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Montreal is a city known for many amazing things like it’s beautiful architecture, Montreal smoked meat and THE FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (honorable mentions go out to Pizza-ghetti, Just For Laughs and the time I got Scarlet Fever as a kid).

Now in it’s 22nd year, FANTASIA has earned the reputation as not only one of the premiere film festivals in the world, but as a launchpad for many films and their creators. Who am I kidding?It is also well known for it’s large, enthusiastic crowds and legendary parties.

With the festival starting on the 12th of July (running till August 2nd), we saw it only fitting to pick 12 films we are super stoked to see!

12. TICK (WORLD PREMIERE)

TICK is the second short film from Toronto’s Ashlea Wessel, and if it is anything like INK, we are in for stunning visuals and a smart story. There is no trailer for this film but to give you a taste of what’s in store, here is the trailer for INK.

INK (2016) Official Trailer - YouTube

11. NIGHTMARE CINEMA (WORLD PREMIERE, GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE)

This horror anthology is like a greatest hits of horrors who’s-who, jam packed into one feature length film.  Expect some blood ‘n’ guts and spooks ‘n’ scares from the likes of Alejandro Brugues (ABC’S OF DEATH 2), Joe Dante (GREMLINS, THE ‘BURBS), Ryûhei Kitamura (MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, VERSUS), David Slade (HARD CANDY, HANNIBAL) and my dear friend, Mick Garris ( SLEEPWALKERS, CRITTERS 2).

10. TALES FROM THE HOOD 2 (WORLD PREMIERE)

I feel like I have been waiting my WHOLE LIFE (well 23 years of it) for this sequel! We all LOVED the first one and I am walking in with mega high hopes for its follow up. There doesn’t appear to be a trailer for TALES FROM THE HOOD 2 yet so here is a refresher on the first.

Tales From The Hood (1995) - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube

9. SUMMER OF ’84 (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE, GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE)

I mostly want to see this so I will finally have an answer for the millionth person who asks me if I have seen this yet. People are obviously very intrigued by this film and why wouldn’t they be? It checks every box. Retro? Check. Killer soundtrack? Check.  The STRANGER THINGS-esque group of young outcasts? Check. People totally hyped on the film? BIG check. Watch the trailer below for a taste.

Summer of '84 | OFFICIAL TRAILER - YouTube

8. LIFECHANGER (WORLD PREMIERE)

There has been lots of talk about Justin McConnell‘s latest. A supernatural body horror is a big undertaking but that is unusual for McConnell.  Remember BROKEN MILE which was shot in one continuous take? I sure do. LIFECHANGER sees him teamed up with BROKEN MILE actress Caleigh Le Grand,  Lora Burke (who you may recall from FANTASIA 2017’s POOR AGNES), and many more of the who’s who of Toronto’s independent film scene.

LIFECHANGER Official Trailer (2018) Shapeshifter Body Horror Movie HD - YouTube

7. OUR HOUSE (WORLD PREMIERE)

I personally am thrilled that OUR HOUSE is FINALLY going to see the light of day! The film seemed to hit road block after road block post production. It was even rumored to have been canned completely but I am happy to see that was false. I did a set visit when they filmed this and what I saw was magic, and the cast and crew could not have been lovelier people if they tried. Team that up with a great score by Electric Youth and you got a winner!

OUR HOUSE Official Trailer (2018) Nicola Peltz, Thomas Mann Movie HD - YouTube

6. THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL (CANADIAN PREMIERE)

A couple years ago I saw Can Evernol‘s baffling, terrifying and brilliant film BASKIN. I have been a fan ever since and look forward to everything he puts out. So you can imagine how elated I was to see that he is part of the horror anthology THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL. The film’s awesome offerings don’t stop at Evernol, it also has segments by Agnieszka Smoczynska (THE LURE), Severin Fiala (GOODNIGHT MOMMY), Peter Strickland (BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO) and more.

A field guide to Evil - YouTube

5. HELLO, RAIN (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)

Wanna know the quickest way to get me stoked on a film? Have synopsis like HELLO, RAIN does : “A Scientist-Witch through an alchemical combination of juju and technology creates wigs which grants she and her friends supernatural powers. But when their powers grow uncontrollable, she must stop them by any means.” Scientist-Witch created wigs??! A color palette with a 90’s club kid aesthetic?! Sign. Me. Up!

Check out this awesome teaser trailer below for C.J. “Fiery” Obasi‘s HELLO, RAIN !

