Check out my guest blog post on Sherry Ellis's "Mama Diaries"...Christmas Reflections!
Click HERE to read the whole post on Sherry's site!
Meet Ollie, from Dog Band!
MEET OLLIE! Percussion - DOG BAND...
A picture book to be published by Iguana Books in the spring of 2021. Illustrated by Wei Lu!
Check back to meet the other members of the band...
Blood in the Snow Film Festival Day 11: "Come True", "Ingredients" and the Bloodies (Awards)!
It's FRIDAY THE 13th and we've reached the final Blood in the Snow Film Festival post...which, as you know, is a few days behind the actual festival, which aired on Super Channel and "closed" November 7th.
Let's review closing night of BITS on Super Channel, which again was Saturday, November 7th...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) COME TRUE (Dir. Anthony Scott Burns) (104 mins)
Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone, The Unseen) is a teen who sleeps in fits and is haunted by vivid nightmares. She takes part in a sleep study group at a local university in order to cure her disorder. Instead, she is plunged into a disturbing reality that has Sarah questioning who she is and what is happening to her. With a magnetic performance from Ms. Stone, fantastical cinematography and an ethereal pop score, Come True is a powerful examination of the power of dreams that will have you thinking and talking long after it is over.
MY TAKE: A beautifully composed film, whether you're talking about the writing, directing, or the performances. Julia Sarah Stone is wonderful as the lost in the world and in herself Sarah. The score and songs by Electric Youth are haunting. The dream sequences and FX are gloomy and foreboding. And naturally, there is a twist at the end--it is a film about dreams, after all. I think this is my favourite film of the festival.
Opening with the short film INGREDIENTS (Dir. Hannah Michielson) (23:00 mins)
MY TAKE: Paranoia and loneliness are the chief ingredients in this short...and a writer finally finds some inspiration to write.
Read on for The Bloodies!
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 10, which was Friday, November 6th...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) PARALLEL MINDS (Dir. Benjamin Ross Hayden) (86 mins)
In the near future, the company Red Eye uses artificial intelligence to create a contact lens that records sight and replaces memories. When the lead scientist is murdered in her lab, it’s up to her protege Margo (Tommie-Amber Pirie, TV’s Bitten) and a hard boiled detective (Greg Bryk, also in this fest’s Bloodthirsty) to find and stop the allusive and deadly shapeshifter. Like this year’s Blood Quantum, Parallel Minds inserts Indigenous themes and tropes to create an engaging and unique science fiction thriller!
MY TAKE: Another great turn from Greg Bryk in this festival! This is a future story from a Metis perspective, where the AI...slowly becoming cyborg, as if he's a shapeshifter from a traditional Indigenous legend...is also very much a trickster spirit, with a very human origin story. Folktale is woven with science fiction about freedom vs. control...and memory. And does that cyborg trickster ever look cool!
Opening with the short film FREYA (Dir. Camille Hollett-French) (17:00 mins)
MY TAKE: A superbly executed near future tale where tech (and the government) have become far too invasive to the lives of every day people, especially women. And of course, there's complete lack of privacy...we're just a step away from wandering into the "cages without bars", if we aren't there already.
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 9, which was Thursday November 5th...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) THE RETURN (Dir. BJ Verdot) (90 mins)
After the death of his father, Rodger (Richard Harmon, Puppet Killer) returns to the family home to set affairs in order. With his girlfriend and best friend in tow, Rodger begins to investigate the details of this family tragedy. He soon finds a malevolent force has been haunting his family for decades and it’s coming for him!
MY TAKE: You've gotta love it when a scientist has a lab in her own basement...you know you've probably got yourself a full-on mad scientist, which is always more fun that just your vanilla variety. I like how the filmmakers draw parallels between scientific equations and spells, and I really love the combination of a traditional haunted house story with time travel.
Opening with the short film SIGNAL (Dir. Sophie Wang) (9:51 mins)
MY TAKE: A fascinating concept with sound and a mystery to be solved, with an unusual sort of "monster".
