Okay, the day started with "Beyond Hatred", a verite-style documentary about a french couple whose gay son was murdered by neo-nazis. It's told entirely in interviews, and follows the events leading up to their trial and the aftermath (the trial itself can't be filmed under french law). I consider it a minor personal triumph that I stayed awake through this whole movie. It's just too damned early in the morning and too damned late in the festival for me to watch a subtitled movie with no action (seriously, there's like a 10 minute scene with a voiceover describing how and where the body was found, and there's just a static shot of the location in a park. A few times people walk, jog, or bike by, but mostly it's a static shot). I could probably be more charitable if I were better rested, but by now I only feel exhaustion. The parents of the victim did write a letter to the killers 6 months after they were sent to jail, offering them forgiveness and help in becoming better people. That letter was pretty powerful, but not really worth the wait. At least not on less than 4 hours of sleep.
This seems as good of a time as any to give a nod to the caffeine/energy products that have gotten me through the festival. For the little pick-me-ups, I take a little XTZ. If I need a bigger boost, I've turned to Buzz Bites. And this year, I've added a new weapon to my arsenal--Cocaine. Thank you to all the wonderful purveyors of chemical stimulation. Now I need to come down for a week so it can be effective again when Cinequest starts.
Okay, next up was "A Ripple in the World". Here's a pic of the director (in the center, with the mic) along with some of his team (sorry, I forgot who they were).
I put this picture in front of my review instead of at the end because I want you to know what a nice, polite, quiet, friendly man Aron Cho is (a preacher's son, in fact). Because he made a pretty disturbed, fucked-up film. There's a mini-theme there, with him and Kumakiri Kazuyoshi ("Green Minds, Metal Bats"), we have polite, friendly Asian gentlemen making disturbing movies. Anyway, I was hooked on "A Ripple in the World" early on when a fat slob picks up a prostitute, and as she's trying to make conversation he blurts out, "Look! I just wanna fuck and then go back to Kansas...or wherever I'm from!" Anyway, the fat slob Big Will (Freddie C. Graves) returns in the movie, and so does the prostitute who's actually a transvestite Chris/Crystal. But the movie really revolves around Sam, a 22 year-old virgin who suffers from sleep epilepsy. So he works the graveyard shift at a hotel resort, and falls in love with a prostitute who frequents the place. This prostitute doesn't return his affection, but her transvestite brother (Chris/Crystal) does. Problem is, Sam isn't gay (or at least thinks he isn't). And things get violent. Well, actually things started out violent, but they get violent again at the end. And it sort of wraps around on itself. Pretty cool.
Okay, next up was "Special Creepy Talents", the program of short horror films. Quickly, now;
"4U"--this films a killer, and the director was brilliant to give out DVDs beforehand. Man, I can't tell you what it's about without spoiling it, but I wish I had copies of it to e-mail to everyone. Actually, you can buy them for $2.50 each here. Maybe I should do that....
"Bad Dreams"--Extra creepy about not knowing if you're dreaming or not. That's kind of a theme in the festival, too...
"Chickenfüt"--A horror-comedy (sometimes obviously absurd, some times genuinely scary) about a boy who is possessed by the sole of his dead pet chicken (inspired by the absurd premise of "The Return" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar). It just begs the question, who would win in a fight between Chickenfüt and Moosecock?
"Cherry Bloom"--A little girl rescues her family from poverty through her psychic abilities, even though it's killing her. And she wears bunny ears in one scene. Bunnies!
Okay, and that was "Special (Creepy) Talents". By the way, one film "Gran Rumore (Great Noise)" didn't play. That's happened a few times in the festival, so if you notice short programs where I didn't mention on of the shorts listed in the program, that's why. Bonus points for the first person who can identify them (put your answers in the comments)!
And here are some pics of Special (Creepy) Talents filmmakers. I know the guy in this photo is Harrison Witt of "Chickenfüt", and I believe the lady next to him is Anneli Gelbard of "Bad Dreams" (not the one who's half cut off, that's Fay, she works for Indiefest)
And I know this is Alexandre Moors of "Cherry Blossom" and Ehren Koepf of "4U" (I believe in that order, from left to right) along with Fay, at the far right.
Then it was time for the big closing night feature, "Fido", a zom-rom-com (zombie romantic comedy). In a post zombie-war world, ZomCom protects the people of the town of Willard from zombies, both through police action and through special collars that control the zombies brain hunger and turns them into docile domestic servants. In fact, it's a bit of a status symbol to own a zombie, so Mrs. Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss) buys one (Billy Connely, in a voiceless but very expressive role) over the objections of her husband (Dylan Baker) and the initial ambivalence of her son Timmy (K'Sun Ray). However, when the zombie wants to play catch with Timmy when his dad is too busy, and then defends him against bullies, they become friends and Timmy names him Fido. Of course, brain-eating hijinx inevitably ensue. It's a hilarious satire of 50's era melodrama, boy-and-his-dog (yes, the boy's name is Timmy so it can have a "What's the matter, is Timmy in trouble?" scene), corporate big-brother paranoia, etc. It's kind of hard to count all the genres they spoof. Oh yeah, I forgot zombie movies! (I told you my mind is kinda gone by now). It's hilarious and beautfiul with all the bright colors and just so much fun. It's slated for general release this summer, so keep you eyes out for it. Also, here's a pic of director Andrew Currie:
And finally, there was "Viva". I've joked a lot that by the end of the festival I'm surprised I can write much more than "I saw a movie and it was pretty." Well, I saw "Viva" and it was really, really pretty! Okay, here's a bit more: it's an absolutely spot-on perfect rendition of a 70's era sexploitation flick. It'd be wrong to call this a spoof of the genre, it's really more of a loving tribute/recreation of the genre (except for the word-for-word lines from 70's era commercials sprinkled into general conversation). Director Anna Biller stars as Barbi, the bored housewife who is dragged by her neighbor on a wild adventure into the sexual revolution, where she becomes a party girl who's working name is "Viva" (because it's Italian for "to live"). Of course, sexy hijinx ensue. In fact, I counted 41 distinct flavors of sexiness! Go see it for yourself (assuming it gets released), see if you can find any I missed! Here's a pic of director/writer/star/almost everything else Anna Biller, with co-star Jared Sanford:
On a side note, she (and much of the same cast/crew) also made "A Visit From the Incubus" that played at Indiefest back in 2003. I thought it'd be fun to take a look through my vault and see what I wrote about it at the time. To my horror, I found I forgot to write about it. It was the short before "Soft for Digging" by J. T. Petty (who returned to Indiefest this year with "S&Man"), and I found my review for that, but not "A Visit From the Incubus". In the past I haven't been careful enough to remember to review all the shorts that play in front of the features. I'm very sorry. Retroactively, 4 years later I'm very sorry about that. So now I'll try to find a copy of that and retroactively review it here. I hope I haven't forgotten to review anything in this festival. As I've mentioned, a couple of the shorts weren't shown for technical issues, but I think I've written about everything I've seen (up to this point, I'm still a few days behind). If I've forgotten anything, e-mail me (link on the upper right).
All right, then it was off to the after party for beers with filmmakers and staff. I stayed out until they kicked us out of the bar at 2 am. Thank you Ira for driving me home (and I hope you got those brakes fixed), and thank you Indiefest for ending (sorta) the festival on President's day weekend, so I didn't have to go into work Monday.
But that was only the fake end. There were two extra bonus nights of movies. I'll write those up soon, hopefully tonight. Stay tuned!