21 December 2012

2012: Year in Review (part 3)

Ok, brace yourselves; this part is so awesome I considered breaking it down even more so that each month would have its own post. Are you ready? Here we go…

July:  Oh dear July, what would my year have been like without you?!  So many great things happened; I’ll try to only summarize the essential. At the beginning of the month, I flew to L.A. for the Viscera Film Festival/MOHA launch. I was finally reunited with Shannon Lark, Heidi Honeycutt and Lori Bowen in addition to meeting the rest of the fantabulous staff who has since become “my Viscera family”. Staying at Shannon’s place, I got a taste of the L.A. life: waking up, swimming, working, swimming again, working, hitting the town, etc. I also found a great friend in Jamie Jenkins with whom I immediately bonded (we were both staying at Shannon’s) and finally met some of the people I’d been communicating with for years, including fellow filmmaker Dave Reda. Of course, the Viscera Film Festival was nothing short of spectacular (YAY, red carpet!) and to say I had a blast is an understatement. Oh and I got to talk in front of 400 people at the legendary Egyptian theatre. Yes, I’m still pinching myself. During this event, I also (finally) met Theron Neel, a film writer I had been wanting to send Red to for review, but never got around to (I did send it when I got back home and he ended up writing an in-depth piece about all of my shorts!). We became fast friends and I found a kindred spirit in him.
And then, sadly I had to fly back home (I hate, hate, HATE leaving a place that feels more like home than home). Lucky for me, I got back to Montreal just in time for the Fantasia Film Festival where I met a slew of other amazing people (Derek from DedFest) and hung out with fellow film freaks (Matt Garrett, Heather Buckley I miss you both!), having philosophical discussions about horror on a bar terrace until the wee hours of the morning. Oh I also reviewed films for Planet Fury and was promoting my short T is for Toothpick which was playing as part of the fest. Then, Izzy who I had briefly met last year in Boston and during Fantasia, crashed at my place for a few days during the festival. Somehow, this magically led to a beautiful friendship that I cherish more than anything! She has since become my kickass partner in crime and it will take way more than the distance between Boston and Montreal to stop us! Looking back, July really was the magical month during which significant friendships formed and during which I got to spend most of my time with some of my favorite people in the world!  And then came August.

August: Overall it was a pretty quiet month, which is good as I really needed time to focus and recuperate after the OMGawesomeness that was July! This included: enjoying the end of the Fantasia film festival, wrapping up a few Fantasia reviews for Planet Fury, beginning pre-production on Dys-, and beginning my first ever writing collaboration! Remember Theron Neel whom I met in L.A.? Well, we kept in touch and started writing each other frequently, mostly because he was working on a piece about me and my films.
 Then, at some point during a phone conversation, I had a crazy idea: how about we try to write something together? I had never co-written something before, mostly because I never met anyone who was into the same kind of things I was into, but I figured why not give it a try. After all, it’s the first time I meet someone with whom I have so much in common! I pitched him a script idea I’ve wanted to develop for a while and he loved it! And so our collaboration began…  There are no words to express how mind-blowing it is to be working with someone who seems to be anticipating your every thought and who always finds a way to complement your ideas! When I read the first scene he wrote (you know, that crucial “this is when I’ll find out whether this will work or not” sample scene?) I literally cried tears of happiness. He understood exactly what I wanted and helped bring that little something that was missing to the story.  And really, I can’t begin to express how excited I am about the script we’re crafting together! This truly is a collaboration made in heaven! I won’t say anything more about the project except that this will be a dark comedy and this is one of my pet projects I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but for which I always felt there was a little something missing. It seems like I found it when I found the perfect writing partner!

September: In September, I drove down to Boston to attend the first ever Etheria FilmFestival on Viscera duty and got to hang out with Izzy (yay!), Kayley and AndrĂ©, as well as with my good friend Chris and Mike from All Things Horror. I also met up with Theron again who flew in all the way from Texas for the fest and for what ended up being the most intense/productive writing weekend of my life! The progress we made on the script is simply mind-blowing (this script/film is gonna kick ass!) On my way back home, I stopped by Salem (one of my favorite cities) with the girls (Izzy and Kayley) for a day of trekking through cemeteries and visiting cheap tourist traps. Really, the best way to experience Salem is with two fellow horror freaks! Unfortunately, because all good things have an end, I had to come back home, but at least, I was rejuvenated and more motivated than ever! 

