Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holidays, Ahoy!

Greetings, all. We wish you a very happy holiday season and an awesome New Year. Here's to hoping that 2010 is a good one for everybody.

Here at Lionbelly and the Blogatorium, 2010 is going to mark a very active 365 days. We have a few movie projects lining up, as well as other creative antics-- which may even include a serious professional engagement of the musical I cowrote with Joe Zettelmaier, Blackwater Ballad. That's not 100% certain yet, but rest assured that you will be harangued with news, should it happen.

There are even a couple members of the Lionbelly posse who have marriage plans for 2010, which is really exciting! Woo Hoo!

The Blogatorium itself is also going to become more active, so you may want to start bracing yourself for that. In fact, we will be kicking off the new year with our most in-depth interview yet, which is a real doozy you ask me. Tune in on January 1st for that critter and in the meantime, we wish you all the good things in life.

More soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adam Wingard: He Don't Need No Stinkin' Budget!

I officially have a new cinematic hero and his name is Adam Wingard. And he's like 18 years younger than me or something (which makes me want to throw up but also get all excited about what kind of moviemaking damage he's gonna be able to pull off, if he's this good in his early 20s...)

He's made a few features, including one that many folks have been opining online for awhile now-- Pop Skull. I can't wait to check that one out when it arrives out here in the blasted hinterlands of the Mitten State, but what I'm really here to do today is to introduce you to his (Forgot My Meds) trilogy, which is comprised of three short films which are like master classes of using what is around you instead of spending money, making sure that every freaking second of every single image counts, and not taking the easy way out. My goodness this kid can shoot, edit and light the shiznit out of a movie!

Can you tell how I feel about all this?

Here is the entire trilogy so you can see what's being talked about here. Carve out 20 minutes from your schedule and check them all out, in order, if you can. You can buy me a diet pepsi in thanks later...

(Forgot My Meds) trilogy

1. Laura Panic

2. Cerebella

3. Her Name Is Laura Panic

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Better Than Citizen Kane?!

It looks like the upcoming movie Tucker and Dale Versus Evil may be the greatest film ever made, or at least it looks like my cup of stupid horror tea. Tis' a wonder this idea hasn't been explored before, but it sure looks like it found the right group of movie-heads to descend upon...

In the interest of not giving anything away, first check out the trailer below, and then if you want to know more click HERE...

A Coen Brothers Short!

Courtesy of The A.V. Club, here is a short film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen as part of the anthology To Each His Own Cinema, which was made in honor of the Cannes Film Festival's 60th anniversary. Each of the 36 directors involved were allowed 3-minutes to encapsulate their current feelings about world cinema, and this particular one, entitled "World Cinema" is a hoot and half...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Wanna Know What's Ruining Horror Movies? I'll Tell You What's Ruining Horror Movies!

Frikkin CELLPHONES, that's what!


This is one of the most entertaining short films I have EVER witnessed: The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. Holy crap!

It was written and directed by Richard Gale and has gone on to win tons of festival awards, for a good reason. I suggest you not drink anything while watching this, but if you must have a beverage happening, at least pre-cover your monitor in Saran Wrap® (or it's generic equivalent). Yes, my friends, it's that funny...

It's tagline reads:

The epic story of one man's encounter with what could be the most relentless murderer of all time.

Prepare yourself...

Mad Bat Skillz!

Ever wondered what it's REALLY like hanging with The Dark Knight? Thanks to the good people at College Humor, we fnally have some insight...

Interview with THE Vampire!

Here's a greatly entertaining interview with Christopher Lee on CNN, which includes his remarks about where horror is today. Hint: he's not a big fan...


A very fun read.

On the Tenth Night of Halloween, Let's Head to Burbank!

Oh, man, this is awesome! There was this guy, see, named Bob Burns who, along with his wife, Kathy, performed live Halloween shows in the 60s and 70s where they would recreate famous scenes from monster movies. Some good folks have made a documentary about this happy fellow, and are showing it in installments on a cool website, which you NEED TO VISIT! (go ahead, click it, I dare you...)

This is the kind of thing that will bring a gigantic smile to the face of those who have a fondness for October madness...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the Ninth Night of Halloween, A Guest Writer Saved My Ass!

Thank goodness for Joe Sacksteder, writer and burgeoning film maker/actor/goalie, for jumping in and writing the following Halloweenish essay about scary stuff. Woo Hoo!

These are a few of my scariest things

by Joe Sacksteder

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, and indiscernible evils presented at a great distance from the viewer…

I’ve always maintained that the highest form of humor is seeing humans get hit with objects from far away, especially when you can view the object’s entire trajectory. This makes the classic “kid getting hit with a basketball” the funniest thing I’ve ever seen:

Similarly, the farther away you present your horror movie monster, the scarier I will find it. This reactions seems contrary to logic– as the closer a monster is to you the more likely it will be to eat your brains. Maybe seeing the monster from far away allows me as the viewer to paint more horrific details onto the creature than the best special effects possibly can up close? Maybe I’ve seen monsters up close so many times in movies that seeing them from far away lends an uncanniness to the image? Maybe I’m worried that the creature will move towards me, will start to shorten the distance?

Best example: in It when you see the photograph come alive, and Pennywise approaches the foreground from way down the street. Yeah, It… don’t judge.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, and my favorite cliché of horror films which is the obligatory investigation into the seed or originating locus of a cancerous evil…

The AV Club recently compiled their contributors’ 25 favorite and least favorite film clichés. Hired by the AV Club and asked for my two cents (regarding horror films), I would name my least favorite cliché as mundane sounds made scary merely by their suddenness and amplification (let me add the bathroom mirror sliding back to reveal someone standing behind the subject… ditto with the fridge door).

However, almost without fail – usually about one hour into the horror film – the protagonists sift through history to uncover the germination of whatever evil plagues them. Preferably it is a brisk, cloudy, fall day, and our main characters are dressed like a Land’s End catalogue. They are tired, having been forced to stay up last night making sense of illusive connections, only Dixie cups of fifty cent coffee to keep them awake. Alas – now only period films can use microfiche. 1990s movies are leant a further charm by their attempts to include the burgeoning technology of the intarweb. Frustration is finally relieved by that ghastly Aha! moment when the pieces start to fall together. More than the actual research, I love how this story structure lends to presenting evil as cancerous – with a grotesque locus that the characters must untangle.

Best example: The Ring.

