Friday, July 27, 2012

Fantasia Day 8 (Thursday, July 26)

With the exception of my interview with Citadel writer/director Ciarán Foy this afternoon (followed by a surprise encounter with none other than Johnny Rico himself, Casper Van Dien in the hotel lobby), it was a pretty low-key day. Saw a couple non-horror features (though I had hoped that the second, The King of Pigs would live up to its Fantasia catalog write-up as “borrowing touches from genre cinema, notably suspense and horror films.” Yes, there was a bit of animated blood spilling from its animated characters, but I guess I was lobbying for more fear factor than they were dishing out.

(For the record, the Foy interview went smashingly well, and I’m looking forward to championing this man and his work. And for the other record, yes, Casper Van Dien is just as ruggedly handsome in person as he is on screen. Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty man… I thought about asking him to take a photo, but he was sitting there on his laptop with all his luggage heading for the airport and I would have had to enlist someone else to take the shot, so it all seemed like a bit more trouble than necessary.)

However, this break in the action means I can go into a few bits of minutiae that amuse me on a regular basis. For instance, I walk past this every day on my way to the cinema:

Seriously, what the hell is that? Who does that?

Another little tidbit that has become apparent is that while the Fantasia crowds are much, much better behaved than those at BIFFF (no screams of “La port!” or howling at the onscreen moon here), there are still a couple of fun traditions among the gathered-in-the-dark faithful. For instance, after the lights are down, there is a usually a chorus of meowing heard. A curious custom, but one with a relatively straightforward origin. Apparently, there are a series of short films from the UK’s Simon Tofield called "Simon’s Cat" that have quite a degree of popularity among the masses. (Judging by the view count on the official Simon’s Cat YouTube channel,, I’m one of the last people to find out about this cute little line drawing feline superstar.

Oddly enough, just as I unearthed this information, tonight’s short feature programme that closed out the evening, DJ XL5’s Zappin’ Party Happening, featured several Simon’s Cat shorts. People apparently love him so much that they choose to emulate him in the dark. Weird, sure, but no weirder than yelling “She’s a slut!” or “Assis!”, right?

The aforementioned DJ XL5’s Zappin’ Party Happening was quite the happening indeed. As with many short attention span programs, the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm was higher at the beginning, but DJ XL5 assembled an estimable array of entertaining cinematic niblets such that attention was sustained throughout and many of the filmmakers were on hand to be recognized for their efforts.

Here’s a link to a full recap/playlist of the evening’s fare (, but the fun kicked off beforehand with an array of vintage trailers (the kids-as-martial artists Lucky Seven looks amazing) and music videos (Gerardo’s “Rico Suave,” rolling-in-WTF-clover “Freak-a-holic” by Egyptian Lover’s, plus Rick James…in a hot tub). Hell, yeah.

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (2012) (1st viewing) d. Peralta, Stacy (USA)

Prior to this afternoon, I knew three things about skateboarding: 1) It’s a board with wheels, 2) I cannot ride, stand or roll on said board to save my soul, and 3) Tony Hawk is the skateboard king. Well, thanks to this funny, fast-paced documentary, I also learned that Mssr. Hawk was a member of an elite skate team headed up by our director Peralta, a group of young men who helped rejuvenate and redefine the sport, making it accessible to the masses while elevating their abilities to those of world class athletes. When the heads aren’t talking, the wheels are rolling and some of the stunts captured on screen are simply revelatory – these boys make it all look so easy, so graceful, so impossibly grand yet somehow something that anyone can do. Examining the careers of professional skaters Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill and Tommy Guerrero through the eyes of the team themselves as well as their peers, we get an idea of just how much the sextet changed the sport, and how much the sport changed them. Equally intriguing is the marketing of said team – key to the financing of their extensive travel and competition budgets – without Peralta’s shrewd schemes and approach, it’s possibly skateboarding could have died out along with the yo-yo and the hula hoop. Still making the festival circuit, but I hope this becomes available to the masses soon.

King of Pigs, The (2011) (1st viewing) d. Yeon, Sang-ho (South Korea)

In this relentlessly bleak animated feature, two childhood chums – fellow social outcasts – meet up 15 years after graduation to discuss their former lives and the events that shaped them. Eschewing the traditional anime stylings, there are some incredible visuals depicted amidst what is essentially a naturalistic examination of social hierarchy, both on a “popularity” status and based on income, and one comes to care about the misfit characters incapable of changing their position in Life’s pecking order. My biggest beef is with the print’s English subtitles, which I desperately hope someone points out to the distributors sooner than later. There are times where, with a little work, one can figure out the sense of the dialogue, but there are others that are absolutely incoherent. This will affect festival/DVD play, so it’s no small thing.

2012 Totals to date: 329 films, 282 1st time views, 183 horror, 109 cinema

Fantasia Totals: 33 films, 31 1st time views, 15 horror, 31 cinema


  1. I can't wait to check out the Bones Brigade doc. If you are interested, DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS is an excellent doc about the origins of skateboarding with Peralta & Co.

  2. Sweet. Thanks, dude. I was aware of the DOGTOWN documentary, but not being a skateboard aficionado I had no idea I would be interested. But I absolutely am now.