I've found myself resisting writing my wrap up for this years Toronto After Dark Film Festival , in large part because I don't want to admit the festival is over but I'm a stickler for tradition so I’m going to make my selections and stick as best as I can to my regular categories. The festival continues to amaze in how it brings films year after year that not only have the blood, guts and mayhem fans love to see but also gems that challenge perceptions, expand our comfort zone and viewing horizons. For me this was demonstrated especially well this year with the films Father's Day and The Woman, both of which I was leery about going in (father-raping & taming feral women isn’t quite part of my mandate…), but both films exceeded my expectations and were not only unique viewing experiences but also well thought-out and well-crafted pieces of cinema.
You can see a list of all of my reviews here, but without further adieu let's look at Shannon the Movie Moxie's Best of the Fest:
Best Film: Midnight Son
Best Horror Film: The Innkeepers
Best SciFi Film: The Divide
Best Zombie Film: War of the Dead
Best Thriller: A Lonely Place to Die
Best Comedy: Some Guy Who Kills People
Best Cult Film: Father's Day
Scariest Film: The Innkeepers
Most Gutsy Film: VS
Favourite Film: Manborg
Best Performances: Zak Kilberg in Midnight Son, Sara Paxton from The Innkeepers, Pollyanna McIntosh in The Woman, Ari Millen in Monster Brawl, Entire cast of Some Guy Who Kills People: Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black and Ariel Gade!
Icky-ist Imagery: All of Father's Day
Still Has Me Thinking: The Corridor
Funnest Screening: Manborg
Fullest Screenings: Monster Brawl, Exit Humanity, The Divide & The Innkeepers
Best Q&A's: The Divide, Father's Day and The Corridor
Best Double Bill: The Divide & Manborg
Best Day: Day 6 with The Divide & Manborg
Biggest Surprize: Several, including Adoring Father's Day, Loving Some Guy Who Kills People, Enjoying Redline and not hating The Woman. With so many surpirzes it has me thankful that I continually commit to seeing everything every year.
Bizarre re-occuring imagery: Explosions of dirt in war scenarios: War of the Dead, Love and Exit Humanity. They were all quite beautiful.
Themes: Eating (especially things you shouldn't eat), Love, being connected, Not Letting Go, Looking to the past to solve the problems of the current and/or future. Oddly less puking than average.
Wish I Hadn't Missed: None, because I saw 'em all! But again this year wish I made it out to more pub nights and met more folk and wasn’t so shy about chatting with filmmakers
Best Shorts: My Main Squeeze, Nursery Crimes, The Legend of Beaver Dam, The Weight of Emptiness and Dirty Silverwear
Verdict on New Location: I like that we waited inside at Toronto Underground Cinema but my goodness those stairs were brutal, especially the concrete inside ones. But… side note… lost 5 pounds. So.. Yay?
Best Experiences: Meeting & interviewing Michael Biehn & Michael Ekland, getting to meet Scott Leberecht, Zak Kilberg & Matt Compton from Midnight Son, meeting short filmmaker Chris Nash, watching Manborg with a ridiculously enthusiastic crowd, making new friends and hanging out in line and in the theatre.
Favourite new saying: Shenanigrams from Manborg
- Huge thanks to Adam Lopez, Christian Burgess, Steven Landry & Peter Kuplowsky for programming an amazing year at the festival.
- I'd also like to give a big shout to fellow festival goers and cover-ers, I highly recommend you check out their thoughts on this years festival: Bob at Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind, Dave at The Examiner, Sarah at Toronto Film Scene, Mack at Twitch Film, Will at The Film Reel, All the folks at The Substream (especially check out this vid where they talk to lil old me!), Jay at The Horror Section, CS at Big Thoughts from a Small Mind, Hatter at The Matinee, Rob although I can never find where he writes..., Alix the Film Forager, Sasha of The Final Girl Project, John from Dark Bridges Film Festival & Row Three and Kurt of Twitch & Row Three. I'm also looking forward to pursing more festival coverage to find more folks that enjoy the genre goodness and hopefully meet them next year (or sooner!).
- And a big thank you to photographer extraordinaire Scott Chalmers for snapping so many awesome shots of the festival. I can't believe I now have a picture of me with Michael Biehn and Michael Eklund (see below). Wow.
And that's just about a wrap for the festival this year save hearing back on the awards they hand out which I'm very curious about. It was another fantastic year for Toronto After Dark and I already am looking forward to more next year. But for now, I must get some sleep.
The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival ran for 8 Nights of Horror, Sci-Fi, Action and Cult Movies at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from October 20-27, 2011.
Micheal Biehn, Sarah Gopaul & I. Photo Credit & Thanks to: Scott Chalmers
Talking to Michael Eklund / With Scott Leberecht & Zak Kilberg of Midnight Son. Photo Credit & Thanks to: Scott Chalmers