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Archive for June 2015

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June 25, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Turner Classic Movies, how much do I love thee?

dgc

It's like Cinematically Insane and #OldMovieWeirdo Will McKinley said, "TCM is a corporation and a for-profit corporation, but as for-profit corporations go, they're pretty good people." This is something that, as a TCM watcher, I have always felt to be true. I mean, they are on a regular cable network, but have always run their films uncut and commercial free, choosing to not only exhibit the films in the best possible formats, but also to have various TV spots about film format, film exhibition, film history, you name it. TCM was, for me and for many of my peers, a true film school. There is a lot more to all of that than profiteering, and to be sure they lose a lot of revenue by not having ads. All that said, if I had any doubts about the sincerity of TCM's mission to share and celebrate the entire spectrum of film history, those doubts were dispelled a few days ago when the good people at that fine network informed us that they would support our efforts to renovate our local independent cinema. Not only with permission to screen their network on the big screen for 24 hours, but with social media outreach and, to our incredulous joy and generosity, with the offer to match any funds we were able to raise, up to $5,000!

teen producers club

Ok, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but there is no understating my elation, and the fundraising has just begun. Many of you may not live in San Diego, so let me talk for a second about our Media Arts Center and their Digital Gym Cinema. I know, those names are bit esoteric (particularly the one for the cinema), so let me lay down what they do a bit. For the last 22 years, the Media Arts Center has been an integral part of a high-needs community in San Diego, offering affordable film classes, media summer camps, a Teen Producers Club, and other fantastic film, video, and other media-based community outreach programs to our city. They also are the non-profit organization behind our San Diego Latino Film Festival, which has grown significantly over the last two decades and celebrates one of the largest ethnic communities in San Diego.

spring

The Digital Gym Cinema was created by Media Arts Center San Diego in order to answer the complete dearth of independent cinema venues in San Diego. I can't stress this enough. The closest cinemas we had before were The Ken, The Hillcrest, and the La Jolla Cinemas, but all are owned by Landmark. I don't want to badmouth Landmark at all because I think they are fantastic, but they have their own programming and leave little time for repertory and special programming. They also show films on the especially high end of what can truly be called "independent." Digital Gym Cinema gave us that venue--gave us a place where we can show very independent films with thoughtful curation and discussion. Gave us a place where we can program classic film or themed series or book signings or so many other great and enlightening events. It's a desperately needed location, but it is very expensive to maintain and, worst of all, it doesn't look at all like a cinema so most people in the city have no idea it exists! A marquee would go a long way toward giving it the cinema look and feel so people in the neighborhood can know it is even there.

audience

The marquee is just one piece, but it is a huge one, and it is expensive. My film programming partner Beth and I are extremely passionate about film and film exhibition, and we very much need this theater to stay open. For that reason, we have decided to fundraise for the marquee. The current "Summer of Darkness' programming on TCM seemed like a great thing to fundraise in conjunction with, partly because we love films noir, but also because of how TCM has structured the festival. Every Friday they run 24 hours of films noir, veritable marathons. Hey, people run marathons all the time for pledge money--maybe we can have a marathon of films for pledge money! That's what we decided, and we just needed TCM's approval. As you've already read, they gave that approval in spades.

classes

So what do you need to know? Well, fundraising has begun on IndieGoGo! Every dollar anyone gives will be matched by TCM up to $5000! That means a potential 10K for the theater AND that every one of your dollars will be worth 2! The actual marathon will be during July 3rd's "Summer of Darkness" event on TCM. We are locking ourselves in the theater starting at 3:30am PST on that date. We won't finish until around the following 3:30am, losing sleep and possibly sanity in the best possible way. All in the name of helping our theater. We WILL be livetweeting the whole thing using the hashtags #TCMParty and #NoirSummer. We WILL be livestreaming the whole thing, so you can watch us as we slowly lose our minds. If you live in San Diego, feel free to join us when the building is in normal operating hours, but we are specifically inviting people for the 11:30am screening of 1949's "The Bribe" and the 9:45pm screening of 1949's "The Window." Admission will be free and we will be loopy. Our sustenance will be sponsored by Pizzeria Luigi, Bread and Cie, Trails Eatery, and Lightning Brewery. We still need a coffee sponsor!

Please blog about this, podcast about this, tweet about this, and most of all--JOIN US on July 3rd! Turn on TCM and enjoy some of the greatest American films ever made! Help us get that goal! Follow me on Twitter @HIFFSD and follow Beth Accomando on Twitter at @cinebeth! Watching noir for a cause, see!

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June 24, 2015 Posted by admin in General

#141: Storytime Edition's The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson

schoonerIt's time for another Storytime Edition! That's right! One of my audiobook-style readings of various types of public domain stories. For today’s Storytime, I’ve chosen William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night.”