14 December 2012

2012: Year in Review (part 2)

...and heeeeeere we go for part 2! This one is shorter, but I guarantee you that part 3 will be EPIC!

April: During a snowed-in weekend in a cabin in the middle of the woods with my high school best friends, I came up with the idea of what became the DYS- promo teaser for the crowd funding campaign. I immediately wrote, shot, and edited the scene and officially launched/announced DYS-! The wheels were turning and there was no turning back at that point; I finally went from saying “I’ll be making my first feature film” to “I am making my first feature film”. Let me tell you boys and grrrls, it’s one of the best feelings in the world! 

May: I was reunited with my old lover, Academia, for a short but passionate weekend during which I drove to Niagara Falls (Ontario) to present an overview of my thesis project Horror Grrrls: Resistance and Agency Within the Interpretive Communities of Women Horror Filmmakers as part of the Popular Culture Association of Canada conference. Again, I was reminded how much of a nerd I proudly am and started shopping around for programs where I could do my PhD as well as pitching my thesis to various university presses for publication. Then, I launched the crowd funding campaign for DYS- and rushed back home for the local auditions! It took two weekends of auditions and the whole film was casted! I had taken one more step toward making the film happen and could barely contain my excitement!

June: After finishing the massive rewrite needed for DYS-, I shot a short gory segment (kinda like B-roll footage) that will be used in the film. I was starting to have serious withdrawal as the last time I had shot anything (beside the DYS- promo) was in October 2011 when I made T is for Toothpick. Thankfully this worked as a temporary fix that would tide me over until the beginning of DYS- for which pre-production also began in June. This is when the project started feeling like it was finally happening! I also had my convocation ceremony and received my diploma! YAY, I’m a Master now! ;) 

2012: Year in Review (part 1)

As I get ready to lock myself down for the production of my first feature film – oh my god, pinch me! I still can’t believe I’m making one of my biggest dreams come true! – I feel the need to take a moment to look back at the past twelve months. Sure, 2012 has been an intense roller-coaster ride (like most years are) and has had its share of bad stuff, but overall the positive outweighs the band and it’s been one of my most important, self-affirming year so far. I feel extremely lucky and thankful for the series of events that have brought me to the point where I am now and for the amazing people I can now call friends that I want to share everything with you. Are you ready? Here we go…  

 January: Fresh from having defended my master’s thesis, I was getting ready for my post-grad school life. It was a strange time as this was the first time in my life I did not have a definite plan nor knew where I was going or what I was going to do. All I knew with complete certainty was that 2012 would be the year I would be making my first feature. To do so, I would need money, so the search for a job began. January was quite beneficial as I finally got around doing a lot of things that had been lingering on my ‘to-do’ list for way too long, including FINALLY launching the Quirk Films website! I also started working for the Viscera Organization as the director of operations for the Mistresses of Horror Alliance (MOHA), its brand-new service!

February: I landed my first full-time day job at one of the places where I’d always dreamed of working. Needless to say, I was ecstatic, but oh boy that was quite a radical change of schedule! I ended up spending most of the month adapting to this new reality and trying to promote myself and my work, especially my shorts Red (which played twice in Europe) and T is for Toothpick which was being programmed as part of various Women in Horror Month events.

March: I kicked in the month by teaching a class on William Castle (which I created from scratch after reading his biography and watching his horror filmography over the span of three weeks!) at the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies; it confirmed that yes, teaching is something I really fucking love and want to do more of! Oh Academia, I already miss you! I also finished the first draft of DYS-, my upcoming feature film, and was featured as part of Dread Central’sIndie Horror Month. I also contributed to a cookbook featuring recipes by women horror filmmakers which came out around that time. Yes, it gave me the idea to make my own cookbook, which I’ll start working on… eventually.  

3 December 2012

New mini-review of RED

By Nick Watson from I Heart Movies TO.

Here it is!

Also, I'm happy to report that the BITS screening went really well and Toronto was lovely as usual.

And here's a pic for you!