Friday, December 31, 2010

KimyooFilms on OpenFilm!

One of the most common questions I get is "Are your films online?" and for a long time I replied no. They were still out on the festival circuit or I couldn't find a website that I liked that handled films in a way that made me feel comfortable. Then, I heard about this place called OpenFilm. They'll host features and shorts and it's built for filmmakers, not for vbloggers or machinimaniacs or anything that would normally wind up on YouTube. After BleedFest, I'll be putting "Essenger" and aftershock up, too, but for now, if you have an hour to spare, you can now go check out both Without / Within and A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema online! Woohoo!!

Also, I've submitted A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema to the Get It Made competition, a contest where the winner is given a bunch of dough to make a feature version of their short. If you have the time and the inclination, please create an account and vote for my film! Hell, go watch a bunch of the films and vote! It is free, after all. They say that 60% of the contest is based on viewer impressions so click on the stars (one for crappy, five for MINDBLOWINGLY AWESOME!) and vote honestly!

In closing: this year has been amazing and I feel so blessed. Next year, and the year after that, and the year after that and so on and so forth...they're only going to get better! Thank you all so much for sticking around through my long silences and then sudden bursts of tl;dr fangeekery! Be safe tonight and happy new year!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

An announcement about "Essenger" and aftershock

I received word just the other day that my very short zombie film aftershock and the music video I made for World Collision were accepted to Bleedfest for their February 6 edition! Bleedfest, which I've blathered on about before, is a female-centric genre film festival, but more than that, their horror edition is in February which is Women in Horror month! I'm so honoured and excited to be a part of this event! Hopefully, I'll be able to go! Thank you Elisabeth and Brenda Fies!

The festival takes place on the first Sunday of every month at CAP Theatres in Sherman Oaks, California, which is half an hour outside of Los Angeles (an hour in traffic, according to Google Maps.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More from the World Music and Independent Film Festival

I was interviewed recently by Laura Hartman of the World Music and Independent Film Festival where this past year, the music video I made for World Collision was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Alternative Rock Video. The interview can be found by clicking here.

I have something exciting to announce, too, that does tie in to my interview in a round about way. Hallowscreen was an amazing experience and I met some truly fantastic people because of it. Among those I met are Sage Hall and Jesse Kozel who made the short film Candy. They're making another short film next week and I've volunteered my services for pretty much whatever they need. It's been a long time since I was on someone else's set so I'm really looking forward to, well, everything! I volunteered to do whatever they need. I have no problem with going from the captain of the ship to being a deckhand. All positions are necessary and if I can help in anyway to make their dreams come true, then I'll be happy!

I believe in supporting the community, of helping each other when and if possible. I know that film is a business and that it's very competitive, but like they say in Second City: if the other guy looks good then everyone looks good. I heard that twice this week (once on the Ghostbusters commentary from Harold Ramis and once on a random interview with Bill Murray that was on TCM) and I really like that philosophy.

In other news, I finished the second draft of a new feature script the other day. This one is one I've been trying to write for years, but it just didn't want to come out. I'm very happy with it and want to start on the third draft, but I need to do this short film first since I plan on shooting it early next year. On that front, I re-started the storyboards last night. I was using a computer program to hand draw them (don't ask) and it was okay at first, but the program locked up on the fourth page and wouldn't let me erase or edit so I had to restart it. It's all good, I'm a terrible artist, but I think I prefer to be terrible on physical media anyway.

I may have more to announce soon, but I'll wait until I have confirmation. For now, keep screaming!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Now is a pretty exciting time to be a woman in horror, by the looks of things. We've got FangirlTastic, formerly Pretty/Scary, which seems to be kicking thing up a notch, and the wonderful Viscera Film Festival. Now, there's BleedFest, a monthly festival for female genre filmmakers! How great is THAT?! Both Viscera and BleedFest are free to submit and they're both in California and 2011 will mark the second year of the Women in Horror movement started by Hannah Neurotica of AxWound Magazine!

Hmm...I'm not sure I have enough links in this post yet so here's one more for good measure: I Am Nancy because, duh, I'm super excited for this documentary and it totally fits in with my previous topic since the creative team locked picture and have started that torturous process: festival submission!

I'm seeing a lot more women being recognized for their work in the genre and even more coming out of the woodwork, as it were, to make genre pictures. Our work is never done, but at least I, and others like me, won't feel so alone now!

In other news, I'm in pre-production on another short film! I plan on shooting it early next year, depending on funding and all of that. I've got the script locked, which is always a good thing, and I plan on starting the storyboards tomorrow! I also just finished the first draft of a new script. It's almost feature length, but I know the areas I need to address in the next draft which will put it into feature length territory. This particular story is one I've been trying to write for years and I'd love for it to be my first feature. If I were to have my way, I already know who I would cast for the four major roles, but I'm getting ahead of myself, which I tend to do when I get overly excited. :D

I've also got two more music videos to work on for World Collision, one to promote the Nosferatu soundtrack they recorded and one for their next album! I'm very excited for both of them! I've gotten to listen to bits and pieces of the studio version of the Nosferatu soundtrack and, I've gotta tell you, it's pretty fabulous!

Hopefully, I'll be back to my babbling self on this blog soon! Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was fantastic!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hallowscreen: Seven Days Later.

I've written up a quick round up of the Hallowscreen Film Festival over on the festival blog:

I had an emotional shock on Tuesday when I was already mentally and physically exhausted from the festival so for my own health, I took the past two days off. Today is errand day and we'll see what the weekend holds, but my project plans are as follows: I have a 30 second commercial to make for a local business in exchange for them letting us into their parking lot early to set up for Nosferatu, I am doing pre-production on a music video for World Collision, and I want to make another short film. In between all of that, I want to write, write, write. I haven't written for most of this year and that makes my head go all splodey... :D

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Downloadable versions of the Hallowscreen Film Festival schedule.

In an effort to reduce how much paper is used at Hallowscreen, I've created two more ways of getting our schedule in addition to the physical, printed brochure and the web-based version of the schedule.

Click here to download our schedule as an epub document hosted by MediaFire.

Click here to download the inside of our brochure as a PDF, also hosted by MediaFire.

If I'd remembered about QR codes earlier, I would've put them on the posters...ah well, next year!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chatting up the Hallowscreen on local access TV!

Here's the video of me on local access television talking up the Hallowscreen! I excised my parts from the whole show because of YouTube's length restrictions. You should definitely check out the Sarasota Chalk Festival's Denise Kowal in the video at the bottom of this post for the rest of the episode!

Lori chatting up Hallowscreen:

Denise Kowal chatting up the Sarasota Chalk Festival:

Y'all know that I'm really not that big a fan of crowds and attention and stuff. I get really nervous when I do Q&A for my own films. I've done live TV before - closed circuit stuff at school and that sort of thing - and I've been interviewed before. I really prefer to be behind the cameras as opposed to in front of them. Last night, I received an email from Denise asking me if I would go with her to be on At the Movies. I may feel uncomfortable with that stuff, but I am in the film business. No one can promote my stuff but me, right?, so it's a good opportunity to get used to it so I said yes. Well, first I said EGADS, and then I said yes.

Cut to today: Denise picked me up at 6:20 and we headed over to the Comcast broadcast studio where we met Gus Mollasis, the host of the program we were going to be on: At the Movies. As befitting public access, it was a small studio with a cramped green room, but cozy and personable all at the same time. We sat and went over what we were going to talk about in brief so we wouldn't go on completely cold. We trudged into the studio and chatted some more as we donned our lavaliers and got comfortable. They had a quarter of a wall covered with old 3/4" decks that they don't use anymore and are just sitting there for storage. I haven't seen a 3/4" deck since I graduated from high school, so that was pretty neat. Another couple of minutes and we were off and running!

The broadcast went smoothly and I'm pretty happy with everything I was able to say. My Nancy Hair was totally in effect, too! (you'll notice that I am wearing an I Am Nancy fact, it's the one that Heather Langenkamp gave me at Spooky Empire. :D ) He put me on the spot with that "what films should I see" thing, but I think I handled it pretty well. lol

Gus Mollasis is a great guy and I'm so glad that we was able to fit me in without any notice. I'm also glad I thought to bring a brochure with me so he could look it over to have fodder for questions.

Eight days until the festival starts! Whoa!! And five until my birthday!! Hahaha!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

At the Movies with Gus Mollasis

Hey everyone (who lives in Sarasota anyway...) Tune in to BlabTV (Comcast 189) at 7 tomorrow night to see Sarasota Chalk Festival director Denise Kowal and myself talk about our events with Gus Mollasis, host of At the Movies!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Hallowscreen Film Festival is looking for volunteers!

The Hallowscreen Film Festival is looking for responsible volunteers (read: no pay, except in gum and gratitude!) for our Halloween weekend event! The film festival is being put on in conjunction with the Sarasota Chalk Festival, an event to raise money (via donations) and awareness for the Avenida de Colores, a Sarasota-based 501(c)3. There is no charge for admission to either the film festival or the Chalk Festival. The festivals will take place in downtown Sarasota, in the area where South Pineapple Avenue and South Orange Avenue converge.

