Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Fright Fest: Part Deux (08 Edition)

Hello all (or, rather, "Cheerio"...sorry Paul for the flub),

Well, another wondrous weekend of blood, guts, scares, screams has come and gone, and its taken me almost 48 hours to muster up the strength to write this. It's a bittersweet affair, almost like the final recognition that FrightFest 2008's curtains have closed, and I don't want to believe it was over. It can't be, can it? It all happened to fast!!

Since last year's whirlwind UK experience at FF07, Green and I came back to the states in a glorious daze, telling anyone and everyone how spectacular last year's festival was, how the programmers had heart and soul behind their selections of films to unleash on our senses, how the visiting filmmakers were all treated so well and "like family" & how the fans were some, if not THE, best, gracious, opinionated and most respectful horror/genre nuts in the woods. It's that feeling you get when you walk in a room and DON'T feel like an outcast, the welcoming warmth of belonging...maybe that's because we all were outcasts at one point for our love of the genre, and this annual event was, in a way, like "H.A." (Horror Anonymous) where we can all gather, partake in the refreshments off to the side and just commiserate with each other on our addiction: Horror films...good, bad and ugly. Being with you all last year felt like being home, and we vowed to return for FF08, this time with some form of gift to give back a little of the love that we experienced last year. Yes, we were drunk on the experience, and sure, when summer this year rolled around Green and I were still looking at each other going "Holy crap, did we actually promise to do that? Yikes!!!" but dammit, we were men of our word, and by George we were going to return with the goods.

The "Douche Brothers" shorts that we presented exclusively to you guys this year as promos before the main films were some of the most rewarding creative endeavors I've ever been part of, and to finally collaborate with Mr. Green was the most fun I've had since spilling entrails out of a reality show celeb's V-Jay Jay. Seriously speaking, amidst all the craziness in our lives right now, to be able to step aside from the madness and create these little labors of love, almost on the fly and with no time or money (and a LOT of favors pulled), reminded me why we make movies, why we are drawn to dealing with daily bullshit in (he)L.A. and the mighty Hollywood rat-race, and our goal was to MAYBE get a few chuckles from the crowd, and have a legit reason to tell people back home why we were going out to the UK again. Kinda hard to say "Oh, we're just going to sit in a theater with 1000 of our friends and watch horror flicks all weekend"...but saying (in a snooty, up-turned nasal accent) "Oh, we have 5 short motion pictures that we are screening" has a much more dignified ring to it, no?

The shorts were serving as a "thank you" for the hospitality you all showed us last year, and what was so great was while we were writing, shooting and editing them as a furious clip (literally, we began them less than a month before the festival and were finishing the edits a day before Opening night...whew!) we would always be asking "Will they get this joke?" "Do you think that gag will work?" "Will they know who this person is or that reference?" and then thought back to all the great conversations we had outside the Odeon, or in the theater, or at the Phoenix, and we both agreed that if anyone was gonna get our in-jokey horror humor, it was THIS FRIKKIN' CROWD....and lo n' behold, the nights we got to sit with you all and watch our ugly mugs rant, rave (and of course, sing!) on that huge screen, you all just GOT IT. Every joke, every gag, every cameo and reference seemed to get a reaction, and it only validated that if there is one audience that every horror filmmaker needs to show their film to, its the FrightFest Family. Thank you all so much for embracing our was like Christmas morning and watching the eyes of the people you love light up when they unwrap the gifts they always wanted, and know that they were produced with total love. it was an opportunity of a lifetime...especially to finally channel the Aykroyd. Good times.

Ok, enough of that bollocking....

To Paul, Alan, Ian, Greg and all the programming partners that make FrightFest the horror event of the year: Again, you knocked it out of the park boys. Even if we just came back to watch some great Sinema, you guys selected some great films and were always so welcoming to everyone who walked into the Odeon, ready for a right scaring. I will never forget experiencing movies like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Beautiful), TIMECRIMES (Twisty and twisted), BAD BIOLOGY (Henenlotter is back, muthaf**kaz!!) and of course MARYTRS (which has still been messing with my head for days, damn you Pascal!). Thank you for indulging us in showing our geeky lil' shorts, practically sight-unseen till they screened for everyone, and that trust you had in our meager creative abilities was greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Ian for working with us on the many format issues and never failing to deliver when all hope seemed to be lost...I hope you are getting a well-deserved rest for at least a week! But to all of you beautiful bastards, thanks so much for making FrightFest the best place to see and screen the latest and greatest in the genre. Can't wait to see what you have planned for the big 1-0! Your baby's almost all grows up!

