Fright Nights (Toronto) – Viscera Short Film Festival Coverage (Kirk Haviland)

Fright Nights at the Projection Booth

Viscera Short Film Festival, May 15th 2012

For Kelly Stewart’s May presentation of Fright Nights at the Projection Booth in Toronto he decided to do something different. Hooking up with Curio Media and Director/Producer Karen Lam, Kelly was able to bring the Viscera Film Festival to Canada for the first time ever! Viscera is a traveling festival of short genre based films directed by women that was created to inspire and forward the amount of women involved in genre filmmaking. To top it off, Kelly managed to pull together a three-woman panel of directors for a Q&A/panel discussion after the film as well. This panel included Lam herself, whose short Doll Parts was showing, Dara Jade Moats whose short Adventure Girls 3 was also showing, and Jovanka Vuckovic, a local filmmaker who is in the midst of directing her first feature. A truly lively and knowledgeable panel indeed.

The standouts of the programme included Moat’s Adventure Girls 3, at only a minute it really leaves you thirsting for more, and stealing dialogue directly from Sailor Moon was ingenious (see it here). Lam’s Doll Parts is a great little twist on the serial killer genre in which the protagonist gets his comeuppance, a short I had already seen and enjoyed at last year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD). Nursery Crimes is a brilliant little stop-motion re-imagining of the story of Little Bo Peep and many other Nursery Rhymes that was an award winner at TAD last year, where I saw it as well. Blood Bunny was a hilarious take on a stylized grindhouse era movie trailer that works extremely well and is quite ingenious (see it here). 12/15/1996 features a road trip between 2 characters, Adam and Quentin, where one is covered in blood and they keep referring to the “business” in the trunk. A fun homage to filmmakers like Tarantino. And The Party’s Over, a cautionary tale of a drunken one-night stand with serious repercussions.

After the screening we were treated to a lively Q&A that ran a full half-hour in which I personally gained a whole lot of respect for the women filmmakers on the panel and the jobs they are doing. Lam, Moats and Vuckovic were all very open and unguarded with their answers and even provided many helpful tips to some budding filmmakers in attendance. They also stuck around for another half an hour after the panel to talk directly with the attendees in the theater and lobby. A great night out was had by many in attendance.

Next Month Kelly returns with the TAD crowd pleasing hit Father’s Day (review here) from filmmaking conglomerate Astron 6. The film will be preceded by some of the Astron 6 group’s most infamous shorts and features a Q&A with lead actress Amy Groening. This film is disturbing, graphically violent, repulsive and downright hilarious. If you missed it at TAD, DO NOT MISS it at Fright Nights. Father’s Day plays on June 9th.

Till Next Time.

Movie Junkie TO

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