We request that all volunteers are 18 or older as this film festival shows mostly rated R films and as one of the functions of the volunteers will be to check IDs at the door, it doesn't seem right for the volunteer to not be able to see the movies they're carding for!

We need volunteers for the following days:
Friday, October 29, 2010, from 6pm-midnight. 6pm-9pm is the VIP party and 9 pm-midnight is the open to the public portion. The opening night film will be shown during both sections. The volunteer may be called upon to change discs as well as card attendees to verify that they are 17 or older for our films.

Saturday, October 30, 2010, from noon-midnight. Obviously, we don't expect volunteers to stay all twelve hours, but we're running films that entire time. Switching discs and checking IDs will be the main jobs for the volunteers. There is also an outdoor portion to this event, from 6:30 until 8, featuring local band World Collision playing a brand new, original score live to the silent film Nosferatu.

Sunday, October 31, 2010, from noon-midnight. Obviously, we don't expect volunteers to stay all twelve hours, but we're running films that entire time. Again, switching discs and checking IDs will be the main jobs for the volunteers.

Other functions that may be asked of the volunteers: help tearing down / putting up A/V equipment if the tech crew so asks, go-fer / errand runner, sell t-shirts that help to raise money for the Chalk Festival / Avenida de Colores.

There are no paid positions on the Hallowscreen staff. In fact, the entire staff is one person.

To apply, please send your name, availability, and contact information to . Please use: "Volunteer for Hallowscreen" in your subject so the email doesn't end up in Spam. Volunteers are responsible for getting themselves to and from the event, which is in downtown Sarasota. Finally, serious applicants only, please. Please don't volunteer your time only to not show up and not even let us know that you're not showing up.

To learn more about the Chalk Festival, please go to their website: .
To learn more about the Hallowscreen Film Festival, please visit our blog: .

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spooky Empire, Part the Second

I awoke and headed down to the hotel restaurant Augustine's for breakfast. I got overpriced silver dollar pancakes, pretty good potatoes, and to see one of the actors brought in for the weekend being a douche because he was running late and he ordered the wait staff around like little more than chattel. I won't say who he is because maybe he was having a bad day and perhaps doesn't deserve to have his name dragged through the mud, but still. Wheaton's Law must always be in effect: Don't be a dick.

After breakfast, I meandered over to the con and got in line for the first photo op: Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund. Since Robert Englund's solo op was first, I thought it would be prudent because the lines were a bit of a mess. I didn't care about being first (though that was cool because Mr. Englund and Ms. Langenkamp hadn't settled into a rhythm so I got to see a little behind the Con versions of themselves), I just wanted to make sure I got in there! I didn't know that Mr. Englund would have a glove...every picture I saw that he wore one, I just thought it was provided by the fan so I didn't have an appropriate pose in mind when I went in. Guess I'll have to take another one next time the two of them are in a con near me! Oh darn!

The photo op process is one that, by necessity, goes quick. The printing process takes about an hour or so so I went off to take in more of the con. I bought a couple of shirts: one is a composite of the posters for Nightmares 1-6 (although they used an Asian version of the Nightmare 1 poster, but at least Nancy's represented by the original Nightmare 3 art!) and the other is a shirt for Lucio Fulci's Zombie. :D I may have been there to meet Heather Langenkamp, but I'm still a fan of horror!

My next photo op was with Ms. Langenkamp solo and wasn't supposed to happen until 4:30 so I kill some more time walking around and taking in the environment, then I got into line around 3:45 / 4:00. Then I found out that they were going to smush the one-on-one photo ops for Ms. Wyss, Ms. Langenkamp, and Mr. Saxon into the same time frame as the trio photo op and they pushed it an hour. I figured that was to give more time to the John Carpenter photo op, but then I learned that I was the only one to buy the photo op time for Ms. Langenkamp. (Turns out there were two of us, but judging by this book's cover, I was the less scary one...) So, I went outside to chat with my mom until it was time to get into line for the photo op when two ambulances pulled up.

There are a lot of things that happen at cons. There was a table selling real metal Freddy claws (dulled down, I'm sure, but not collapsable and people are stupid.) People cosplay, some with real weapons as part of their ensemble. Some cosplay in outfits they really shouldn't be wearing and for a multitude of reasons. And some people are just jerks and bring these attitudes in with them. I'd been witness to some douchiness already, mind you, so I thought some stupid fan did something stupid. I found out the next day that the ambulances were for John Carpenter because he'd had a seizure.

Ho. Ly. Crap.

He's okay and when he showed up on Sunday for the Q&A, he looked fit as a fiddle, but that was shocking news, especially when I heard it from a source outside of the con. No one talked about it. A stupid fan does something stupid, you don't hear about it. When one of the fathers of modern horror suffers a seizure at the convention where you're conventioning, you'd think it would've been talked about, but no...weird...

Back to Saturday: I got into line for my solo photo op and got my photo taken with Ms. Langenkamp again. She took a moment to thank me (remembering my name!) and said I should stop back by so she could give me an I Am Nancy button (even though I was already wearing one.) I wasn't about to pass up another I Am Nancy button! I lost my first one in New York when I was there for a film festival and Arlene Marechal and the I Am Nancy crew were nice enough to send me more, but I plan on giving some of those away during Hallowscreen if I'm able to secure a special teaser clip to play. I wanted the movie, but Ms. Langenkamp told me they just submitted to Sundance. Sundance gives special attention and consideration to premieres and it wouldn't be a world premiere anymore if Hallowscreen got it. I hope they get in to Sundance!

Once the photo was printed out, I went in to the autograph room and got her to sign it. She couldn't believe that I didn't have a favourite quote, but liked it when I asked her to sign it with a lyric from the Just the Ten of Us theme, "Life is a race and I know I can win it." Uplifting. Wholesome. Not "screw your pass!" or "9, 10 Never Sleep Again!" or anything like that. Hahahaha! I thanked her again and left to go to the special effects panel hosted by Rick Rodriguez.

Rick isn't a very engaging host. He lost the interest of the once-packed house pretty early on and they all started talking amongst themselves which was very rude, but he seemed to be more focused on name dropping and the effects demonstrations than actually talking to us. To be more precise, it felt more like a long, slightly boring version of Universal's Horror Effects Make-Up Show with pauses to sell products that were made by some of his colleagues. Personally, I wondered why they didn't get Ms. Langenkamp's husband, David LeRoy Anderson, to come in and talk about effects. His work is top notch, but he's not local so maybe that's why the organizers didn't bother. Instead, this guy showed the KNB anniversary reel (he's not a part of KNB so I'm not sure why it was there), a clip from the original Day of the Dead (his army zombie ripped out Miguel's throat at the end of the film, but you don't see the zombie in the movie, you just see the rope latex effect of Miguel's throat), and a few effects clips from other movies.

After that, I went back to my room to give myself time away from people before I went to the VIP party. I got there just in time to see G. Tom Mac play "Cry Little Sister" and see a little kareoke, but a large group of people and alcohol do not a friendly mix make so I hung around for a little bit, then went to see She Wolf Rising at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival. The trailer makes it seem a little goofier than it actually's more of a mindtrip fairy tale of sorts, but Tiffany Shepis was excellent. I talked to the associate producer, Glen, after the film was over about picking up a copy for my festival and he said that I could pick up the back up DVD from the festival organizer the next day so with that all worked out and the movie over, I went back to my room to get some sleep. Sunday was a big day after all!!


I got up early on Sunday and the first thing I noticed was that the world was spinning. Again, I don't drink and I don't do drugs so it could only mean one thing: my vertigo decided it wanted to dance. Yay. I was dizzy, depending on the position my head was in, from 9 am until I went to sleep around 10 pm, but I wasn't about to let it put a damper on the final day of the con!

The VIP badges are good for getting into the convention area early. Mainly, that applies to the dealer's room. I planned on going back to get one of the 3D Elm Street posters so I went in, but, alas, they were all sold out and there were several sprinkled throughout the dealer's room. They had a plethora of Friday the 13th 3D posters, but no Elm Street. Ah well. Instead, I found a WGON shirt, then I got into the VIP line for the first Q&A of the day: Return of the Living Dead!

I love RotLD, not enough to get autographs, but I'm so glad I went to the Q&A! They were all hilarious and warm and they were kind enough to pose for group photos after the show. When the Q&A was over, they asked the staff to lower the house lights and for the audience to illuminate our faces with our cell phones. I was the fastest on the draw with the flashlight app on my phone so they all pointed at me and took my picture. If I can find any, I'll come back and post them.