HELLO, RAIN Official Teaser Trailer - YouTube

4. TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL (QUEBEC PREMIERE)

If you know anything about Sion Sono, you know this is gonna be bonkers. Don’t believe me? Check out a film called TAG (not to be confused with the recent comedy) and you will see where this is headed.  TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL is a feature length film by Sono.  He also did an excellent mini-series in 2017 of the same name. He has yet to create something that didn’t leave a seriously lasting impression on me and I have no doubt that TOKYO VAMPIRE HOTEL will continue this awesome streak.

Tokyo Vampire Hotel---Fantasy Action Chinese The Movie - The Tokyo Vampires (东京血族) - YouTube

3. MANDY (CANADIAN PREMIERE)

Everyone and their grandmother has been talking about MANDY.  I am a HUGE Nicolas Cage fan and an even bigger fan of everything XYZ Films puts out.  judging by the trailer it appears that Cage has out Caged himself which I didn’t think was possible after last years MOM AND DAD. It’s always a delight to see maniac Cage and MANDY looks like just that….a delight! Just kidding, it looks absolutely fucking terrifying and I cannot wait!

MANDY - Official Trailer - YouTube

2. BIG BROTHER (WORLD PREMIERE, DIRECTOR IN ATTENDANCE)

Donnie Yen, need I say more??????

Donnie Yen - Big Brother (2018) Trailer - YouTube

1. BUFFALO BOYS (WORLD PREMIERE, GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE)

So this is the film that is REALLY eating at me. I have been following the film as it progressed and was elated to find out it was making it’s world premiere in Canada.

BUFFALO BOYS is the latest action film from Indonesia to make its mark overseas. North America was first introduced to Indonesian action films primarily through THE RAID and THE RAID 2. Most recently, 2016 brought us HEADSHOT, which was like THE RAID + THE RAID 2 on bath salts during a riot. It was through HEADSHOT that Martial arts and acting legend Sunny Pang was introduced to western audiences and holy shit, did he pack a punch!

Sunny plays Leung, alongside his HEADSHOT co-star Zack Lee  (THE RAID 2,

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Fear Forever by Erin Grant - 1w ago

As someone who mostly consumes horror and a touch of sci-fi, I wouldn’t be caught dead watching a romance film. so imagine my astonishment when I was duped into watching a Romeo and Juliet type movie about forbidden love. The love story in question was under the guise of the dark fantasy short that is NEON. Broadening my horizons turned out to be for the best as NEON is a FANTASTIC film!

Written and directed by Mark J. Blackman, NEON tells the story of Elias- a supernatural being demoted to a cupid-like role by omnipresent higher ups that seem to govern human lives. Elias (Joe Absolom) has fallen in love with Mary (Kerry Bennett), who he has been talking to through an online dating service. Tragically, the couple’s relationship is forbidden and Elias takes matters into his own hands.

A phone call between the couple serves as narration throughout the film. It’s through this narrative that Elias explains his past, while Mary struggles to deduce what this means for their future. It is an extremely effective device, propelling the story while drawing you into the characters’ lives and making you care about their relationship. It is a testament to both the writing and the main actors’ performances that, for two people talking so wistfully about love, the expositional dialogue doesn’t come off as sappy, or overly-sentimental drivel.

As the star-crossed couple, Joe Absolom and Kerry Bennett’s performances are sincere and bounce well off of each other. Even as characters who have never met face to face, the chemistry conveyed in their performances is palpable. The supporting cast in NEON also give intriguing performances and make the situation all that more immersive.

NEON is visually captivating and culminates in a dreamlike climax; the score taking over as though we were watching a particularly arresting music video. The electronic score (composed by Paul O’Brien) in NEON is mesmerizing and perfect for the film.

World building is an important part of the fantasy genre and NEON does this expertly. The constant rain, the trench coated stalkers, the titular neon lighting which dominates most of the settings; all these elements come together along with a stirring score to create an enchanting world hiding underneath our normal one. Stylistically, NEON is ultramodern, while also being quite gritty and the epitome of a neo-noir genre film. If NEON was going for an overall appearance that was influenced by BLADE RUNNER then it succeeded exponentially.

Practical effects by Dan Martin (who has worked on many blood-soaked genre films) means NEON has something for horror fans too. From unique body deformities to the spectacular use of a casting mold for a gory sequence, these effects bring out the dark elements of the film while simultaneously adding to the mystical world that is the universe of NEON.