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 8, which was Wednesday, November 4th...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) BLOOD THIRSTY (Dir. Amelia Moses) (81 mins)
Director Amelia Moses tells story of Grey (Lauren Beatty, also in Bleed With Me), a singer-songwriter who chooses to record her next album at the remote studio of the infamous producer, Vaughn (Greg Bryk, also in this year’s Parallel Minds). Vaughn is brilliant and charismatic but also mysterious. Meanwhile, Grey finds herself haunted by visions of becoming some sort of vicious animal. She must find out if the monster is outside the cabin, in the studio or inside her own body.
MY TAKE: Loving Lauren Beatty in both the films she's in this BITS season! But is she beauty, or is she the beast? A lovely film where you get to watch the musician and her music change as she changes...but are these alterations psychological or are they real? And what is with her new producer/mentor? He helps her grow, but into what...and why? I think you'll enjoy finding out all the answers to this gorgeously haunting film.
Opening with the short film ENDGAME (Dir. Magalie De Genova) (11:38 mins)
MY TAKE: A father tells his son a fairytale/urban legend about his own origins...but is this tale simply meant to scare the boy out of playing too many video games, or is there more than a grain of truth to the story? A clever short that will keep you guessing!
The Blood in the Snow Festival closed this past Saturday...I hope you had a chance to see some (or all) of the great films!
But as you know, I'm a number of days behind, so let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 7, which was Tuesday, November 3rd...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) EMERGING SCREAMS (92 mins)
A feature length program of new or first time Canadian genre directors.
THE LETTING GO (Dir. Nick Kewin) (9:55 mins)
MY TAKE: Super cool breathing wall FX! This one will keep you guessing as to what really happened.
REWIND (Dir. Hugo Chetelat) (7:36 mins)
MY TAKE: This is a really cool idea -- well done! A grandson is able to slip into his catatonic grandfather's mind by listening to his old walkman. And so, he gets to know his real grampa.
INNOCENCE (Dir. Olympia Okonmah) (7:37 mins)
MY TAKE: A man with blood on his hands rehearses what he will say to the police, so that they'll understand why he's innocent.
DOWN DELORO RIVER (Dir. Josh Wood) (12:39 mins)
MY TAKE: Great historical set and costumes...and good ol' fashioned creepy homemade dolls makes for a fun story.
GREENWOOD (Dir. Benjamin McGregor) (4:39 mins)
MY TAKE: Very strange, but in a good way. Don't touch it...it'll turn yellow!
THE DOOR DOWN THE HALL (Dir. Christian Vetrone) (6:53 mins)
MY TAKE: This girl thinks she wants to know what's behind the door down the hall (and of course, her parents won't tell her)...but really, she doesn't want to know.
TOO LATE (Dir. Roy Stein) (5:04 mins)
MY TAKE: Lovely CGI/animation about a guy swamped in his mindless work behind a desk, drowning in coffee. Freedom is signified by his plaid golf hat by the door...if only the work would stop.
ACROSS THE BRIDGE (Dir. Alisha Steinberger, Chao Goody Wu) (5:06 mins)
MY TAKE: Traditional animation about a little brother whose big sister doesn't have time for him...so, he loses himself in a video game (becoming the character in the game)...but when he gets in trouble during the boss fight, guess who comes to the rescue?
WIIDZA (Dir. Kaw Tay Whee School Students) (5:00 mins)
MY TAKE: A tale about Medicine Men who shapeshift into different animals, then the others would chase them. This was a test to prove who is the strongest, and it is reenacted by four young Indigenous boys sitting around a campfire.
WHAT THE SPELL? (Dir. Krsy Fox) (14:39 mins)
MY TAKE: A woman who thinks her boyfriend cheated on her and her friend perform a powerful spell on this man, killing, then resurrecting him. Unfortunately he's rather zombie like, so they have to double kill him. Then there's the twist at the end.
ON THE WATER (Dir. Karis Malszecki) (15:00 mins)
MY TAKE: Siblings stay at the family cottage, but a mysterious black speed boat carries the brother off during a swim in the cove. His sister reports him missing and searches for him to no avail. Once she does find him, it doesn't look as though he's among the living...the next morning, the cottage is empty.
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 6, which was Monday, November 2nd...
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) FUNNY FRIGHTS (99 mins)
A feature length program of our horror comedy shorts and generally things on the lighter side of death!
