Tag Archives: festival

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Women In Film with Melanie Wise, Nicole Johnson, Laura Small, and Nils Taylor

The Last Knock

Billy Crash, a staunch supporter of women in film, sits down with the incredible Melanie Wise, the woman behind the phenomenal The Artemis Women In Action Film Festival – and surprise guests: Nicole Johnson, Laura Small, and Nils Taylor part of the team for the horror/action/thriller, Quarries.

They discus women in film, the need for an Academy Award for stunt people, what Artemis and the film festival is all about, how the independent film Quarries will rock your world, what filmmakers can do to better represent women besides T&A, femme fatales, and mothers – and if Hollywood’s doing enough for women on the big screen and behind the camera.

(Crash Note: That was not a perfect day for Skype quality regarding tinniness, but it’s all there and all rockin’.)

Learn more about the Artemis Women In Action Film Festival on Twitter, and don’t forget to visit Artemis Motion Pictures.

If you want to learn more about the women in horror film, Quarries, get the latest news on Twitter and at Quarries the Movie. Also visit writer/director, Nils Taylor’s website, and check out what executive producer Laura Small’s doing with Diamond Cutter Films.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: An Interview with Melanie Wise of Women Kick Ass

The Last Knock

Actress and producer, Melanie Wise visits the show to talk about the unique and riveting “Women Kick Ass” film festival, which is devoted to action films with female leads. As festival founder, she explains how women’s roles have changed in cinema over the decades, and how far we have to go around the globe to bring women’s rights to fruition. Do not miss this exhilarating and empowering discussion of women – and why they most definitely kick ass.

You can find Melanie at – and don’t forget to check out the Artemis Film Festival and Artemis Motion Pictures.


Crash Analysis Support Team: A Little Bit of Horror in Paris… Guest Post from Emilie Flory


With the explosion of a genre stunner that’s going to trigger some serious shock waves: Starry Eyes

A little bit of horror in Paris with the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival that just wound up its fourth year!

A little bit of horror… But too little, far too little in the end! If it’s true that globalization pushes creative movie products and works to the sidelines, French distributors’ heroic blinkered attitude toward genre films, which are constantly growing, makes you wonder! Showing hastily subtitled copies of John Dies at the End and All Cheerleaders Die was, from this standpoint, an unbelievable challenge for PIFFF during its previous years. The possibility of offering us stock cinema horror in 2014 has been reduced even more. Yet the audience is there, always in greater numbers, eager, loyal… Cult screenings, X-rated, out of competition or in competition, evening or afternoon, genre film fans filled the Gaumont Opéra movie theater, just a few minutes from the Paris Opera house.

Out of the eighteen movies shown, only eight were in competition. The festival’s highlight was the fantastic “Alien Invasion” night from 11PM to 7AM with: Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Philip Kaufman, The Blob by Chuck Russell, They Live by John Carpenter and Killer Klowns from Outer Space by Stephen Chiodo. Great movies all, but nothing very new. Whether it was French rigidity or this still young festival’s poor visibility, no world-wide premiere found its way into the selections.

Two fun nightmares, a delirious pseudo S&M tale, a trashy trip in the everyday life of a video journalist and the appalling transformation of an aspiring actress into a star without a soul, here is a brief summary of what we could have seen during these horrific Parisian screenings…


The Cult Screenings:

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) Wes Craven – 91 min

Re-released in theaters and presented at PIFFF with a perfect copy for its thirtieth anniversary, A Nightmare on Elm Street was certainly one of the best moments festivalgoers experienced. This top-notch horror film, winner of the Critic Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in 1985, still surprises by the tension it establishes from one end of the movie to the other and by the imaginative insanity it displays. Right from the tense and biting first scene with opening credits, shivers thrill through us… The movie’s impact on the big screen is phenomenal and Wes Craven’s genius fantastically powerful. Craven is never better than when he films our nightmares as being the sole and unique reality: We are awestruck by Tina’s disembowelment and levitation, we are staggered by Nancy’s fall into the bottomless pit that her bathtub has become and, most of all, we are petrified by the horrendous carnage committed in the bedroom of Nancy’s boyfriend where a young Johnny Depp, playing her immature lover, turns into a geyser of blood before changing into a torrent, then into a swimming pool full of gore. These mind-blowing scenes are pure moments of madness and filmmaking genius, of rare visual and emotional beauty. A Nightmare On Elm Street still remains today just as surprising, terrifying and exhilarating. In the same style, one has seldom done as well since.

WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971) Ted Kotcheff – 108 min

Shown in the festival with a restored copy after long years in limbo (there were no VHS or DVD releases or TV airings, nothing that would have made it possible to build up this fierce, exceptional movie’s reputation), Wake in Fright has been released in theaters and finally shines forth in all of its voracious, nihilistic and frightening splendor.

The director of First Blood puts us alongside John Grant, a polished “Rambo” who takes on the appearance of a young teacher on his way to Sydney to find his fiancée in an arid Australia where the feeling of isolation and insecurity rival with stupidity, idleness and cruelty. After stopping at Bundanyabba, a small town where he’s going to get bogged down in a gambling addiction, forced alcoholism, sexual brutality, the slaughter of kangaroos and self disgust, Grant is going to return to his home, back to square one, without managing to make it to Sydney…

By showing us the tragic path taken by his sleek, conformist hero, Ted Kotcheff reveals the fine line that separates humanity from animality, and the point where loss of morality and survival merge: An arduous and intimate trip in the revolting lands of human disgust.

The X-Rated Screening:

R100 (2013) Hitoshi Matsumoto – 100 min

R100, whose title refers to the Japanese system of movie classification (understand here that this movie is off limits to any moviegoers under the age of 100), is an “X-rated” comedy, half-absurd, half-cartoonesque with parallel plots and scenes of people in the audience commenting on the movie, apparently to muddle the story. The film is about an ordinary man who signs a one-year contract (with no breach possible) to get roughed up by delectable creatures. Frightened by the painful and dangerous onslaughts these eccentric dominatrixes inflict on him every day, the man ends up breaching his contract at the risk of his life.

The inclusion of short sequences, revealing possible questions the audience might have about the show it’s watching, confirms the idea of a movie by staging the fantasized reality of a hero who’s suffering. All these women, torrid and cruel, are in fact the fruit of his imagination. Through them, the hero gives his tormented mind the punishment it deserves, and gets him closer to the woman he loves – who now lives hooked up to an artificial respirator. The movie ends with the idea that a maximum threshold of suffering would explode all rationality, making this man even capable of giving birth…

Is R100 screwy? Oh, yeah, big time! Yet we remain outside of what is happening on the screen. There are a few striking moments in the movie, like its superb introduction with this fascinating creature who is primping in front of a mirror, or the grotesque dance of the “queen of spit” who inadvertently kills herself plus the irresistible whip attack by the amazing Lindsay Kay Hayward, the movie’s real revelation. But the lack of pace, suspense, provocation and outrage (no scandalous scenes interrupt the comfort the story settles into), when coupled with the movie’s complex meaning, make R100 a lovely objet, somewhat cold and unconventional, but rather boring.

Out of Competition:

NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Dan Gilroy – 117 min

Released as Night Call in France, Nightcrawler, screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s first feature film, is a tour de force. It’s a thriller where day scenes were shot in 35mm and night scenes in digital. Scope was added in a lab.

The action takes place in Los Angeles. The hero, Lou Bloom, is a petty thief who finds his calling by selling shock video footage to local TV stations. His ambition, supported by a successful beginning and questionable methods, gradually turns into an obsession…

Nightcrawler is a hypnotic movie totally driven by an impressive Jake Gyllenhaal. The actor, who also produced the film, gives 200% of himself in a role of chilling ambiguity. Less charming and rougher than Tom Cruise’s Vincent in Collateral (the two movies are somewhat related particularly in the atmosphere they generate), Jake Gyllenhaal’s character hides behind his good-natured smile as a predatory being that’s purely sadistic. Since Gyllenhaal is very likable, we accept Lou’s true face and his flaws.