When the dog bites, when the bees sting, when familiar objects are presented in a foreign way, contributing to a feeling of “uncanniness"…

Three illustrative vignettes:

One intoxicated night in college, I participated in the forbidden activity of tunneling. With friends, I climbed over a coal pile at the power plant – this was the only never‑locked entrance into the series of underground tunnels that connected every building on campus. Deep in Minnesota winters, the heat retained in these tunnels melts geometric lines of dead grass in the campus above. We neglected to trail a string behind us, and I began to get worried as chain‑link grates continually caused us to backtrack haphazardly. Deep into our journey – by now hopelessly lost – we came across a plastic chair devoid of function. Even more uncannily, it faced the wall. I guess an amorphous, cannibalistic blob would, in retrospect, have horrified me more at that moment… but since one so seldom encounters such blobs in real life, this lonely chair will have to do.

Minnesota is kind of the granite quarry capital of the world. When an abandoned quarry fills with water, nothing grows in it, and no fish can survive. St. Cloud Penitentiary has the second largest granite wall in the world (behind that one in China), and it was built of the guts from the very quarry its walls delimit. When the workers abandoned it, they left the crane at the bottom.

Going to school at Louisiana State, I encountered a certain chain of fried chicken restaurants. Their mascot – pictured on all their billboards – was a tiger that always unsettled me for a reason I couldn’t pin down. Not that I ever put much thought into it; I was far too busy failing at my course of study. One day I realized what should have been immediately obvious: it wasn’t a tiger, but a dog painted to look like a tiger. For minutes, I couldn’t recall what a tiger actually looked like.

Best example: the empty chairs in Danvers Asylum in Session 9. Okay, maybe it’s just empty chairs that scare me.

For Several of the Nights of Halloween, I Was Really Sick!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On The Third Night of Halloween, We Found a Kick-Ass Crew!

Hello again. It's time for another horror-themed posting for this month-of-month's October 'splosion of scariness. Tonight, we bring you the creations of six disgruntled (or perhaps they are perfectly gruntled-- what do I know?) veterans of big hollywood studios who joined forces to make zillions of short horror films they way THEY wanted to do it, outside of the studio system, without lots of interference from The Man. They banded together and called themselves Fewdio, as in (I guess) a "studio with just a few folks in it". In a relatively short time, MARSHALL CARR, JOHN CRYE, DREW DAYWALT, PAUL HUNGERFORD, DAVID SCHNEIDER, TODD A. SHARP, and KIRK B.R. WOLLER have cranked out a ton of shorts with aplomb-- as producers, writers, directors, editors, etc.

Like many an independent moviemaking entity of nowadays, these kids have hung their collective shingle up over on YouTube, so let's check out a couple of their better offerings, shall we?

First up, The Cellar (directed by Randy Link)

And here's my current favorite of theirs, the extremely short but memorable Vargel Geroth: Monster from Hell (directed by David Schneider and Drew Daywalt)

They have a bazillion movies up on their YouTube channel, so if your curiosity has been piqued, click on over and check them out. I am going to do what I can to see if one of these cats would be willing to submit to an interview here. We'll keep you posted...


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On the Second Night of Halloween, My Humunculus Gave to Me: Self-Help From The Old Ones!

This is a downright AWESOME commercial from some mad geniuses who put their work up over at the YouTubes-- if you like this, check out their other postings.

June Lillie’s Movies And Books That Will Make You Want To Sleep With Your Mama!

She's baaaack...

I ask myself often, how can one enjoy a dreadfully disgusting Halloween without a gut retching movie or a book that practically begs you to pee your pants in fear?

Well, the answer is… One cannot!

I feel sad sometimes… Thinking about all those folks out there in the world who would rather paint their kid’s face than sit down with a frightful tale from beyond. People with their Halloween parties and witch-shaped cookies. Hey I know, let’s bob for apples!

These are the poor bastards I feel the need to reach out to. Of course for me it’s more like punching them in the arm with my bloody stump, but reach out nonetheless.

So, for all of you horror-illiterates out there, feel yourself being saved. I have concocted a short, but sweet list of movies and books that run the horror gamut. Each one of these beauties is easy to come by and should serve up a nice cup-o-eyeball to see you through… THE 12 NIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or something to that affect.

Here are just a few choice morsels I’ve pulled out of my dungeon for you. To help you make a frightfully fun Halloween!

1. Book of The Dead by John Skip and Craig Spector
This book is truly the holy grail of zombie short story collections. It will surely make your tummy grumble for the next disgusting slab of flesh eating freaks!

2. White and Other Tales of Ruin by Tim Lebbon
Holy crap!!! If anyone can scare a pop-tart right out of your hand, Mr. Lebbon can! I’ve read each story in this book and still get creeped out by them, especially “White”… Truly one of the scariest tales I’ve ever read!

3. Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
If you took a meat grinder and threw in some Picasso paintings, some razors, and a demon from hell, your end result would look something like Thomas Ligotti’s brain. The man does surreal in a way that creeps up on you, and then smacks you in the back of the head. Seriously, this book will change the way you look at empty windows and crowded streets. It will put a patina of paranoia on everything you see.

4. The Collection by Bentley Little
If the Book of The Dead is the Holy Grail and Tim Lebbon can scare a toaster treat right out of your hand, then Bentley Little is the grisly, rotting cap which we strap to our heads to keep out the signals from outer-space. All I can say about Mr. Little is this; if you enjoy incredibly detailed versions of your worse nightmare smothered in feces, then Mr. Little’s short stories will bring you to a plain of existence you didn’t even know existed. His short stories are very different than his novels. Both are an amazing gift to the horror community.

5. The Missing by Sarah Langan
Sarah Langan has won the horror world’s version of the Pulitzer Prize, by being awarded the Bram Stoker Award for the novel The Missing. Wow! This lady knows her icky-scary stuff! This is not a short story collection. But because of her narrative and detailed characters it reads like one. Ms. Langan sure know’s how to paint a disturbing back-drop allowing for character development, yet never losing sight of what is behind it all. She rocks!

Now on to my list of spooky, creepy, and genuinely scary movies:

1. The Exorcist III (directed by William Peter Blatty)
For anyone who was totally freaked out by The Exorcist, this third installment will kick you while you are down. It stars George C. Scott as Lt William Kinderman., a detective investigating a string of strange decapitations where marks of the Gemini- an executed serial killer- are being left of the victims’ bodies. Strangely enough, we find out that there is a person in a local mental institution who claims he is the Gemini. Now, this may sound overworked and tired, but I guarantee the supernatural aspect of these crimes and creepy images will definitely kick you where it hurts.