Mark J. Blackman and his company, Joker’s Pack Productions have made some interesting short films that challenge the viewer. This includes a short for the Bloody Disgusting’s World of Death series. Blackman has some promisingly titled feature length projects in development and if NEON is the benchmark for these then I would suggest keeping tabs on their production.

NEON explores themes of heaven and hell, along with redemption and second chances.It uses these themes to ultimately provide us with a love story of fantastical proportions. It has won a slew of awards across the world since premiering at FrightFest in 2016. Luckily for you, NEON is live on its website, https://www.neonshortfilm.co.uk for you to watch and be swept up in its magic.

“NEON is visually captivating and culminates in a dreamlike climax”

4 Tombstones out of 5

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Fear Forever by Erin Grant - 3w ago

Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story The Tell-Tale Heart is the classic story of a killer driven mad with paranoia and guilt after committing a murder- hearing the victim’s heartbeat constantly after the fact. As one of America’s first writers of horror and mystery fiction Poe’s work is an obvious yet interesting place for source material.

HEARTLESS is a 2018 short film directed and written by Kevin Sluder. The film is based on The Tell-Tale Heart but is a modern and gory retelling. It also has some bold truths to tell about sexism and office “locker room talk” and is a clever way to bring Poe’s Gothic horror into the 21st century.

Shelby is a mild-mannered woman who is just doing her best to break through the glass ceiling and get some respect. After a particularly belittling statement from co-worker Clare, Shelby snaps in the most violent of ways and arrives at work the next morning to give Clare’s marketing presentation- but can she keep it together with the burden of what she has done still on her mind?

While Shelby’s actions are, as quoted by her co-worker “completely inappropriate” there is definitely some sick glee to be felt as hideous characters get their bloody comeuppance.   The film is cathartic almost, especially after a long day of being exposed the daily microaggressions that are sadly a part of everyday. The satire is ever present in HEARTLESS; a sharp witted script had me chuckling throughout.

Stacy Snyder gives an entertaining performance as the thoroughly homicidal Shelby while Matt Mercer, Joanna Sotomura, Blaine Vedros and Ron Morehouse give great portrayals of infuriating co-workers. They really sell this scenario and give us good reason to side with the murderous Shelby.

HEARTLESS features some vibrant and blood soaked practical effects; office supplies used as weapons in an almost slapstick way are fun and stick in your mind. Gone is the shadowy stalking of Edgar Allen Poe’ s original story, replaced instead by fluorescent office lights which capture the crimes so much more vividly. With the film being called HEARTLESS of course it makes awesome use of a gruesome human heart which becomes a character in and of itself.

Sunshine Boy Productions have had hits with their other shorts which feature some familiar names both on screen and behind the scenes. HEARTLESS is a fun addition to their repertoire, Succeeding as both a stand-alone film and a homage to horror’s Gothic roots.

HEARTLESS is currently on the festival circuit and will play next at Fantosfreak Film Festival ( July 16-20, 2018 in Barcelona), Cinemafantastique Film Festival (August 25, 2018 in Vancouver) and Screamfest (October 9-18, 2018 in Los Angeles).

“HEARTLESS succeeds as both a stand-alone film and a homage to horror’s Gothic roots.”

4 Tombstones out of 5

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Fear Forever by Christopher Grace - 1M ago
I have been thinking a lot about family lately.  It’s possible that the recent death of my grandmother at 101 years old is a major factor in that.  The topic of family being so prevalent in my mind has also made me take stock of the fact that the majority of my family live in the southern most states of America, far from me and my New England homestead. With so much of my reflection being so family-centric it made the opportunity to review a film like INHERITANCE that more enticing. I have already found myself examining how factors like time and distance can really distort our definition and understanding of what the meaning of family truly is, so I was prepared and eager to dive into this film.

INHERITANCE, the feature film debut of TYLER SAVAGE, is aptly titled, not only for it’s plot and story but also for it’s style and production. Working with TERRENCE MALICK for the last few of his films, Savage has obviously kept his eyes and mind fully open. The pacing and tone of this thriller is spot on and the use of imagery and sound works almost with Lynch-Level eeriness. Speaking of sound, the sound designer, also a long time Malick collaborator, WILL PATTERSON, has really out done himself. The level of quality in the sound choices is way above this films pay grade. The way Patterson twists the sound around the throat of the visual edit is very rewarding and does what any good sound design should do, aid and add to the story telling, and it does.