In the movie, we follow the path of Lou, a sorry ass loser who struggles to find a job and is forced to steal to survive, up until the day he happens upon an accident. He sees two reporter-scavengers specialized in shooting shock footage that, once sold, will be shown on local TV stations’ major shows. Driven by an evident thirst for revenge, by a definite liking for risk and a remarkable sense of initiative, Lou sees his chance, seizes it, and builds the future he wants as a video journalist. Quicker and smarter than the average person, Lou learns and calculates everything in a flash. He’s out of place, he surprises, he even manages to reach his goal, but once all his efforts are rewarded, he knowingly proves unworthy of what he receives and sets out to enslave all those who helped him on his way up. To make her his “thing,” he humiliates the woman he desires (René Russo’s magnificent) and sacrifices his only friend, hastening his death. He becomes monstrous and bluntly reveals his true nature: “And what if I didn’t have communication problems with people… In fact, what if I didn’t even like them!” he concludes as his “best” friend dies in front of him.

Besides Lou’s fantastic character and Gilroy’s brilliant directing, one of the movie’s most interesting aspects lies in this unbelievable feeling we have of living through certain events as though they were real news items, which suddenly invite themselves into the story without having been asked. In this regard, the murders perpetrated in the villa, the shootout in the fast food restaurant, and the amazing chase through the streets of Los Angeles, are impressive in their realism and efficiency.

One of the other fascinating things about the movie is the vision it portrays of our cannibalistic society – of the alarming insecurity in which individuals struggle and the callousness the hero displays to get ahead (which he succeeds in doing very well). If Lou’s character has no empathy, doesn’t the system as it exists today contribute to the emergence of this kind of person?

In Competition:

STARRY EYES (2014) Kevin Kolsch/Dennis Widmyer – 96 min

Starry Eyes is the second feature film by the duo Kolsch–Widmyer, who also directed Absence, released in 2009.

Starry Eyes showcases the descent into hell of Sarah Walker, an aspiring actress who is ready to do whatever it takes to get her name on the top of the bill. Sarah lands an audition likely to open the doors to glory, but to get the part she covets, she has to pay a high price by submitting to the wishes of a strange sect that holds the keys to power in Hollywood.

Shot with a Red Camera in Los Angeles over a period of 18 days, the movie benefits from a solid screenplay, directing that is spot on and incisive, cinematography more than well-crafted, and fabulous actors including the brilliant Alexandra Essoe in the title role of Sarah, and the extraordinary Maria Olsen as the casting director, the pawn of a libidinous producer.

Alexandra Essoe, literally bares all in the role of this fragile beauty suffering from trichotillomania (the compulsive urge to pull out one’s hair), and who is determined to sell her soul. She becomes just as disgusting outside as inside after having inflicted the worst upon herself and having accepted the unacceptable. Very Faustian, the character undergoes multiple physical transformations according to her psychological malaise and her mentality and body suffer. Sarah is pushed in her descent to Hell by a woman who could be her mother and whose character, played by Maria Olsen, has a central place in the story. In fact, this woman is going to catch Sarah pulling out her hair in a ladies restroom and decides to let her pass another audition so she can make her dreams come true. She’s the one who is going to warn her about what she will bring upon herself if she refuses to follow the rules, and she is also going to encourage Sarah to prostitute herself. This severe-looking woman, who sees everything and knows everything, is her true catalyst. She represents the maternal authority that Sarah is deprived of. She is the one who could positively guide the heroine and would almost be tempted to do so, as a certain gleam in her eyes suggests when Sarah sees the producer for the second time. A sententious mother, a possible protector, a rival, a confidante? The character is all those things and Maria Olsen recreates them fantastically. When Sarah chooses glory and the sale of her soul by joining the sect, the character of this fictitious “mother” disappears…

Sublime, radical and atrocious, Sarah’s metamorphoses captivate and repel. The movie’s high point takes place in the last half hour when Sarah takes control of the story by becoming the story, and by giving herself what she wants more than anything else: to be a star, even if that means being responsible for an unprecedented massacre. The communicative elation with which the heroine gets revenge on her entourage (especially her oblivious and futile roomie friends) and the memorable, endless carnage she delights us with, offers one of those intense movie moments that remain etched in our memories for a long time.