Immediately following them was the Q&A with John Carpenter! All the general admission schlubs had to get out, but us VIPs got to stay where we were. That's the kind of perk I can enjoy! ;D

That is actress Erin Gray next to him. I don't know why she was his handler, but I thought it was pretty cool regardless. He seemed to take the constant Halloween questions (and questions about the sequels that he has no part in) in stride, but when asked about his newest project, The Ward, he didn't really say much. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Halloween and Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China and Cigarette Burns and everything, but I really wanted to hear more about The Ward as it's a new project and he says it's old school horror probably coming out next year. Most importantly, though, it was good to see that he felt well enough to be there!

After that, they kicked everyone out, even VIP, to reset for the Elm Street panel...which was pointless because as soon as I got to the back of the VIP line, they ushered us back in. I lost my seat, though, and ended up a whole seat to the right. :D At first, they were saying it was going to be just Robert Englund, which would've been fun, sure, but I wanted to hear from the whole cast, not just him...then, at the very last second, they brought out more chairs! Yay! The whole cast was coming out!

You'll notice that some of the photos use the flash and some don't...this is the story for all of the photos I took during the Q&As. I didn't want to blind anyone because I wanted to take lots of pictures, but the lights on stage weren't quite good enough for flashless photos. Then, the light wasn't all that good to focus by, either. Ah well. I tried!

Anyway, the Q&A was great. Of course, the questions were focused on Mr. Englund, who does talk a lot, but he tried to involve the other cast members. I was able to ask my question before the end of the Q&A and it went something like this: "This is mainly for Ms. Langenkamp, but I'd love to hear Ms. Wyss weigh in as well. Freddy wouldn't be who he is without Nancy, you need to have the strong hero to balance the strong villain. Were you aware at the time that Nancy would be so important or was that something that dawned on you as the popularity in the film grew?"

I meant the question as more of a Feminist / Woman in Horror type question as opposed to a character centric question, but I really liked the response Ms. Langenkamp and Mr. Englund gave which was that the two of them (mostly Mr. Englund) went for a Beauty and the Beast style energy not so much in the romantic sense (though that was there, too), but in the sense of these diametrically opposed beings struggling with each other and yet they're part of the same energy. Originally, Freddy really was just a dream, a part of Nancy's subconscious as a young girl burgeoning into womanhood. A real life pedophilia scandal in the area around the time Elm Street was being filmed made Wes Craven decide to tone down the pedophiliac aspects of the character, and then producer Bob Shaye wanted the possibility of sequels so he and Mr. Craven fought over the ending until we have what now ends the film.

My favourite thing about Nancy is that she defeats this demonic child murdering pedophile without the conceit of superpowers. Even the series' next strongest female character, Alice, has superpowers in the dream as the Dream Master (which really doesn't help her much at all, to be honest.) Nancy doesn't belong to any clique, she's beautiful in a very real way, she's very smart...she's a regular girl who's been thrown into this impossible circumstance and no one will believe her when she warns them about what's happening. The same thing goes for movie!Heather in Wes Craven's New Nightmare unless you want to call being a dedicated mother a superpower to which I would concede.

This very same thing is what I hate about remake!Nancy: they made her a freaky artist chick, said she knew what was going on when she had no flippin' idea until the Glen surrogate told her what was up, and made her little more than a plaything for Jackie Earle Haley's terrifying portrayal of remake!Freddy. Without that equality between the main characters, the whole story is lost.

And I'm babbling. But I won't delete it, so there. :P

After the Q&A, Ms. Langenkamp happened to pass by me out in the hall so I was able to thank her once more and she thanked me, too! By name! I suppose it's silly to be so giddy that she remembered my name, but I don't care. She remembered my name! :D

Still on a high, I wandered around a bit. The con was winding down and I watched actors pack up their wares to head back to their hotel rooms or catch the next flight out. I thanked Linnea Quigley for coming out (and soon after discovered that she was going to be at a film festival in Ybor which is about an hour north of me, but I'll be at a friend's Halloween party) then remembered that she had a presentation at 4:30 so I went to see that. She and this dude named Erik have put together a half hour comedy pilot about paranormal investigators. Funnily enough, Steve Gonzales from Ghosthunters was in the audience. The show needs work...all the jokes are too "hey, look at me, I'm funny! See? See how funny I am?!" There were a couple of funny bits, but they would've been better with a more subtle build up. At least, they would be in my opinion. I booked out of there kinda fast only because I needed to make sure I was able to pick up the back-up DVD for She Wolf Rising from the Freak Show Film Festival and I wanted to attend the awards ceremony. Ms. Quigley's thing was supposed to end within ten minutes of the ceremony starting, but either the presentation ran late or they started the awards early because I made it back in time only to hear the final award: Best Feature went to Kiss the Abyss.

I was able to get She Wolf Rising from Robert Massetti and then went to my room because the return bus was to leave at 5:15 in the morning. The vertigo went away while I watched something on my iPad before turning it off to go to sleep and other than a little bit of dizziness today, which might have just been tiredness, I've been vertigo-free since I woke up! Yay!

So...long story short (too late), I got to meet my heroine and she was absolutely lovely. I had a great time and I'm glad I was able to do the con at my own pace instead of trying to please a group of people because I was there just to meet Heather Langenkamp and I did a lot of waiting to make sure I got to meet her / see her. All of the other experiences were like the sprinkles on top. It was well worth the time, effort, and money to go to the con and I'm so glad I did it!

As I ate dinner last night, the last actor I saw before heading back to my room was Robert Englund...a nice, circular way to close out a fabulous weekend.

Not that she'll ever read this, but thank you again, Ms. Langenkamp! And thank you Spooky Empire for having her as a guest!

Spooky Empire, Part the First

They say that you should never meet your heroes. After meeting one of mine this weekend, I can tell you that meeting one's heroes doesn't always end in tears of sadness.

This past weekend was Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend. When they announced Heather Langenkamp, I kept my eye on their website almost every day to make sure they hadn't already started selling, and thus sold out of, the VIP tickets. I don't think of myself as a VIP and I'm not a partier, but I did want to get into those Q&As faster to get the good seats because my good camera has a nice zoom, but not back-of-the-room nice.

I'm also not an autograph hound, but my mom said I should get something signed and suggested the Just the Ten of Us crew shirt that producer / creator Steve Marshall gave to me years ago. At the last second, I decided to also bring my favourite poster which is an original Fango freebie of Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund as Nancy and Freddy all dressed up. Judging by the Freddy make-up (yes, I can place a Freddy picture by make-up), I'd say it was taken around the time they made Nightmare 3.

I went up on Thursday, catching the Greyhound at 6:30 in the morning (it was late, though...go figure), and went to Universal to partake of yummy, yummy butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and to take photos of some of my favourite things in the park with my good camera.

I went back to my hotel around 6 so I could get my VIP badge and on the way to Walgreens, I saw my first actor: Robert Englund. Well, to be more precise, I heard him before I saw him, mostly because his back was to me. As I was walking past, his handler (Mrs. Englund? I dunno...) gave me the greatest death glare ever! I wasn't going to bother him anyway. At most, I would have nodded and said, "Hello Mr. Englund," but that death glare warned me off ! Woe be to he or she who fucks with Robert Englund while that woman's around!

I saw my second actor when I was heading back across the street after Walgreens: Heather Langenkamp! She was too far away to extend a civilized greeting to and she was in the middle of a conversation with her handler (or patient friend) and I'm not that kind of fan. I kept going, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't squee a little in excitement and, of course, call my mom and text anyone who would've remotely cared. I didn't fansplode and I didn't, as I became fond of saying over the weekend, get any fan on her.

Later on, I went to the pool-side pre-party and watched Jaws 3D. There were quite a few actors there, people I like and all, but I'm not that kind of fan. It's enough that I got to see them, you know? I didn't even ask Stephen King for his autograph the last time I saw him, I just waved like an idiot and kept walking. Anyway, during the party, I saw Amanda Wyss (she played Tina in A Nightmare on Elm Street.) I kept looking around for John Saxon so I could complete my pre-con ANoES sighting set, but alas, I didn't see him there. The night was still young when Jaws 3D ended, and so am I, but I was tired so I broke rule number 2 of con-going and went back to my room where I watched Wes Craven's New Nightmare on my iPad then went to bed.

Side-note: New Nightmare is my favourite of the sequels. I hate the fifth claw and there are things that don't make much sense, but it's a solid, ahead-of-the-curve film and everyone, Ms. Langenkamp in particular, was so brave to do it. I love it and she's spectacular in it.

By the way...the con-going rules are as follows:
1.) Once you get your badge, you never leave your room without it. Even if you're going to a restaurant at 5 in the morning, you never leave your badge behind. This is a rule I follow at film festivals, too.

2.) Whatever you do...don't fall asleep! I learned this one when I missed the late Kevin Smith (Ares from Xena) being awesome in the hotel bar with all the Xenites when I attended a Xena con back in 1998. However, the idea of staying awake to see if any actors are hanging out at the bar has always seemed creepy to me, not the least of which because I don't drink. Or smoke. Or do drugs.

3.) Attend all of the events you can. You never know when, or if, you'll see anything like this again.


