Sunday, 3 May 2009

Hot Docs 2009 Day 2 - Friday May 1, 2009


Day 2 of Hot Docs 2009 provided so much cinematic enjoyment, I am wondering if any other day of the festival will be able to hold a candle to it. Both feature films I went to Zombie Girl: The Movie and Best Worst Movie were films about other films (Pathogen and Troll 2, respectively), which gives them one layer of coolness, add another layer strictly for the fact both featured the famous Alamo Drafthouse. It was a film festivallers dream night, full of laughs, great Q&A's and of course, fantastic films.

From Burger it Came director Dominic Bisignano (centre)

From Burger it Came
Dir: Dominic Bisignano
USA, 7 minutes

A wild exploration of memory, sound and image is pulled together to become From Burger it Came. Through taped phone calls we hear a man describe to his mother a childhood incident that evolved into a bizarre, illogical yet understandable series of thought processes and events. This story comes alive through animation on screen as we are kept guessing what could possibly happen next.

See selections of the From Burger it Came Q&A with director Dominic Bisignano here.

See more about Dominic Bisignano at his website here.


Zombie Girl: The Movie
Dirs: Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall, Erik Mauck

When I heard there was a documentary about of a 12 year old girl creating a zombie film, I knew I had to see it. Talk about an irresistible combination, girl making a film, film about a film and .. well zombies. The result is just a fun as you'd expect but is also being much more. The film about a film aspect is great, and viewers interested in film culture will enjoy seeing industry cameos and the fact that it plays from the perspective of those who live and breath films. An interesting choice for the film is it's focus which isn't so much on the end result of the zombie film but more about of the process and people along with way.

One thing I was happily suprized to see was how much support Emily, the young filmmaker, has beyond family and friends but also from people that are a part of the industry. It was profoundly moving to see someone go for their dream and not be blindsighted by barriers for either their age or gender. We are also posed with an interesting question concerning new technology and therefore making films is becoming that much more accessible. Normally, I could only see as a positive but will it elevate the expectations very high very quickly. Years from now, how young will new filmmakers be?

See selections of the Zombie Girl: The Movie Q&A with directors Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall, Erik Mauck here

Zombie Girl: The Movie website, trailer, twitter, Facebook, myspace
Emily Hagins Website, purchase her film Pathogen online here

(L to R) Hot Docs Staff Shannon Abel with Zombie Girl: The Movie directors Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall and Erik Mauck

(L to R) Hot Docs Staff Shannon Abel with Zombie Girl: The Movie directors Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall and Erik Mauck

Best Worst Movie
Dir: Michael Paul Stevenson

The phrase "It's so bad it's good" might be a way for fans of Troll 2 to describe the cult classic, but you can't use it to describe Best Worst Movie, for that you'd have to say "It's so good it's good". Best Worst Movie looks at where the people involved with Troll 2, where they are now, their relationship with the film as well as the revelation that the film has a following. The beauty of it is that it embraces the extremes of the experiences of everyone involved, yet remains earnest. When things are going well, you can feel the pride and enthusiasm as the energy rises on the screen and in the room. But as life is a bumpy road it shows when things aren't going so well and respectfully acknowledges the varied experiences to the reaction that the film was not considered a good movie. Although there were many times it could have gone for the jugular to bleed out the conflicts or sad moments, instead we see the kind hearts of acknowledgement and acceptance. I'm sure this comes as no surprize for Troll 2 fans where the fandom and glee revels in the bizarreness of the film. The documentary is an open celebration of something so bizarre you can't help but laugh, smile and enjoy every moment along the way.

My only regret is not seeing the screening at The Bloor, it is the ideal setting for the experience. I imagine the crowd would have gone ballistic.

Although Troll 2 IMDb rating isn't #1 worst film anymore, it still provides us with some funny insight through recommendations listing if you'd like Troll 2 you might want to try: Night of the Hunter, Evil Dead 2, Troll and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

See selections of the Best Worst Movie Q&A with cast & crew here.

Best Worst Movie website, director Michael Stevenson on twitter

(L to R) Best Worst Movie Producer Brad Klopman, Cinematographer Katie Graham, Star George Hardy, Director Michael Paul Stevenson

(L to R) Best Worst Movie Cinematographer Katie Graham, Cast George Hardy, Director Michael Paul Stevenson, Hot Docs Staff Lynne Crocker

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 30 - May 10, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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