2. Session 9 (directed by Brad Anderson)
This movie is set in the Danvers Mental Hospital outside of Boston. The story revolves around The Hazmat Elimination Company, a small company responsible for clearing debris from the old hospital so it can be rehabbed into office space. Unfortunately, for these men, something has been waiting for the right time to make its move. This may start out as a typical “haunted house’ type story, but the twisted ending will leave you shivering!

3. The Boneyard (directed by James Cummins)
Phyllis Diller, a giant mutated man eating poodle, creepy monster children, and an obese psychic…. What more could you ask for? Yes this is a rather silly movie, but surprisingly there are some real scares… And no, it’s not Ms. Diller I’m speaking of!

4. Urban Ghost Story (directed by Genevieve Jolliffe)
Lizzie, a twelve year old girl, dies for three minutes after a horrible car accident that takes the life of her friend. Lizzie returns to live with her single mom and her little brother in their inner-city ghetto apartment. Soon after returning, strange things begin to happen. Strange sounds and furniture rearranging itself. With the back drop of urban decay as horror in itself, adding the possibility of a true haunting makes for a very uncomfortable situation. NOTE: This movie was made in 4 weeks with a budget of $300,000. The creators of this movie, Genevieve Jolliffe and Chris Jones also published The Guerrilla Film-Making Handbook

5. Ravenous (directed by Antonia Bird)
Set in 1847 during the Mexican-American war. Captain John Boyd is sent to Fort Spencer, a remote and freezing stronghold where life is monotonous and dreary. That is, until a stranger appears with a story about settlers and snowstorms and food shortages. Once his story unfolds, the commander at the fort gathers his men to go to the mountains and look for survivors. And oh how they survive!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the First Night of Halloween, the Demons Gave to Me...

...a special guest appearance from my very own sister, June! And if ever there was a PERFECT person to act as the greeter to our 12 Nights of Halloween extravaganza, it is her. She's a horror nut-- voracious reader and movie goer, and I have the photos of her children dressed up as zombies to prove it. Without further adieu, I leave you in the capable hands of today's crypt mistress...

Cue the steel grey skies and the cold blowing winds! Leaves are beginning to turn schizophrenic with their color change. The grass is slowing its reach to the pale sun and our fowl friends are making a mass exodus south. Seems like the time to go inside, hunker down, and become anti-social.

Nay I say!

Though there are considerable amount of folks who would gladly trade a crisp, cool fall day for 90 degrees of sweat-inducing, tropical storm-forming, heat wave, there are, strangely enough, quite a few of us (us being the cool kids) that soak up the leaf-burning smells. The wind that blows just the right way to give goose-bumps. The time of year when the darkness falls a little earlier with each passing day.

We are the children of the fall, or more specifically, the children of Halloween. We do not hide this fact, nor do we pretend to not get excited by the aroma of warmed cider, the feel of a large firm pumpkin, or all of the horrendously horrific movies that thrash their way into our hearts and theaters this time of year.

We revel in the ghoulish pranks we have been planning for 11 months. We tremble with delight at the idea of becoming something we are not. Halloween, in other words, represents the culmination of our fantasy-life’s work. And as a bonus, those of us who take the fall season and Halloween seriously, can rest assured that our dastardly deeds will prevail and continue on throughout the Halloween seasons to come!

Grease paint and fake blood. Haunted houses and EVPs. Screw the candy; we want shadow people and ladies in white. We want bumps in the night and strange noises coming from our darkened basements. We want to believe that everything is not what it seems. And what better time of the year to experience the unknown than Halloween!

So, to all my lovely witches and ghouls, monsters and freaks, I wish many happy and grotesque returns to the season we have all fallen in love with.

Best regards and eviscerations,

June Lillie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Sunshiney Post Til HALLOWEEN!

Dear Internetateers,

So, in a scant few days we begin the 12 Nights of Halloween Blogatorium countdown, with daily posts about HORROR STUFF and nothing but HORROR STUFF until the 31st, when the fabric between This World and the Other World is weakest and mummies and werewolves take over, etc. Thus, we have to get the last little bit of sunshine and bluebirds out of our system, so that we can go for pure undead gusto.

To that end, we present two covers by the band Pomplamoose, who are an extremely happy and fun musical duo out of California. Thrill as they do bedroom covers of Beyonce and Earth, Wind and Fire! I DARE you to not smile during these. (Also, since they have a bazillion hits on YouTube, prolly you already know about them and I'm showing my lack of web-cred but that's okay because my mom thinks I'm cool at least...).

Anyhoo... Here's Pomplamoose!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Edenwood Premiere!

A few days ago, on Saturday the 26th, we finally had our big gala premiere screening of EDENWOOD, DARKIVES (ep.01) and THE MOST DIFFICULT THING at EMU's Student Center auditorium. With around 180 people in attendance, including many of the casts and crews, a great time was had by all. It was extremely fun to get to show our stuff to an actual crowd and to hear a lot of mirth being generated (thank goodness all three movies are comedies!).

In a little while, we'll be announcing our next round of projects-- so stay tuned. Also, now that I have some free time again, you can expect a bit more blogging action, as I bravely scour the internets for interesting filmic wampum to share...

See you soon, and thanks to everyone who was part of making the premiere a night for the books!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Charlatans and Cowboys: T-Minus TWO Days!

With our big premiere only two days away, we are all finishing our final preparatory doodads-- polishing epaulets, sanding elbows, shaving necks, etc.-- so that it will be a glamour-filled evening of cinematic richness. We do hope ever so much that you will be there to share the fun with us...

Along those lines, Focus EMU Online just published a cool interview with Jen about EDENWOOD, which can be read here.

On the bill with EDENWOOD is the first episode of DARKIVES, our projected comedy/horror series about really, really bad supernatural investigators, starring Dave Rahbari as Thackeray Hovelpox and Tom Szymanski as the mysterious Barnabus. It marks the first project we worked on with Joe Sacksteader, producer/writer extraordinaire. It is also the first time we used a green screen for "special" effects work. Man, it took a ton of work to make the effects look as amateurish as they are-- the first attempts were just too smooth and pro-looking. Like a Transformers movie or something.