William Hope Hodgson was a British writer with a penchant for the macabre. He spent a lot of his young life on the open sea, which gave him fuel for a lot of the stories he would write. After listening to "The Voice in the Night," you can easily find some of his other work like "The Boats of the Glen Carrig," "The House on the Borderland," or "The Night Land." His life was cut short during WWI, when he was the young age of 40.

hodgson

Can you guess which of my favorite films adapted this short story? Listen to find out!

Also check out the other Storytime Edition episodes here!

Listen to the story here:

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June 18, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Three Excellent Horror Shorts! Free Online!

Three short films that have knocked the socks off of audiences at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival have no been made free to the public online! Short films often have such a short life span, but we hope this format will help preserve great work like this for a long time to come! Check these out and please feel free to share them around!

horizonte

Horizonte (Horizon)

Directed by Aitor Uribarri

Spain

The world as we know ended, only its ashes are left. In a desperate attempt to bring the family together, Ana and her mother begin a dangeorus journey where they'll face the monsters that now rule the Earth and an even more dangerous one: the one we all carry inside...

HORIZONTE (Horizon) from Aitor Uribarri on Vimeo.

Waterborne

Directed by Ryan Coonan

Australia

When a local ranger in a small country town finds an unidentified algae overwhelming the water supply, he knows that something's not right. But it's not until the sun goes down that he discovers the true extent of the danger - it seems the town is about to experience the effects of a mysterious infection that turns not only humans – but animals too – into zombies. Australian wildlife has never been so terrifying…

Waterborne from Octopod Films on Vimeo.

La Carne Cruda (Raw Meat)

Directed by Samuel Lema

Spain

Since childhood Hansel has always had a wish: to devour a human. His old doll just fills his emotional vacuum. After the death of his mother decides to realize his dream, making their wishes in a dangerous need. A lethal need when there is no more meat to devour.

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June 14, 2015 Posted by admin in General

#140: Funky Bollywood: The Wild World of 1970s Indian Action Cinema with Todd Stadtman

You are in luck, especially if you were not able to make our Funky Bollywood discussion at San Diego's own Digital Gym Cinema last night, because I decided to make a podcast of the episode. And what a great idea, too, because it turned out to be one of the best and most enthusiastic Q&A's I ever moderated, and now we can bring it to YOU! Die Danger Die Die Kill Blogger and fellow "Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit (MOSS)" Agent Todd Stadtman joined us all the way from San Francisco to discuss and sign copies of his new book "Funky Bollywood: The Wild World of 1970s Indian Action Cinema."

Funky Bollywood screenshot

Films from India, and films from the filmmaking machine that has come to be known as Bollywood, are still largely unknown or misunderstood by many of the cineastes I tend to meet on a regular basis. As with most film industries, Bollywood churned out films of a wide variety of genres from action to fantasy to horror. I couldn't wait to have this conversation with Todd about this particular subset of films because I think a lot of people would be fascinated to learn about they have to offer, how they can be found and kept alive, and how they can be introduced to new and varied audiences.

At the book signing!

At the book signing!

As far as finding Bollywood films, you should get Todd's book as a guide in your search. I sincerely recommend it! You can order it now from FAB Press by clicking on the picture:

FUNKY_BWOOD_COVER

We also mention YouTube and Netflix as ways to find some of these films, but Todd points out Induna.com as a place to purchase DVDs, as well as Indian grocery stores and other Indian stores (including India Sweets and Spices in Mira Mesa for you San Diego folks) in cities with Indian communities. Remember to follow me on Twitter @HIFFSD and Todd @FOURDK. Todd also writes for the venerable cult film site Teleport City and acts as co-host of the Podcast on Fire: Taiwan Noir and Infernal Brains podcasts, as well as the musical radio program Pop Offensive on 9th Floor Radio.

Our Funky Bollywood Discussion Topics:

1. Why populist international cinema is important.

2. The response from the Indian community to the book

3. Why choose Bollywood films, and specifically why choose the action genre to write a book about?

4. Where do you find these films?

5. Watching films without subtitles.

6. Bollywood and Hollywood and international inspirations.

7. Defining “Bollywood” and different regions of Indian films.

8. The international allure of the action genre.

9. Where to find theatrical screenings of Bollywood films.

10. More ideas of where to find Bollywood films.

11. Differences in films from different parts of India.

12. Different character archetypes in 1970s Indian action cinema.

13. Explaining the title “Funky Bollywood,” and the music of Bollywood cinema.

14. Modern Bollywood

15. The influence on the partition of Indian and Pakistan had on the “Lost and Found” films.

16. The beauty of artifice in cinema.

Listen to the episode here:

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June 10, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Douglas Lathrop's Novel CHAFFS Lives!