Visually this film works the way a thriller should be seen, dark but clear and focused, with just the right kind of camera movement to increase the tension happening inside the frame. All was done beautifully by Cinematographer, DREW DANIELS, (IT COMES AT NIGHT)  and Editor,  SHANE HAZEN( TO THE WONDER)
Thrillers hinge a lot of their success on tone and texture but they also need actors in the frame that understand and can stay consistent in their delivery. INHERITANCE has just that in it’s two leads as well as it’s group of very strong supporting cast. CHASE JOLIET plays the role of Ryan, who is struggling with unanswered questions when his biological father leaves him an expensive ocean side home. The only person Ryan has to help him while he makes the difficult decision of keeping or selling the home is his newly pregnant fiancé, Isi, played with charming intensity by SARA MONTEZ, who I look forward to seeing in DAVID LEE FISHER‘S remake of NOSFERATU later this year. The neighbors and towns folk of the sleepy little ocean side hamlet are played with effortless precision by, DREW POWELL, (STRAW DOGS) KRISHA FAIRCHILD, (HIGHWAY, KILLING OF JOHN LENNON) and DALE DICKEY (HELL OR HIGH WATER, TRUE BLOOD) respectively.
All and all INHERITANCE has, well, inherited a lot from TERRENCE MALICK, literally and figuratively, and that is a complement. It is very hard to experience a TERRENCE MALICK film and not witness their thickness of texture, tone and tension and I believe that TYLER SAVAGE has made a thriller that has all of that and then some. I only wish that these MALICK-influenced-minds had more money to put towards this film.  I really think it would have been spent well and well deserved.
So the moral of the story is this… If you ever find yourself on a MALICK set and you have some down time, use it wisely. Talk to all of the players, and when it comes time to make your first feature length film, write a sharp script and call all of those family members to help you get it made. In this case, it produced a very strong debut film. I believe TYLER SAVAGE has a lot more MALICK magic up his sleeve so keep your eye on him and also go watch INHERITANCE, you won’t regret it.
INHERITANCE is out on Digital HD today!
“INHERITANCE is a tense family affair”
3.5 Tombstones out of 5
INHERITANCE Official Trailer (2018) Horror, Thriller - YouTube
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Fear Forever by Erin Grant - 1M ago

Things never go right when humans play God.  Horror has taught us this ever since Dr. Frankenstein created his monster. This horror trope is explored in a new and interesting way in Maurice Haeems sci-fi horror CHIMERA. Featuring a refreshingly diverse cast, this film definitely stands out and is extremely unique.

Scientist Quint (Henry Ian Cusick) has frozen his children alive to buy some time till he finds a cure for their hereditary disease, which causes multiple organ failure. If freezing the children alive didn’t sound like enough of a gamble, this haphazard scientist/doting father also has not figured out how to wake them up. Lastly, the icing on this risky business cake is that his methods for finding the cure are somewhere between morally ambiguous and just plain horrifying.

Much like 2009’s SPLICE, CHIMERA is built around experimentation with human and animal genes and has the same bleak tone. While the experiments carried out are amazing ideas of where scientific advancements can lead us, they are carried out in secret with seedy methods and dark locations. If you like your fingers attached to your hands, your organs inside your body and needles as far away as possible then this film is sure to make you shudder.  This is a film where the horror emanates from the violence, surgery and gore.

If  anything, CHIMERA is an exploration of modern scientific controversies through the lens of science fiction. Its disturbing imagery is meant to leave us questioning our own morals. First of all, it heavily features experiments on animals that while fanciful, may not be that far from what really goes on in real life. Perhaps the film is shining a light on how disposable living creatures are when it comes to animal testing. CHIMERA also explores the controversy around stem cells and has some gruesome sequences that will make you ponder just how horrific science can get.

The performances in this film come from the talent behind some of TV’s most popular shows with Henry Ian Cusick (LOST)as Quint and Erika Ervin (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) pulling off a fantastic evil henchwoman.  As well as Kathleen Quinlan (EVENT HORIZON) as the more than slightly unhinged antagonist Masterton.

The child actors are given the very loaded responsibility of delivering the majority of the expositional dialogue in the film. This feels like a very serious oversight as their performances did not fill the giant shoes given to them.  The child acting is really just that…..child acting.

The children, along with the scientists wife, haunt him by appearing through both hallucinations and flashbacks. They voice his inner doubts and act as narrators throughout the film- explaining what the pseudo-scientific jargon means. This storytelling choice was an odd one- coming from a child the lines felt forced and the big scientific words coming from a child’s mouth was immersion breaking. This mixture of past and present; real and all in his head just left me confused. The story was so convoluted that at times I found myself missing out on enjoying the film because I was too busy trying to decipher the plot. This is definitely a thinker’s film and one which required my utmost attention and a second watch.

