Interview with Festival Director Eric Morgret (Crypticon Seattle Horror Film Festival))

In 2017 Crypticon Seattle was picked as the Best Convention in Seattle by the readers of The Seattle Weekly. Crypticon Seattle, the convention is in its 11th year and Crypticon Seattle Film Festival is in its 7th year. Crypticon Seattle is the convention celebrating the Pacific Northwest’s Darker Side. Three days of your favorite actors, authors, and artists, along with tons of new people and things you never knew existed. But we are so much more than a tidal wave of blood, guts, and scares.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Eric Morgret: We provide a fun event with an amazing convention around it. It is a little different than most festivals. We are in a hotel and don’t have a full theater set-up. We do however love the films and are always adding things every year to make the event better for filmmakers. Adding, meet and greets and special events. We have a couple of big things being added this year that have not been announced yet.

Crypticon has stars in attendance some filmmaker have deals made at the convention. With shorts and features we show a year later, it’s been fun to watch.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

We are adding a few new elements that will enhance the experience substantially. Most are filmmakers only so I can’t announce them here. We are working hard to make the film room feel more like a theater and have some changes that should help that.

You will have your film shown with a post-screening Q&A; we have convention parties going over the weekend, with a huge vendors room, panels to attend, classes, contests, and huge events. We will have filmmaking training classes and more.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We are looking for the story and something a little different. We like quality filmmaking chops, but we do love to show low-budget shorts and some have low-value production values.

First and foremost is the story and something interesting to show.

4) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

Sure that does happen. I am sure we have been guilty of this as well, but we try very hard not to be. We view all submissions; this does not always happen at every festival. In the end, festivals are run by people, we do mistakes, and we have huge differences of opinion. What one festival thinks is the most brilliant thing they have other seen another festival with thinking it’s terrible and would never show it. This can feel like your not being treated fairly; I don’t think it’s done intentionally. Since I also am a filmmaker and work hard to get my films shown, I know how this can feel. In the end, it is still people running the event, and they aren’t ever perfect.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We love horror movies! We love to represent the films and shorts you may not see otherwise. The world is stuffed with ways to watch movies, festivals like Crypticon Seattle and BoneBat Film Festival are here to help you dig through the noise.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It’s a great service! I think we were the 4th festival to sign up for them a few years back and since day one they have been responsive and helpful with any questions we have had. They also work hard to improve the service and are always adding useful services and tools.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

More fun, more expansive, crazier, and all around full of awesome filmmakers and film fans!

8) What film have you seen the most times in your life?

One? Hmmm, how about a few. Horror is my favorite genre but I love all films. The movie that changed the way I watch movies was Amadeus. No idea how many times I’ve seen that movie. A few heavy hitters in horror that I’ve watched a ton: Carpenter’s The Thing, Hellraiser, Re-animiter, Hammer’s Dracula. Recent films: Blade Runner 2049, It Follows, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and so many more…

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Tell a good story, and tell it in your original creative voice.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Growing! I started my first festival almost ten years ago, and the local submissions were few and far between. In 2017 we had enough quality NW shorts to have a Northwest Filmmakers showcase. It lasted an hour. This year we have 2 hours of shorts and two features for our NW Filmmakers Showcase. It’s exciting to see what is going on around here from Seattle to Portland to Boise our NW filmmakers are stepping up and making great movies!

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Film Review: MARY GOES ROUND (Canada 2017) ***

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Mary Goes Round Poster
Mary is a substance abuse counsellor with a drinking problem. After getting arrested for drunk driving and losing her job, Mary returns to her hometown where she learns that her estranged …See full summary »

Director:

Molly McGlynn

Writer:

Molly McGlynn

 

MARY GOES ROUND is the story of Mary.

Mary (Aya Cash) is what one might called a loser.  Her family split up when she was a child and, after her mother died, she was left alone, uninterested in (and maybe incapable of ) reconnecting with her father, Walt (John Ralton). She drinks to excess, crashes a car, loses her boyfriend and suspended from her job.  Her life goes round, nowhere.  Hailing from Toronto, she decides to leave, but not for the better as she discovers.  Despite the negativity facing Mary, the film turns out to be quite upbeat, credit going to writer-director Molly McGlynn who allows her poor heroine a path of redemption.

Mary is a substance abuse counsellor who ironically gets arrested for a DUI.  When she returns to her hometown of Niagara Falls, she learns that her estranged father is dying of cancer and wants her to form a bond with her teenaged half-sister Robyn (Sara Waisglass) that she’s never met.  All this might sound like boring family drama but writer-director Molly McGlynn knows how to liven up the festivities.  Yes, Robyn is as much a shit disturber as Mary.  Mary also has money problems.  She has to pay her lawyer.  She is being charged for drunken driving and to make matters worse, has to appear in court.

McGlynn’s film benefits from her unique spirited style, complemented by the film’s main character, Mary.  Humorous is the way Mary tries to control her drinking but is incapable of it.  Her shenanigans, getting drunk in a bar, getting laid, having sex with strangers and often getting sick are done with a wry sense of humour instead of being done dead seriously.

The film is not without sentiment.  McGlynn includes a touching moment when the father reminds Mary when she was kind as a child when he and to pull her from a bum because she was going to give him her allowance to allow the bum to save to buy a house.

The only friend Mary has in Niagara is black.  When she shows up at the door to drive the father to the hospital, his look of surprise is in itself a surprise.  A sly message of acceptance is included in the story.

The best scene in the film is the one when Mary absolutely loses it and tells off her dad – while he is in hospital.   Then she goes off to tell her black friend off, who ends up telling Mary off.  Actress Aya Cash proves her acting chops in these two scenes.  This is the reason McGlynn’s film works.  She keeps the film dramatic, smart and funny throughout.  Mary can be right, then wrong – strong then vulnerable in the next moment.

“Good people do shitty things,”  so says Mary’s boss when questioned why she does not get fired after caught drunken driving.  Mary’s boss has faith in Mary in an awkward meeting that demonstrates faith in the good of human beings.  MARY GOES ROUND is solid Canadian fare that comes with an upbeat message as well.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKhkOottsbA

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Film Review: FOURPLAY (USA 2018)

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Fourplay Poster
Trailer

A story of friendship, love, marriage, secrets, lies that unfolds between two couples in one apartment during a Sunday brunch that will affect their lives forever.

 

Tom and Anna. Joseph and Susan.  These four people (portrayed by Bryan Greenberg, Tammy Blanchard, Dominic Fumusa and Emanuela Galliussi, in alphabetical order), two couples meet for a Sunday Brunch drinking session to celebrate Tom’s business success.  As the drinks continue, the party spirals downwards to rock bottom.

The film feels at times too much of a set up.  The first instance this can be observed is at the start of the film when the couple, when kissing accidentally breaks the grandmother’s vase that has been there for generations.  If the vase was this valuable, why would they leave it in such a vulnerable place.  Another is the arm wrestling.  The clearly strongest guy unbelievably loses his two matches.

A few glaring dialogue corrections.  It is not the plug but outlet or socket that does not work.  On the positive side, the dialogue contains a lot of current issues.  Issues such as negativity vs. positivity, eating meatless, sexual appropriateness and male chauvinism come into play.  The males are clearly meant to display male chauvinism here that the wives will surely rebuke.  The designated psychic’s dialogue is terribly annoying and corny.  “Change the impossible to – I M possible.”  The film often turns out more as a contest between male vs. female, rather than one about couples.

One wonders the reason for the film to be shot in black and white.  It could be deliberate to evoke the black and white 2 couple film of Edward Albee’s play, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis and George Segal with the identical premise of two quarrelling couples drunk at a house party with the result of skeletons jumping out of the closet. 

One missing ingredient at the party is a dance interlude.  WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? had the famous Sandy Dennis scene: I dance like the Wind, the segment that  likely won her the Oscar.

“Live in the present.  That is the only gift we have,”  is the message given at one point.  “Then that is a pretty shitty gift,” comes the answer.  Would anyone want to be present at this party?

The first twist in the plot in the form of a skeleton in the closet arriving right at the film’s one hour mark.  It is a good one that lifts the film out of declining interest.  10 minutes comes another twist.  This one, however does not work and turns the film into a shouting math among the 4 – not to mention the credibility now of the story.  The credibility of the third turn in the plot is not even worth mentioning.  The film also suffers from a suitable ending.  Director Ronalds opts for the camera panning the sky outside the apartment.

