Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Notes from the December 7, 2014 Iron Mule Screening

Hosts Victor Varnado and Jay Stern Santa-ing it up.
Happy Holidays from Iron Mule! We had a great crowd out on our December 7th show and hosts Jay Stern and Victor Varnado graced the stage in the spirit of the holidays.  This month's guest judge was Philip Shane, an award-winning documentary producer, director and editor. 

Guest judge Philip Shane talks about what he likes to see in comedy films.
There are many holiday traditions which people follow around this time and at the Iron Mule there's no exception! We started as we have every December, since 2003, with the entertaining WHITE BLOOD CELL SAVES CHRISTMAS by Tate English and Dano Johnson. This animated film about a white blood cell taking over for an ailing Santa is an annual holiday classic of choice.

WHY I MAKE MOVIES by Sam Frazier, Jr. was the first film in competition and it presented to us the life of a filmmaker -- not about creating the art of film, but about the parties and the people you'll meet once the film gets into festivals.  Frazier's witty slide projector style film gave an honest rundown of this glamorous festival lifestyle.

The next short was an animated piece by Jason Petrovich titled JIM MORRISON'S BIG COMEBACK.  Playing on the hoax of the singer's death, Morrison is seen live and well as a ventriloquist for his puppet Mojo Risin.

Q&A with Jason Petrovich
The international part of the competition came from Karen Di Porto of Rome with her short called CAESAR.  Shot around the surroundings of the Coliseum, the story focuses on a man's economic troubles who tries to make a living by taking photos with tourists dressed as a centurion.  Ironically, his name is Caesar and we explore his modern day battle in the Italian tourism marketplace.

HANKY PANKY is a quirky short about a napkin expert set up on a blind date.  Unaware and disinterested of his "date" at a friend's dinner, his love for napkins began to shine once the date's special vintage handkerchief enters and adds some sizzle.  Hanky panky ensues between the animated napkins and possibly through their respective owners.  Written by Nick Roth and Toby Bryan, directed by Lindsey Haun.

Asher Muldoon is the festival's youngest writer/director to have a short screened at the Iron Mule. screened His GOODNIGHT JEEVES was creatively done with minimal time, cast, and space. The film presented his offbeat take of a man's relationship with his butler inspired by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie's Jeeves and Wooster.

Producer Ryan Arey and filmmaker Asher Muldoon talk to the audience.
Geoffrey Plitt's THE HERO SUPER brought light to a different kind of superhero, a kind which doesn't get too much credit. In an effort to save his building from being demolished due to crime in the area, its very dedicated and handy superintendent makes himself into a superhero, complete with wrench nun-chucks and key-chain brass knuckles.  It has all the suspense of a superhero film with a comedic twist.

Our last film in competition, HIGHWAY OF HELL, invites us to visit a peculiar town called Clam Cove on Long Island, expressed through a man's frightening but fascinating story of his youth there.  The dark feel of the story was heightened by its animation done with charcoal on paper, creatively executed by Andy and Carolyn London.

Animator Andy London talking about his film.
Finally, it was time for the world premiere of this month's "Wanna Be Star" movie HILL OF BEANS, starring audience member winner Shelly Addi and written and directed by Pamela Wess. This film pretty much defies explanation. You can see it here.

Star Shelli Addi with director Pamela Wess

Choosing next month's "Wanna Be a Star" winner!
It was a tough contest, but THE HERO SUPER ultimately won the audience award and the judge's award went to HIGHWAY OF HELL.

We'll see you January 4th for the Best of 2014 Iron Mule screening at Symphony Space!