jeudi 24 septembre 2015

#NinaForever #TurboKid : AN EPIC DOUBLE FEATURE REVIEW by @EmilieFlory

Written by Emilie Flory @EmilieFlory translated by Cameron Watson

“A real journey is the one that teaches you something different from what you expected. You need to change direction, to create and to discover. The real discovery is unpredictable.”
These words borrowed from Michel Serres recently presented the twenty-first edition of the Festival de l’Etrange in Paris, which took place at the Forum des Images as it does every September. Hyped in the press as being superior to the precedent festival, the films selected show a rather invigorating appetite for genre. Just by reading the program (Brand New-U, Baahubali, Tag, Tangerine, Jodorwsky’s Dune, Stung, AAAAAAAAAH! The Invitation, Ruined Heart, Wyrmwood, Tales of Halloween, etc.), we can see the level of originality and excellence of the movies showcased during this surprising festival which once again confirms the upsurge of genre filmmaking.
Two movies in competition are worthy of special mention: Nina Forever by UK-based brothers Ben & Chris Blaine and Turbo Kid by Canadian trio François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell. It’s also interesting to note that these two movies are distributed by Epic Pictures, one of the finest distribution companies on the market, if not the finest. Their choice of material is extremely specialized and risky (far from the usual formatting) and, while keeping in mind the requisite for entertainment, the studio chooses to distribute and sell movies that are real movies by filmmakers. This key point is one of the reasons for the company’s wide success. Epic has grasped what tomorrow’s audience wants and what will soon be the movies of the future. Among its figureheads is Shaked Berenson, executive producer on Turbo Kid, and a dedicated movie aficionado. When one does things with passion, the public can always tell.

2015 (UK)
Written and directed by Ben & Chris Blaine
Romantic Comedy/Horror
Filmed in Alexa, Format 2.35 – Dolby Digital Sound
With: Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry, David Troughton, Elizabeth Elvin, Bill Holland
Director of Photography: Oliver Russell
It’s always a positive to meet the directors and star of the movie that’s being screened, especially when they are warm and approachable, and the movie in question is presented by the international press as being something of a little gem. Despite the fact festival-goers were lucky enough to meet The Blaine Brothers and their leading lady, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, whose portrayal of bloody Nina is magnificent, they still weren’t prepared for what they were about to see.
The subject of Nina Forever, very original and quite shocking, is absolutely delightful. Holly appears to have found true love when she falls for her colleague Rob. He is nursing a broken heart after losing his significant other in a fatal road accident and she desperately wants to relieve his anguish. However, the couple’s happy union is soon compromised when the restless Nina returns from the afterlife and begins taunting them each time they attempt intimacy. If this sounds like a recipe for success then rest assured it is.
Because it’s treated both realistically and in an off–beat way (we are crazy about that irresistible British humor), the movie has a refreshing and wholesome fairy tale aspect to it. Strangely enough, the love scenes, which could have been the movie’s weak point, actually prove to be its strong suit. Note that in these scenes, both the actors’ performances and the directing are brilliant. It’s quite rare that sex on the screen turns you on. With the exception of Basic Instinct or Enter the Void, onscreen sex often excludes us and can bore us to tears. Here, it’s exactly the opposite. There’s an amazing energy that emanates from these scenes and we really feel involved!