The next day was Friday, the first official day of the convention. The zombie walk they had planned, hosted by the Deadite Empire, wasn't scheduled to start until around 4 or 5 so I got up and decided to get some breakfast and go for a bit of a walk. Who should I see as I headed toward Perkins? Heather Langenkamp! I didn't need to abide by con rule 2! I was lucky enough to see her twice pre-con! She was having breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants; I just giggled to myself as I passed and continued on my way to Perkins.

After breakfast, and my walk down to Wonderworks, I had to leave the zombie walk pre-party to attend to some Hallowscreen business back at the hotel. It was then that I realized that I didn't have any sunblock on. At least my rosacea wouldn't be as pronounced in the photo ops with Ms. Langenkamp! By the time I got back to Uno's Chicago Grill (leave it to a restaurant to be ground zero for the zompocalypse), quite a few really amazing zombies and survivours had shown up and I just started taking pictures of every one! There were TONS of ghouls including Mr. Bill Hinzman, who played the first modern ghoul in cinema for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, and Mr. Mike Christopher who played the Hare Krishna ghoul in Dawn of the Dead! They were both in costume and joining in on the festivities! How awesome is that?!

The zombie walk lead everyone who participated to the host hotel where the con was already going. I'd never been to a con like this before so I had no idea what the signing schedule would be like. It turns out that the poor actors are cooped up in a large room signing almost the entire time! Granted, they're making upwards of $200 or $300 an hour signing things over and over, but still...I'd want to get up and check out the rest of the event. I guess that's just not feasible for people like Ms. Langenkamp and definitely not for Mr. Englund.

Anyway, I (again) heard Mr. Englund before I saw him and wandered into the big autograph room and then saw Ms. Langenkamp signing away so I squeaked, went back to my room to get my memorabilia, added a fourth rule to the con-goers list (never leave what you want signed in your room during normal con hours!), and returned and took my place in her line. Then I looked around to see who all was around her: The Return of the Living Dead cast was in the middle of the room. Mr. Saxon and Ms. Wyss were to Ms. Langenkamp's right. In front of Mr. Englund were Kim Myers and Mark Patton from Nightmare 2 and next to them was Ken Sagoes from Nightmares 3 and 4. Beyond that, I honestly couldn't tell you who was where. I was there specifically to meet Heather Langenkamp and was trying to think about what I was going to say when I got to her table.

Apparently, the VIP passes were also supposed to get someone to the front of the autograph line, but I don't remember that as part of the perks for getting the passes. As far as the autograph lines are concerned, I'm glad the Spooky Empire crew didn't honour that if it was a perk because it wouldn't have made that much of a difference: I saw a lot more VIP passes than I saw general admission wristbands.

The thing about the lines at a con is that they're long. That's not the bad part, though. The bad part is the attitude of most of the people in the line especially concerning the length of the line they're in. I was willing to wait for however long I had to in order to meet Ms. Langenkamp. I'd been waiting since I was eight or so, what was another thirty or forty minutes? Besides, it gave me time to calm my nerves. ;D

Finally, I got up to her table and we shook hands and I showed her the memorabilia and started rambling: she loved seeing the original poster because not too many people still have that. The shirt, and the fact that I know Steve Marshall, made her do a double take, and she was gracious when I wanted to give her a copy of my movie. She may not ever watch it, but at least I got the courage up to give it to her! I was also able to tell her nearly everything I wanted to, about her being my hero and how she's the reason why I'm in the business and how much I admire her and everything. I may have sounded a bit weird, but I don't care.

When it came time for her to sign something on the photos and the shirt, though...I was stymied for quotes. My favourite Nancy bits aren't really quotable, they're moments, like when she steps between Rod and Glen when Rod takes out his switchblade or when she confronts her mother after the nightmare at the Katja Institute. I left the decision up her to and on the poster she told me not to fall asleep (hahaha!)

Then we had to think of something for the t-shirt. I haven't seen an episode of Ten of Us in so long because Warner hasn't released it on DVD. I've been watching the Gag Reels (also sent to me by Steve back in the day) and I only really know quotes from that! Thankfully, the guy next to her, one of the people behind the wonderful Elm Street documentary Never Sleep Again (get it...seriously) said that the only Marie quote he knew was the one used in the documentary where she says that it's "like A Nightmare on Elm Street up there!" (He got the quote wrong, it's actually "It's like something out of A Nightmare on Elm Street", but he can't be blamed because hell, I didn't get it right at the time either and she can't be blamed because Ten of Us was, what, 22 years ago?) I thought the quote was hilarious in my weird sense of humour way so she put that on the shirt. I thanked her and floated away so others could have their chance to talk to her, too. I went outside to call my mom and tell her that Heather Langenkamp is a sweetheart, then I posted the same to Facebook and Twitter.

I did have my point and shoot camera with me. No, I didn't ask her for a photo. She'd already given me so much of her time and the people behind me...well...I didn't want to get lynched. Besides, as a filmmaker who does her own cinematography, I wouldn't have been happy with what was taken. ;D I already planned on getting the photo ops so no need!

After I got off the phone, I bought my tickets for the photo ops the next day (one of myself with Ms. Langenkamp and Mr. Englund, then one with just Ms. Langenkamp and myself) roamed the con a bit, then watched the ending of A NIghtmare on Elm Street 3 and stuck around for Ken Sagoes' Q&A. He's so cute and a really funny guy as well! I think he'd make a great Coach if they ever make a Left4Dead movie. Not Louis...Louis is a little whiney.

During the Q&A, Ken (he admonished me later for calling him "Mr. Sagoes") mentioned that he had written a screenovel (that's my term for it, it's a mix of a screenplay and a novel) and hoped that everyone would come back and get it. He said his villain is scarier than Freddy and Jason and Michael so I had to pick it up! Besides, I like to see what some of my favourite people do on the side, you know?

Since I'm not a fan of Repo: The Genetic Opera or Kiss, I went back to my room at the end of the night instead of hanging around for the midnight parties, and went to bed. Saturday was another day, after all!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hallowscreen news and other things...

Whew! Things have been crazy around these parts. I've been working feverishly on the Hallowscreen Film Festival (the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival is no longer a part of the name or the organizational team, they're sponsors.) My workload has pretty much tripled and none of it is paid...thankfully, I love what I'm doing and it'll put my name out there in the community so it's a matter of balance...or rationalization. I'm not picky. ;D

I'm still working on the schedule, but you can check out what we'll be screening by heading over to the new website: It's going to be so much fun!! Like I said in the blog, I'm not too proud to put my own movies in the festival so aftershock and Without/Within will be shown! (But I'll also pull them if I need time or something. One never knows!)

The Hallowscreen Film Festival is now a completely free event - it costs nothing to submit and there's no admission fee. We'll have donation boxes set up at the venues with the money going to the Avenida de Colores, a 501(c)3 arts education program here in Sarasota. Hallowscreen is part of the Sarasota Chalk Festival, a HUGE, international performance / street art event that's happening over Halloween weekend. Seriously, it's going to be amazing! Amazingly amazing! Edgar Mueller will be here, for pete's sakes, and it's his first American installation!

I know this is pretty last minute, but I'll be at the GreenHome WamaLama Green Business Expo tomorrow at Robarts to promote the event. If you're at the expo, stop by and say hi!

Monday, August 23, 2010

In the seat of my country's government.

I got back from Washington, D.C., yesterday where my brother and I had gone to attend the first annual World Music and Independent Film Festival's awards gala on Saturday. What I didn't know was that the actual film festival part had been running all week, including the day we got in, because they didn't have anything on their website about it until Saturday. Oops! Yeah, they were a bit disorganized and disheveled, but now that I know it was their first event, I can understand all of the glitches much better. The event has a lot of potential and I would absolutely submit films to them again. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

After departing Sarasota at 7 on Friday morning (after I got home from work around two am and woke up at 4:15), my brother and I land at the Ronald Reagan Memorial Bowl International Airport and get into the cab to go to our hotel, the Capitol Hilton, which served as the event's venue. The room was heavily discounted, by the way. I think the regular price is a heart-stopping $250 a night. Something outrageous like that. And the wi-fi isn't even free! I know the money is going toward a good cause, like Paris' latest drug issue or something, but even Nando's Peri-Peri in Chinatown has free wi-fi.

I planned on us being there so early so we could take in some sights. At that time, I still thought nothing was happening on the festival front until Saturday night so we had a nice chunk of time to see D.C. and we went to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, but my asthma and allergies made that dream pretty much impossible (this was the early 80s, folks.) We didn't have a whole heck of a lot of time, but they didn't close until 7:30 that day so we got to see a lot more than we thought we would. We walked through every exhibit, though we didn't have time to read everything, and we got to see Journey to the Stars which was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg! That was awesome!

