Revelation the third

July 6, 2008

Third day at Revelation Film Festival.

After another fun night, we started Saturday off with the event I’m here to attend, The Day Of Horror forum about genre filmmaking and the art of making a horror film. My comaraden on the panel were Dean Bertram and Dalibor Bakovic, who both stood on a similar ground with little ol’ me, as we went to bat for more genre and horror film making in this country. Good crowd as we described our experiences of festival curating and horror film making. I commented on how Dalibor’s excellent short has not played any major Australian festivals (except Rev now, of course!) and how there is still an anti genre movement in Australian cinema. We also spoke of our interest in the new Not Quite Hollywood doco about the Australian Genre Film Industry i.e. when we had a dynamic industry in the 70’s and early 80’s. We all laid the blame for the current Industry lack of interest in horror at the door of that archetypal Champagne Socialist, objet d’art collecting, ex Advertising guru Phillip Adams, who set the socialist kitchen sink drama mind set movement in train in the Australian Industry, and then promptly vanished from the Industry in any productive and significant way… (Oddly enough I think I spotted the bearded burbler on a Perth CBD street today! Can anyone confirm Adams in Perth this weekend?). Anyway, the Australian Film Industry and its aversion to films that make money or that are genre orientated has to get over this Phillip Adams’ mindset of the 70’s. Maybe what he and Barry Jones did in the early 70’s had some relevance then, but now that paradigm is way too ‘old school’ and in need of drastic change, redirection and innovation. Much the way the Industry needed change when Adams and Jones first came to prominence in the early 70’s. Only now their revolution is set in stone and practically unchangeable from the outside! At least someone gave them a chance to change things back in the 70’s… can our generation please be allowed to do so with our film Industry now, please?

The panel at Day Of Horror all had ideas about how to achieve this. One obvious point we stated, that’s echoed by many others in the industry, is to make more genre pictures. The two biggest selling Australian films outside this country have been Gabriel and Black Water, both Indy genre movies. Dean Bertram spoke of the success of his horror festival and the popularity it has with audiences, proven by Rev’s sold out Friday night session. Dalibor spoke of the difficulties making his low budget short and imparted wisdom to local filmmakers on some tips he picked up shooting his latest work. I spoke about the need for change in the film Industry. Two new Aussie films Unfinished Sky and Ten Empty, have both launched in the last month, to little to no audience attendance and often bad critical notices. I have to see them myself to judge but both do not look good. I spoke about the wastage of government funds on recent rubbish like Esther Blueberger and September and how this money could be better spent making half to one million dollar features from exciting directors the like of Dalibor on the panel, Jon Hewitt, Mark Savage, Shannon Young, Jason Turley, Bill Mousoulis, Scott Ryan, The Blackwater boys, etc. and even my own good self. All who can make a good genre film in my opinion. I spoke about the Phillip Adams paradigm needing to be finally smashed, broken and replaced by a cinema of real diversity in style of films, vitality, innovation and inventiveness.

We also spoke about what horror films actually mean. An issue I have been musing on of late. I put forward my thesis that a Horror film is essentially a longing for Sovereign Violence. This can be seen as part of a broader, new 21st century political project that actually confronts in a Heideggerian sense, the use of force, violence and sovereignty in the defence of Western civilization and its values. Horror films are the secret, unconscious wish of the West to actually own, and maintain, our hegemony in the 21st century. I find them deeply political.

All good stuff basically.

Next forum was with Graham Duff and Courtney Gibson. Duff from the UK writes that cool new BBC3 series Ideal about an overweight pot dealer and the many events that go on in his flat. It stars Johnny Vegas and looks a hoot. Duff was eloquent and erudite as he discussed the art of writing half hour comedy for TV and navigating the British TV landscape. Courtney Gibson previewed Double the Fist series 2, a fun looking show that sends up cheap SFX sci fi shows and fantasy action films. Courtney spoke about the show and had me keen to hunt down season one.

Then it was onto the movies that night.

Gonzo, a new doco about Hunter S.Thompson was great. A fun, informative, touching ride that guaranteed everyone was up for a big Saturday night. Probably the best doco about HST yet, it plays MIFF soon. Mock up on Mu by Craig Baldwin was a lot of fun also, eschewing a take on Jack Parsons, L. Ron Hubbard, Crowley, Lockheed Martin and many other 50’s figures of the conspiracy fringe, and mainstream culture. Baldwin created a mockumentary that had more revealed ‘truth’ from its cut up techniques than most real doco’s. A great, freaky film.

I then saw an absolutely amazing film, that I am going to save for a separate review later. Suffice to say it was one of the best Indy films I have seen in the past ten years, full stop. A major piece of work. I’m going to try and get it for MUFF, hence my desire not to speak of it yet. But it was truly amazing. More on that later.

We then hit an uber cool 50’s lounge bar The Devilles Pad, that was fucking awesome. A great scene. But the bar closed to soon. So many stupid rules in Perth!…and in the rest of Australia… now that I think of it. Then Ruth from The Astor took us to a gay bar and we got rightfully pissed toasting Hunter Thompson and enjoying Perth’s crazy/dangerous nightclub main drag.

More to come mein leiblings…

2 Responses to “Revelation the third”

  1. blathehed said

    Thanks for the post

  2. […] the highlight is Part Three in which Wolstencroft recounts his participation in the Day of Horror forum panel discussion. For […]

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