Nina Forever is supported by a fabulous trio of actors (Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham and Cian Barry) who make it a wonder of pure, real emotions. Holly’s character, played by Hardingham, transforms in a few minutes from a feeling of emotional deprivation to a spectacular state of true love. Thanks to her sincere and remarkably moving performance, which responds to a turn from Barry full of sensitivity, restraint and depth, we are swept away willingly into their story.
Making one believe in a feeling of real, deep love is not an easy feat, but The Blaine Brothers’ camera captures this emotion exquisitely and ramps it up tenfold. As their directing is perfectly controlled throughout, we see the real theme of the movie emerge rapidly. What we’re talking about here is a certain frustration, a certain feminine harshness faced with the lack of romanticism and the insistent physical desires of their masculine counterparts.
What makes the film fantastic is that by underscoring this frustration, the authors actually express a real masculine distress faced with the opposite sex’s lack of understanding. The intention might seem to be defeatist, but it isn’t. The extraordinary love Holly and Rob feel for one another is what remains when the movie is over. Nina Forever is a declaration of love made to women; the movie’s title speaks for itself.
2015 (Canada/ New-Zealand)
Science Fiction – Action
Written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Filmed in Alexa, in Red and with a Sony A7S, Format 2.35
With: Munroe Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery, Romano Orzari, Orphée Ladouceur
Music: Le Matos, Jean-Philippe Bernier, Jean-Nicolas Leupi
Our second feature begins in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where orphaned young daredevil Kid lives on his wits alone, riding his BMX across the barren land as he hunts for tradable items. After coming across the girl of his dreams, bubblegum princess Apple and promptly losing her to treacherous overlord Zeus, Kid is forced to access his turbocharged inner hero and take on the might of Zeus’ masked militia and save the day. Game on!
Like Nina Forever, Turbo Kid played to a packed house when it was screened in the huge, 500-seat movie theater at the Forum des Images. Highly applauded, the movie is a treasure of originality, poetry and freshness. It’s a movie that speaks directly to our inner child. The awestruck look that our hero maintains is the movie’s principal subject and also its raison d’être. The Kid is a hero capable of eradicating evil with an unwavering faith in what is beautiful and pure. His faith in humanity is unchanging even when this humanity, expressed in the guise of unconditional love, comes from his robotic girl friend, the loquacious Apple, admirably played by Laurence Leboeuf.
Seeing a magical movie like this emerge in a time as cynical as ours is nothing short of miraculous. The movie’s first twenty minutes are rather critical for any moviegoers unaccustomed to this kind of off-beat eighties show. But the subject’s sincerity and the characters’ power, not to mention the spectacular primary bloodbath in Zeus’s arena, dispels any remaining doubts regarding the kind of movie we’re watching.
Turbo Kid is an entertaining, layered movie which plays the splatter movie card to the max but never once abandons its good humor. While the splatter is a whole lot of fun, it’s the unbelievably powerful emotion which truly makes it resonate. All bases are covered and the ingredients one expects from a movie are present and correct: suspense, laughter, emotions, fear and action. Yet Turbo Kid doesn’t resemble anything we have ever seen. Moreover, one would almost be tempted to show it to kids since its poetic atmosphere is rubber stamped with grace.
It’s satisfying to note that one can still achieve fresh results thanks to perfectly assimilated solid references. Of course, the trio of directors know its heritage and we appreciate any nods to Mad Max, The Terminator or Soylent Green. But when Apple and the Kid kiss under an umbrella just as a shower of blood suddenly rains down, we’re elated because, against all odds The Umbrellas of Cherbourg suddenly appears, a romantic musical comedy if there ever was one. And in that resides the esprit of this wonderful movie, just as enchanting as it is utterly surprising. In spite of its wonderfully stylized look, Turbo Kid had surprisingly a limited budget. But the essentials are precisely where they should be and we happily play ball.
While the movie’s sets are minimal, the dryness of wide open spaces serve its subject since water has become a rare commodity and an effective way for Zeus (a brilliant as ever Michael Ironside) to enslave his subjects. Another plus comes with the props, costumes and also hair and makeup. These are very important elements, especially with a film such as Turbo Kid, which optimize the experience markedly. A tip of the hat to a crew aware of how to effortlessly to keep us invested for nearly two hours and inspire our imaginations, making us fully believe in an improbable world. A challenge perfectly met then.
Another crucial factor which lends Turbo Kid its magic is its fantastic special effects. They are old school down-and-dirty practical effects and, far from weakening the movie, they ensure a touching sincerity plus a real life expectancy. Fans of genre movies, tired of the clinical nature in which these films present soulless CGI, will certainly value it.
The soul is unquestionably the film’s driving force. It is constantly evident and reveals itself through a killer score, which relays every emotion. Nearly the whole movie is punctuated by audio and, surprisingly enough, it works. The editing and sound mixing, implemented in masterly fashion, brilliantly maximize the impact of every scene in the movie. There are scenes, in particular, romantic exchanges with Apple, where the music amplifies the actors’ performances calling to mind the silent movies of years long passed. In this respect, Turbo Kid is something of a UFO.
As mentioned, the performances are amazing without exception. Turbo Kid gratifies us with its spot-on three-star casting: Chambers is fantastic as the Kid and is ideally matched by Leboeuf, who is similarly exceptional as Apple. As for Jeffery, he’s irresistable as cowboy Frederic and perfectly counterbalances the Machiavellian style of Zeus as presented by Ironside, stunningly cynical and particularly memorable as half-man, half-robot tyrant.
The RKSS collective have fashioned a movie which, despite being massively engaging, does more than simply entertain. It talks frankly about the mess our societies are already in. By drowning ourselves in numbers, the world has let accountants dictate its actions… The leaders themselves have been deceived by the machines which took their place… Prophetic? With ingredients that mesh so well and the soul it bears proudly there’s every chance that Turbo Kid will become the cult classic it deserves to be.