It was so awe inspiring to be in the presence of these machines, like the Spirit of St. Louis and the Wright flyers. It's amazing what human beings can accomplish when we bend our minds to the task. It's just too bad we can't seem to put that kind of dedication into other worthwhile pursuits like being kind to each other or helping each other out.

After our tour of the museum, we decided to get something to eat and cut the sightseeing a little short. On the way back to the hotel, we found a fancy Italian place called Portenza where we had good, but slightly overpriced, food. They're trying to build D.C. up as a foodie Mecca, especially after Top Chef had their most recent season there, and the food was delicious, but I would've expected a little more for a $13 plate of moon shaped cheesy goodness.

After that, and a quick stop at the CVS just down the street from our hotel, we went to our rooms where I turned on the teevee for some background noise. When I flipped past the Hilton events channel, I saw that there were films playing for the festival that day. By the time I saw it, it was a little too late; there was only an hour left in the last movie of the day. My phone, thankfully, has Internet so I was able to check out their website, even though I did check it just before leaving for D.C., and lo and behold, there was a link to a film schedule...sort of. That was upsetting. Then I tried emailing the festival founders, but the emails bounced.

Oh boy...

Since there was nothing to do about it, I started watching Repossessed on my iPad (I love that movie...and I love the iPad. It's turned my productivity up to eleven) and fell asleep around 9, only to wake up around 7:30 the next morning, which turned out to be a good thing since the networking party and awards and everything actually started really early. Like 10 am early.

I'm not a fancy dresser and am extremely low maintenance, but I got dolled up as well as I do (no make-up to conceal my rosacea, hair in my usual ponytail) and a severely low cut black shirt and black pants, grabbed my compilation DVDs (I only took four, I need to make a huge cache of these things, seriously) and met up with my bro to go downstairs and start networking. We met Gary Ugarek, the man behind the Deadlands movies, and Chris Kiros, a producer / cameraman on Deadlands who brought his own film Zombthology to the festival, and had a great time talking to them (indie horror at a film festival! I like WMIFF just for that!) and got copies of their films as well as permission to play them at Hallowscreen!

We walked around and talked to people and handed out CDs and DVDs and we were interviewed a couple of times and photographed quite a bit and finally it was time to go to the luncheon before the ceremony. We were seated with the band Flying Machines who were there to perform and also ended up taking home Best Rock Video and Best Director for a Music Video. They're not my kind of music, but they were really nice guys so it works out.

They had a lot of categories and even more nominees so the awards thing took about three hours, but at least they had musical performances to break everything up. Our video lost in both categories (Best Alternative Rock and Best Cinematography) to OK Go's amazing Rube Goldberg inspired video "This Too Shall Pass" and...uh...I forget who won Cinematography, to be honest, and the winners aren't posted on the WMIFF website as of this writing. I would've been happy to win, don't get me wrong, but OK Go's video is pretty damn amazing and I would've been surprised if they hadn't won!

The funny thing about the awards thing, to me, other than the fact that 1/3 of the presenters and maybe 3/4 of the winners didn't show, is how many people left after their categories were called and they didn't win. How rude is that? Okay, so you didn't win. You were nominated, for crying out loud! That's amazing! Don't act like a baby and pout when your name isn't called. Stick around to support your fellow artists! But maybe that's just me...whatever.

After the awards ceremony, which wrapped up 15 minutes early, Shawn and I got into some comfy clothes and did a tour of the monuments. We saw Albert Einstein's statue first, which is off the beaten path, but pretty close to all of the major monuments. The statue is huge, but Einy, as I like to call him, is adorable.

Then we went to the Lincoln memorial, which is a lot bigger than I thought it would be even after seeing it from the back when I took the boat tour from Alexandria back in July. So many people were at the memorial, hanging out on the steps or reading the words inside, but I do have to wonder how many people are going to go home and carry on with their bigotry after reading his speeches in slack-jawed awe. Then again, our government's in that town and they seem to have forgotten everything these statues and monuments are supposed to stand for and to remind us of.

One thing you don't really get from photos of Lincoln's statue is the immediacy of his posture and expression. It looks like he's about to stand up and go kick some tail, to be honest. And his stony gaze is focused on the Capitol Building (and the Washington Memorial since that's between then, but I prefer to think he's looking angrily down upon the travesty our government has become.) Don't get me wrong, my country was founded on some amazing principles, but those principles have become corrupted and distorted as our elected officials grapple after power and money, completely forgetting that it was we, the people, who gave them their jobs and it is we, the people, for whom they work, not Wall Street, not the corporations, not foreign interests. Us. And I don't know what it would take to remind them of that short of a complete dissolution of authority, which never works out well anyway.

Anyway, after the Lincoln memorial, we headed over to the Vietnam Memorial. It's something I've wanted to see for a long time. In my childhood, I knew a lot of Vietnam vets and my mother's passion for supporting them kind of infected me, but I'm young and fairly removed from that era. It was hard to put that into a perspective for myself, but I can see it mirrored in a way with the Iraq wars. All of those names...they all belong to a person, someone who means a great deal to the people they left behind. It's yet another thing we forget, or just ignore, but it's hard to ignore the ache still in a parent's or sibling's heart as they lay a wreath by the name of their relative and press their hand against the wall to support themselves as they break down.

Hidden off the path of the Vietnam Memorial is a statue that compliments the statue of the three soldiers near the Wall. This is the Vietnam Women's Memorial. It's a beautiful and equally haunting tribute to the women who served in the war, but are so often forgotten though they gave their lives and hearts as well.

Nearby is the World War II memorial. It's very beautiful and very grandiose, but I'm struck by something my former neighbor, a WWII veteran, reportedly said (I'm paraphrasing, by the way): "I went there so people here could do what they wanted. If I knew then what I know now, I would've stayed home." Whatever his political leanings, that's a pretty strong statement, one I think a lot of veterans feel. From there, we went to the Washington Monument, but we didn't go up the stairs or anything. It's impressive and really tall. Can't really say too much more about it after being gobsmacked by Lincoln's statue and the Vietnam war memorials.

After our tour of the nation's monuments, we headed over to Chinatown were we ate at a restaurant that served American food with a Portugese / African / Middle Eastern twist called Nando's Peri-Peri. Not cheap, and it's essentially a self-service restaurant, but once their computer problems were worked out, the food was delicious. Seriously, the best ear of corn I've ever had. Very spicy, though, so if you're like me and you don't dig the kick in the mouth, be careful how you order.

From there, we headed back to the hotel because the after party was due to start at Lotus at 10 pm and that gave us an hour or so to get ready. Our flight was at 8:45 the next morning, but I was afraid that security might be crazy so I didn't want to leave the hotel any later than 6. The club didn't even open until 11 and when we went back, we were turned away because they had a dress code and Shawn's shorts weren't Lotus material. Whatevsies! We didn't get to go to the after party, I really hate elitist clubs anyway, so we went back to the hotel and got some sleep.

All in all, it was a great trip and I would absolutely submit to WMIFF again, like I said before. Washington, D.C. itself is a beautiful city with just as much homelessness as anywhere else (and quite a bit more police action), but I started to feel like I was walking through a huge cemetery. Nearly all of the architecture is sepulchral and what little isn't doesn't feel very alive, but the people were friendly. Maybe that's because most of them are tourists...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hallowscreen presents: Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama!


Yes, you read that right! Thanks to the generous folks at Full Moon Features, I have been able to wrangle up Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama to show as a tribute to actress Brinke Stevens, our first Queen of Hallowscreen!

With a title like that, who can refuse seeing it?! Well, to be honest, me, up until a few years ago. I wish I hadn't waited so long! It's freakin' hilarious and fun, everything one would expect from a B-movie with such a title and where the director publicly admits to being sloshed pretty much the entire time.

Ms. Stevens, with whom I've kept contact after I met her at Shockerfest '08, was kind enough to provide me with three titles from her filmography that she's particularly proud of. After the event's over, I'll reveal the other titles and what happened (assuming I can't track them down), but even if this is all we get, I'm still happy with this much! And how awesome of Full Moon to let us show it!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sarasota Fringe Hallowscreen Film Festival presents: NOSFERATU (1922)

O hai guyz!

So, going along with my post about being the Program Director for the Fringe Hallowscreen this year, I'm finally able to announce one of the things I've planned for the festival. Feast your eyes upon the poster I made whilst I lay out the details. That way, when you're done feasting, you can read the rest of the post. See? I'm thinking ahead.


That's right! We're hosting a screening of F.W. Murnau's original, classic Nosferatu from 1922 with a new soundtrack performed LIVE by World Collision, my brother's band. Since this is my blog, I can be completely honest. I chose my brother's band for three reasons: (one) They really are freakin' good. I'm not just saying that as a sister, I'm saying that as a person with ears. (two) I don't know the local music scene any more. Once Neurotica hit back in the day, I no longer went to events. (three) Because I don't want to have to worry about the band. I know my brother will get it done, I know where he lives, I know how to track him down. I don't have to rely on a friend of a friend to get me information or anything like that.