While other elements may not come together, one that does is the spectacular cinematography. There are dreamlike sequences expressing hope and humanity made so by stunning camera work, lighting and set design. These same elements are also used to alternatively create a sci-fi nightmare. Scenes illuminated only by the various neon colors of scientific machines and cryogenic tanks expertly set the tone of the film as a dystopian horror movie.

CHIMERA is currently playing the festival circuit (including Sant Cugat Fantàstic fest, which is running from the 14th to 17th of June)and is receiving lots of awards and praise.  It is without a doubt one of the more original films I have seen and that alone should be a reason for film lovers to seek it out.

“Featuring a refreshingly diverse cast, this film definitely stands out for its uniqueness.”

3 tombstones out of 5

Chimera Trailer - YouTube

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Fear Forever by Andy Breslow - 1M ago

Yesterday we gave you part 1 of our 2 part interview with filmmaker SKYE BORGMAN.Skye’s film ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT recently screened at the TORONTO TRUE CRIME FILM FESTIVAL. The film is so bonkers that it’s hard to believe it is a true crime story. When we were given the opportunity to interview Skye we jumped at the chance because after watching ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT we have questions. Many, many questions.

FF: I was talking to a colleague of mine about the film and I was telling her that the story is so strange it couldn’t possibly be made up! What has the reaction been to the complexities of the story?

 SB: (laughing) It’s funny because people come up to me and say “this needs to be made into a scripted story”.

FF: You wouldn’t believe it!

SB: Would ANYBODY believe it? People would see it and go “there’s no way that would happen”.

FF: I actually had to Google the case after the film ended, because I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

SB: I know…I know…

FF: Once we see Jan as an adult, she actually seems pretty well adjusted considering what she’d been through. Do you think she is handling it well? As an audience member it seems that there are obviously some unresolved issues there, but all things considered she seems fairly normal. Was that your opinion?

SB: Yes! You know Jan is pretty incredible. I couldn’t imagine going through what she went through and coming out on the other side. She has done it in a really wonderful way, and a lot of that is because this family unit of theirs is incredibly strong. For the family to have gotten through it, to me, is also remarkable. I don’t have percentages or anything but this usually tears families apart. So many people that I’ve talked to where there was abuse within in the family, it tore the family apart because people end up taking sides. That didn’t happen to the Brobergs, and that’s a testament to them really. Jan is remarkable! She has gotten through this. She’s an incredibly strong yet vulnerable and loving woman. That’s what was kind of astounding to me. How much love she has for people, and it’s genuine…truly genuine. Yes, she carries baggage and she will for her entire life. It was one woman who was raped multiple times and abused sexually and mentally, but her whole family went through the abuse and continues to. These ripples that go, just never stop. You don’t just get over this. It has made Jan very committed to telling the story and helping people. She carries this with her, but she carries it in a very sort of positive way so she can hopefully inspire and help people deal.

FF: Ultimately, what would you like to accomplish with the film? Was it just a glimpse into this bizarre case, or would you like it to raise some social awareness to these issues?

SB: Really, the intention is to start the conversation. With the #MeToo movement and people feeling more confident in being able to talk about abuse, I think it’s really an amazing step forward. This stigma is still very present, but it’s starting to get chipped away a little bit. Victims and survivors don’t need to feel as guilty anymore. That’s what our goal is, to start the conversation and not feel shame about it…well feel the shame, but embrace the shame and keeping moving forward through it. It’s been five years making this film, there’s something huge behind that. We want to save lives….If this film could get into people’s homes and have someone watch it and sort of recognize that they might be in the same or a similar situation. If we could save one life with this film, we’ll have achieved something really great. What I’m hoping to do is to partner with some bigger organizations, child abuse organizations, and do screenings and do talk backs afterwards. It’s been incredible just at these film festivals. The best part really has been the Q&A afterwards. It brings up a lot of questions, or things that have happened to people, or wanting to share stories from their own lives. It’s just such an open public forum.

FF: When will this film be available to the general public?

SB: We’re still sort of inking distribution, but if all goes well the film will be available worldwide in January of 2019.

FF: What’s next for you?

