The first annual Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival has come and gone. Hopefully this will be the first of many, as it came featuring the talents and visions of Canadian horror filmmakers. While Canadians have both influenced and excelled in the Hollywood, too often the small and independent filmmakers here are overlooked. This festival highlighted those homegrown Canadian horror films that both have a grindhouse bend to them and deserve to be seen on the big screen. Unique in planning and execution because of this particular emphasis on indie Canadian Horror, the festival offered a thrilling ride through the darker side of human existence and took the audience along with it.
Being the first of what promises to be many to come, the festival featured 6 full length films with accompanying shorts and one shorts program. The festival came together under the direction of director Kelly Michael Stewart, who regularly features horror films with the Fright Nights at Projection Booth screening series and was held at the Projection Booth East, the venue was perfect for this kind of genre bending, homegrown film festival which grew out of a desire to support Canada’s vibrant filmmakers and create an intimate and unique theatre going experience.
While the films didn’t always start on time, the theater doors were left shut until the last moment, the concession might or might not have popcorn, rather than being hindrances, these and other things actually lent itself to the grindhouse feel the event was designed around. Not everyone coming to a festival will like every film shown, doubly so when the films are of such an auteur nature. This event gave those that choose to view the entire event something uncommon in the modern world. A film festival that was every bit as much fun as going to the drive-in was years past. Actually, I would call this much more interesting, by not only being able to meet the filmmakers, but by being able to share the experience with those individuals who enjoy the same type of movies. Intimate and accessible, the event was more than its films and venue, it was the people savoring the films together.
With the festival done, there were awards chosen by non-partial volunteer film fans working the event. Given the relative closeness of the local film community, it was difficult to find volunteers not associated, but find them they did. The awards given were as follows.
Best Feature Film
In the House of Flies – (Director Gabriel Carrer. Producers Chad Archibald, Gabriel Carrer, Dave McLeod & Nathan Hawkins)
Honorable mention – Roachfar
Best Director Gabriel Carrer, In the House of Flies/Panos Cosmatos, Beyond the Black Rainbow (tie)
Honorable mention – Ryan M. Andrews, Sick
Best Actress Lindsay Smith, In the House of Flies
Honorable mention – Christina Aceto, Sick Best Actor Ryan Kotack, In the House of Flies
Honorable mention – Robert Nolan, Familiar
Best Cinematography Norm Li, Beyond the Black Rainbow
Honorable mention – Claudio Manni, In the House of Flies
Best Screenplay Angus McLellan, In the House of Flies
Honorable mention – Ryan M. Andrews and Chris Cull, Sick
Best Editing Nicholas T. Shepard, Beyond the Black Rainbow
Honorable mention – Chris Alexander, Blood for Irina
Best Music Score Chris Alexander, Blood for Irina
Honorable mention – Jeremy Schmidt, Beyond the Black Rainbow
Fangoria presents Fright Nights at the Projection Booth (1035 Gerrard St. E) on Saturday, July 7th at 8pm. A double bill event featuring grindhouse flicks If a Tree Falls and Kill. A major portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the charity, “DROP IN THE BUCKET”. Directors Gabriel Carrier (In the House of Flies) and Chad Archibald (Neverlost) will be in attendance along with various cast and crew. This charity event features two films being shown on the big screen as they were meant to be enjoyed, as a double bill. $10 gets you in to see both features in an authentic grindhouse cinema.
IF A TREE FALLS Siblings, Brad (Ryan Barrett) and Lisa Carpenter (Jennifer De Lucia), along with two close friends, Will (Daniel Zuccala) and Vanessa (Breanne TeBoekhorst), set out to cross eastern Canada to an annual family reunion. During the night, six masked thugs (men and women), without motive and without reason kidnap the four of them resulting in the group finding themselves living in a hell of head games and torture.
KILL Six strangers awake to find themselves the tenants of a mysterious old house. Terrorized by insane Tiki-men in masks and taunted by their deranged captors, it soon becomes clear that only one singular action will save them: Kill!
About the Charity Drop in the Bucket (Drop) is a Los Angeles based water and sanitation charity with field offices in Uganda and South Sudan. Henry Rollins is a spokesperson for and is also in Gabriel Carrer’s new movie “In the House of Flies”.