TCFF 2020 Review: ‘The Horror Crowd’

THE HORROR CROWD

One of the things I love most about the horror genre is how tight-knit the community seems to be. From familiar actors appearing in a variety of horror films to seeing them interact with each other on Twitter, it feels like the people involved in horror movies are all part of one big family. The documentary The Horror Crowd makes it feel like that even more.

In The Horror Crowd, Ruben Pla interviews a variety of horror actors and filmmakers, from indie to iconic, on their experience in the horror industry- from their childhood introductions to the genre, to their humble beginnings in filmmaking, to how their personal lives are connected to the horror community. The documentary shows how many of them share common experiences, such as feeling like they didn’t fit in growing up, interest in classic horror literature and film at a young age, and an enthusiasm for Halloween costumes.

My biggest critique is that it feels a little disorganized; there seems to be an attempt to break the documentary into different sections for different topics, but it’s doesn’t always stick to them. I would love this a lot more as a TV series focusing on different aspects of the horror community members’ lives and careers rather than trying to hastily fit it all into an hour and a half documentary.

Overall, though, The Horror Crowd is a fun, geeky, heartwarming documentary that you don’t have to be a horror fan to appreciate.


Horrors & Thrillers For Halloween!

Check out all the movies that’s perfect for your Halloween weekend – just go to TCFF Website and pick a movie. You can still watch ’em tonight AND tomorrow, see below for the special deal to the streaming pass. Enjoy your Halloween weekend!


SPECIAL DEAL
50% off – STREAMING PASS

Enjoy the final 3 day of TCFF for half price! 70+ Online Films Available Until October 31st.

Narratives, Documentaries, Short Films, Minnesota Connected Films
CODE: 2020TCFFpass50
To learn more about how to attend these screenings, please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TCFF 2020 Reviews: ‘Normie’ | ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ Mockumentary

NORMIE

The documentary Normie stars Annemarie Carrigan, who is a girl…no, rather, she is a young woman who is starting to come to terms with her Down Syndrome. Director Kurt Neale takes us behind the scenes in Annamerie’s life, as we learn that she is a big coffee lover and admires the Warner Bros. Television hit Gilmore Girls. But Annamerie also expresses her feelings of loneliness, and shares with us that she wants to be in love and have children. We see her talking with a magician, a pastor and a physician, who all share with her their own stories and help her understand that she’s not alone in feeling lonely or doesn’t belong because they’ve all felt it at some point in their lives.

We also meet other families with children (of various ages) who have Down Syndrome and learn about their hopes and fears for them. There are also interviews with random strangers in the park about what it means to be “normal” and if they think they fit that category. We’re also shown the solar eclipse back in 2017, and Annamarie watching it and wishing that the light fights the darkness to overcome the eclipse, foreshadowing her evolving view of her place in life.

This is a very heartwarming and poignant film that anyone can relate to. The struggles that Annamarie faces are real human emotions that almost everyone I know, including myself, have experienced. It also makes those who live their lives with Down Syndrome seem much more “normal” than even those who don’t have that genetic disorder.

I would highly recommend everyone stream this documentary from the Twin Cities Film Fest website!


WHAT DOESN’T KILL US

If you’re looking for something fun to watch this Halloween season but are a huge chicken when it comes to horror, What Doesn’t Kill Us is perfect for you. It’s definitely more on the comedy side of horror comedy, but there’s still some fun and unique zombie makeup to keep you in the spooky mood. The mockumentary follows a few rehabilitated zombies (or necro sapiens-the more politically correct term) in their daily struggles to succeed professionally and personally in a world where they are not yet seen as equal to non-zombies.

What Doesn’t Kill Us is an incredibly fun movie. It has plenty of laugh-out-loud funny dialogue while still illiciting genuine sympathy for its characters and does a good job paralleling real life prejudice without being too heavy-handed. The script is handled excellently by a great cast; all of the acting is solid, with a couple stand-out performances from Tevia Loeser as necro sapien activist Bridget Cooper and Richard Scott as up-and-coming necro sapien baseball pro Jeremy Holland.

My only critique is that the zombie makeup looks a little underwhelming in some places. You can do plenty with just grease paint and liquid latex, and there are several creative and gross-looking wound effects throughout the movie, but there are also a lot of instances where it looks like the makeup was hastily applied and seems more like a cheap Halloween costume.

Overall, though, What Doesn’t Kill Us is an immensely enjoyable comedy and an awesome addition to the TCFF lineup. I would absolutely recommend checking it out.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TCFF 2020 Reviews: Hollywood Fringe | Born Just Now documentary

It’s already Day 2 of Twin Cities Film Fest!! For the 11th year, TCFF is certainly alive and kickin’ with 70 online films that are available to stream from October 22nd-31st, as well as in-theater films (scroll down below for more info).