With the theme of the actor who dreams of glory and gets tangled up in her fantasy world, Starry Eyes is somewhat related to Black Swan (which deals more with the performer’s schizophrenia) and especially Mulholland Drive (more oriented toward rivalries, the quest for recognition and absolute love). Just like the latter film, Starry Eyes attacks the Hollywood star system and the monstrosities it engenders. But even though its criticism of Hollywood is admittedly heavy-handed, the movie is more satirical and the presentation of the cheap group that constrains Sarah to prostitute herself (the sect represents temptation and the base instincts that lie dormant in Sarah) is resolutely symbolic. As for horror, it’s well rooted in reality, both brutal and straightforward. The directors confide having been more influenced by the French trash horror wave (Frontier, Martyrs) and Polanski rather than Lynch or Cronenbeg.

Starry Eyes is therefore a real little cluster bomb that has already had a lot of press since being shown in festivals. I would bet that the shock wave effect it produces isn’t about to stop.

Emilie Flory.

English translation by Cameron Watson.


Emilie Flory is a screenwriter/filmmaker.

She has, among other things, written and directed Processus5, a 10-minute futuristic short movie shot in 35mm that was critically acclaimed and screened at HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is currently writing a sci-fi feature movie and looking for producers and investors for her horror feature film project Trauma Dolls.

Trauma Dolls was a semi-finalist at the Shriekfest Screenplay Competition in 2013, and finalist at the Fright Night Film Fest in 2014.

In 2014, the Trauma Dolls’ trailer was an official selection at the HollyShorts Film Festival: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi2091035673

Find Out More Here:

Interview with Billy Crash on THE LAST KNOCK:

http://crashpalaceproductions.com/2014/08/10/crash-discussions-interview-trauma-dolls-director-emilie-flory-cinematographer-tariel-meliava-dialogue-coach-cameron-watson/ …


Interview with Dean Sills for UK HORROR SCENE:



Interview with Emory Slone for MALEVOLENT (16-19):







Paris International Fantastic Film Festival Trailer: http://youtu.be/3KHxMjMXcOA 

(Photos from Emilie Flory.)


For its 10th anniversary, the HollyShorts Film Festival pulls out all the stops and gives genre films their due

VisuelArticleTLK1Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont have successfully fulfilled the mission they took upon themselves in 2005 to “create a destination to help filmmakers advance their careers, knowledge-share, meet industry pros, while talking about their short movies and collaborating.”

The HollyShorts Film Festival features dynamic, unbiased, international and independent movies. The event lasts for ten days and not only proposes non-stop screenings (no less than 400 short films were shown this year) to a wide audience made up of newcomers and passionate film buffs, but also panels hosted by those professionals who are best informed about the evolution and workings of the film industry, plus fantastic red-carpet parties and TV interviews. There’s enough going on to allow filmmakers to exchange their experiences, talk about their projects and, more importantly, meet their audience.

Because what has changed and is going to continue to change even more from now on are the direct ties creators and audiences are forging. Filmmakers have come to a better understanding of their own work and what the audience wants. New technologies, a subject at the center of all HollyShorts panels, impose a new system that is spreading like wildfire and should allow the film industry to renew itself and reinvent itself, not only concerning its production system but its distribution system as well. The personalities who represent this new system, and truly love movies, find their greatest allies among filmmakers. So new life will be breathed into the seventh art. Movies are reasserting themselves once again.

And rest assured, film genre isn’t left out, on the contrary, it remains the measure of adaptability we refer to. Whether it’s taken as an example during panels like the well-known “A Terrifying Calling Card: How To Best Use Your Horror Short For Business”, which HollyShorts devoted to shorts, while others were given a choice slot among the screenings scheduled during the festival, “film genre” isn’t being forgotten: it’s asserting itself!”

Creative, brilliant movies that talk about an apocalyptic world and borrow their attributes from “genre films” …

In view of the program proposed by HollyShorts, an obvious observation comes to mind: The boundary between different movie genres isn’t as clear as it once was. Most of the movies shown in sections are seemingly far removed from genre films, and dealt with themes genre films are fond of or played with formal codes that are a specific characteristic of theirs.