Thackeray Hovelpox has his own blog, The Darkivist, where he goes into more depth on his adventures, philosophy, recipes, etc. Check it out and see why the International Guild of Supernatural Investigatory Individuals calls it "utter rubbish from the mind of an insensate buffoon". Guess old Thack is a little ahead of his time...

In any case, here is a trailer for the Darkives pilot, "The Wee Pigtails of Death", to get you in the mood for some supernatural chicanery. Enjois!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

T-Minus 11 Days and Counting!

Hey virtual world travelers! Wassup? Really? That's awesome...

What have I been up to? Well, mostly I've been toiling away with my other Lionbelly posse members, working to put the finishing touches on EDENWOOD, before the big premiere on the 26th. This entails lots of spit and polish. Our new favorite hero-collaborator-designer GENIUS is Ryan Molloy, who is kicking so much booty on the final motion graphics for this thing that we caint hardly bleeve it! Seriously. Go check out his stuff here and here, and you'll see what I mean.

Dudes! I seriously don't have time chat too much more on this, but rest assured that our first feature is turning out WAY better than we ever imagined, and we can't wait to unleash it upon the world on the 26th. A more fun evening would be really hard to put together, if I do say so myself-- especially for the price, which is ZILCH.

There will be a "real" post soonishly, I promise...


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Strong Bad Explains: Indie vs. Independent

Hey kids! Ever wondered what the true difference is between "Independent film" and "Indie film"? Would you like to be schooled on this subject by a weird little flash animated wrestler dude? Well, hot damn! Here's your chance:


I can't believe how long Homestarrunner has been funny...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Calvin Lee Reeder, part 2-- THE INTERVIEW!

Calvin Lee Reeder

Praise be to nice people who answer e-mail questions from obscure bloggers! In this case, I am speaking specifically of Calvin Lee Reeder, the filmmaker we just talked about in the previous post. He very kindly agreed to answer some questions about his work, for the edification of all of us. Sweet! Here be those questions...

LB: How did you get into filmmaking? You started as a musician, right? What was the turn of events? Along those lines, do you still play in bands?

CALVIN: Just sorta hit me one day, I was a ditch digger for company called Dreamcraft Homes in rainy Seattle Wa, played in a shitty punk band and my life basically sucked. I was about 19. I met a guy named Brady Hall who had a beard and NPR 16mm package so we made a film about Jesus. It's really hard to get through, but we shot on film and cut by hand on a Steinbeck. Today the movie exists only on VHS and it generally bums us out. It's called Polterchrist, about 70 min.

Play in a band now called Private Beach, we use to cover Buffett but we stopped doing that.

LB: I've read about your feature "Jerkbeast", which you seem to have a pretty low opinion of nowadays. How did that come about and what was it like to make?

CALVIN: Jerkbeast was originally a public access show and the brain child of Brady Hall. It consisted of viewers calling the live show and exchanging insults with us while Brady wore a paper mache and chicken wire monster suit. It should be noted that when Brady is in the Jerkbeast suit he is absolutely peerless when it comes to quick and disgusting torrential insults. It's actually pretty amazing.

We got sort of popular around town and decided to make Jerkbeast the movie that features, Steaming Wolf Penis, a band , Jerkbeast plays drums. This time we shot on super 16mm and the film turned out just as bad as Polterchrist. A real bummer. However, we some how managed to get a small following in the UK and toured England twice as Steaming Wolf Penis, most shows were poorly attended.

Both films took about year to make respectively, shot nights and weekends paycheck to paycheck.

LB: What was the first short you made that you were proud of? What was it about it that made it feel more complete, or whatever the right word would be?

CALVIN: After two gutterball features I was ready to try something else. So I made a short film called Piledriver. It was the first time I had written and directed solo and also the first time I didn't hate a film that I made. I met my girlfriend Lindsay, as well. I recognize its faults but I'm still proud of it, it was the beginning of a new type of filmmaking for me.

LB: I was blown away by "Little Farm" and have watched it a zillion times. How did that movie start to be born‑‑ what was your initial idea for it?

CALVIN: I was ready to start making films more loose. It's hard to say where any idea comes from, but it did feel natural and came to me all at once. I also wanted to make something that was both kinda funny and kinda scary depending on what brain you have.

I would like to make something really scary one day.

LB: There is this quality to "Little Farm", as well as "The Rambler", where the story unfolds without a lot of exposition, and then ends kind of abruptly, before we get any explanations. How did you come across this style of writing? Is it a reaction to things in other movies that you either like or hate? Or is it just how you like to write?

CALVIN: I guess it started evolving that way with Little Farm, it wasn't like a big change in me I just realized I was better at expressing myself in a more abstract way. Our early attempts were so damned dialogue heavy and never really said anything at all. I don't really consider myself a writer, its just a formality to get ideas on film.

LB: In your films, there is a lot of use of 16mm artifacting‑‑ double‑exposure, flashing, etc. How did this start to become part of your style, and do you plan when you will be using it ahead of time, or is it more in‑the‑moment? Do you tend to storyboard ahead of time, compose shots on set, or a combination of both?

CALVIN: Everything shot on 16 has artifact, it's just a lot of people try to cut it out or hide it. I was done with trying to impress people with how slick or well edited my films where because they were never slick or well edited in the first place. I wanted to make my weakness my strength, I guess.

It's not really something you can plan in advance because you never know where that stuff will show up on the roll. There's something really natural and unpredictable about it, I think it's bad to try to control everything anyway.

I am a fan of the shot list but tend to deviate.

LB: In the indie world, it seems like digital video has taken over as far as the medium of choice, probably because it's relatively cheap to shoot. Are you planning to stick with film, or is there a chance that you will be dabbling with DV sometime in the future? Do you have any thoughts on one versus the other?

CALVIN: Sticking with film for now, old habits die hard. I've made some shorts on DV but they feel like stepchildren. I guess I still think you can feel the difference between film and video if even nowadays you can't see it as much.

I once met John Sayles at the airport, he told me that film talks to your alpha waves and video talks to your beta waves. I guess he knows about brain shit.

LB: Likewise, your use of color is AMAZING, both film‑wise and lighting‑wise. How much of the filmic color is gotten through telecine, and how much is done with color correction in post? Also, how much do you repaint rooms in order to get cool color stuff happening? I'm thinking of the overwhelmingly orange room in "The Rambler" or the red kitchen wall in "Little Farm", for example...

CALVIN: Well telecine is when and where I do all my color correction and at times have gone a little wild in there with my DP, Ryan Adams, at the helm. Little Farm was as much about the color red as it is about incest and ghosts so we cranked it at times to bring it out.