SB: I wan to stick to true crime. This film has opened a lot of doors in terms of ideas and inspiration. I’m working on developing a true crime series now. I’m always interested in finding new ideas or crimes that are out there. It seems like there’s a lot of murder out there and that’s what I’m developing right now. I’d also be interested in finding some new ideas.

 

FF: At the end of the day, FEAR FOREVER is a horror film website and we tend to focus on the fear angle for a lot of things.  What would you as a filmmaker recommend to our horror base as something that has influenced you?

SB: At the end of the day…my film is a monster movie! (laughing)

FF: (laughing) I would agree!

SB: I think ALIENS has always been one of my all time favorites…I go back to JAWS… I love the monster movie, horror movies. My husband and I met on a small independent horror movie called THE CELLAR DOOR. A friend of ours wrote it, he directed it, I shot it. It was such a low budget, but it was so much fun! There’s something to love about horror movies because there are just no rules! You sit around and you’ve got a head rolling down the stairs, and then you get into this discussion about “the head didn’t look quite real, maybe it’s not heavy enough”. It’s always a lot of fun to run around and scream…you can put lights in any place you want to. Oh! And WOLF CREEK too, a great Australian horror movie. I think back to what influenced me as a kid, and I still remember being absolutely terrified with CHILDREN OF THE CORN. Still, if that comes on I just get giddy…because I remember being a little girl watching it and being so scared! I don’t know what it is about that feeling of wanting to be afraid, but it’s wonderful.

FF: It’s been great talking to you, is there anything else you’d like to add?

SB: Thank you for your wonderful review, it was incredible. If anyone wants more information, they can go to Abducteddoc.com and sign-up for the mailing list. We don’t send a ton of emails but we’ll keep you posted on this project and whatever we’ve got coming up next.

ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT TRAILER - YouTube

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Fresh off of her packed house screening of ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT at the Toronto True Crime Fim Festival, Fear Forever had a chance to sit down with director Skye Borgman to discuss some of the themes of her film. The film is a challenging, and often times infuriating, journey in to the heart of suburban darkness. I urge fans of true crime documentaries to seek this film out if and when it comes to a film festival in your city. We gave the film a 4/5 rating, and you can read our review for an overview HERE to familiarize yourself with the film. Without further ado, here’s our conversation with Skye.

Fear Forever: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from? Did you attend film school etc?

 

Skye Borgman: I Live in Los Angeles now, I’ve been there for about 18 years…which is a little bit crazy. Time has really gone by quickly. I moved there really, because I did get into film school at USC. I spent a bit of time before that, about five years, as a gypsy. I was traveling around the world. I’d travel for a little bit and stop when I ran out of money, get a job and make enough money to keep traveling, and it was really at that point that I was like “How do I keep traveling, but go back to my love of storytelling?” I picked up a camera and really loved taking pictures, so I was like “maybe it’s filmmaking”. I came back to the states and applied to grad schools and ended up at USC. That’s really where I made my first films. I got a late start to it; I wasn’t one of those kids that went making movies in high school or anything like that. And I’ve been working professionally in the industry, I make my living mostly as a director of photography.

FF: I watched this movie (ABDUCTED) maybe four days ago and it really stayed with me. How did you come across this case, or how did this story find its way into your wheelhouse?

 

SB: The Brobergs wrote a book talking about their story. We found that book; Stephanie Tobey actually read the book. After reading it she was just like “What?” and she gave me the book and asked if I’d be interested in coming on to work on the documentary. Then I read the book and just couldn’t understand how something like this could happen.

FF: Exactly!!

 

SB: That was really what propelled me forward to try and figure that out. In the book they go into a lot more detail of certain things, but they left a lot of details out. So through our investigative journey, which it ended up being much more investigative then I originally thought, we learned a lot more and acquired FBI documents and court transcripts and audio tapes and learned a lot more about how this happened.

FF: How long did this film take for you to finish? How long were you embedded with the family?

 

SB: We met Jan first and talked to her. She came to trust us and thought we were the ones to tell her story. She introduced us to her family and so Jan, acting as our conduit to the family, was very helpful. When we actually went to Utah to meet the Brobergs, it was pretty short. We met the family, went to a BBQ dinner together, and kind of had an evening where we talked. The next day we just launched into the interviews. The interviews were brutal. They were long, 8-10 hours each and very emotional for everyone in the room. This was just three women that showed up and knocked on their door. We spent time with them, played with the grand kids on the floor and did dishes together…then we sat down and did these long interviews. The time we spent with them was substantial, but it wasn’t like we knew them for years and years beforehand.