Nevertheless, the HollyShorts program, which goes from video clips to comedies to school movies, web series, animated films and drama, welcomed “genre films” with honor by reserving several sections or “blocks” for them that packed the house: “Horror Program”, “Sci-fi Showcase”, “VFX Showcase”, “3D & Visual Stimulation.” Some of the shorts shown in the blocks “Action Shorts” and “Thriller Shorts” were clearly very close to joining these blocks… Let’s just say that HollyShorts made horror and science fiction film fans very happy indeed… All the more so since the level of movies shown was especially high.

By the way, we should mention that for opening night, festival-goers really enjoyed themselves watching the crazy Footprints and Cheatin’ by the king of independent animation, Bill Plympton.

A brief look at the movies acclaimed in the abovementioned blocks: Horror Program, Sci-fi Showcase, VFX Showcase, 3D & Visual Stimulation… 

Horror Program

Lasting 117 minutes, the Horror Program presented by Eli Roth’s “The Crypt” at the Chinese Theatres offered viewers, who packed the theater, a dozen short films, all of them beautifully made: Good Samaritan by Jeffrey Reddick, Carolina Parakeet by A.J. Briones, Ticket to the Haunted Mansion by Nuntakul Sakulchai, The Body by Paul Davis, Dark Origins by Evan Randall Green, Visions by Gene Blalock, Luna by Antonio Perez, One Please by Jesse Burks, Drudge by Kheireddine El-Helou and Barista by Rebekah McKendry.

Drudge by Kheireddine El-Helou

Storyline: What was supposed to be a romantic night in for a young couple, quickly turns into a terrifying encounter with Drudge… A new face of horror is born.

Award for Best Horror, Drudge benefits from spot on directing that is supported by an effective storyline and the rereading of slasher codes reinterpreted by Scream. The gradual buildup of suspense (we go from laughter to fear to a feeling of icy horror) and the creation of a new style of unclassifiable and terrifying monster (a masked man, half Iron Man, half Michael Myers) made for a success in every respect.

One Please by Jesse Burks

Storyline: Mommy and daddy love you…very much.

More focused on black humor, One Please (or how a mother’s finger turns into ice cream on a stick for her child) talks about adults’ extreme, sometimes terrifying, dependence on their kids… Very graphic imaging and the actors’ sensitive, incisive acting definitely put it among the festival’s gems.

Sci-Fi Showcase

This two hour program offered the HollyShorts’ audience 9 eccentric movies that were skillfully done: North Bay by Adam Grabarnickd, Atrium by Dave Paige, The Pale Moonlight by Tin Pang, The Escape by Ivano Di Natale & Alessandro De Vivo, Distance (Best Sci-Fi) by Daniel Allan Langa, Raker by Ande Cunningham, Fist by Gavin Hignight, The iMom by Ariel Martin and the very funny Future Hero by Ramin Serry.

The iMom by Ariel Martin

Storyline: When technology exceeds humanity…

This dark tale, which triggers laughter before moving and finally horrifying us, takes us into a near future where, thanks to specific jobs by stylish androids (in the tradition of The Surrogates), husbands and wives think they are rid of the chores imposed on them by the bringing up of their children: No more changing diapers, goodbye to the children’s sentimental/sexual education! Until the day… But when the worst happens, it’s already too late!

A special mention for especially fine acting performances given by the actors and the lovely Marta Dusseldorp.

Fist by Gavin Hignight

Storyline: Mark Smitt has just signed up for a five-day medical research study to make some quick cash… but will the following experiments not only be the end of his personal freedom… but his very life?

Based on real scientific data and directed very effectively with limited means, Gavin Hignight’s Fist takes us back to the Prometheus myth and more widely to the catastrophes caused by respectable researchers playing God… Claustrophobic, disturbing and staggering!