EAT YOUR CARROTS (Dir. Jack Penney) (4:26 mins)
MY TAKE: Adorable and hilarious (and explosive!) history of snowmen vs. humans. Loving the stop motion, snowman explosions and that dynamite can be sold to a 9-year-old.
FROSTBITTEN (Dirs. Kaw Tay Whee School Students) (4:50 mins)
MY TAKE: Another animated entry where a skinny version of the Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph, one assumes, works in a coffee shop but is replaced by a robot (it's happening everywhere, really)...but said robot goes evil-rogue, so really, are robots really the best idea to replace living things?
THE SEANCE (Dirs. Robin Goodfellow, Rigby Wolfe, Scotty Floronic) (1:41 mins)
MY TAKE: Quick and funny film with a whole lotta empty beer cans.
AN IMPOSTER (Dir. Tyler A. Williams) (3:15 mins)
MY TAKE: Funny concept and an adorable kid!
CREAT(E)URE (Dir. Zane Rubin) (3:00 mins)
MY TAKE: Cool subway setting! And I love that they poke fun at the whole CGI monster thing--they really do all look about the same in every film or series they appear in, don't they?
SOUL CONTACT (Dir. Justin McConnell) (4:59 mins)
MY TAKE: A ghostly, funny twist on the possibilities of paranormal romance...and perhaps an alternative relationship possibility for those in lockdown?
TOTO (Dir. Marco Baldonado) (13:00 mins)
MY TAKE: GREAT ROBOT! Reminds me very much of Big Hero Six, but a different plot that is truly quite heartwarming (and heartbreaking).
KITTY'S NAUGHTY KNICKERS (Dir. Caitlyn Sponheimer) (12:35 mins)
MY TAKE: A disgustingly funny idea for those creative entrepreneurs out there!
DON'T TEXT BACK! (Dir. Kaye Adelaide, Mariel Sharp) (14:30 mins)
MY TAKE: Love the characters and the dialogue in this one. A fabulous melding of magic and technology.
THE PROBLEM WITH LADY WEREWOLVES (Dir. Chris Ross) (13:27 mins)
MY TAKE: Contemplating the problematic possibilities of a life as new female werewolves.
THE GREATEST HORROR MOVIE EVER MADE (Dir. Brandon Jordan) (13:00 mins)
MY TAKE: A fun commentary on the typical teen slasher horror tropes.
THE BALLAD OF SHARKASAURUS (Dirs. Spencer Estabrooks) (12:00 mins)
MY TAKE: Hilarious mash up of Western (great costumes and set) and Creature Feature (the monster is, itself, a crazy mash up).
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 5, which was Sunday, November 1st...
7:00 pm (repeats at 2:00 am) A SERIES OF WEB BITES - WEB SERIES (87 mins)
A feature length program of highlights of the best Canadian horror and sci-fi digital programming.
THE FOREST (Dir. Éric Falardeau) (5:10 mins) music video
MY TAKE: Love the cut and paste stop motion type animation. Very cool music video, and also old school.
ALL THE RIGHT THINGS IN THE RIGHT PLACES (Dir. Peter Sacco) (3:48 mins) music video
MY TAKE: The Spoons bring us another music video! I was hoping since seeing last year's music video at BITS. Loving all the crazy alien and UFO imagery they combine with 80sesque moments.
PALLIDUS (Dir. Chelsea Jade McEvoy) (15:00 mins) web series
MY TAKE: Lovely space flight visuals and I really dig the colour palette chosen for both the set and the lighting.
ESLUNA: THE FIRST MONOLITH (Dir. Denver Jackson) (9:43 mins) web series
MY TAKE: Another animated entry in the style of anime and similar graphic novels -- very "basic", but it work really, really well.
ZAHARA (Dir. Katarzyna Kochany) (9:04 mins) web series
MY TAKE: Vampires vs. Witches! Very popular right now, so how can you miss?
AGE OF THE LIVING DEAD (Dir. Paul Tanter) (45:00 mins) TV series
MY TAKE: This one definitely has a bigger budget. A fun take on a Vampire vs. Humans cold war.
9:00 pm (repeats at 12:00 am) DARK VISIONS (92 mins)
A feature length program of our darkest, creepiest and weirdest films at Blood in the Snow.