I have done a lot of painting for the films. Lindsay helps me, she's good at it.

LB: Along those lines, sound seems equally important to you. Do you do your own sound design? What can you tell us about your audio philosophy?

CALVIN: A lot of the time my sound design begins in the script, just about every time I see an image a sound comes with it, I get excited. That being said in post I always collaborate on sound design with either Brady Hall or Buzz Pierce, they seem to get me and can expand and show me shit I never thought of.

Sound is the perfect tone setter and creates the vibration of the film. I don't know why everybody doesn't experiment with it more.

LB: The songs in your movies are also quite strong and mood-setting. Do you know way in advance what songs you'll be using, or is it decided on during post? If you know in advance, do they ever act somehow as catalysts for the story? Also, where do you get the music from, generally? Are they friends' bands, or do you just go looking?

CALVIN: I sometimes know in advance what songs I will use, but they haven't been a story catalyst so far. It's important that the songs are recorded in a way that doesn't sound to produced or big, the less pro the better. Seems to compliment the image that way.
I use to tour with this band called The Intelligence. I was lucky enough to meet some of the radest bands around. A bunch of them really got into Jerkbeast so they are usually stoked when I ask them.

Also we were on the label In The Red and Larry Hardy has allowed me to use just about anything from that label for free.

LB: I assume you have pretty low budgets to work with. How do you stretch your filmmaking money to make it go as far as possible? What are your priorities when you initially budget something? Also, how much filmstock do you shoot, compared to how much is actually used in the finished short?

CALVIN: Yes, the budgets have been low, but fortunately I spent about 3 1/2 years working for Alphacine Film labs in Seattle. My DP Ryan Adams has been a color timer there for years. It would be hard to tell exactly how much we saved, but it was a lot.

Film, camera and location are my first priorities, we usually get by with somewhere between a 2 to1 or 3 to 1 shooting ratio. But we also do one takers and hope for the best.

LB: Do you edit your own movies, or use an editor? If you use an editor, how involved are you in the process‑‑ do you let them make a first cut on their own, or do you have a pretty extensive idea of what to do from the beginning?

CALVIN: It's always been a collaboration between the editor and myself. I did not make the jump into the computer world very smoothly and it always seems to be updating itself to make things worse. I've become very dependent on people that know that stuff. Mostly Brady Hall and Buzz Pierce, those guys are great. I'm there every step of the way because I shoot a lot of things that don't make it to the script and I have to be sure they make the film, mostly detail shots that could be overlooked. So far, it's worked great for me. I like to talk about shots and bounce off creative ways to tell the story in post. Those guys always end up blowing my mind with new stuff I hadn't thought of.

LB: Who are some filmmakers and or films you admire and consider to be influences? Are you a fan of horror movies in general?

CALVIN: I always find myself thinking of James Szalapski's Heartworn Highways, I watch it probably 3 or 4 times a year , it gets me back to form when other movies bum me out too much. It might be my favorite one ever. I also love Daryl Duke's Payday, Bruce Beresford's Tender Mercies, Richard Donner's Inside Moves and stuff like that. I love movies that show American landscape. That being said I also watch the hell out of Jodowrowski and Nicholas Roeg, a lot to be learned from them.

I like horror movies, but am usually disappointed by them. Films generally don't inspire my story's, that comes from other places.

LB: Lastly, do you have any tips for aspiring filmmakers that you would like to share?

CALVIN: I guess just don't be afraid to suck at it. Try to find what your good at doing not what the people you admire are good at doing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calvin Lee Reeder!

So, like, awhile back I stumbled across a short film called THE RAMBLER, which was written and directed by a fellow named Calvin Lee Reeder, who I had read about a little when he was named one of Filmmaker Magazines’ 25 New Faces of Independent Film. There was something hypnotic and creepified-to-the-billionth-degree about the movie, and it was even sort of comedic. Make sure you note the "sort of" part there, because I'm sure many folks will find nothing to giggle about, which probably speaks well for your character...

He specializes in these weird short "horror movies" that play out as if you've wandered into somebody else's nightmare and get to watch their worst fears manifest. His films are also quite beautiful and use color and sound in powerful ways.

At the time, I hesitated to post THE RAMBLER on this site, because it's so incredibly disturbing. He once described it as being about "mummies and vomit". That's the kind of thing Lou Reed would say if he was trying to be cool in an interview. In the case of Mr. Reeder, he's being 100% truthful. I guess I was afraid that some kids might see it and get overly freaked out.

It hit me the other day, though (when I found out that Mr. Reeder and Co. are about to embark on a feature length project this winter-- yahoo!), that I had been somewhat hypocritical on that point since I also posted TREEVENGE not long ago, and that's about as disturbing as it gets as far as viewing by kids goes. "Good point, self," I remember thinking...

Today, then, is truly your lucky day if you have yet to experience one of Calvin's short movies. There is just something about them that defies logical explanation (for me at least). You could argue that they seem somewhat unfinished, but I feel like it's part of the charm. When was the last time you had a nightmare that ended in some neat, logical way? The open-ended nature of the following two movies really works for me-- wonder what you'll think?

Before you watch these, please keep in mind that THEY ARE NOT FOR KIDS AT ALL, so PLEASE DON'T SHOW THEM TO ANY YOUNGSTERS, and they are pretty damn disturbing. If you were weirded out by ERASERHEAD or have a low tolerance for yuck, please do yourself a favor and skip these. Dig? We won't think any less of you...

For those still interested, here is THE RAMBLER:

The Rambler from calvin reeder on Vimeo.

Yummy, eh? If you want more, how's about this one-- LITTLE FARM:

Little Farm

Man, I just love this guy's movies! I'm gonna write to him and see if he might be up for a quick interview on the blogatorium. What the heck, eh? Worst thing that can happen is he sends some poltergeists to blow up my head, right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Night of Premieres!

We here at Lionbelly are getting awfully excited about Saturday, September 26th, 2009. Why? Thank you for asking! It's because...


Yes, you heard it right-- our almost-3-years-in-the-making surreal cowboy comedy feature EDENWOOD is finally going to have its coming out party, along with the world debut of the pilot episode of our "supernatural investigator charlatans in trouble" horror-comedy series, DARKIVES. And you are invited. No, really-- you are!