VFX Showcase

The VFX Showcase, which preceded the Sci-Fi Showcase, lasted for two hours as well. Ten especially inventive and superbly directed movies made up the program: On/Off (Best Editing) by Thierry Lorenzi, Glow by Douglas Jessup (Panavision future Filmmaker), Nova by John Albanis, Serpent’s Lullaby by Patricia Chica, Recurring Symptoms by Peter Szewczyk, Mouse-X by Justin Tagg, Ghost Light by PJ Germain, Recoil by Evan Matthews, Inner Demons by Ben Caird and Corona (Find Your Beach), a commercial by Mike Smith Rivera.

Nova by John Albanis

This is a science fiction thriller whose post-apocalyptic atmosphere, extraordinarily lunar, is totally bewitching. Very ambitious, the story shows the spectacular transformation of a man becoming a supernova. The magnificent VFX do much more than just serve the story: Nova is a movie with infectious energy, you come out of it feeling like you’re ultra-powerful!

Albanis says his movie is a “visual essay about the cyclical nature of societal mass consumption.” He adds: “It’s a spectacle short film piece. Short films always have to be breaking new ground. That’s the point of them.”

Mouse-X by Justin Tagg

Storyline: Mouse-X is a mystery/sci-fi story about Anderson, a man who wakes up in a building with no idea where he is or how he got there, before slowly discovering that in each of the rooms around him are a thousand clones of himself, all of whom woke up into the same mysterious scenario. To escape he needs to outwit his “selves” while overcoming the realization that he is not the only Anderson…

Mouse-X offers us the following diabolical trip: “Who are you, if you’re not the only you?” Magnificently directed, the movie displays an hypnotic atmosphere and plays with chromatic contrasts (blood red, forest green) and the opposition of sets (contemporary design, classical design). The movie’s opening with that red corridor, those off-center paintings of pin-ups and the phosphorescent maze at the very end, stun the moviegoer and take him or her into a disconcerting world of make-believe.

3D & Visual Stimulation…

Probably one of the festival’s most enjoyable and specialized blocks as much by the quality of the screenplays as by the absolute formal creativity of the movies shown, the “3D & Visual Stimulation” block greatly impressed the Chinese Theatres 1 audiences with its ten very eclectic movies: String Theory by Jonathan Pezza (the intersecting lives of two lady musicians), Call Her Lotte by Annekathrin Wetzel (a story of wrecked friendship during WWII), Eve by Eric Gandois (an ecological science fictional tale), The Adventures of Barty & The Pirates by Mark Chavez (a humorous animated movie), Hotline by Deva Blaisdell-Anderson & Lee Miller (a blood-curdling drama), Domino Falling by Siavash Farahani (a thriller in the desert), Face In The Crowd by Alex Preger (a film of pure feeling that follows the emotions of an uptight woman in the middle of a crowd looking like something out of a 50’s movie), Oceans by Maria Juranic (a sensual video clip fantasy), Sure Thing by Deborah Reinisch (an explosive comedy based on the show All In The Timing by David Ives) and The Chaperone 3D by Fraser Munden (“an action-packed, badass short film using a combination of animation, stop-motion, live-action, puppetry and exploding piñatas”).

Sure Thing by Deborah Reinisch

Storyline: Bill takes the only available seat in a cafe–at Betty’s table. Could she be the “one”? Could he? Are there any guarantees when we open our hearts? Sure thing.

This dazzling comedy plunges us right into the middle of what could turn out to be… will turn out to be… or maybe won’t turn out to be… a tryst! Deborah Reinisch’s brilliant directing plus Gia Crovatin and Luke Kirby’s impressive acting make this movie a moment of pure delight. All the paths these hearts could take by opening up to or closing out the other person are suggested, followed and mocked. So much stimulation and intelligence is exciting. It could be a simple conversation, but this eminently creative and visual movie takes us into the minds, hearts and bodies of these people in search of true love. A total success!

Oceans by Maria Juranic, a video in 3D

Fantastically constructed from a narrative point of view, Oceans is absolutely visually breathtaking. Its very polished 80’s aesthetic embraces the ballet created by an octopus-woman’s movements. The moviegoer, just like the man who watches her and gets taken in by her seductive game, doesn’t understand until she attacks. She is nothing but a predator. But what a predator!… And what a ballet!

