Sunday, October 2, 2011

Notes from our October 1st Screening

The Iron Mule was excited to be back after a month hiatus with a slew of short comedy films from across the English-speaking world.

Here's our happy audience filing in before the show.  We don't have the photographic evidence, but we can assure you that they were even happier after the show.

Jay and Victor began by filling in the audience about what they've been up to.

Jay and Victor fill the audience in about what they've been up to. 
Victor has a comic book he wrote for Marvel coming out in November and promises to bring a copy for us to look at at the November 5th show.  Jay is in the throes of editing his romantic musical comedy feature film The Adventures of Paul and Marian and showed another clip from the film.  If you weren't there, you weren't lucky enough to see this top-secret Iron-Mule-exclusive clip, but here's a tantalizing still.

Next, Victor and Jay introduced special guest judge Nick Nadel.  Nick is a writer, blogger, and raconteur who has been coming to Iron Mule screenings since before the invention of YouTube.  Remember those days when you couldn't just watch short films on the internet?  Nick talked about how much he prizes storytelling, and about how really good storytelling unfortunately isn't a given in short comedy films.  He was looking forward to seeing how our filmmakers would fare under his watchful eye.

Speaking with Nick Nadel

And then it was on to the films.  First up was a movie from Australia: Iron Mule alum William Crook's Night Shift of the Vampire, which details a particularly annoying night shift at a convenience store as seen through the eyes of the vampire who works there.  We followed that up with a new film from also-returning New York team Alexandra Eitel and Dan Simon, Alison's Problem with Women.  This movie tells the story about a woman who just can't connect with women and would rather hang out with the guys.  We interviewed Alexandra and Dan about their working relationship (she wrote and acted, he directed) and Victor noted how effectively Dan was able to simulate locations they couldn't afford to shoot in through smart and subtle sound design.

with Alexandra Eitel and Dan Simon

After the interview we checked in with Nick Nadel, who mentioned that while he enjoyed both films, he doesn't really like a movie which doesn't show the actual interior of a Forever 21.  Victor also mentioned that he discovered he is allergic to pears.  He ate one before the show, and his throat was starting to close up.

Next up were two more films.  First, from the UK, Scott Imren and Grant Fulton's delightfully silly and tense film Maltempi, about a amazingly poorly run product recall by a toy company.  It begins with a character shouting "lick the monkey!" and, not to spoil it, delivers on the promise.  Then we screened Elliot Lobel's Andrew: The Story of a Closet Monster, a touching story of a boy and his relationship with the not-very-scary monster in his closet.  This film was made with stop motion animation, and Jay and Victor spoke with Elliot about how he made this film, which took seven months to shoot.

with Elliot Lobel
Before introducing the next films, Victor noted that he was feeling considerably worse and in addition to his throat closing up, was now lightheaded.  So a good Samaritan in the audience unexpectedly threw a packet of Benadryl at him, luckily missing his head.  Victor thanked the audience member and complemented her on her arm.

Next up were our last two films in competition.  First was Domestic, another Australian film, written by Brett Snelgrove and directed by Katie Hide.  This film documents an argument between a couple that turns into a martial-arts battle between the sexes.  It drew as many gasps from the audiences as laughs, who were delighted by its combination of humor and brutality.  And rounding out the evening was David B. Levy's incredibly inventive and strikingly personal film Grandpa Looked Like William Powell.  David told the story of his relationship with his grandfather, who he hardly knew, through animated drawings superimposed over his grandfather's high school autograph book.

Jay and a now-recovered Victor (thank you Benadryl!) interviewed David about his process for making the film, and we were all surprised to hear it was shot on an iphone.  Ah, technology, how wondrous you are.

Then, while audience and judges votes were being tabulated, we premiered this month's "Wanna Be a Star" movie Garbage Dump, directed by Ryan Guitarman and starring Iron Mule audience member Ally Cunningham.  In true "Wanna Be a Star" fashion, the movie was completed at 4:00pm on the day of the show.  But last minute or not, the film didn't disappoint, with some of the finest sock puppet acting you're liable to see on the big screen.

We then chose next month's star from the audience, and the prize went to long-time fan Ben Roesch!  He'll be starring in Lemon Tart to be made by a director TBD (although one of the programmers was seen plying a certain theater director with glasses of wine at the after party so we suspect we'll have one in place really soon).

Then it was time for awards.  Although it was really tough to choose a favorite, when votes were tallied Andrew: Story of a Closet Monster won both audience and judge's prizes.  Great job Elliot, and thanks to him and the other filmmakers who contributed to such a great lineup.

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