THE VISITOR (Dir. Keith Robertson) (1:00 min)
MY TAKE: Super quick horror jolt!
DAY BREAK (Dir. Louisa Phung) (1:00 min)
MY TAKE: Another quick one -- nightmares and dreams...a door opens...dread is built.
MAMA'S HOME (Dir. Robert Cuffley) (3:00 mins)
MY TAKE: A busy mom meets The Grudge, to the detriment of her young daughter.
TRIM (Dir. Mayumi Yoshida) (5:02 mins)
MY TAKE: I really love the father's devotion towards his blind son, but boy, does he take things to extremes!
WEIRDO (Dir. Ashlea Wessel) (7:30 mins)
MY TAKE: Is Weirdo the main character or the short film itself? Cuz it sure is weird...which is exactly the point.
MISHA (Dir. Andrew Jeffrey) (8:15 mins)
MY TAKE: A great idea--a whole new level of witch hunt. This is a beautifully crafted short.
MORBUS (Dir. Kerim Banka) (9:38 mins)
MY TAKE: A super gross (excellent makeup and FX) infection meets the whole accident scene in the middle of nowhere, at night, in the woods.
UNBORN (Dir. Keith Robertson) (8:00 mins)
MY TAKE: Is it a doll, or is it a real child? Is this woman a murderer or just protecting herself from a possessed doll? You be the judge.
EXPECTING (Dir. Ryan Couldrey) (7:30 mins)
MY TAKE: Taking the fears of people trying IVF and turning it on its head. What some won't do to become parents...
FROM THE DARK (Dir. Matthew Van Ginkel) (5:40 mins)
MY TAKE: The monster is not in the closet!
MOURN (Dir. Joanna Tsanis) (11:03 mins)
MY TAKE: A husband returns to his wife from the dead...but is it to reunite in the afterlife, or to send her to hell?
FADE (Dirs. Jamie Knox, Chris Whelan) (9:10 mins)
MY TAKE: An abused woman's scars and bruises will only fade once her abuser is properly dealt with.
SANG JAUNE (YELLOW BLOOD) (Dir. Julie Roy) (6:14 mins)
MY TAKE: Is it aliens causing strange happenings to a woman who claims to have an ultra ordinary life?
DAMA BRANCA (Dir. Panta Mosleh) (4:45 mins)
MY TAKE: A fun and fast film about a ghost who "infects" and passes herself on through possession.
ESCAPE THE NIGHT (Dirs. Alex Lee Williams, Jay Drackulic) (5:46 mins)
MY TAKE: Woo hoo! An apocalyptic zombie pandemic film with explosions, practical chainsaw FX, fire stunts...what more could you want?
Blood in the Snow Film Festival Day 4 was Halloween..."Hail to the Deadites", "Landgraves", "For the Sake of Vicious" and "Attack of the Killer Scarecrow" played
Let's review what happened on Super Channel on Day 4, which was Saturday, October 31st...
7:00 pm (repeats at 2:00 am) HAIL TO THE DEADITES (Dir. Steve Villeneuve) (75 mins)
In the fall of 1979, 20-year old director Sam Raimi and a group of his friends trudged out to a small cabin in the woods in the middle of Tennessee. Armed with their resources and imagination, they created one of the biggest cult films of all time, The Evil Dead. Steve Villeneuve’s documentary is a love letter to horror films in general and Evil Dead fans in particular. Through their love for this film, fans have bonded, communities have formed and special connections have been made. The film’s interviews include fans, film journalists, cast members and The Chin himself, --Mr. Bruce Campbell!
MY TAKE: What a fun documentary! In the tradition of other documentaries about the fans, whether they're fans of Star Trek, Harry Potter or the general horror genre, this film brings us the Deadites -- super fans of the Evil Dead films. Their stories are funny, outrageous and heartwarming. Whether you're a Deadite, a fan of the horror genre, or even if you're not, this is a good watch.
Opening with the short film LANDGRAVES (Dir. Jean-François Leblanc) (22:30 mins)
MY TAKE: Great atmosphere created in a short period of time with a fun, paranoia-affirming ending...but I'm afraid this short will do nothing to help the reputations of metal bands. ;)
Read on for info on "For the Sake of Vicious" and "Attack of the Killer Scarecrow"