The premiere is September 26, 2009, 8:00 PM, at the EMU Student Center Auditorium. The cost for all this entertainment? Free, baby. That's right-- it's a single payer system, and Lionbelly is the payer.

Here's the brand-spanking new trailer for Edenwood, and the official synopsis:

Dallas and Thursday, the infamous Fortune Brothers, are two cowboy heroes who never shrink from a challenge, even when it's WAY over their heads. What they find in the candy‑colored community of Edenwood will make them question their own Personal Value Quotients, as they are sucked into a mystery that pits the Haves against Some Other Haves in a battle for the ideal consumerist identity. Along the way, they will find romance, danger, lots of gold guns, and several parties. There will be barbecues and fisticuffs, videogames and singing, beautiful villains and men in ten thousand dollar suits, henchmen with PhDs and many many products and services.

Will the Fortune Brothers prevail in this brave new world of excess and frivolity? Will the residents of Edenwood survive a slab of good old‑fashioned Frontier Justice? Or will Social Club President Platinum Vallance have her way? And what of the mysterious Flip Willickers and his Value Seekers?

Wanna see some behind-the-scenes photos from the Edenwood set? Click here.

Though we aren't fancy enough to have a "real" rating, the evening is pretty much a PG affair. The movies don't have any cussing or nudity (sorry!), but they do have a few adult themes, a pinch of the old ultra-violence, and in the case of DARKIVES, some cheesy ghost effects that probably wouldn't scare anybody, but you never know with youths...

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Little Knowledge!

Hey again, folks. I'm back with one more mention about the 48 Hour Film Fest. I wanted to post the movie that won "Best of Detroit" and will go on to represent that fair city in the nationals in Las Vegas in eary 2010.

It's called "A Little Knowledge" and it's a really stylish horror story with some amazing visuals. I am frankly amazed at how much they were able to pull off in 48 hours, and how cool a lot of the editing is. This little gem was directed by Clark A. Eagling, written by Nancy Nall Derringer, and produced by Michael Einheuser and Connie Mangilin.

They kicked some ass and we wish them all the best in the national competition at Filmapalooza.

Check it out yourself:

Woo Hoo!!!

So, like, we went to the 48 Hour Film Project banquet on Saturday and our movie won 5 AWARDS!!! Yeah, baby! We got Best Acting, Best Writing, Best Comedy, Best Use of Required Character, and Best Use of Required Dialog. These mark our first awards as a movie making entity and we are awfully excited about that...

Based on the positive response, we've sent "The Most Difficult Thing" out to a couple comedy film festivals in New York and Los Angeles, and are now officially crossing our fingers whenever possible...

This almost makes up for all those "I Tried" ribbons from elementary school...


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Most Difficult Thing...

Here is the movie we made over the weekend for the 48 Hour Film Project, a little comedy we like to call The Most Difficult Thing. You should watch it. It's all funny and stuff. Please feel free to send it out to everyone in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE...

Monday, July 27, 2009

We Did It! Screening this Wednesday in Royal Oak!

The Lionbelly Media team came loaded for bear this past weekend, and we successfully turned in our 48 Hour Film Project movie last night in Detroit. That was some weekend, and I couldn't be hapier with our whole posse and their creative powers.

In the next few days, after our brains have had a chance to cool, we'll post our movie and more comprehensive behind-the-scenes commentary of how the whole thing went down. In the meantime, we wanted to let everybody know that our movie is going to screen along with 12 other teams' projects, at the Main Art theater in Royal Oak this Wednesday, July 29th, at 6:30 pm. here's a map link.

A bunch of us will be there, if you feel like heading over to one of the coolest movie houses in Michigan and see what kind of trouble a bunch of moviemakers can get into in a scant two days of madness...

More soon!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What We're Doing This Weekend...

48 Hour Filmmaker: Detroit 2009

Well, it's almost here. Tomorrow at 7pm, we will be getting our official assignment for the Detroit 48 Film Project, and then scuttling off for the rest of the weekend to make a complete short movie.

Our team is seasoned. Our cast flinty. We have some great secret weapons in our arsenal. Plus, we like making stuff. What more could we ask for?

Whatever happens, we will post our finished movie on the blog for all to view by Monday, unless there's some kind of rule against doing that til after the official screening. Speaking of-- we are in the first screening group, so our movie will show during the 6:30 pm showing on Wednesday, July 29th, at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak (directions at the end of this post).

Wish us luck, my friends. Next time you see anybody from the Lionbelly 48 Hour Team, we will prolly look semi-insane, but happy...

* * *
Main Art Theater
118 N. Main, Royal Oak
(248) 263-2111


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This little gem, by the mad Canadian geniuses Jason Eisner (director) and Rob Cotterill (producer), is a super-bloody, profanity-filled, completely inappropriate for kids, hilarious little gem about Christmas trees getting their 'venge on. This is the same duo who made the awesome fake trailer short Hobo With A Shotgun, and here they up the ante in every possible way. Jason and Rob met on the set of Trailer park Boys, one of Canada's funniest television exports, which is a great excuse to give a shot out or a holla or whatever the kids do today to that show...

Check out the Treevenge site here.

Thank you for hosting this awesome bit of filmic debauchery!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Amazing Visionary Animation!

Good Woobly-Goobly! My friend Chris just sent me a link to one of the coolest animation reels I have ever laid eyes on-- the stop-motion magic of Tobias Stretch. Wow. Wow! WOW!!!!

Aside from the demanding technical nightmare of making the following 5 minutes of animated bliss (like, how on EARTH did he animate the two-headed wheelchair dude in the snow, without adding footprints?), the imagery is so original and manages to tap into some kind of organic creative space-- it's like we're actually watching an alternate universe in action. Did I mention "Wow"?

Do yourself a favor and watch this, and then when you're done, check out Mr. Stretch's other films and artwork at What we have here is a genius, and one I predict will become well known very soon...

Monday, July 13, 2009

What We Did Over The Weekend!

This past weekend a bunch of the posse got together and made up a movie on the fly, as we shot it! Well, okay, it wasn't COMPLETELY on the fly-- we had met once to discuss some basic character and story stuff, but that was all the preproduction that was done...

It was a really cool experiment. We had three actors (Kristin Beckett, David Serra and myself) and three crew people (Jen Locke, Sara Jackson and Walter Seibert), each scene was set up just a few moments before the camera rolled, and the dialog was fully improvised...

