March 2009

Three days until the start of Script Frenzy

Back in February I mentioned the Script Frenzy writing event. The challenge is to write a 100 page script in 30 days, starting on 1st April.

The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy

1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.

2) You may write individually or with a partner. Writing teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.

3) Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.

4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.

5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

At the time it struck me as an interesting idea, and one which might be worth having a go at and, over the past month or so, Ive been giving it some thought. And now, with only three days to go, I have finally come up with an outline and, although Im woefully unprepared, I am going to give this a go.

Revolver to release Star Wreck

Back in 2005 there was quite a buzz around Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, a feature length parody of Star Trek. The film was notable for several reasons, not least the fact that it was released for free – and is still available for download from the Star Wreck Site.

Its also a frighteningly accurate and very funny parody of the Star Trek universe. The film is also packed with often spectacular special effects which are way beyond anything you would normally expect from a micro-budget film such as this, as well as a huge collection of laugh out loud one-liners.

All in all, the film is a lot of fun and the good news is that Revolver Entertainment has picked it up for distribution in the UK and US. The release of the Imperial Edition DVD has been timed to coincide with the J.J. Abrams film in May.

I already have the (subtitled) Finnish DVD and I know what I will be watching on May 4th.

The people behind Star Wreck are the same ones that are currently working on Iron Sky, another slice of satirical SF, this time about Nazis on the moon.

David Cronenberg to receive Legion dhonneur

If there was ever any doubt about the artistic potential of genre cinema, you just have to look at the career of David Cronenberg, a director who has spent the last 30 years finding new and often unsettling ways to explore the mutability of humanity. From his earlier, more visceral films to his more recent work similar themes and obsessions are explored and reworked in a manner that is both thought-provoking and intelligent.

Its appropriate, therefore, that the French will be presenting (via) the director with the Legion dhonneur, the countrys highest distinction.

The award is meant to recognize Cronenbergs accomplishments and the services he rendered to French culture and to enhance the cultural relationship between France and Canada. Cronenbergs films have played well in France, where he has won numerous awards that include the 1996 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize for Crash.

The ceremony will take place on 1st April in Toronto with Francois Delattre, Frances ambassador to Canada, standing in for Nicolas Sarkozy.

Legendary Vampirella artist, Jose Gonzalez has died

Legendary Vampirella artist Jose Pepe Gonzalez has died after falling into a coma. He was 70 years old.

The Spanish comic book artist embarked on his career at the age of 17 working on the Rosas Blancas and Brigitte titles for Editorial Toray. He joined the agency Selecciones Illustrada in 1960 and drew romance comics for Fleetway as well as pin-ups for the international market.

In 1971, Warren Publishing, the publisher of Vampirella started using artists from Selecciones Illustrada and, according to The Warren Companion, when Jim Warren saw Gonzalez art: I knew we had it! We survived 12 issues but there it was. This is what I wanted for the first issue but couldnt put together.

Gonzalez received immediate acclaim for his work on Vampirella and drew the character continuously from issue 12 to 34, winning two Warren awards along the way. Between 1971 and 1983, Gonzalez drew 58 stories for Warren Publishing, putting him in the top 10 most prolific artists at the company. He drew 53 total strips of Vampirella, making him that titles most prolific artist.

According to a statement from Harris Comics, the current owners of Vampirella:

Gonzalez created horror classics that have stood the test of time as some of the finest examples of the comics medium. His work was thrilling, sensuous and beautiful. He brought the character to life, elevated her to an icon and, most deservedly, won over a legion of fans who have never forgotten him. To this day, many would say his was the definitive rendition of the character.

No-one drew Vampirella like Gonzalez.

Stunning steampunk animation online: The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Anthony Lucas award winning 2005 short film, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello is a Gothic horror mystery set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers. Jasper Morello is a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself.

The film uses a unique style of silhouette animation, developed by Lucas, and the entire 26 minute short is now available online for your viewing pleasure

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Condition: Human – SF web series due to début in April looks stunning

Condition: Human is a zero-budget web series comprised of six 15 minute episodes due to début on April 1st. The trailer looks utterly stunning and really does demonstrate the extent to which a talented director can find ways of achieving his vision with the most basic of equipment.

In the near future, man has begun to address the economic and environmental issues plaguing the early 21st century. Rapid technological advancements have changed life dramatically, especially the creation of advanced humanoid robots who have begun to play an integral part in everyday life. Takumi Kenji, the reclusive CEO of Kenji electronics, and father of all things A.I. has announced the first ever companion bots, a model of humanoid whos interactive capabilities are remarkably natural. As robots continue to evolve their place amongst us must evolve as well, and as it does society carries the responsibility of answering the moral questions that come.

And if youre an aspiring filmmaker, or just interested, head over to Binary Crumbs where director Trenton Lepp is posting a series of tutorials discussing how the various effects were achieved.

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Surreal post-apocalyptic gorgeousness from Shane Acker

One film Ive been looking forward to seeing ever since I caught the trailer is 9. Shane Ackers feature length début tells the story of 9, a robot rag doll that comes to life in a post-apocalyptic world. All humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction.

The film is being produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov and is an expansion of Ackers 2005 short film of the same name.

Late Film have managed to track down the short and it looks stunning. But dont take my word for it – go see for yourself.

Was 2008 really such a bad year for genre cinema?

The 35th Saturn Awards have been announced and the big news is that The Dark Knight leads the board with 11 nominations. What really struck me, however, is that the nominations this year are such a weak bunch.

In the Science Fiction category, for example, we have The Day the Earth Stood Still. This is not the greatest film ever made but it is a piece of science fiction, unlike Eagle Eye which also has a nomination. Also in the running is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film to which the overwhelming reaction was one of disappointment. We also have two superhero films and Jumper.

The fantasy category is not much better. The inclusion of Twilight is no surprise and perfectly reasonable, but then you look at what its up against. Prince Caspian, Benjamin Button, another superhero film and a computer game adaptation. Was The Spiderwick Chronicles really the only other half-way decent fantasy film released in 2008?

And then we get to the horror category where we have the sequel to a superhero film, yet another entry in The Mummy franchise, a remake and The Happening. The only award that The Happening deserves is a Razzie.

So was 2008 really such a bad year, or has the Saturn Awards nomination committee been dazzled by big-budget shininess? And if they are going to do nothing more than celebrate the summer marketing juggernauts, is there any point to the Saturn Awards any more?

Twitter Updates for 2009-03-10

  • Even the differently animate are on Twitter now. Hello @zombiejane #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-03-09

  • Food eaten, dog walked and three out of five bottles before me. Im as readu as Ill ever be for tonights #twhisky #
  • Dear followers with six digits in your name. I dont need a new laptop. kthxbai #

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