I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on the final look of the characters for FROM HELL HE RIDES. Those spaghetti westerns were shot in Technicolor and were actually quite vibrant. I’m trying to find the right balance between colour and grit. I think I’m very close. I’ve also been prepping the skeletons, getting them ready to cast in foam rubber. That will be next week’s major project and, if you remember the trouble I had with the FILTH puppets, the most nerve racking procedure when it comes to puppet making. After that … I can start building the first set which I have already laid out. Seems crazy to be ready for that stage.
On the festival front, when you screen in small to medium sized festivals (like I do) it’s not unusual to have the audience vote at the end of the nigh for the film they most enjoyed. This is very prevalent at festivals that have only a single program. At a screening in Berlin this past Sunday I received my first ever audience award. With no representative in attendance or meaningful social media buzz, FILTH won over an audience based solely on its content. I love that. I made FILTH to be a crowd pleasing film and I hope I get the chance to see it with a packed house one day.
If you’ve been following on Twitter you will already know that this has been a very good week. To recap; FILTH has added 4 official selections to its festival run which brings its total to 20. In no particular order they are: (1) Fargo Fantastic Film Festival in Fargo, North Dakota (2) THRILLER CHILLER Film Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan (3) Haunted House FearFest UK in Morecambe, Lancashire and (4) FESTIVAL OF FEAR in Edmonton, Alberta where it is also nominated for Best Animated Film. There are also a number of screenings coming up including this Sunday at The Castle, Friedrichshain in Berlin, Germany. I’ve updated the screenings page with all the dates and times. GO FILTH!
There is little doubt now that FROM HELL HE RIDES will be the most difficult film I’ve ever attempted. It will surpass the 2 year production time of my last 3 films by at least 6 months, maybe more. The storyboards, all 202 pages, 400+ shots of them easily confirm this. I am estimating a September 2021 release date. That’s a long time and a lot of work to get through but the storyboards have really tightened the story and I believe the visual presentation will be both startling and another huge departure for me. There’s a very unique style to those spaghetti westerns of the 1960’s and I’ve tried to not only replicate it but push way past it, the same way I did with FILTH and the film noir. I guess we’ll know in 2 years if I’ve succeeded.
A horror film festival is not like your typical festival. For one thing, they present awards in categories you will not find anywhere else. For instance; FILTH just received the award for Goriest Short Film at the Something Wicked Film Festival. How does one respond to that? You have to have a sense of humour about these things. “Serious” film makers might be embarrassed to win such an award. I know a bit about horror and that FILTH was the goriest film at a festival that screened 62 horror shorts is something of an accomplishment. One I’m happy to accept and promote. I also know that FILTH will never be able to live up to that kind of label. There are all kinds of film violence and FILTH does not fall into the cringe inducing type of violence that one might find in a lot of exploitation cinema. A lot of blood spilled, don’t get me wrong, but no one is going to be covering their eyes in horror.
September is shaping up to be a very big month for FILTH with the addition of 2 more official selections. Looking forward to the Sin City Horror Film Festival and the Wreak Havoc Horror Film Festival. The rage is building.
If you’re anything like me, on occasion you’ll find yourself looking at what those around you are doing. When I look behind the scenes at some of the more recent stop motion feature films I am absolutely floored by the resources at their disposal and by comparison how low tech my films really are. For instance; my computer is 11 years old and wildly out of date, my lights are from Canadian Tire and IKEA, my tripod was 50 years old when I got it, I don’t use motion control, my set and character supplies are about as inexpensive as you can find, my studio space can’t hold anything larger than a 4X8 ft. table, my workbench has only 2 electrical tools (grinder and drill press) And yet, I have never felt that the grass was greener on the other side. My current set up would have seemed unattainable to my 10 year old self. I can still remember animating my first creature, in the rain, in the dirt, in my back yard, with an 8mm camera attached to an old cymbal stand from a drum kit and jammed into the ground. Now that was low tech.
Another screening to announce; FILTH has been named an official selection of the NOLA Horror Film Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is one of the largest festivals so far and will open FILTH up to its biggest audience yet. A little history: in 1992 I traveled with screenwriter Michael Stokes to New Orleans for Attic-In-The-Blue. We had won the award for best animated short at the New Orleans Film and Video Festival. We drove 2 days straight to get there and when we arrived the festival put us up in an apartment/loft for a week in the French quarter for free. We were young film makers and thought this was how it was always going to be. So naive. Needless to say, we had a great time.