By the time we finished principal photography around 4pm on Sunday afternoon, we were all pretty zonked, but also I think we all walked away thinking we had gone well beyond what we thought we'd achieve. It was interesting making something in a more exploratory mode, rather than pre-planned from a script. I'd say the project morphed at least three major times, from one "genre" to another, and in the end it will be interesting to see what it wants to be edited into...

This project marks our first collaboration with Greg McIntosh, local musician-extraordinaire and guitarist for the Great Lakes Myth Society, one of this country's finest bands. Greg will be composing the music for this sucker, and I could not be happier about it.

It was also interesting for me, being on the proverbial "other side of the camera" for once, and having an immersion into what actors have to do and think about, etc. I'm now in even more awe of Kristin and David and Tom and all the other good folk we work with. That stuff is pretty exhausting. If you know any actors, I suggest patting them on the head and buying them a lemonade...

Since this project is in its infancy, we'll avoid giving much detail away as to the plot, etc., and leave you with a few photos from the shoot, taken by Walter. We'll post some more pictures a bit later...

Actors, ahoy!

Jen on the Camera!

Into the Wilderness We Go!

Belgian Holiday Noir-o-Rama!

Dearest Readers,

Once again, my little angel of a sister, June, has brought an awesome short movie to my attention, and once again it shall be shared with you. June is quite the movie finder, and in fact it's getting a little embarassing that she consistently outdoes me in this regard.

I keep getting to that one YouTube video with the monkey peeing in its own mouth, I start watching it over and over (because, hey, it's monkey peeing in its own mouth!) and next thing you know it's 1am and there' no time left to go looking for more cinema-esque fare. Sigh...

I'll do better, I promise...

Today's awesome selection comes from the country of Belgium, from the year 1996, and from the hilarious mind of director Vincent Bal. It is a painstakingly detailed homage to the film noir crime movies of the 40s, and is WAY funnier than most peeing monkeys. Seriously. Please sit back, click the little PLAY triangle, and enjoy...


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Aussie Awesomeness!!!

Holy crap! My sister, June, just sent me a link to an extremely kick-ass short movie called SPIDER, from some creative Australian filmmakers who banded together as Bluetongue Films. They just put a bunch of stuff up on YouTube, and it's all worth watching. The two we're going to link to are pretty darkly comic, but they make all sorts of stuff...

Here is SPIDER, written by Nash Edgerton & David Michôd. Directed by Nash Edgerton.

And here is the equally awesome I LOVE SARAH JANE, written by Spencer Susser & David Michôd. Directed by Spencer Susser.

These cats are exactly what we aspire to, moviemaking-wise. Maybe we can visit Australia some day, get one or two of them all jacked up on radioactive material, and then have them bite us. TOTALLY worked for that Spiderman kid...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interview With Jay Dahl!

A few postings back, we featured the very creepy short film "There Are Monsters", by Jay Dahl of Black Dog Films out of Halifax, Canada. It's one of the best things I've found online so far and I've watched it several times.

Well, as a special treat to you, our readers, Mr. Dahl has agreed to be interviewed for the Blogatorium and he has much goodness to share. Some of it is of the technical film-geek variety, some is more about his philosophy of movie making, but all of it is generously offered and thoughtful. Check it out:

Jay Dahl, badass

LB: On the technical side of things, what camera(s) and format(s) did you shoot "There Are Monsters" with, how long did principal photography take, and what did you edit on?

JAY: It was shot with the panasonic 900 ‑ which is a couple years old now but we got some great glass for it ‑ we used mostly long lenses for the doc feel. The format was DVCPRO50 shot at 24p.

It took two very big days to shoot ‑ maybe 14‑15 hours each day. I like my crews small so I think there were maybe 15 of us at the most. There were only two locations so it was possible to do it in two days ‑ it should have been three but we were pushing about 15,000 dollars for the whole film, so two days was all we could budget for.

We had no money for an editor so I cut it myself on my Avid Express Pro (though I just bought a Final Cut Pro system and love it). This was my last project on the Avid system.

The online edit and colour correct was done on a squillion‑dollar Avid Nitrous system in a post facility. Even the effects were done in the Nitrous (you can tell they're just simple in‑camera, jump‑cuts or liquefy filters on the Nitrous).

It was mastered as a 23.98 hd project ‑ so I could easily go to NTSC or PAL or even a film print.

LB: What can you tell us about your thinking behind how you shot the creepy "grocery store" scene? When you are shooting handheld with lots of little zoom moves, etc., how do you deal with focus?

JAY: We use a crew for the most part ‑ we're all from the film world so we're used to having the three to four man camera department. For this film there were just two in the camera dept ‑ a D.P. Kyle Cameron (who also operated) and a focus puller named Cam Erais. We really needed one more but I like small crews and those two guys are the best east of Montreal.

I really wanted a 'video camera feel' to give that documentary effect. I think realism heightens the fear, so I really liked when it got soft and even asked them to rack focus during the scenes and then used many soft moments in my final cut (which of course the camera guys hate even though it's a stylistic choice ‑ these guys are pros so being soft to them can be a career‑killer move.)

LB: The acting is freaking great, across the board. How did you find your cast, and what can you tell us about working with them?

JAY: They are really a killer bunch of actors, I'm glad you think so too. I've worked with many of them before, and some I've wanted to work with for years so finally we got the opportunity. Usually I do a long drawn out audition phase as casting is EVERYTHING ‑ but this time I knew who I wanted for each part.

Steve Arnold plays the main guy and he is BRILLIANT ‑ he really understands that film is all about UNDER‑ACTING ‑ for theatre you have to shout your emotions but for film you just need to THINK them. I was blown away by Steve - there wasn't one bad take. The same can be said, I think for everyone. Kristin Langille as the wife is fantastic. Kim Parkhill in the store was brilliant as well ‑ the interesting thing is that she is gorgeous in real life ‑ our stellar make‑up department really nicely and subtly 'monster‑ized' her just perfectly.

The acting style is REALISM and if you haven't tried it ‑ it's hard to do. There's another short on my site, BACKJUMPING, most people think it's a real documentary. I love realism when it's done well in film: guys like Paul Greengrass and Scorcese get unbelievable realism, I love it when I believe it!

We worked very hard on the scenes. If I am shooting video then I don't give a shit about stock and just turn the camera on and run the scene again and again. I have a rep for doing very long takes and rarely cutting. It's tough on everyone but you'll get realism if you can reduce the FILMMAKING part of the set and concentrate on the STORY AND PERFORMANCE. Many times in film it's the set and crew that is the star ‑ I think as directors its our job to make the story and performances the star of your film.