I hope that Hallowscreen (or whatever they want to call it next year if I'm not involved - I like my wordplay) is a yearly festival and that they run a silent film every year scored by a local band. If no rock bands step up (right), maybe get the orchestra from a high school or something. Get more community involvement.

I'll have another sidebar-type event to announce soon, too! Something that's wonderfully goofy and that honours one of my favourite Scream Queens. OHNO! I've said too much... :D

Keep an eye on THIS SPACE RIGHT HERE for more announcements. :D

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sarasota Fringe Hallowscreen Film Festival!

If I thought I was busy before I left for New York, that idea pales in comparison to what's been happening lately. The most important thing I can currently announce is that I was made Program Director for the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival's first weekend-long mini-fest, which just so happens to be taking place over Halloween weekend this year!

Hallowscreen 2010

I'm working on some exciting side-bar programming, but original content is, of course, of the highest priority so c'mon filmmakers! Give me your horrors! There's no entry fee and all entries are automatically in the Fringe festival's main event which will take place in April of next year!

As for the mini-fest itself, it's being put on in conjunction with the Avenida de Colores street art festival in beautiful, historic Burns Square in Sarasota, Florida. Right now, we're not planning on charging for either our outdoor venue, which will be PG-13 or under, or our indoor venue, for the more adult-oriented horror flicks. We've also partnered up with the New Orleans-based Vampire Film Festival to offer up some frightfully delicious content!

Mark it on your calendar! The film fun starts at 9 am on Saturday, October 30, and runs until midnight, then starts up again on Sunday at 9 am and goes until around 3 when we'll have an awards ceremony and closing party! We'll also have an opening night film on Friday starting around 6 or 6:30. So join us...and just keep telling isn't REEL!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm back!

Whew! I've been away for a couple of weeks. Part of it was vacation fun times in Orlando with some of my best friends and part of it was working fun times as my brother and I went to New York City to attend the screening of the music video at New Filmmakers at the Anthology Film Archives!

There are TONNES of photos in these slideshows...and I'm not sure why most of the daylight New York pics are out of focus...kind of annoying, actually. Guess I'll just have to go back. Oh darn. ;D


The Harry Potter area of Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure opened up maybe a month ago and that happened to co-incide with my sister-from-another-mister's vacation here in FL (which also co-incided with New Filmmakers in New York) so I arranged for some time off and ran away to Orlando with her, her sisters, and some of her friends for happy fun times! Harry Potter is insane, J.K. Rowling really pushed the reality of the area as the most important thing even at the expense of common sense (as in the main souvenir shop which is WAY too small), but the details are incredible and the area as a whole is well worth the oppressive press of humanity in the hothotheat of a typical Florida day.

The main food attraction is the butterbeer. Yes, they have pumpkin juice, but I couldn't even drink a whole bottle of that stuff. The butterbeer, however, is utterly amazing, refreshing, and delicious. It's like butterscotch cream soda. Thankfully, it's not distributed outside of the park, or even outside of that area of the park. That would diminish the specialness of the drink, I think, to be able to go to Walgreens or 7-11 and buy it.

The main attraction for the park, however, outside of the loads of Potter merchandise, is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a Haunted Mansion-type ride that's anything but Haunted Mansion. I don't want to give the whole thing away because you really need to go and experience it, but suffice it to say that it's utterly amazing and is absolutely worth the hour and a half wait for it. It's housed in the forced perspective wonderland that is Hogwarts castle. Seriously. It's pretty amazing.

We did ride other rides there, like The Simpsons, the Mummy, and Rip Ride Rockit, but Potter's where it's at right now, especially with the disrepair that some of the once-pristine rides have fallen into, like Spider-Man.

Even if you're not a Potter fan, I think you'll enjoy the Potter area at Universal: Orlando.

New York:

A couple of days after I got home from Orlando, it was time for me to take off for New York. My sister-from-another-mister asked me to use FourSquare so she could stalk me from Florida so those of you who are on my Twitter, I apologize for the inundation of notifications of where I was, but once I started, it was kind of addictive... I'll only use it for vacations, special occasions, and film festival trips, though...y'all don't need to know my work schedule or my address!

The first thing my brother and I did in New York was get to our hotel which was in Chinatown, between Bowery and Mott on Grand, then we had the most delicious pizza at Lombardi's (the first pizza place in the US) and then we went to Times Square to see Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuworth as Gomez and Morticia Addams in the new Addams Family musical. I've been a big fan of the Addams Family for as long as I can remember and while I was excited to see this, I was dubious because it could've been terribly bad. It wasn't. It was WONDERFUL! It reminded me of why I adore the Addams family. While there is no other Gomez for me than Raul Julia (sorry, John Astin, but Raul was amazing), Nathan Lane did a fantastic job! To me, Bebe Neuworth isn't Morticia, but she was good in the role. I really don't know who I would've cast. Everyone else was brilliant and the show is so funny and the songs are great, but they're pretty show specific so I can't say you should run out and get the soundtrack if you haven't seen the show.

The screening was fantastic. There was a good, receptive crowd and a lot of people took some of Shawn's CDs and a couple of my compilation DVDs. Most of the filmmakers left after their films showed or weren't there. I can understand not showing up, but I don't really understand not watching the other films you're screened with. That's one of my favourite parts about going to these festivals: checking out what else is playing. I did get to meet the director and one of the stars of Modern Love is Automatic, a feature film out of D.C. that was produced by the juror of the Female Shorts film festival in VA where Anathema had just played. They were super-sweet, even though we were the only ones who stuck around to watch it, and the film was great. The actresses in particular were spectacular!

My brother and I walked around New York City...quite literally. The day of our screening, we walked from Chinatown to Times Square (took about and hour and a half or so) and went to the Empire State Building (the best photo keepsake picture EVER!) and Madam Tussaud's and just all over the place!

I moved to New York after I graduated high school in '97 to go to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. While various events conspired against this and I had to come back to Sarasota, I've always loved the City. It's dirty and stinky and dangerous, but vibrant and real. The mentality there is if you don't keep moving forward, you might as well have stayed home. Seems like a pretty good analogy for life if you ask me. And jaywalking isn't just against the law, it's a way of life.

Now, I'm returned to a pile of work, both at the theatre and for the Circus documentary I was working on and the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival's Halloween Mini-Fest for which I'm the program director, not to mention my own films. Speaking of which...I have to make the arrangements to go to D.C. at the end of August for the World Music and Independent Film Festival where "Essenger" has been nominated for Best Alternative Rock video and Best Cinematography!

Also, voting is still open for the People's Choice Award, where we're in 4th place! C'mon y'all! If you haven't voted yet, you can do so by clicking on THESE WORDS, finding our video (World Collision's "Essenger"), clicking ADD then scrolling to the bottom and clicking on vote!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A break in the VA tale for GOOD NEWS!

Good morning!

I know, I owe the fourth and final day of the Female Shorts Film Festival, but I pretty much had to hit the ground running as soon as I returned from Alexandria because the music video's playing in New Filmmakers' Summer Series in New York City on July 7 and my brother and I are planning on being there and I had to get right back to work at the theatre and continue cutting Circus Sarasota...I've been crazy busy!

This morning, I was notified by Laura at the World Music and Independent Film Festival that the music video (which is currently in the lead in their People's Choice category - if you haven't yet voted, please do so! Go to , click on "add" near World Collision, then scroll to the bottom and click on "vote!") had been nominated for two awards: Best Alternative Rock and Best Cinematography! Here's a list of all of the nominees! I think I can speak for the band and cast here when I say we're deeply honoured and terrifically excited! A few of us were planning on being there anyway so, like I told Laura, this is like the cherry on top!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Female Shorts Film Festival Day the Third

Yesterday was a relaxing day. I had nothing too spectacular planned, mostly because the trip to Georgetown wore me out. My leg were pretty mad at me yesterday and felt like they weighed a bazillion pounds each. No matter. I had a very simply breakfast and then went to Candi’s Candies and, surprise, got some candy! You pick up a basket and pay by the pound except on certain “specialty” or pre-packed items. They have an entire room dedicated to salt water taffy, too. I probably undid any weight I lost during the Georgetown hike, but that’s okay because omigod candy!!

After that, I roamed around their weekend artist’s market. We have something similar in Sarasota, but ours is huge in comparison. Ours also starts and ends earlier, which I don’t like. And there’s only one food vendor here, which I found to be strange for something that, on the internet, is called a farmer’s market. Pretty interesting stuff, but nothing caught my eye so I mosied on over to the venue for the first of three special screenings today: Wedding Advice: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace. Karen Sosnoski started to make the documentary when she was trying to decide whether or not to get married. Most of the arguments against marriage are from a socio-political or individualistic standpoint, though there were some who simply said “Why should we? We’re committed to each other, we don’t need a piece of paper and a ring to say that.”

The doc did briefly touch on gay marriage and those against it both due to religion and, again, from a socio-political standpoint. Like any good documentary, it didn’t say yes you should or no you shouldn’t. It just gave every viewpoint and let you, the viewer, decide.