The whole [punk] scene possessed an in-your-face, “I have a right to be here too and screw you if you can’t deal with it” vibe that intoxicated me as a young gimp . . . -Doug Lathrop in New Mobility Magazine

When I received a copy of the manuscript for Doug Lathrop's "Chaffs," I immediately took note of the opening quote. It is from the song 'Merican by the punk rock band The Descendents. It was difficult for me to venture further because I knew Doug, and his inclusion of those lyrics was perfect in a uniquely challenging way. The lyrics, fiercely critical of knee-jerk nationalist pride, are appropriate to the story:

You've got to know the truth

Before you can say that you've got pride

-The Descendents

but they held additional layers of meaning for me.

I met Doug Lathrop at a writer's group. This was back in 2009, and I was a new resident in San Diego hoping to find my place a continent away from my former Baltimore home. I was wearing a t-shirt for the punk band Hot Snakes, and Doug was also a fan so we got to talking about music, as well as literature and horror, since we were there to write and we were both playing with horror or science fiction stories at the time.

Eventually, I started the first Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, and Doug was one of the attendees. This is when the venue was the 10th Avenue Arts Center downtown, which is an old building and lamentably unfriendly to people who use wheelchairs. The elevator in that building is a bit terrifying since it is the original 1928, wooden paneled relic that was installed when the building went up, and I was told not to use it except in extreme situations. Well, the festival took up a couple of floors and the roof of the building, and I wanted to make sure Doug had access to all of it so I made it his elevator. I was a bit embarrassed at having my event in such a place, but Doug's attitude was nothing but of the highest spirits. He even gave me the quote that has graced the About Page of this website for the last five years:

That, my friends, was just Doug Lathrop. He never let anything get in the way of his living the fullest life he could wrap his fingers around. Somehow he managed to apply that same fierce energy to his writing. See the link supplied in the quote that starts this article for an excellent example, or read this absolutely stunning article he wrote entitled A Tale of Two Closets, both for New Mobility Magazine. His writing is intensely honest and introspective while maintaining a sense of humor that promises to make even the most jaded reader laugh through misty eyes.

It is close to a year since the world was deprived of Doug's presence, but one of the gifts that a writer can give is a part of him or herself through the power of words. Now, that gift is being made available in the form of "Chaffs," thanks to the efforts of local San Diego writer Walter Meyer.

Chaffs Book

Doug passed away mere weeks after completing this novel, but Meyer's efforts are to give some people a chance to get a copy of the book (seriously, the cover art is fantastic), get copies made to get reviews by newspapers and authors, and to preserve the legacy of this novel. In addition to all of this, Doug's family will donate 10% of all of the proceeds from "Chaffs" to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

Kickstarter is the platform where you can get your own copy of the book. It looks like they won't be around very long, though! Head here to order yours.

I was asked to write a blurb about the novel "Chaffs" itself, and this has been something that has been difficult without the personal baggage I feel gives this project more weight for me. Douglas Lathrop was one of the first friends I made in San Diego. That being said, "Chaffs" is an Orwellian look at an alternate America, where Morality Police rule against the elements of society they deem unworthy. Doug's prose brims with energy, anger, humor, and honesty, just as I anticipated it would. I have yet to complete it since I wanted this essay to get online on the same day that the Kickstarter did, but I am chomping at the bit to get back to the world of "Chaffs." This time, it is because I am draw to the characters of Tyler and Casey, rather than any other biases I may have. I think that speaks volumes.

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June 9, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Horrible Imaginings 2015 Revival Film! Bluebeard in 35mm!

If there is a filmmaker who can be said to be the grandfather of independent cinema, Edgar G. Ulmer would certainly be in the running. After completing one major studio picture in 1934 (The Black Cat, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi), Ulmer was almost unceremoniously pushed aside to the margins of filmmaking, directing ultra low budget films for the smallest movie houses. None of that stopped him from leaving his unique artistic touch on his films.

At this year's Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, we will celebrate the life and work of Edgar G. Ulmer with a panel about his life and stories. We are honored to have his daughter Arianne Ulmer-Cipes, as well as his biographer Noah Isenberg (author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins) as special guests!

Panelists:

Arianna Ulmer-Cipes (picture from Beyond the Time Barrier)

Arianna Ulmer-Cipes (picture from Beyond the Time Barrier)

Noah Isenberg, Ulmer's biographer

Noah Isenberg, Ulmer's biographer

Join us for a lively look back at a filmmaker who is finally getting the prestige he deserves! The talk will be followed by a rare 35mm screening of his serial killer film BLUEBEARD, starring the legendary John Carradine as the titular puppeteer with a dark secret!

HIFFSD 2015 Poster Rough

Hand-painted Poster by Argentinian artist Pat Carbajal!

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