In fact, I’ll be seeing SYLVIE’S LOVE, starring Tessa Thompson tonight!

HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

Fringe

/frinj/
N
ot part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme. 

Nice when a film perfectly describes the premise just from its title alone. This indie dramedy centers on two married, down-on-their-luck, actors who decided to put on a site-specific play about their unsuccessful life in Hollywood. All the world’s a stage – as Shakespeare would say, and the title of the film also played on the term ‘Fringe theatre,’ that is stage performances that are produced outside of the main theatre institutions, and that is often small-scale and unconventional in style or subject matter.

Well, Hollywood Fringe is certainly unconventional storytelling, fusing in surrealistic elements that blur the lines between fiction and reality. Certain scenes where a couple, Samantha (Jennifer Prediger) and Travis (Justin Kirk) are having a conversation in bed about their future, seem conventional. But then at the end of it, I heard people clapping in their room and realized what I’ve just watched is part of a play.

Many scenes are deliberately set up this way and it took some time for me to figure out which one is real and which one could be a staged performance. Filmmakers Megan Huber and Wyatt McDill leave hints to the audience if you pay close attention, but I think they wanted the audience to get lost in the narrative that we don’t really care about what’s real or not. I have to say that while I commend their vision and innovative storytelling style, it took a bit of time for me to grasp what it is they’re trying to do and to get into the characters’ head.

I do sympathize with Prediger’s character right away, who’s dealing with ageism in Tinseltown where 40 is considered ancient. There’s a certain Tina Fey’s vibe about her and it’s not because she has dark hair & wears glasses. The project she and Travis had worked on for years, called Rainbow Farm has finally been green-lit, but with one condition–a younger actress plays Samantha’s role. She copes with this heartbreak by putting together an alien-themed fringe play which creates some of the most absurd moments in the film. Some are more comedic than others, and the rehearsal process does try to deal with hefty subjects such as identity, privilege and racism that at times feel on the nose (whether deliberate or not). I have to mention Rainbow Underhill who plays Chakra is quite hilarious.

I realized later that both filmmakers have a Minnesota connection. Even a Google search took me to their fiscal sponsor, FilmNorth’s website. I feel that at times the film seems to have an idealized vision of Minneapolis’ arts scene, but obviously when compared to the cutthroat showbiz of  Hollywood, Twin Cities is much ‘nicer.’ One character actually said the clichéd-but-true quip ‘in Hollywood, show business is not about the ‘shows’ it’s all business.’

As someone who loves films that mixes film and live-theater aspects, I enjoy this movie quite a bit. The pacing could be improved and some performances from the supporting cast seem amateurish, but overall it’s a well-crafted indie film that delivers a thought-provoking message through comedy. Sometimes we just have to laugh at life’s harsh reality, which is perhaps the whole point of the movie.


BORN JUST NOW

This is the first TCFF 2020 film I decided to stream. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Belgrade-based artist, Marta Jovanović, seen through the lens of Los Angeles-born, Miami-based filmmaker Robert Adanto. I have actually never heard of either of them, and what I love about documentaries is that it takes you to a world you don’t know anything about, and this film certainly gives me that.

Jovanović is a visionary artist who struggles to cope with the abuse and violence that ended an eight-year marriage, using art, at times provocatively, to explore heavy subjects such as intimacy, motherhood and the trauma of the Balkan wars. As many artists would say, the freedom to expressing oneself through art can be a liberating, therapeutic experience. I love that Adanto presents such an intimate portrait of  Jovanović, with his camera often shows close-ups of her beautiful, yet world-weary face as she talks about her struggles in perfect, albeit heavily-accented English. She lamented that the work of female artists remains largely under-represented and underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts, and later in the film she reflected on her painful, abusive marriage… and there’s a certain defiance in her eyes and perhaps even shock that someone as strong as her could end up in an abusive relationship.

There is a mesmerizing quality about Jovanović that makes her a perfect documentary subject. She is brilliant, charismatic, daring non-comformist, but not as cold as she seems to be on screen. Some of her performance arts are really bizarre and out there. The Motherhood installation where she stuff eggs inside pantyhose and dangle them from the ceiling is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Then she proceeds to smash each egg with a hammer and she’s drenched in eggshells. Many of her art, whether it’s video installations, sculptures, or performance art are always unusual and thought-provoking.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates creativity and innovative self-expression. I’m certainly inspired by Jovanović and by Adanto’s work. I should definitely check out his other documentaries that explore other eccentric, unconventional artists from different parts of the world.


The 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest has ONE pass available for purchase that you won’t want to miss out on. The All Access STREAMING Pass will give you access to all of our 70 films for only $50, that’s less than $1 per movie! This pass can be used as many times as you would like during the 10 days of the festival (October 22nd-31st) on our streaming platform and website.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org