Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009 Day 4 - Monday August 17, 2009

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Day 4 marks us being halfway through the festival and puts us back on a 2 screening day after the epic weekend days. There were 2 aptly paired screenings that ranged from gory & gross to quirky & rustic. The highlight of the day was without a doubt, the World Premiere of Strigoi. The film was fantastic, the audience loved it and it was not only the World Premiere screening but also the first feature by a female director at Toronto After Dark. Director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru were in attendance for a fantastic Q&A (see here) after the screening. On top of all that, there were celebrating their anniversary for which the crowd shouted out a jovial Happy Anniversary! at the end of the Q&A. It was a beautiful night. See review of Strigoi and pictures a little further down.

To hear and see about Day 4 check out my TADFF'09 Vlog for Day 4.

Blackheads
Dir: Chris Nash
Canada, 14 minutes

For the moment Blackheads starts you know you are in for a extreme experience in this dark comedy that doesn't shy away from pushing buttons in the areas of violence and the world of gross. It truly felt like the audience was having a collective visceral reaction at times, I know I did.

See introduction to the screening of Blackheads with director Chris Nash here.

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Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl / Kyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken
Dirs: Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police / Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu) & Naoyuki Tomomatsu (Stacy)
Cast: Yukie Kawamura, Elly Otoguro, Takumi Saitoh, Kanji Tsuda, Eihi Shiina
Japan

A first glance at Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl the mind follows the logical pathways that we are in for a gorefest along the lines of Machine Girl or Tokyo Gore Police, however it was explained as a parody of Japanese teen romantic comedies. I think both of those elements are at play in the film and individually they work really well. The funny moments are hilarious and the gore is a outrageous. I do wish the two were bridged together more as it felt like it focused on one style then another for fairly lengthly spans of time. There was also little tension in the film but if you look at it from a comedic perspective with the added bonus of boat loads of gore then you definitely get what you are looking for.

See introduction to the screening of Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl by Toronto After Dark Film Festival programmer Todd Brown here. I highly recommend checking out the link before watching the film as it provides a good context for some of the cultural references that are in the film.

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Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Fallow Directors Colin Landry & Dave Alexander, and producer Brenton Bentz

Fallow
Dirs: Dave Alexander & Colin Landry
Canada, 14 minutes

Creepy and rustic this short make great use of deadpan style to provide a tale of ritual, prosperity and horror.

See introduction to the Fallow screening with directors Dave Alexander & Colin Landry and producer Brenton Bentz here.

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Strigoi
Dir: Faye Jackson
Cast: Catalin Paraschiv, Camelia Maxim, Constantin Barbulescu
UK

This quirky UK/Romanian horror comedy is a true delight. A rustic village setting where old world traditions run strong is a beautiful place to begin this journey that involves mystery, questionable deaths and lots and lots of food. One of the refreshing choices in the film is that the belief in Strigoi (who have similar characteristics too but predate vampires) is commonplace, and this practical approach gives the film an unexpected and lighthearted tone that blossoms into comedic brilliance. Another highlight of the film is the fantastic performance by lead actor Catalin Paraschiv who plays Vlad, who has returned from abroad to stumble upon the mystery and follows his nose with a logical approach, often aptly pointing out to obvious and ridiculous with a understated smoothness that had the audience in stitches. The music plays a huge part in enhancing the tone whether it be grisly or jovial or both at the same time. It was a joy to watch a film with a dark story that was presented with charm and humanity. Strigoi is gem of the film, an astonishing feat as a first feature and it was a true honour to attend the World Premiere. I hope to hear and see more of Strigoi in the future, however hopefully not in my kitchen.

See selections from the introduction and Q&A for Strigoi with director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru here.

Want to know more about Strigoi? Of course you do! Check out their Official Website, IMDb Page and find them on Facebook.

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Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Strigoi director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru

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Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Strigoi director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009 runs from August 14-21, 2009 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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Line 'em up, line 'em in! Big line at the box office on Monday night at the Bloor for folks hitting up the festival. The audiences have been enthusiastic and plentiful!

3 comments:

Trista @ TFS said...

I can honestly say that Vampire girl vs Frankenstein Girl shocked me, but not in the way that Tokyo Gore Police did. I had SO much fun in this movie. It was definitely a highlight of the festival for me.

Blackheads was friggin gross, but I loved it.... which is very, very strange to me.

And Strigoi, what CAN'T you say about Strigoi. Genuinely amazing film. I really hope they keep making horror (er, or close to horror). Such a sweet couple too!

The Film Reel said...

I loved VG/FG, of course I'm a big fan of the previous films in this vein, Machine Girl, TGP and I can't wait for Robo-Geisha.

Strigoi still bothers me. I had the worst experience in the theater and didn't even stay for the Q&A because I was so uncomfortable. Everything I've heard about the movie speaks so highly of it that I hope to see it again one day.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Funny the divides on Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl. It's odd, I didn't love Machine Girl but I loved Tokyo Gore Police - LOVED IT. Laughing so hard I almost fell outta my chair loved it. But Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl it was the structure of the film that irked me because there was no tension.

I'm with ya on Strigoi Trista. I'm sorry your film going experience with Strigoi was such a challenge Will, it is such a great movie what a shame to have that spoiled.

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