lundi 15 juin 2015

@EmilieFlory & her Genre-Bending #TraumaDolls by @SplatsOfBlood


Emilie Flory & her Genre-Bending #TraumaDolls

By Shirin “Shiver” Hijab from Alisha Bunting’s @SplatsOfBlood

Emilie Flory is becoming something of an underground icon. Her upcoming project “ Trauma Dolls”, about a woman named Bijou who suffers a horrible accident and becomes a fashion model with murderous intent, may propel her into the radar of horror fans in the US and abroad... Read more:

vendredi 6 mars 2015

#ITW @WickedHorrorTV : @EmilieFlory on her upcoming Film #TraumaDolls by @FunWithHorror Tyler DOUPE


An Interview by Tyler Doupe
@Emilie Flory 
on Her Upcoming Film #TraumaDolls

Wicked Horror recently had the occasion to speak with up-and-coming French filmmaker EmilieFlory on her new project Trauma Dolls. She fills us in on working with 35 MM, her inspiration for the project, and what she has planned for the future.

Where did the original idea for Trauma Dolls come from?

Since part of this subject has been extensively treated by Crashpalaceproductions, in Malevolent magazine and on UKHorrorScene, I won’t go back over the accident that almost got me killed and capped years in my life filled with rejections, nor my reconstruction with the usual after effects that follow this sort of mishap years later. I will talk more about the way the idea developed in my mind. Admittedly, the fact of having been run over and coming close to death was certainly what triggered me to tell this story, but I think that my real motivations for doing it were driven by a wider ranged artistic desire.
Trauma Dolls is unquestionably a particular project for me because, more than any other, it strikes a deep chord with the person I am. If one leaves out my six months of research on neurosciences, the writing of the screenplay almost seemed easy to me, that’s how necessary it had become: Trauma Dolls was a real release for me, a true catharsis. I was in a nearly hypnotic state throughout the writing stage, the screenplay’s structure came to me on its own and all the ideas, equations and putting together seemed to emerge naturally from my brain. And yet, Bijou’s life has nothing to do with mine. It’s the character’s own essence that is intimately connected to my nature, to my vision of the world and to my conviction that only love and spirituality can “save” us, set us free from our inner demons. Trauma Dolls talks about the battle we have to wage against ourselves continually to act “correctly” and to progress. The fact is that I became a lot more aware of things after my accident and that it was the right time for me to talk about the tragedy that we all experience as human beings: trying to make what is good in us live together with these multiple temptations that push us toward the easy way out, the suffering and what is negative… For we are truly capable of the best as well as the worst. That’s what is fascinating. I can tell you that I really let myself go when I had to take on the dark side of Bijou’s character to breathe life into it. This heroine that we consider at the beginning of the movie as being “what is the best in us”, suddenly becomes “what is the worst in us” and the problem is that she absolutely can’t go back… For her, it’s a no-win situation, she is now evil incarnate. She has lost her soul. Her awareness of good and love only exists through what she gets in return from those who love her: her mother and her sweetheart who is also her soul mate.
That’s what I really wanted to explore. This dark side that lies dormant in each one of us and has taken over forever here.

How has your experience making short films influenced your work on your first feature length film?
Things begin for me with writing: the first thing that comes to me is the subject, the story and the main characters. Telling an action-packed story with fleshed out characters in a few minutes is the impossible challenge in short films. Short films are terribly frustrating when you want to give top priority to the story. I submitted myself to this short film exercise with feature movies in mind from the get-go.
In fact, you can notice it in Process 5 since the movie focuses on a sequence revealing the battle plan of a group of hackers taking action within a much larger story we will never see. I deliberately conceived the movie this way. I also fought to obtain the esthetics of a feature film. I worked a year and a half to make a ten-minute film, which is only normal when you take into consideration all the stages you have to follow to obtain the same quality in a short film as in a feature film. The movie’s length doesn’t change anything. Plus, as we all know, short films are generally made with very little money. The crews often accept to work for nothing between two projects. You have to be there for them and not the other way around. You also have to reassure those who trust you and follow you. Calming the doubts and fears of the others is up to you. You have to be both a nanny and an orchestra leader. Both flexible and firm. Firm because it’s the work of a crew and the danger is seeing your vision wither and slip away from you as you go along even though it’s the very heart, reason and core around which everyone gravitates and grafts onto. You are the guarantee of your idea and you must, for the good of this ensemble work, fight constantly to bring this story you have in mind to successful fruition. Your best allies can become your enemies if you’re not careful. The short film teaches you to work in an economical way since people aren’t always available and your time is limited. On Process 5, I storyboarded the whole movie. We didn’t shoot very many takes and we only filmed what was absolutely necessary. I had no cover at all. In the end, we used everything we shot. Nothing was tossed out. 
The short film is a good school; it convinces one that movies are an arduous and powerful human experience. Plus, it’s different with every new project since the crews and the stories change. If your vision and your tenacity at work are strong and if you are well prepared psychologically, you can handle it. You must have a certain mind-set, like the risks, the challenges and know how to surpass yourself. It’s no picnic. It’s life at its most paradoxical, most human and most absolute.  It’s life in record time with all of its uncertainties, but blown way out of proportion! It can be exhausting. You understand why great filmmakers, those who give the most, those whom we admire and are true visionaries, aren’t those who make the most movies.

