Thursday, April 16, 2015

REPO! The Genetic Opera Terrance Zdunich Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


Back in October 2008 I met and had a conversation with Terrance Zdunich co-writer, co-composer of Repo! The Genetic Opera. He also plays the character Graverobber in the film.  It was a great conversation talking about the initial concept and origins -- from the original play to the feature length film. We also talked about where did the idea of creating a twenty-first century rock opera come from, Terrance's various influences and the casting of ensemble cast who appear in the film.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GWAR! The Lost Dave Brockie Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


It was late December 2008 and I was living in Toronto preparing dinner when I received a call from a local promoter I knew. (People still used phones in those days) He asked, "Would you be interested in interviewing GWAR! tonight?" There was little hesitation when I said yes. I hung up and rushed through finishing making and eating dinner.

I then fired up my laptop and beginning working on questions. I prepared two sets of questions. The first was for the band in character and the second -- was in the unlikely event that I would interview the band themselves.

I headed out and to the Queen East streetcar that took me over to The Opera House. I got into the venue and met up with the promoter. The one stipulation I was told was that I would not be allowed to film the live show. The band was very protective of the live shows and was a source of income for the band selling DVDs. The show was great and a lot of fun. I shot images after the show of people walking past me covered in fake blood. It was such good footage I used it at the starting of the interview.

This one of my first "big" interviews and it was backstage after the show. The excitement increased when I learned I would be interview Dave Brockie outside of his on-stage character which was extremely rare. Being backstage was tamer then perhaps some would think. However there were a lot of crew loading out equipment, which at a GWAR! show is a lot. Plus there were several people hanging around who once they saw the camera tried to get their way in front of it. With the amount of experience I have gained since I would have controlled the room and interview a lot better.

As I write this it is still weird and difficult to talk of Dave Brockie, founder and former lead singer of the band in the past tense. He was funny, energetic and had a real passion for music and you can see that in the interview below.

Monday, April 6, 2015

HEADLESS: Scott Schirmer, Leya Taylor & Arthur Cullipher Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


Bloomington, Indiana located an hour south of Indianapolis where the farm lands of Indiana begin to give way to the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. These hills eventually make their way further South and meet up with the Appalachian mountains. Bloomington is also where I currently call home. It was falling in love and getting married that lead me to this college town. What do these geographically and personal details have to do with an independent horror film?

As far as the rolling hills turning into mountains, there is a small collective of individuals here giving rise to personal horror films and helping to put Indiana on the map as a place where films can and are being made. The first film from this group of filmmakers is a movie called Found. The film was directed by Scott Schirmer who also wrote the screenplay adapted from Todd Rigney's novel. Found was made not on a shoestring but the frayed remnants of a shoestring. Proving that money is only a tool of film making and not end all and be all of cinematic storytelling the finished film is a strong first feature made by a dedicated core of individuals. One thing that stands out for me is cinematography of Leya Taylor. The film looks beautiful as it takes it viewers into the darkness of humanity.

Which leads me to love. Found is a film where one can see that the creators are clearly in love with cinema and their personal discovery of first finding films. One such instance can be seen as characters  in Found track down VHS tapes in a video store. This is where the genesis of the next film would be found. (pun actually unintentional) In Todd Rigney's story there is a film called Headless which is the kind of film that kids of the eighties would seek out like Faces of Death where it was the thrill of the hunt to find a copy and then through fingers covering eyes would uncomfortably watch the movie. Scenes of Headless were shot for Found. In these scenes one could see Arthur Cullipher's and his team's talent at creating special effects.

While on a cursory note one would like to say the two film are bookends, Headless having direct beginnings in the film Found and the creators behind both films. However the two are very different stories and cinematic experiences. Headless is it's own film and shows that this team while operating within the horror genre can make vastly different films. Arthur Cullipher steps into the director's chair and the film was written by Nathan Erdel. Headless is definitely not a horror film for the faint-hearted. Here is the interview I conducted with Scott, Leya and Arthur in my living room. (I should do more interviews here)

Friday, April 3, 2015

MALA MALA: Interview with Jason Carrión aka April Carrión with Robert A. Mitchell


The In Light Human Rights Documentary film festival took place from March 5th to 7th in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University. Mala Mala was one of the films screened. The documentary takes a look the trans-identifying community in Puerto Rico.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jason Carrión who is featured in the film as well as his alter ego April Carrión, a drag performer who was featured on the television show, Ru Pauls's Drag Race.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SLUMS: CITIES OF TOMORROW Nicolas Reeves Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


The In Light Human Rights Documentary film festival took place March 5 to the 7th in Bloomington Indiana at Indiana University. Of the several films screened one of the highlights was Slums: Cities Of Tomorrow. Over one billion people on this planet live in slums. The film travels to several slums and squats all over the world. India, Turkey, New Jersey and Quebec to name a few. Many times these communities are looked at as the problem.

One of the major ideas in Slums: Cities Of Tomorrow is that we need to work with the people within these developments not against them. As the amount of space and natural resources on this planet continue to diminish we need to reevaluate how we all live together.

Nicolas Reeves is a researcher, artist, curator as well as an architect. He has a BS and a MS in physics from the University of Montreal and a MA in architecture from MIT (Cambridge). I was able to sit down and talk with Nicolas Reeves about the documentary and his ideas.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

REPORTERO, KINGDOM OF SHADOWS: Bernardo Ruiz Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


The In Light Human Rights Documentary film festival took place in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University March 5 to 7th. One of the films that was screened was Reportero. The documentary follows veteran crime reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at the news weekly Zeta. A paper based in the Mexicali region of Mexico.

The statistics are harrowing, according to Reporters Without Borders from the years 2000 to 2013: 88 journalists have been killed in Mexico with another 18 missing.

I had the opportunity to speak with writer and director Bernardo Ruiz about Reportero and his latest film Kingdom of Shadows.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CALL ME KUCHU: Co-Director Katherine Fairfax Wright Interview with Robert A. Mitchell


During the In Light Human Rights Documentary film festival which took place in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University March 5 to 7th, 2015 I had the opportunity to speak with co-director Katherine Fairfax Wright about her documentary Call Me Kuchu.

Call Me Kuchu focuses on David Kato, (Uganda's first openly gay man) and his fellow activists as they struggle to obtain equal rights as a bill is written that would make homosexuality illegal and punishable by death.