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With the 11th annual Screamfest LA Film Festival having commenced this past Friday, October 14th (it runs through the 22nd), at Manns Chinese 6 in Hollywood, California, we hit the carpet Saturday night, October 15th, to bring you some additional eye candy and to catch the anticipated Short Film Program #1 and the premiere screenings of the features Crawl, The Tunnel, and Rosewood Lane. Read on!
Those in attendance for the packed day and walking the black carpet included Rosewood Lane director Victor Salva as well as that flick’s cast members Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Sonny Marinelli, Tom Tarantini and Lesley-Ann Down (look for our review soon). Joining them were Crawl writer/director Paul China and his producing partner and brother, Benjamin China, along with The Tunnel director Paul Ledesma, writers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey, and star Bel Delia.
In the short films arena, An Evening with My Comatose Mother filmmaker Jonathan Martin chatted with the press, as did Chained director Rehon Khokar and Night of the Little Dead filmmakers Frank Ippolito and Ezekiel Zabrowski and many more. (Writer’s Note: Screamfest LA has grown so much that it’s near impossible for one journalist to handle!)
Speaking on the carpet with British transplant turned Australian filmmaker Paul China of his feature Crawl (this flick rivals No Country for Old Men in gritty style and suspense, is an assured Hitchcockian slow-burn, and should be picked up for distribution immediately, given the audience’s boisterous response), he told us, “I’m extremely excited that it’s playing here. We have been following Screamfest for quite some time, and to be selected is a true honor really. A lot of great films have played here from first-time filmmakers with their first films, and it’s been great. Its selection has really kick-started the festival circuit for us, given the caliber of the films which play here.”
As for Crawl‘s genesis, “It took us about three years to get the film off the ground, from writing the script and raising finances,” China said of the flick, which stars Georgina Haig, George Shevtsov, and Paul Holmes. “My brother and I pretty much did it all ourselves, in terms of building the project and production, so it took some time, and even up until now, with getting it into film festivals and seeking distribution, it’s been a long haul.”
Pertaining to his and Benjamin’s inspiration, “We tried to get a couple of films off of the ground before this one, but sadly they never came to fruition. But with Crawl we always had this killer little idea of a suspense film because we are big fans of Hitchcock and Polanski. It had minimal characters and minimal locations, and we really wanted it to be cinematic and as professional as possible, and the idea just stuck with us, and we started to see it through. We wanted to push the boundaries and try to not be conventional, and to open it up a bit more and to take chances.”
For more info visit the official Crawl website.
“We originally wanted to make a zombie film,” Aussie co-writer and producer Julian Harvey of The Tunnel (another Screamfest selection which registered well with the audience) stated of his ‘found footage’ film’s inception, “and then it kind of morphed into this other thing that it is now. It came out of the characters which make up our journalism crew (at the center of the story). At first we were going to set it in the Outback, but generally Australian films are set there so then we thought that setting it in Sydney in a seedy underground would give us the same sense of isolation: so far from help but so close.”
The Tunnel is set for a US DVD release this December 27, 2011 via Blackrock Films.
Speaking with Jonathan Martin in regard to his short film An Evening with My Comatose Mother (review and trailer here), which the director filmed over the course of nine days in Utah last September and which subsequently has won ‘Best Short’ at the Famous of Monsters of Filmland Festival and went on to be selected in seventy-three others with thirty-eight award wins, “It’s basically about a babysitter that goes to the house of a wealthy family on Halloween, a family who happens to have a rotting, decomposing comatose mother upstairs who is surrounded by her collection of dolls, including a big clown doll. So that’s the gist of it! This girl (actress Wendy Macy) gets left alone in the house, and she’s expecting one thing and gets something completely different.”
Martin is currently writing the feature adaptation of An Evening with My Comatose Mother, which he plans to direct, and given the horror fans’ enthusiastic response following the short film’s screening, it may monetarily behoove a financier to step up and fund it. I’ve already added the film to my personal ‘Top Ten’ list of flicks to watch every October. For more info visit the official An Evening with My Comatose Mother website.
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