You have worked with 35MM in the past, will Trauma Dolls be done in 35MM as well?
I’d really like to, unfortunately that won’t be up to me. The immediate cost of film acts as a break. Overall, shooting with film doesn’t cost anymore than shooting digital, except the industry has changed: Distribution and producing systems are no longer the same! I certainly won’t have the possibility to choose the medium I prefer for my first feature movie.
I regret it because if the economy evolves toward recycling and the preservation of resources, we might realize in a few years that the cost of digital in terms of energy consumed is excessive. We will also see that digital isn’t an optimum medium regarding the conservation of data (the big laboratories that digitalize are definite about this, the best conservation for movies remains film)… Because for the rest, with regard to movies’ visual quality, image depth, everyone agrees that film is unbeatable. It’s an organic medium, that’s why our eye and our brain are more receptive viewing a movie shot on film.
I’m going to tell you a little story because even I had forgotten the feeling you get from watching a movie shown in 35mm. Discovering in December that an optical print of William Friedkin’s Cruising was going to be screened at the Forum des Images in Paris, I had decided to write an article about the movie; knowing that, @RealJillyG of, which supports several artists on Twitter, had questioned me to find out the difference that exists between this type of screening and a digital screening… Of course, I’m talking to you about a movie by William Friedkin, a genius of the seventh art whose vision and directing have no weaknesses whatsoever… Well, the impression I had of being immersed in the movie, the feeling of reality that I perceived, a feeling increased tenfold thanks to the film medium that intensified the depth of field, all of that was a thousand times much stronger than in any 3D movie that’s supposed to thrust us into the image. It was a flesh and blood show.
There’s what you lose with digital, so sleek, so “perfect” and so not alive! Art doesn’t come out of this as a winner. It’s like a picture painted with acrylic paint; some are very beautiful and personally I get pleasure out of using this material when I paint, but when I use oil paint it’s a whole different story, I get much more mileage out of my work and my happiness. Besides, like film, an oil painting will keep while a picture painted with acrylic paint won’t.

When do you expect to commence production on the project? 
Trauma Dolls is a low-budget movie; as soon as we manage to find the necessary funding to get things rolling, as soon as we find a producer, we’ll shoot. Icone Label Pictures is a collective of creators, a label: We’re not producers. We have the crews, the connections and we know the people who rent cameras, lighting, etc. We have what we need outside of casting directors. Without money and without a producer, we can’t cast the movie. The casting still remains to be done, whether it’s for Bijou’s character, for her mother’s (a neuroscience researcher), or for the characters of the surgeon and the photographer sweetheart, but also for the dancers and the rival models’ characters. All the info concerning the project is on our blog, and you will find a great report by Billy Crash explaining why Trauma Dolls is a movie that must be made. We have put together a complete press kit with the budget, etc. that explains all of that. Producers interested in the project can get it by contacting us, for example via Twitter by tweeting us, by sending a DM to @EmilieFlory or by email: 

What’s up next for you after Trauma Dolls?
I have different projects in mind, in particular a B movie I wrote called Golden Bodies, which takes place in the world of online TV channels and in fitness and beauty circles. It talks about compromise, the thirst for power, sex and murders. I also have another project being written that’s close to my heart. A science fiction movie project, I already have a first treatment but I need to do more research for it in order to decomplexify the world it’s in with the intention of making it accessible in terms of financial costs. The movie’s main theme is the quest for absolute love and freedom. The questions of power and appearance are dominant. It’s a dark and violent project. I’m also open to outside propositions whether it’s for TV or even the Web. I had some work from these media recently.
I thank you so very much for giving me the opportunity to express myself on all these points. It’s great for the project and I’m very grateful to you. It was a real pleasure for me to answer all your questions.
English version by Cameron Watson.