2009 there were no Conventions at all in Italy (if you don’t count the Star Trek ones), we didn’t even know what they were. So I decided to start contacting the managers I had got in touch over the years and using my previous work experience and a lifetime savings I started FantasyEvents and organized the first Twilight ItaCon in Rome back in 2010. It’s been tough because nobody knew what a Convention was, there was a lot of distrust but we proved everybody wrong and since then we have grown enough to be called the only reliable Convention Organizer in Italy apart the amazing JIB (they do Supernatural, they have all my deepest respect and admiration).
- How do you decide on the series which your conventions will be based on?
I have to admit I don’t watch any of the series I organise Conventions on. Apart from not having the time, it keeps me more objective and focused, I am interested in what the attendees want and like, it does not matter what I think.
I base my decisions first of all on the public request, then I check if there actually are enough people available to pay for a Pass in order to cover costs, we have done a few events where this did not happen but I was ready to face it and used my own savings to do it anyway, obviously this can happen only once in a while. Now we are lucky enough to have built a very loyal fanbase of our own that will attend any event no matter the subject, just to get together with each other, what a better feeling than that?
- What do your conventions have that others don’t?
I think the difference is mainly the emotional impact and the involvement with our attendees. Attending one of our events is not only about the Convention and meeting the cast per say but also about the journey together over the year, about the free meet ups we do once in a while around Italy to allow them to know each other before the event, it is about socializing and creating real relationship, to allow the feeling of belonging to something special that will always stay with them also after the Convention has ended. That’s why they made up the name FEmily for us and gave us an award to thank us. They know we are there for them, be it for an issue regarding the event or a private one; they can rely on the support of the group, be it for a school exam, a divorce, a loss or simply not having enough money to book a Pass. It has happened more than once for girls to gather and put money together to book a Pass for somebody who could not afford it, and I think this is one of the sweetest things ever, when you create a group that believes in you and supports you no matter what.
- There seem to be fans here with different nationalities, apart from Italians, do you know which other countries people have come from?
We have people from Russia, Bulgaria, England, Spain, Brazil, France, Germany, at times we also got people from the States and Israel, we have about 27k regular followers worldwide.
- This obviously takes a lot of time and effort, have there ever been any moments when you have wanted to quit?
Oh yes, nearly every year hahaha. Running these events is really exhausting and will never thank my staff enough for all their support, mainly in these last two years when I went through a lot; my father was diagnosed with cancer (he died a few months afterwards), left my main job, had to move like twice in a couple months, broke up with a very important person all at the same time, so I really had not much the strength or mind to carry on everything on my own, their help and support has been fundamental.
Organising a Convention takes nearly a year and sometimes more of constant work, with no day or time off, it mostly means that you can’t have a life of your own, it takes a heavy toll on you, but it definitely keeps you in good shape.
- And, have there been any moments when you have realized it’s all worth it?
Every single time I see what we have become, the smiles and happiness on our girls and guys faces when they see their dream becoming true, realizing they are not alone but have so many friends all over the world. There is no better feeling than making someone happy, hearing how all this is important to them and helps them with their life, giving them hope that if they are persistent enough and really believe in their dream they can achieve anything they want in life, no matter where they come from.
- Have you got any memorable anecdotes about any of your events that you would like to share with us?
I am sorry but you would have to ask my staff about any of them, as weird as it may seem, during the event I am always so busy around that I barely live any of it, have never seen a panel, I even barely come across the cast. For sure the best moments for me are the times when I get to talk to some of the attendees, and check that they are happy. To see what a big impact has had meeting Ian Somerhalder and the others in their life especially for people with a difficult background or disabilities, is touching.
- And finally, can you tell us a little about your future projects?
A lot of projects both with FantasyEvents and FE Network a Consulting Company in the States. We have the Celtic Mystery Festival in Edinburgh from the 7th-8th August part of the Fringe Festival, a Charity event in Los Angeles in September, the Teen Wolf Convention Nemeton ItaCon Returns in Rome in December, the Love&Blood ItaCon 4Ever June 2016 plus we got to define dates for Outlander, Grey’s Anatomy and XFiles, we always have some other projects abroad so we are pretty busy for quite a few years but always open to requests.