Saturday July 26, 2014
Big day. Meetings, sure. Frontières, of course. But also, the world premieres of two films I’m very excited about. Devil’s Mile, by my dear friend Joe O’Brien, and Goat Witch, the short by Team The Demon’s Rook. The first half of the day very closely resembled the last two days. Meetings, meetings, meetings, an industry panel, and a rooftop networking cocktail party.
The panel was terrific. It was on the importance of creating a proof of concept for your as-yet unmade film. My favourite teaser of the ones shown was for a film called Radius, that Frontières founder and badass babe Stephanie Trepanier is serving as a producer, which is very exciting indeed. The teaser was beautifully made and pulled me into the story (which I won’t reveal because they’re still in the process of pulling it together and I don’t want to spill the beans about anything they’re not ready to go public with).
The purpose of proof of concept trailers is manifold. They can visually illustrate the tone and style you’ll be going for in your film. They can also prove that you’re capable of pulling off something that might otherwise be a question mark in the minds of the people you’re trying to convince. They can be used to attract financing, but also other elements. One team spoke about the fact that in the broadest sense, their project was a “creature feature”. However, it’s also a romance, and the relationship at the heart of it really takes it out of any potentially shlocky monster movie territory. They used their gorgeous teaser to attract cast who might otherwise not go for a “horror” role.
The panel definitely made me feel fantastic about our decision to cut a trailer of original footage for our Rite of the Witch Goddess pitch from the footage shot for Goat Witch. Because one of the key elements we’re trying to sell this on is the practical effects, it was crucial that we show them off and make our audience understand that we are capable of pulling off the ambitious film we have planned.
In the evening, things turned way more film festivally. First, the premiere of Devil’s Mile, which was really fun and which the audience totally dug. Great Q&A afterwards, too. It was awesome to see Joe enjoy (or at least nervously endure) his moment in the spotlight.
We went for post-screening drinks, and everyone seemed pretty relieved and excited and basically in complete shock. An hour or so later we had to race off to the big Concordia theatre for Goat Witch, playing in front of a sold out crowd before Dead Snow 2. James gave a killer intro (so did Joe, actually, but way different vibes in the smart thriller 7pm crowd and the Nazi zombies midnight crowd) and the short played like gangbusters.
After all that, it was back to the Embassy, where I could only manage one drink even though I somehow ended up with five drink tickets. Golden opportunity for drunkenness: missed. The Fantasia fatigue had kicked in and I was ready to sleeeeep.
I am really looking forward to Fantasia this year, for lots of reasons. Seeing a few movies, of course, including my lovely friend Joe O’Brien’s Devil’s Mile. I’d also love to see Faults and Mr. Go, which are playing during our trip there. And of course there’s Goat Witch, the new short James Sizemore joint, which is screening before the midnight film (Dead Snow: Red vs Dead!!) on Saturday.
Realistically, I shouldn’t even spend too much time looking at the screening schedule because I’ll get all excited about seeing stuff and then I’ll end up seeing nothing, because my Frontières schedule will be really packed.
For anyone who is reading this and will be in Montreal on Wednesday June 23, I highly, highly recommend Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter, an absolute fave of mine from Berlin. Really beautiful movie.
I’m also excited about seeing pals from all over the world (and Montreal) and doing fun things with them, like going to eat at La Prunelle, because that restaurant was my favourite discovery of last year’s Fantasia trip. The food is top notch, and it’s a bring-your-own-wine place, so it ends up being extremely reasonably priced. Colin (and our dining companion, John) both ordered the bison rib, which was the tenderest piece of meat I ever tasted, and also bigger than his head. I can’t even remember what I ate, because it wasn’t novelty-sized.
And, most of all, I’m equal parts terrified and excited about the actual Frontières co-production market, where we will pitch Rite of the Witch Goddess to the world for the first time.
My to do list for that still includes:
- Finalizing the pitch script with James and Tim
- Waiting with bated breath for our proof of concept trailer to be completed
- Compiling (with the team’s help) a slideshow of images to play during our presentation
- Sending the Fantasia team our list of people who we want to request meetings with
- Designing and printing a Rite of the Witch Goddess postcard
- Updating and printing the Ultra 8 Pictures “slate” flyer, which has info about the other films we’re working on
- Finalizing the Rite of the Witch Goddess LookBook, where we’ll be hosting all the documents & videos that are going to be part of our presentation, so that the people we meet can access all that info even after the market is over.
- Oh yeah, and I should get my nails done.
This isn’t an update about a film Im producing, but it is an update about a film that Colin Executive Produced and that a dear friend of ours, Joseph O’Brien, wrote and directed. Joe is a veteran screenwriter but a first time director which makes it extra exciting to finally be able to congratulate him not just on completing a great movie but securing a very cool world premiere as well.
Fantasia just announced its second wave of programming. Among other awesome offerings is Joe’s film, Devil’s Mile. You can read the whole announcement over at Twitch.
I’m selfishly hoping that it’ll be screening over the same weekend as the co-production market so that I can attend without having to buy a second set of train and hotel tickets, but even if that’s not the case, I’ll clearly have to splurge on this, because it will be crazy fun to celebrate with the Devil’s Mile team in Montreal.
Wake up feeling rested-ish. Take subway down to the Martin-Gropius Bau, the gorgeous old building that houses the bulk of the market booths & makeshift offices. Do a quick tour of the ground floor.
Meet one or two people on the fly. Pick up party invitations for one Scandinavian party and a Korean one. Run into a dozen people I know, feel warm & fuzzy for having such nice international friends. Race back to apartment to meet Tim Reis, producer of The Demon’s Rook, who has just landed.
Take the “walking a colicky horse because if it sits down it might die” approach to helping Tim with his jet lag – drag him out of the house almost immediately for a whirlwind tour of the Martin-Gropius, the area around Potsdamerplatz where two of the main cinemas (the CineStar and the CinemaxX) are located. Take him to the Raven Banner booth (the sales company that is handling The Demon’s Rook) and take sleepy-eyed photos of him under a poster for the film he made.
Attend a few meetings, during one of which we see a totally naked woman through a window across the street romping around in her hotel room with all the blinds open. All parties are distracted, except Tim who is napping in a corner (poor bunny). Discuss werewolves for a while.
Visit the WTFilms office (the sales company handling another film we’re involved with, Devil’s Mile – which screened to cast, crew, supporters and fans for the first time just last night in Toronto) and admire their large Devil’s Mile poster.
Go home briefly to freshen up then head out to Kreuzberg for dinner with a few friends who work for the Fantastic Fest / Drafthouse Films empire. Eat delicious pizza that Eli Roth claims is the best he’s ever had outside of Italy (discovered during extended Berlin stay during shooting of Basterds). Discover that he is correct, it is damn good pizza.
Roll home and tell Tim a long story about a project we’re working on that hasn’t shaped up as planned. Crash into bed, only to wake up two hours later, thirsty. Drink water, pee, and then be unable to fall asleep for two hours, at which point a “full night’s rest” is pretty much shot. Manage to get some weird, freaky-dream-filled sleep, get up at 8am, repeat.