 

FF: Wow! You really got them to open up for such a short amount of time together.

 

SB: I think this is a story they’ve lived with for their entire lives. It’s a fascinating thing to sit down in front of a camera for someone, because there’s no back and forth. It’s not really a conversation, so the camera almost becomes a confessional in a way. We’re just listening to them tell their story. The act of really active listening encourages people to tell more. The Brobergs want to help people. They really want their story to get out there and for this to make a difference. Maybe someone will recognize these things in their lives or the lives of someone they know.

FF: The more you watch the film and the more you begin to learn about the case, the more bizarre and unsettling it becomes. How do you think something like this is able to happen/exist in modern times? Everything just seems to go completely off the rails.

 

SB: I think that’s part of how it exists. It’s so off the rails, it’s almost unbelievable. I was talking to a group of women after the screening, and one of the questions was if this could really happen today and to anyone. I think it can. I don’t think it’s just a product of the 70’s. You hear about women getting bamboozled by these charismatic men. I think that we as people are innately good, and good people want to trust and believe in people. I think that’s how it starts. I think we’re also very interested in preserving our dignity, and so it’s hard for us to talk about and realize that maybe this is going on. So, we exist in denial and that’s an easier place to exist in. I think denial and shame are probably two of the most powerful emotions that we have, and so we want to protect ourselves from everything and we enter into this denial phase. Being in those two places can create this spiral that you just keep going down to protect yourself and your family.

FF: That makes sense actually.

 

SB: Maybe not to the extent of the Brobergs, but I can certainly look at instance in my own life where I’ve done that.

FF: As I’m watching the film, I’m amazed that you were able to stay objective in the face of these revelations. Did you ever get angry, or what was your emotional response to the things you were hearing?

 

SB: It wasn’t that hard during the interviews. You’re with people and they’re telling their story and they’re conscientious of their mistakes too. Where it got more challenging for me honestly was in the editing, because I’m sitting with it a lot more, so you start feeling certain ways. Then you get to this point where you stop feeling anything at all and that was really hard for me. When that happened, the editor and I took a break. I think it was about 6 weeks and he went off and edited a comedy I think, and I went off and remodeled a living room. Then we came back and it was great to have that fresh perspective and sort of regain the film again. Objectivity was something I was very committed to from the beginning. I just don’t think this case was black and white. It’s not a simple case of a perpetrator entering and taking advantage. There’s a reason why he entered this particular family, and there’s a lot of reasons this family responded in the way they did.

FF: That’s part of what was so difficult for me. Obviously the person at the center of this is the catalyst. He’s clearly the villain, but there are so many moving pieces it almost becomes hard to place the blame on a singular person. It’s sort of a perfect storm for these events to take place.

 

SB: That’s the other thing. It’s easy to place blame. A lot of people look at the film and blame the Broberg’s or Berchtold or the FBI, so there’s blame sort of spread around. People do come to the movie and view it through different lenses. It’s always fascinating to me the emotions that people walk away from the film with. They’re very different.

Read Part 2 of our interview with SKYE BORGMAN tomorrow!

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It’s that time again…..

CONTEST TIME!

The always awesome folks at D Films Corp are giving Canadians the chance to check out one of the craziest films of the year…for free!

What’s THE HURRICANE HEIST all about? A heist during a hurricane! More specifically…..

“Thieves attempt a massive heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches one of its Mint facilities.”

Starring Maggie Grace  (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD), Ryan Kwanten (DEAD SILENCE), and  is directed by Rob Cohen (XXX, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS).

HURRICANE HEIST was released on (Canadian) iTunes, Google Play, and the Cineplex Store on May 29th, and VOD and DVD on June 5th.

To enter:

Send an email with your FULL NAME and the NAME OF THE FILM to info@fearforever.com or DM our Instagram with the same info.

Contest is first come first serve so enter ASAP!!

THE HURRICANE HEIST Official Trailer (2018) Maggie Grace, Action Movie HD - YouTube

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HOSTAGES is a true crime film by Georgian filmmaker Rezo Gigineishvili. Set in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, it is as much a political drama as it is a crime thriller. HOSTAGES is showing in Toronto as part of the TORONTO TRUE CRIME FILM FESTIVAL and with its Russian and Georgian dialogue, it brings a foreign flavor to the festival.