Plus, those programs were the bee's knees, great work!

To Jen, Suzi, Sian, Ailsa, Gareth and all the other "Lovelies": Shhhh...don't tell those blokes I was just talking to above...but YOU guys were the gory glue that held it all together. When the guys were off doing their own thing, you all were the ones who made sure that the bags were packed, the people were set and everyone in-between were where they needed to be. When you go to festivals like these, everyone behind the scenes kinda becomes a blur, but you all were so personable, funny and accommodating to us again, the other filmmakers and of course the fans that its a delight to see you all every year, kicking ass, taking names and of course, raping faces. From the opening night party to the final round of drinks at the hotel, we always felt comfortable and taken care of with a smile and a chuckle...and a few hair extensions left in my room for good measure (that's another story, gang). If it wasn't for these tireless few...FrightFest would probably not be the event it still is and will continue to be for years to come.

To Gregg, Pascal, Joey, Stephen, Adam, Jace, Bishara, James, John, Trevor, Sir Henenlotter and all the filmmakers we got to hang out with while there: It was so great to be there with you during your special FrightFest weekend! Our previous FF's were so memorable (clearly or we wouldn't have returned!) and we hope that you all had the same joy of seeing your passion projects unspool in front of the best possible "test audience" around, not a bunch of assy Valley Girls or some old farts in Topeka, Kansas who wouldn't appreciate what you were trying to pull off. It was great to make some great new cinematic allies with you and hope you walked away from FF a little more confident in your hard work and will want to come back next year, either with new stories to tell or just to kick it with the gang again!

To Neil, Axelle, Amanda, Phil, Giles, James, Scotty, Ian, Dave, Adam, Russell, Doc, Tony, Tabitha, Emily and all of our UK family, the fans and friends who fill every seat at the Odeon (way too many to keep naming...Im trying to wrap it up here so sorry if I missed someone): Thank you for welcoming us back with open arms. You guys are the reason that all the above mentioned make film and want to screen them. The horror genre has always been seen as the red-headed stepchild of the media, yet for 5 days in London, Horror was considered the highest form of art out there (save maybe that ZORRO musical...looked bloody brilliant!) and it was an honor and pleasure to be there, celebrating every scream, shock, scare and blood splash with the best horror crowd in the world. It was a shame we didn't have anything more "meaty" to show in terms of new features (blame those damn strikes!) but crossing fingers we will be back with new bloody endeavors to show you guys. Funny how Adam and I are always saying "Well, I dunno, will this project play at FrightFest?" when considering our next projects, and it's true to say, we will always be staunch supporters of the festival in any way possible.

I think I can speak for Adam in saying now, throwing down the gauntlet...we'll be seeing you again next year for the 10 year anniversary! Im already counting the hours...8712 as of this us a seat at the Empire!

F*ck Beijing, this past weekend was where the Horror Olympics took place, at FrightFest 2008!

Staying Scary,

"The Ghosts of Joe & Adam"

PS: Im gonna blog the shit out of this weekend when I can, dont you worry...lots to tell!

PPS: Thanks in advance to eye4images & Neil for the pics...still trying to upload mine, dammit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame you guys missed the yuk-fest that was Mirrors (c'mon, threatening a nun with a pistol?) and Death Race, Roll on next year!

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohhh the Lovelies sound cool are they like on site groupies?

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lovelies: Like I said, the glue that keeps the Fright Fest festival active...they are like the little busy bees that make sure everything is where it needs to be...from posters being rolled and put up to guests being brought to their respective places to picking up, dropping off and everything in between. They are "Lovely" because none of them wear a frown during these tedious and menial duties...they are so happy to be there that they make everyone around them smile! So while there's no "on-site fluffing" or anything sorrid like that (maybe something the fest needs to consider...hmmm) they do know how to make the filmmakers and fans feel like part of the party. Lovelies Rock!!!


1:03 PM  

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