After Dark Film Festival set to horrify viewers for the eighth year

The Zombie Appreication Night at Toronto's After Dark Film Festival serves up some brainy snacks.  Photo: Scott Chalmers

The Zombie Appreication Night at Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival served up some brainy snacks in 2012. Photo: Scott Chalmers

Toronto After Dark Film Festival presents its eighth annual event from Oct. 17-25 for those who are ready for the dreadful ride. It is one of the best showcases of horror, sci-fi and cult cinema held this year in Scotiabank Theatre.

Premiering a diverse assortment of feature-length and short films from around the world, the festival builds a creative platform for emerging international and Canadian filmmakers.

A world premiere of a horror thriller Silent Retreat with the first-time Canadian filmmaker Tricia Lee will be held on Oct. 20. According to their Indiegogo profile page, In December 2011, Lee attended a 10-day silent meditation retreat. When the kernel from Tricia’s experience was fertilized with the creative juices from  writing partner Corey Brown’s mind, Silent Retreat was born.

Inspired by the world’s largest genre film festivals like Fantasia in Montreal and Fantastic in Austin, the founder Adam Lopez inaugurated After Dark Film Festival on Oct. 2006. Filling this kind of gap in a violent entertainment for the Halloween season in Toronto, the festival showcases alternative cinemas which attract all horror amateurs.

“Thematically playing up to that vibe, we show science fiction, martial art films, straight comedies that have an edginess or darkness to it,” senior programmer, Peter Kuplowsky said. “We are abstractly a horror film festival but I’d say 60 per cent of our lineup is horror and 40 per cent – in some other sort of field.

The festival selected 19 feature films over 700 submissions. Also, one short sidebar program which will be finished every night by Pub After Dark events.

Three years after Jorge Michel Grau’s Mexican film We Are What We Are played at the Cannes Festival, Jim Mickle’s American remake will premiere in Toronto on Oct. 17. The horror-thriller about time-honored tradition of one small town family ritual cannibalism is the opening gala’s film this year.

The closing gala’s film is a new Israeli thriller Big Bad Wolves directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. The filmmakers behind that film have already created a big buzz as the potential innovators of the state of the filmmaking scene in Israel, Kuplowsky said.

Other terribly tempting movies for all tastes can be found in this year festival program www.torontoafterdark.com. Kuplowsky recommended the most interesting ones:

  • Jesse T. Cook’s movie Septic Man (Canada) is “the grossest film of the festival and a bizarre movie.” Kuplowsky compares it to a Japanese film by Shinya Tsukamoto Tetsuo: The Iron Man. “I kind of call him Canada zone Tetsuo. Moreover, it is making satirical class argument how the society can turn their back on blue collar workers.”
  • Bollywood movie Eega is about a man who is murdered who is successfully reincarnated as a house fly, and gets revenge on people who killed him. It is “like a Warner Brothers’ cartoon comes to life,” said Kuplowsky.
  • The comedian Bobcat Goldthwait will attend this year’s festival to present “the scariest movie in the program,” Willow Creek, that he directed. The remarkable short film The Lamp will also be showcased. “It manages to create incredible tension not with violence, not with gore, not even with a monster. It does it entirely through performance and direction,” said Kuplowsky.
  • For the zombie amateurs After Dark arranges zombie appreciation night on the first Saturday of the festival and screening of two films: The Battery and Stalled.
  • Motivational Growth (USA) is one of the weirdest horror comedies which concentrates spectators’ attention to a “coach potato antisocial man” listening a piece of mould (voiced by Re-Animator’s Jeffrey Combs)in his bathroom about how to improve his life.
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After Dark Film Festival set to horrify viewers for the eighth year