Newlyweds Nika (Irakli Kvirikadze) and Anna (Tinatin Dalakishvili) are desperate to leave the USSR and find paradise in the west. Despite relatively comfortable lives- shown by their lavish wedding- the couple and their friends plan to hijack a plane on the way to their honeymoon. Starting with smuggled Beatles’ records and ending with smuggled guns, their plan seems doomed from the start.

HOSTAGES is based on the real-life incident of Aeroflot Flight 6833 in which seven upper-class but disaffected young adults hijacked a plane. After military involvement, the hijacking left casualties on all sides and was an all-around tragic event.

HOSTAGES does its best to provide us with background (giving a brief explanation of the circumstances in an opening scene), but if you’re wanting to see this film and don’t know much about the geopolitical climate in which it is set, I would suggest reading up to give you a better appreciation for the narrative. No doubt viewers who have lived in Soviet Union Georgia can understand the main characters’ motives but to an outsider, the characters lack depth and are hard to relate to.

This being said, the film does accomplish a genuine portrayal of the period in which it is set, with a close eye for detail concerning set design and even costuming which allows the film to pull you into 1980’s Georgia. All the actors gave impressive performances with what they had to work with. While the film’s main heroes- or villains, depending on which side you are on, were certainly young, beautiful and mesmerizing to look at, it was the supporting cast’s performances which really pushed the film into greatness.

The film is full of expertly shot sequences including a stunning Georgian wedding which was a delight to watch. The nail-bitingly tense hijacking was equally as captivating. While the first half of the film is a little slow, HOSTAGES is frantic and thrillingly paced once the events the film is based on start to unravel. I could not look away and grew more emotional as I watched everything go wrong in the worst possible way.

A particularly harrowing part happened near the end of the film in which parents, shovels in hand try and find their children’s bodies in unmarked graves to give them a proper burial. The scene made more powerful by the bleak fields and winter skies. HOSTAGES had a few nice shots of  the Georgian countryside and in terms of cinematography I would have loved for some more shots of the beauty Georgia has to offer.

The scenes of the court and military proceedings were particularly interesting, with the over-use of force adding to the tragedy.  The film ends with one final gut punch of irony, telling us that the Soviet Union collapsed only 8 years later meaning the events of the film could have all been avoided and they would have been able to leave for the west had they put off their plan a little longer.

HOSTAGES was a fascinating watch even if it was just to learn about a true crime event in a foreign country I otherwise would never have known about. The TORONTO TRUE CRIME FILM FESTIVAL runs from the 8th to the 9th of June 2018 at The Royal Cinema and if HOSTAGES is any indication of the caliber of the line-up, it should be a fantastic experience.

“HOSTAGES is frantic and thrillingly paced”

3 Tombstones out of 5

Hostages - International Trailer - YouTube

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Screening this weekend at the TORONTO TRUE CRIME FILM FESTIVAL is the short film 42 COUNTS. Written, edited and directed by Jill Gevargizian, the film is based on real events with the title of the film referring to the number of charges laid against the perpetrator in one arrest.

Ava and Alicia are spending the night in watching films when Alicia notices a hole in the smoke alarm. They open it and discover a hidden camera. They search the rest of the house and come to the sickening realization that their landlord has been secretly recording them.

42 COUNTS acts as a stark reminder that voyeurism is not a quirk, it’s a crime. Specifically, that it is sexual assault and can have lasting impact on its victims. It is clearly a film that shows that harassment comes in various forms and degrees of severity but all of it is harassment, all of it is damaging and all of it is criminal.

A simple plot with no big twists, the film’s thrill factor comes from the editing and cinematography. It is a slick looking piece that uses what it has to the best of its ability.  I loved the pink and blue glow of the lighting, it really gave it a neo-noir vibe which compliments the subject matter. The score in 42 COUNTS is bold and dramatic and makes the film feel like a classic slasher, nudging this true crime short into the realm of horror.

42 COUNTS does a good job of making you feel as trapped as the protagonists. It persists in impressing upon us  that these people are not safe even in the “comfort” of their own home. The two leads carry this glimpse of real life horror fairly well, actresses Najarra Townsend (CONTRACTED) and Andrea Dover play the characters in such a way that you sympathize with them instantly.

Jill Gevargizian is one to keep an eye on. To date, she has made a range of interesting horror shorts centered around female characters and her work has strong feminist undertones which are always needed in the art of film.

42 COUNTS screens with THE STRANGER at this year’s Toronto True Crime Film Festival which is held at The Royal Cinema on the 8th  and 9th of June 2018.

“It is a slick looking piece that uses what it has to the best of its ability.”

3 Tombstones out of 5

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