“A mix of stop motion, manipulation of paper, high speed, slow motion and avant-garde editing defines Maria Juranic’s films and music videos. She combines a seasoned experience in animation with live action to create a special magical realism.”

The Chaperone 3D by Fraser Munden (Best 3-D)

Storyline: The Chaperone 3D tells the “hand drawn true story” of teacher/chaperone Ralph, DJ Stefan and the-kid-at-the-concession-stand, Peter as they kick ass and take names after a motorcycle gang invades a Montreal youth dance that they’re supervising. The use of an interview with the real-life Ralph and Stefan as the voice-over for the short film only makes it that much more fun.

Best 3-D award, The Chaperone 3D is an amazing little masterpiece roundly applauded at TIFF, the Slamdance Film Festival and BTUFF, winning the creativity award and best short at the Fantasia Film Festival. To say that it left its mark on HollyShorts audiences is an understatement. This short film had Chinese Theatres 1 laughing so hard, it was all people could talk about during the festival. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, don’t think twice and jump right in, you’ll be seeing something absolutely unique. The combination of elements making up the movie: animation, stop-motion, live-action, puppetry and exploding piñatas, is quite simply extraordinary.

VisuelArticleTLK2Many thanks to Daniel Sol, Theo Dumont and Nicole Castro who make up the HollyShorts winning team. An absolutely wonderful team ably assisted by the fantastic Kevin Anderson, Edith and Ozzie Torres, Alexandra Schwab, Leimoni Coloretti, Allison Powell, Jerome Curchod, Philippe Casseus, Valérie Dumont, Frantz Durand, Damon Campbell and Joanna Fang.

English translation by Cameron Watson.

Emilie Flory is a screenwriter/filmmaker. She won the Queffelec award for poetry, wrote the screenplay Golden Bodies and directed the pilot for a glitzy, humorous mini-series about dancing. She wrote and directed Processus5, a 10-minute futuristic short movie shot in 35mm that was critically acclaimed and screened at the HollyShorts Monthly Screenings in Los Angeles. Emilie Flory is currently writing a sci-fi feature movie while she continues to develop Trauma Dolls, which was a semi-finalist at the Shriekfest Screenplay Competition in 2013 and finalist at the Fright Night Film Fest 2014.

Follow her on Twitter @EmilieFlory and on these sites:





(Photos from HollyShorts.)



Crash Reports: Parafest 2013


Parafest held their very first convention on September 6-8 at the Sands in Bethlehem, PA. I decided to go on a Friday because it began early, and hoped to have a good time. Instead, I had a great one.

Like most, I waited patiently for the doors to open at noon, but as with any first opening, there was a bit of a delay (thirty minutes), that came with the apologies of show organizers. But the diehard fans of all things paranormal and horror maintained their smiles and stood tall. That allowed me to discuss the goings-on with Shannon, a new friend and legal eagle who had driven up from Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore to take part. For once, I only had to drive a half-hour, and that felt pretty damn good.

When the doors opened at the Sands Convention Center, on the site of what was once Bethlehem Steel, we poured in from the shadows of the now silent blast furnaces and entered the massive building where paranormal and horror rubbed other-worldly elbows. In short order, I walked by vendors selling everything from EVP equipment, to make-up kits, to comic books. Psychics read cards and palms, horror authors offered their self-published books, and paranormal researchers offered their expertise.

Since most fans were still lost in 9-to-5 drudgery, and wouldn’t arrive until later, the venue felt intimate. If anything, it seemed as if I had paid for a coveted pre-show pass. Here’s who I met, and what they had to say:

STAN GORDON: If you don’t know Gordon, then you probably haven’t heard about Pennsylvania’s Kecksburg UFO incident. On December 9, 1965, townsfolk saw something strange and bell shaped come down in the woods outside their community – only to have it whisked away by the military. Gordon was a witness to the event, and he’s investigated what had transpired there ever since, as well as other sightings. A skeptical man, Gordon does his best to use science to find answers to everything from UFOs to bigfoot.