My personal belief is that you should do whatever makes you happy that doesn’t hurt anyone else, but if you’re going to get married, you’d better think very carefully about it and realize that it’s a true commitment that’s going to take a lot of work from both parties. It’s a contract on a state, moral, and spiritual plane and isn’t something to be taken lightly.

After that, we had an hour break so I went over to the same divey little food court I went to when I first got here and went to the Spanish place for a turkey wrap. I kept getting strange looks from the Spanish people behind the counter as well as a Spanish family and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I remembered that I was wearing my Spanish Inquisition shirt. Jesus...surely even Spanish people watch Monty Python...?

Anyway, after a delicious lunch and ice cream treat, I went back to the venue for the last two special screenings: Karen Cantor’s The Danish Solution, which is about Jews in Denmark during World War II, and Last Rights, which is about the Right to Die. A pretty heady day of films if you ask me. All good stuff, but heady...

After that, I came back to my hotel room, had a bit of candy, wrote a little bit, and relaxed. Not too exciting, I suppose, but a really nice day.

Today’s the last day of the festival and the special screenings start at 2 so I’m going to take a shower and get ready here in a moment, then head on down to the venue and walk the gallery since I haven’t done that yet. The place is pretty spectacular: it’s three storeys and houses 82 galleries into which one can walk and talk to the artist and buy their work directly from them. They show over 150 artists in the various galleries, not to mention the fact that they house the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. It kind of reminds me of the Art Department’s Level Four studios back at Booker High. The seniors all had individual work spaces (or they shared, if the space was big enough) which I always thought was pretty damn cool. I thought my friend Stacy’s studio was the coolest. She shared with two other students, if I remember correctly, and it was relatively private and pretty comfortable, a really great workspace.

So, that’s it! This time tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane heading back to Sarasota. I’ll have a little over 24 hours after landing before I have to be back at work and start thinking about the New York festival. I’m so glad my co-workers have been nice to me and haven’t called... I’ll be sure to post about today when I get back to the hotel room after the closing night party.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Georgetown and Female Shorts Film Festival Day the Second

I woke up early today, 8 am to be exact, after deciding last night to go to Georgetown. The rest of the weekend’s festival schedule seems to be pretty jam-packed so today was my only opportunity to go over to Georgetown. For some strange reason, I decided to make use of the fitness center and did about ten minutes of their stairliptic machine. I don’t know why, I just did. After I came back to my room and got ready to go out, I decided that I had to make up for the lousy pancakes I had on my first day here so last night I Googled for the best breakfast place in Alexandria and a joint called Jack’s Place popped up. Reviews were that it was tiny and hard to find, but worth it.

Boy, they were not lying.

I eventually found it on North Lee, and went in. It was crowded with five customers at the counter and the two people behind the counter, but I’d JUST missed the rush, apparently. Yay me! I ordered orange juice, pancakes, and hash browns. The orange juice was ice cold and delicious, the pancakes were huge and cakey and soaked up all of the syrup, and the hash browns were just the right kind of greasy. All in all, delicious and a great way to start the day!

After that, I went over and bought my ticket for the 11:30 Washington Monuments Cruise which lands at Washington Harbour, Georgetown, and made sure my return ticket said 5:30 (I later changed this to 4:30 so I could have time to go back to the hotel and shower before tonight’s festival stuff, a wise decision, as I’ll point out later.) Anyway, I went to CVS and got some sunblock and water and then we departed for Washington Harbour. I decided to sit on the top deck in the back. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t hear the pre-recorded info track for the tour, but that’s okay. It was still beautiful.

Forty-five minutes after leaving Alexandria, we land in Georgetown. I studied a tourist map the night before to go to one specific location so I knew the address and I knew basically how to get there. 3600 Prospect Street, otherwise known as the Exorcist house. Yes, ladies and gentlemen...I went to Georgetown specifically to see the Exorcist house and the stairs.

Guess! One favourite shot of the Exorcist steps

I made sure to get a bunch of stairs photos; I was getting weird looks from people while I was taking photos of the house. Then again, I’ve been getting weird looks from people all day. Weirder than the looks I get from people in Sarasota, and that’s saying a lot. I was wearing my red Day of the Dead shirt, nothing too out of the ordinary for me, but there aren’t a lot of Goth or Metal people in Georgetown (at least, not during the day time) or Alexandria so I’m an oddity, I suppose. I got even more pointedly weird looks as I walked to the venue for tonight’s festival stuff wearing my Rocky Horror shirt. Tomorrow calls for something more normal, I Spanish Inquisition shirt.

Anyway, to answer a question, yes, I went down AND up the steps. I had to stop during the ascension, though, at which point I said, “Man, they do NOT pay stunt people enough money...” which we all knew, but those steps really illustrate the point.

My other favourite shot of the Exorcist steps.

I have two more geek tourist goals left: visit the Nightmare house and go to Monroeville Mall.

After that, I just walked around that small area of Georgetown. I didn’t want to stray too far away from the Harbour, but I wanted to see more. Unfortunately, most of the area was geared toward high end shopping. Maybe if I’d roamed around the Exorcist house, I could’ve seen more of the area, like the University or something, but all there were-were shops shops shops and restaurants, but an uneven distribution of nationwide restaurants to local places. And no music or movie store. At all. Not even in this crazy ass mall I went into that seemed to have fifty storeys in the space of only three. It was really weird. A very neat looking mall, but I’d hate to have that place come up in Left 4 Dead 3, you know?

Before leaving, I decided to see if I could make it to the National Mall and the Washington Monument and all of that. I was walking the entire day, I’ve probably walked about ten miles today and that doesn’t include whatever distance I put in on the stairliptic machine. I got as far as the Kennedy Center and the Watergate Hotel.

The Watergate, yesindeedy. The Kennedy Center.

I think my favourite area all day was K Street / Water Street. Not a place I’d want to go after dark and I didn’t take any photos, though I should’ve, but I liked it for its lack of tourists as you head toward Key Bridge, which is weird considering I am one here. I live in a city whose main source of business is tourism so I try to not be That Tourist when I go a’visitin’. I also liked it because sound is misleading down there (K Street / Water Street is under the Whitehurst Freeway.) Creepy, like in a Stephen King story or, dare I say it, one of my own. Haha!

I got on the boat and returned to Alexandria and stopped off at Bugsy’s to grab some pizza for dinner. I like their cheese blend, it was yummy, but it stuck to the bottom of the pizza box because it cooled on the twenty minute walk back to my hotel and the sauce just tasted like what they’d probably put on their spaghetti. Good sauce, tasty, but that’s the first time I’d ever thought of spaghetti while eating pizza.

Tonight’s special presentation during the Female Shorts Film Festival was a feature-length documentary called Who Does She Think She Is? which is about women in the male dominated art world, but can apply to all careers on different levels and was followed by a discussion moderated by the festival juror, Sydney-Chanele Dawkins, and featuring former film producer Pamela Viola who had nothing to do with Who Does She Think She Is?, but was a woman in Hollywood and is a woman in the arts.

It was a very interesting film that featured a lot of things that I’ve come up against, albeit on a smaller scale, but I choose to not think about too much because it would just get so depressing...and then it would enrage me...and then it would frustrate me...and then I’d get a blend of all of the above.

I don’t know if it’s residue from the common conception of Horror or caused by the Sarasota perception of the word “Artist”, but I don’t consider myself an artist. I just do what I do and hope that the message gets through or that people pick up enough of the threads to weave together a meaning for themselves so when Sydney-Chanele Dawkins asked me to stand up to talk a little about being a woman in horror, I was a little daunted and wholly unprepared. Plus, I had a headache and had to go to the bathroom something fierce (hey, this is my blog and you’re gonna get the truth about what’s going on in my head when I go to these things! Hahaha!) I mentioned that to the audience (the artist thing, not that bathroom thing ‘cause, you know, that’s really only good for the blog) and they were quick to tell me otherwise, which was nice.

I also said a few words about how, generally, women in horror are there as set dressing and rarely are there good, strong female characters and there are very few of us behind the scenes, though that is changing. I brought up the character of Nancy Thompson, of course, because she’s probably my biggest influence and then told a story about how, in high school, I was always told that women can’t make horror films and that I should stick to romantic comedies and such, but I never felt right writing that stuff, I only started to feel right when I started writing horror. When that got a laugh, I assured them all that I’m perfectly safe, which got an even bigger laugh. I also mentioned how my mom, in spite of being squicked and scared by the stuff that comes out of my head, encourages me to follow my passion. My interpretation of my mother’s reaction to my work got a laugh, too.

It’s strange to me to think that I’m going to have to start speaking up more about women in horror, but that appears to be what’s coming up. It’s something that’s always on my mind, but not something I tend to talk about or call attention to, but maybe one of my personal stories will help a young woman who wants to make horror or sci-fi or fantasy, but is told the same things I used to hear. Gotta work on that...