Like I said, it's very, very tough to get something that feels REAL. I think we had about 5 hours of burned stock for a 10 minute short ‑ most of that was actor performance, so yah, the shooting ratio goes out the window when you do realism, ha!

LB: Your short almost feels like it could be part of a larger piece. Are there any plans to make a feature-length version of "There Are Monsters"?

JAY: Yup. There is a feature being made right now. most of it was shot last summer and I'm cutting it now. It has the same title. We'll do pick‑up shots in August and then hopefully onlined, mixed and mastered by December.

The feature is considerably different than the short as I only raised 300,000 for 90 minutes, which is a laughable budget but fuck it, I did it. Let's hope it turns out! Because it's so low budget one big difference with the feature is that it is POV like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and CLOVERFIELD. We just simply couldn't afford to light things as pretty as we did on the short, so we decided to make a mockumentary. Our package truck for the two day short actually had more grip and gaffer gear than our 20 day feature!

The feature is the story of a bunch of university film students who are out filming stuff for their school when they start to catch freaky stuff on their cameras. It all ends very badly.

LB: How did you come up with the idea?

JAY: Just out one day and walked past someone that had a funny look in their eye. And I thought, "What if that person was a monster?" Yup, it was as simple as that.

I'm also not a big fan of gore and torture porn. I miss 'good' horrors like THE EXORCIST and THE SHINING ‑ now everyone wants SAW and THE HILLS HAVE EYES ‑ so I wanted to make something that was really SCARY again, not gross, which I knew would be challenging. I also love the doppleganger myth and movies like that, so I knew I'd always do my version.

And finally I love utilizing the documentary style and had a theory that the more realistic I made something, the more people would empathize with what's happening and therefore the more then would get frightened when that world they thought they knew turned on them. I think I was correct on this theory. One of my favourite horror moments in history is in Ridley Scott's original ALIEN ‑ when the first chestbuster comes out during dinner: that scene is so realistic ‑ the acting is AMAZING ‑ the realism really heightens the shock of the scene. Still very, very effective, even 30 years later.

LB: You have made many comedies in the past and I'm wondering if doing something in the horror genre was kind of a lark, or something you'd been wanting to do for awhile?

JAY: Yup, this was a departure for me, there is no doubt. I think that I have been 'the comedy guy' for so long that people weren't too sure when I said, "Oh I'm making a horror". They even started laughing when the film began when I played it at our local film festival ‑ people again thought they were getting a Jay Dahl comedy. And then that little girl hit the window and I watched 500 people in the theatre literaly leave their seats - haha success! It was a great feeling.

My favourite filmmaker is Kubrick. I mean this is a guy that transcended simple visiual story‑telling to create CINEMATIC EXPERIENCES. But what I admire the most about Kubrick was his ability to jump from genre to genre. I mean he did war, comedy, sci‑fi, period, sports ‑ he could do anything. And when he approached a project he said to himself: "I'm going to make the scariest movie of all time, or the most important sci fi of all time," and then he'd go ahead and do just that. I sort of took a page from Kubrick's genre‑jumping when I started going down the horror avenue. I hope to do all sorts of films in the end: more comedies and horrors, but also definitely a WESTERN, and definitely SCI FI. It's like discovering the film medium all over again when you challenge yourself with a whole new genre.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Several Irons in Fire

We are a busy little group of movie elves right now, lemme tell you. Finishing this, starting that, tweaking the other thing. And doing it all with class! That's us in a nutshell. What are we up to, you ask? Well...

1. We are finishing color correction and audio mixing of our first feature, EDENWOOD. Man, that stuff can take way longer than you think...

2. Likewise, finishing the same for the first episode of DARKIVES

3. We've begun shooting the first of three collaborative shorts with local comedy troupe Monkey Rampant, as part of a series called MONKEYSHORTS (and start shooting number two on Sunday)

4. Tomorrow, we meet with some talented actor folk to begin our first all-improv short movie. That should be quite a trip. Hopefully, it will be fun and coherent! It's an odd feeling going into something with no preconceived ideas...

5. On the weekend of July 24-26, we are competing in the Detroit 48 Hour Film Project, as mentioned on an earlier posting. Right now we're getting a good team together and watching as many winning entries from past years as we can find, to get ready. Gulp!

6. We are creeping closer to finishing Joe Sacksteder's MALIGNANT, which is starting to gel quite a bit. We're gonna shoot a little more for it in the next few weeks, if all goes well...

7. Paul Walther turned in the final draft of the script for "Mishipishu", the middle chapter of our three part anthology movie BOUQUET OF SHADOWS. Woo Hoo! Paul is now busy cooking up yet another hunk of the anthology, which will be our answer to the M.R. James genre of ghost fiction. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

8. Speaking of the anthology, we entered BOUQUET OF SHADOWS in the first ever Ultimate Filmmaker Competition, put on by the awesome fledgling Filmmakers Alliance. Keep your fingers crossed for us, as the prize is a sizable budget and production help for making the movie.

All this and day jobs, too!

(Sorry this was kind of a boring entry, but it's quite late and my brain is quickly macerating itself into a fine paste. I promise more fun stuff to view very soon...)



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh, Those Crazy Canadians!

Lately, it seems, I have been having an epiphany about Canada. Turns out that those wacky extreme-northerners might just be the ones who end up saving the world of movies and movie fandom. Who would have guessed that? (Just kidding-- I'm sure Nostradamus predicted it long ago...).

Seems like every time I check out a movie website or magazine that kicks some bootangus, it turns out to be CANADIAN! What ones, you ask? Well, how's about and Rue Morgue Magazine, smart aleck? Canadian! Okay, I realize that's only two examples but sometimes hyperbole is the new subtle. Got it?!

In any case, what's really got me excited about Canada right now is a Halifaxian (Halifaxiganderian?) filmmaker name of Jay Dahl, the erstwhile owner of Black Dog Films, which is a small company that makes seriously kick-ass and diverse stuff, from comedy to horror. The movie that's currently freaking me out about how good it is is their short horror piece called There Are Monsters. It's got everything I love about creepy stuff-- tons of atmosphere and smart direction, coupled with great performances and an ambiguous menace. The Zettelmaier Brothers and I all agree that the less stuff is explained, the more creepy it is. If you agree with that statement, you should enjoy this movie. (Thanks, June, for bringing this to my attention).

Here you go: