Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 2017 Bloody Mary Film Festival Is A WOC Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Filmmaker Haven

Talking Heads (2017) | Directed by Alyx Melone | Bloody Mary Film Festival 2017
The Bloody Mary Film Festival is only in its second year, but its head spinning program is setting the bar for combining some of the most imaginative and innovate work by Canadian, female-identifying filmmakers in the realm of horror and the fantastic. Taking place in Toronto, Canada, Bloody Mary in 2017 will take place on Thursday, November 30th and Friday, December 1st at the Imagine Cinemas – Carlton Cinema, kicking off with Tricia Lee's Blood Hunters (which contributor Rosemary's Pixie reviewed here) followed by a truly diverse lineup of women in front and behind the camera. Five short films in particular have caught my interest in terms of their varying cultural/ethnic filmmakers and narratives. They are a reminder that genre film is one of the best spaces to engage with some of the most exciting, new storytellers.

If you're in the area, don't miss a chance to catch each of these shorts on Thursday, November 30 2017 at 9:30PM and more the following day!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

#SciFiSunday: Fund Book Series, Brown Sugar Fairies

Author Aiysha Sinclair is the wizard behind a new fantasy book series about "friendship, family, and the magic of love," titled Brown Sugar Fairies. The first installment titled "Saroja's Quest" is about a girl named Peppa who "finds a book which hides magical secrets and one real live flower fairy" named Saroja. Saroja must find a very special Lotus flower before her land is destroyed. With the revelation of the flower's abilities, Peppa is stuck between helping her ailing grandfather or her supernatural friend. The richness in color and specific markers of a developed universe that artist Joyceline Furniss brings to Brown Sugar Fairies is truly nothing less than exceptional and just plain beautiful.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Horror Films: Bango (2017)

When a married couple invites a guest over to spicen up their love life, a sequence of events unfold revealing that separate intentions are at play on how the night will transpire.

Written by Comika Hartford
Directed by Eric Shapiro

I had a in-my-20's type of decade that was probably pretty typical. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a living, who my extended family of friends were going to be, bouncing around socially, much more open and patient with people, beginning to grapple with who I was emotionally, and even spent a considerable amount of time in college successfully navigating and curating the best education I was putting a lot of money and resources in to get the maximum benefit for my later years. In my kernel of not having some stern plan, I spent a lot of time with friends in their early 30's, extending time, money, and energy into cheerleading for their paths, and in retrospect, gaining little in return. And by the time I was literally 30, I had had enough and cut ties, wiping the slate clean and beginning to truly find my own voice and live my own life.

In the horror short Bango, you find a snippet of that break. But it's much more darker and ambiguous as the cut and dry of my personal modus operandi of walking away when relationships really do expire. Bango can and does act as a catharsis. All of that care and love and people's actions only expose their selfish desires, we've all wanted to explode from the toxicity of the realization.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hard Feme Noir With Visual Artist, Amber Williams

The recognizable faces of the 1980's and 90's with the complimentary vibrant, multi-colors is the biggest draw. But staying for the commentary makes the memories that much more richer. If you're of a certain generation, and a Black woman who was once a Black girl in this particular period, there was a fertile inspiration in the artistic liberties and expression that an array Black singers, rappers, actress, etc. took on that in retrospect, inform many of our approaches to our current, personal endeavors as creators.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Black Horror Films: Night Of The Witch (2017)

A man plagued by a reoccuring nightmare awakens one day to find that the barrier between his conscious and subconscious may have been broken.

Written & Directed by Zena S. Dixon

One of the most frightening images I remember seeing on screen as a child was a scene in Wes Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) where Dennis Alan (played by Bill Pullman) confronts a mysterious, veiled figure that turns out to be an animated shell of a wrinkled, hollowed out corpse where a large, venomous snake shoots out of its agape mouth to attack his character. An apparent enchantment by the white guy's submersion into a spiritual practice in Haiti, in Craven fashion, dreams in this polarizing film become its strength in telling the story of Haitian vodou through an outsiders perspective. But stories from those inside can bring a much more fulfilling and richer angle that brings forth, a situation you may never have been through, yet becomes the spark of an emotional relatability. In a highly thoughtful depiction psychological terror, filmmaker Zena S. Dixon produces a narrative that is electrifying in exposing social ills and use of the supernatural in her latest, Night Of The Witch.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Black Horror Films: Open The Door (2017)

This season's American Horror Story kicked off with the devastation for many of us that was the election of Donald Trump as the United States' 45th president. Here, the weight of the devastation revolves around a privileged, white queer woman (Sarah Paulson's Ally) and her personal anxieties about what this election means to her. Certain Black creators are using the 2016 election as a catalyst to tell stories from the varying perspectives of people of color.

Taylor Black, founder of Black Balance Productions seeks to "empower, educate, and liberate" Black women through the visual arts. With a heavy investment in utilizing the horror genre to "highlight the fears of African Americans in America as well as diversify the genre," Black Balance chooses to remain on the edge of social relevance by telling stories that have stark effects on our present. Open The Door, is a horror short that initiates their upcoming feature, Baada 11/9. Each entrenched in the same universe, Black and her production team are working hard on creeping into audiences' consciousness with the unfortunate evergreen commentary of how political theater and policy informs destructive acts of racism.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

#SciFiSunday: The Girl with All the Gifts & The Science Of Survival

Ruzbeh Babaee, Ph.D., University Putra Malaysia
Sue Yen Lee, University Putra Malaysia
Siamak Babaee, University of Kashan


When a natural outbreak plagues England, turning most of the country's population into zombie-like cannibals, a biological discovery in an evolved population of children birthed inheriting the science of the plague with the capacity for human reasoning and control are used to find a cure for the remaining human survivors. One of those children and her relationship with her human teacher puts a wrench in this plan, prompting a challenge to the very questions of what is humanity and is it actually worth saving.


The strength of the story lies in the relationship between Melanie, "a cannibalistic hungry" and her human teacher Helen Justineau. In order to survive, they both develop psychological defense mechanisms, tasks of the unconscious mind that manipulates, denies, or distorts reality to defend oneself against anxiety in order to create a dependency on each other that prompts a "peaceful coexistence in [a] world dominated by non-humans."


Thursday, November 2, 2017

The 2017 Ax Wound Film Festival

2017 Ax Wound Film Festival AWFF Ushers in its Third Year With a Larger Celebration of Women Horror Filmmakers and the Horror Community!

(Brattleboro, VT) – The Ax Wound Film Festival (AWFF) is back with an expanded roster of thrilling and mind-expansive horror films from women filmmakers across the globe. This year, AWFF will offer two days of over 40 short films, a filmmaker-in-attendance Q&A, and engaging presentations from leading women horror writers, artists, and directors, all at the Hooker-Dunham Theatre & Gallery in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont beginning on Friday, November 17th at 7:30PM with a filmmaker reception and the first round of shorts starting at 8:00PM and Saturday, November 18th, doors will open at 10:00AM for an all-day affair. The entire event is $20.00 with individual event prices for film blocks and sub-events at $10.00. Students who present valid ID get 50% off their purchase. Badges and/or passes will be available to buy at the door. Anyone who buys a badge or pass will receive one free month of the increasingly popular streaming service for horror fans, Shudder.
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