Overall, a great day which ended in a great way! Tomorrow, the festivities start at 1 and go until about 6 or thereabouts so I’d better get to sleep. G’night y’all!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Female Shorts Film Festival Day the First

Even after sleeping for a good three or four hours last night, I managed to wake up early and have a big ol’ breakfast of pancakes and potatoes.

today's breakfast

I forgot to order toast, but that ended up being okay; I was stuffed by the time I was done. The pancakes weren’t very good, though...made me a bit of a sad panda. At least the taters were omnomnommy. I have internets. I should do a search for best breakfast place in Alexandria and hope that it’s within walking distance!

Anyway, I gathered up my things and headed over to the venue:

Torpedo Factory Art Center waterfront side close up.

It’s really huge, it used to be a torpedo factory for realies. I plan on walking the whole thing on Sunday before the special screenings.

By the time I got there, I’d missed the first two shorts of Group 1 and arrived in the middle of the third, but I found my place quickly and settled in for an all-day treat. I was pretty much the only one in the screening room (it’s a Thursday after all, and early in the day). In the intermission between Group 1 and Group 2, I checked my phone and saw that I had some emails. Not unusual (I get a lot of spam that isn't spam, if that makes any sense...) and among them was a letter from New York City's New Filmmakers telling me that they've accepted the music video to their Summer line-up! I was so excited, not only did I have to leave the venue for a minute, I could barely breathe so when I called my mom, she freaked out for a second. Poor mom. But OMIGOD, NEW YORK CITY! New Filmmakers! WOWSERS!!!

Back to the festival at hand...hahaha! The screening was good fun and during my flick, attendance swelled to five, including me and the projectionist! Around four thirty, they started the whole thing over again so I watched what I missed, then excused myself to get something to eat before the opening night party.

I went to the homemade ice cream shop I talked about in the last post and had a small cup of their cookies and cream. Oh my much better, but the atmosphere was so cold, literally and figuratively. If one could take the atmosphere of the one store and the ice cream from the other and combine them, it would be a kick ass joint. As I stood there (I’d been sitting for six hours, after all), it started to rain. And me without my rain gear. Yay. But, I remembered that there’s a CVS in the area and was maybe a couple of blocks from it so I braved the falling water and bought one. Good thing, too, because it soon started to pour. It was raining so hard and the wind was blowing so fiercely that it knocked my umbrella into my head and almost knocked my glasses off. At that point, I went into a Books-a-Million to wait until it’d cleared up a bit.

From there, I popped into Bugsy’s Pizza on King Street and had a chicken sandwich. It wasn’t very good, though it looked delicious. I think I was distracted by the hotness of their red pepper mayonnaise. Waaaay too much capsaicin, not enough mayo, but I’m a total wuss when it comes to that stuff.

It was a little after six at that point and the opening night party was to have started already. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining very hard and I made it to the party in time for the screenings with the filmmakers present. A very good turn out it was, too. I didn’t do a head count, but I think there were between twenty and thirty people there! So, I got to see a bunch of the films I had just watched all over again. Sometimes, this was good. Sometimes, this was NOT so good. But at least the filmmakers were there!

To be completely honest, I zoned out during my film. I was trying to not shiver as it’s flippin’ COLD in the gallery, I’ve lost about 70 pounds just from when I filmed Anathema so I don’t have as much to insulate me against the cold, and I was still wet from the rain. Not a great combination. I got up for my “A Few Words on the Piece” and cut it kind of short because I know that it’s a half hour silent flick (people start squirming around 15-20 minutes in, hahaha!) and...I was shivering! But I made them laugh at the beginning of my bit and the end so that was nice.

After the screenings, a very earnest filmmaker came up to me to tell me that she thought the film was beautiful and had a beautiful message amongst the horror and another filmmaker told me that she really liked the film, especially the cinematography. Another Sin City reference, of course, but I gotta take it, I guess...not a lot of high contrast black and white with a little bit of colour flicks out there.

I left soon thereafter and started to warm up a bit, but it was a cool night in Alexandria thanks to the rain. I may have to stop and get a sweater or jacket tomorrow because the gallery is going to be just as cold the rest of the weekend.

Tomorrow, there’s a special screening at 7 pm, but I’m free until then because, well, I’ve seen all of the films already...some of them more than once. I’m either going to go to the George Washington Masonic Memorial or I’ll pop into Georgetown and see the Exorcist house. And by pop, I mean I’ll take the 45 minute boat cruise over (it’s actually the Washington, D.C. monuments tour that goes to Washington Harbour) walk the half hour to see the stairs and the house, see some other stuff, and take the 45 minute return trip. I’d get to see a lot of stuff, which wouldn’t be bad for such a short trip. I may do that Saturday and do the Masonic Memorial tomorrow. I’m not sure why, but I really want to see the Masonic Memorial. I haven’t read Dan Brown’s books, by the way, and I thought The DaVinci Code was a laughable movie.

That’s all stuff for tomorrow. For now, though, here’s a picture of my view:


Interesting, sure, but not something to throw wide the curtains to every morning.

Airplane Confessional (SRQ to DCA via ATL, OMG) and O Hai Potomac!

Yesterday was a bit of a rush. My cab was a bit late getting to my house to pick me up for my 7:10 am flight and while I made it to the gate in plenty of time, I wasn’t early enough to take out my computer and get all introspective. This was after ten shifts in a row, including the night before where I had to clock out an hour earlier than I was scheduled because otherwise I would’ve gone into overtime and gosh darn it, we can’t have that.

People have strange things they want to read on the airplane. I was in the newsstand getting water and a woman comes in and asks the cashier, “Do you have the new issue of Garden and Gun?” She was completely serious and expecting an answer from the confused and surprised woman behind the register. I walked out giggling. Garden and Gun? Really?

I slept through most of the two flights to get to Alexandria, Virginia. Not a whole lot of time for deep thoughts outside of the fact that it takes an enormous leap of faith to not only get into a large aluminum tube that has jet fuel attached to it, but to also allow yourself to fall asleep while moving at some 200 mph surrounded by strangers, especially when, the closer one gets to Washington, D.C., the more the conversation around you turns to terrorism and health care. One woman alerted flight staff to a bag that was underneath the empty seat beside her. The stewardess patiently said, “It belongs to the person in the seat behind this one...” without a hint of the “duh” that she was probably feeling. Geez, lady, where’d you put your carry-on?

I’m in Virginia for an event that starts today, the FemaleShorts Film Festival which is being held at the Torpedo Factory. When I got to my hotel yesterday, I was told that my room wasn’t ready yet (to be fair, I was early) so I left my bags with the concierge and walked down to King Street to grab something to eat. I was trying to not look too much like a tourist as I took in the architecture of St. Asaph Street. I’m in Old Town so most of the houses in the area are registered as historic landmarks and have that classic American Colonial look to them. I turned left when I got to the St. Asaph / King Street intersection, which eventually took me to the Potomac River and the venue, the Torpedo Factory Art Gallery. I didn’t have my camera with me yesterday, but I will today and over the weekend so I can get some photos of my trip that aren’t strangely blue, like the photo of the river I took yesterday with my cell phone...

Anyway, I was too tired and too stinky after the trip to go anywhere fancy so I went to a divey little food court that’s attached to the art gallery and had a delicious chicken gyro (though it wasn’t as good as the gyro I had in New Orleans.) Afterwards, I decided to have a little ice cream and stopped at Pop’s, an Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour on King Street and had a small cookies and cream. Yummy, but not omigod yummy. Today, or tomorrow depending on my schedule, I’ll try the place that was directly across from it, a homemade ice cream place.

Anyway, I got back to my hotel and got my room. No view and I’m on the mezzanine level which is, like, floor 1 1/2, and I have no view to speak of, but the venue is pretty much on the Potomac so I’ll have an awesome view every day. After I went to the grocery store across the street to get some water and a snack, I took a three hour nap, woke up in time to watch the new Mythbusters and the Mythbusters from two weeks ago that I missed, and then went to sleep until around 8 so I could get a big breakfast in preparation for the first day of the festival, which is today.

There are only 22 short films in the four day event, plus special presentations from local artists. All of the short films will be played every day, by the looks of it, but today being the first day, I should be there for the whole shebang. I’m wearing my Call of Cthulhu shirt (not the video game, the brilliant silent film from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society), this is traditional for me, now. I’ve worn this shirt on the day my film shows since Without/Within at ShockerFest in 2008. I can’t wear it all weekend, though, but this is the first day so it works. I’ve got my I Am Nancy pin on my bag, though...maybe that’ll be part of the tradition now.

I’m still pretty tired, but I’m not as exhausted as I have been over the past couple of weeks. I had a good night’s sleep and plan on sleeping well over the next few days, too, because as soon as I get back, it’s back to work. Oy.

Anyway, the festival starts soon and it’s a twenty minute walk to the venue from the hotel so I’d better get going. More to come later!