“We are finally cleansed.  We should be happy.  We could start from the beginning.” says the wannabe psychic at the end of the movie.  If only the audience feels the same way about the movie.  FOURPlAY ends up a pauper’s version of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, and a party no one would like to be at or witness.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_c97OYmlxA

 

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Film Review: C’EST LA VIE (LE SENS DE LA FETE) (France 2017) ***

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C'est la vie! Poster
A hectic wedding party held in an 17th century French palace comes together with the help of the behind-the-scenes staff.

Writers:

Olivier Nakache (screenplay), Éric Toledano (screenplay)

 

Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano can best be remembered for their bubbly comedy LES UNTOUCHABLES, which ended up one of the mot successful of French comedies. 

The target this time is an extravagant wedding at a chateau where all the servers have (and forced to wear) valet costumes including white wigs.  The story is told from the point of view of the the wedding caterer manager, Max (Jean Pierre Bacri) a battle-weary veteran of the wedding-planning racket.  He is clearly a working class Frenchman who works in an upper-class environment.  This is evident in the film’s opening sequence where he is clearly perturbed at a couple cutting corners to save cost for their wedding in downtown Paris.  He freaks out at them before the film settles on his current gig.

Max has been running his catering company for 30 years, and beginning to grow tired. While planning a large wedding for clients Pierre and Helena, a series of mishaps upends a very tight schedule, and every instant of happiness and emotion could veer into disaster and chaos. From the preparations to daybreak, the audience gets a behind-the-scenes look at a wedding party through the eyes of the people working the event.

Max initially arrives to find everything in disarray.  He is short of staff and his employees are fighting.  This gig turns out to be a hell of a fête, involving stuffy period costumes for the caterers, a vain, hyper-sensitive singer who thinks he’s a Gallic James Brown (Gilles Lellouche), and the morose, micromanaging groom, Pierre (Benjamin Lavernhe) determined to make Max’s night as miserable as possible.  The script includes an assortment of working class workers totally out of place in a wedding of higher society.

When it rains, it pours, as James (aka DJ Fab) utters at one point in the film.  The electricity goes out, the guests get food poisoning and the groom appears with a list of personal demands, least of which is his very, very long prepared speech.  “Sober, chic and elegant is how I want my music,” says the groom to the loud and crass James.

Actor Bacri (THE TASTE OF OTHERS), according to the press notes, helped the directors in the script, having experience in that field.

Besides wedding ceremony problems, personal problems arise.  Max’s personal life  comes into chaos as Joisette (Canadian director Xavier Dolan regular Suzanne Clément), seems to have written him off, coolly going about her professional duties while openly flirting with a much younger server.  The bride recognizes a waiter as a past fling.  The wedding photographer’s son and father relationship is put to the test.  This is an ensemble work, which works as there are lots of humour with a touch of social comment.

For LE SENS DE LA FETE, the comedic set-ups are funny enough, most of them working and keeping the audience happy with laugh-out loud humour.  This is French comedy as the French can do best.  And it is a matter of time Hollywood will attempt a disastrous remake.

C’EST LA VIE! which was selected at the Closing Night Gala for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival was named in ten categories, including Best Film, at the 43rd César Ceremony, the French’s equivalent to the Oscars.  This is my second viewing of the comedy and the laughs still bring tears to my eyes.  Very funny and very entertaining.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Kzarm0hRM

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Screenplay Festival: March 29, 2018 Event

An evening of the best of new television screenplays.

FULL CAST LIST:
Marissa Otto, Elizabeth Rose Morriss, Zazu Oke, Courtney Keir, Isaiah Kolundzic, Hugh Ritchie, Salma Dharsee, Allan Michael Brunet

FAN FICTION TV PILOT: SCOOBY-DOO: AGE OF AQUARIUS, by Katie Grotzinger

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Drama, Animation

A reinvention of the iconic television series. Think RIVERDALE.

CAST LIST:

Cass: Salma Dharsee
Velma: Courtney Keir
Daphne: Marissa Otto
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Shaggy: Hugh Ritchie
Fred: Isaiah Kolundzic
Officer Rogers: Allan Michael Brunet
Red: Zazu Oke

TV PILOT BEST SCENE: TWEED by Christopher Scott McClure, PhD.

Genre: Drama

A one hour televison drama.

CAST LIST:

Liya: Salma Dharsee
Longfellow: Allan Michael Brunet
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Victoria: Courtney Keir
Ashley: Marissa Otto
Sebastian: Zazu Oke

TV PILOT BEST SCENE: JOHN Q, by Jason Jung

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

After euthanizing his mother, John Q, a…

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