DAVE TANGO, BRUCE TANGO, and STEVE GONSALVES: Stars of the hit show “Ghost Hunters,” turned out to be the paranormal investigators one would expect: A group of great guys to hang out with and indulge in conversation. Tango and Steve were cool and welcoming, though Bruce admitted that his son, Dave is their to keep him out of trouble, which got a laugh from everyone in earshot. (I tried to say hi to Grant Wilson, but he was speaking to several people every time I walked by the booth. Like everyone else at TAPS, he was engaging and spent quality time with fans.)

MIKE ZOHN: Co-host of “Oddities” and owner of New York’s Obscura store, Mike’s a soft spoken baritone. When I asked him what his house looked like, he let out a hearty laugh. Currently, he’s in the midst of a move, and his collection of the unique and bizarre is in storage. And as expected, he finds a hard time selling some of his rare collectibles in the shop because he’d rather keep them for himself. But the man needs to eat, so he does what he must.

TONY GOWELL: Though Tony has appeared in several television shows and big screen movies, most fans know him as a zombie from both ZOMBIELAND and “The Walking Dead.” When asked if he foresees more “family friendly” horror films like WORLD WAR Z, his response was “Definitely.” And knowing that WWZ has earned over a half-billion to date, I have no doubt Hollywood will bring us bigger if not watered down horror. My only awkward moment came when he asked if I liked “The Walking Dead.” I said that I tried but couldn’t because the show is like a soap opera. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “It is a soap opera!” It was great to have that confirmed.

VINCENT M. WARD: The big guy from “The Walking Dead” is a gentle giant who doesn’t seem like he’d hurt a fly – or a zombie. But I wouldn’t chance it. Regardless, he engaged fans with a great smile and many a kind word. What an engaging gentleman. I think he was having more fun than his nervous fans.

WILLIAM SANDERSON: Though the renowned character actor may be best known for his recent work on “True Blood,” diehard fans know him from “Deadwood” and as the ill-fated designer from the amazing BLADE RUNNER. Sanderson was with his lovely wife, and said that working on “Deadwood” allowed him to afford a home. He also enjoyed being with Harrison Ford and a young Daryl Hannah on BLADE RUNNER, and had no qualms working with director Ridley Scott.

MICHAEL BERRYMAN: Being with him was like hanging out with one of the guys. We talked about everything from politics (along with another fan and new friend named Tom) to his fourteen projects in the making (one of which is with Tony Todd). When it comes to fans, Berryman’s a sweetheart and never minds popping out of his chair to have his photo taken.

TONY TODD: In his movies, Todd has a commanding presence, and he does so in person. At six-foot-five, he’s hard to ignore when he enters a room. Among his pictures for autographing, he has a small black chest, dripping with blood, and the words “Candyman” inscribed on the side. After an autograph, the Candyman offers a sweet treat to the fan. When I mentioned his impassioned performance in the science-fiction tale, THE MAN FROM EARTH, he was grateful. It was clear he loved that film.

While waiting for Mr. Todd, I had the pleasure of meeting one of Parafest’s volunteers, a young woman named Maria, who is an empath and psychic. I understand if one’s skeptical and has their misgivings about such things, but Maria was sincere. She works with police departments and families to help solve cold cases. From her field experience, it’s clear she’s had to deal with a lot of grief. Still, she uses her gift to help others, and presses on.

As conventions go, Parafest is a truly intriguing experience. I’m not used to seeing a mix of horror and paranormal, but it was a great venture, and I indulged in some great conversations.  I had a wonderful time and look forward to next year’s event.

My only recommendations to the show organizers: Start later. Although noon on a Friday is fantastic, most people are working, which means celebrities and vendors have to sit around and do a lot of waiting. Consequently, $25 for a ticket is fine, but to pay an additional $8 in service fees at the door is ridiculous. I know it’s a horror convention, but why do you need to involve the always satanic Ticketmaster? Granted, organizers need a return on their investment, however, nickel and diming fans will only keep them away since there are other conventions in the area to attend. And no one wants that.

All in all, I had a blast. Parafest served as the kickoff to fall and Halloween, and that’s a great thing indeed. I have no doubt Parafest will be bigger and better next year, and I’m looking forward to indulging once more.

(Photo from Kootation.)