Artivist film festival comes to London

After a successful run in Los Angeles, the 6th Annual International Artivist Film Festival comes to London from 5th – 6th March 2010 at the historic George Bernard Shaw Theatre, screening a selection of independent documentaries and short films.

The Artivist Festival’s mission is to strengthen the voice of advocate artists – ‘Artivists’ –while raising public awareness for social global causes. Since its inception in 2004, the Artivist Film Festival has showcased over 400 films, representing more than 45 countries around the world, reaching millions of people through film festivals in London, LA, Tokyo, Lisbon and Mexico City. Artivist has been endorsed by Claes Nobel of the Nobel Prize family, Amnesty International, and the United Nations Department of Public Information.

The festival opens with critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary Children of War. This film is set in the east African country of Uganda and chronicles the daily struggle towards rehabilitation and reconciliation by a group of recently escaped child soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the world’s longest running and most brutal militias.

Many films that have premiered at Artivist have gone on to great acclaim, including Academy Award winner Born Into Brothels, Academy Award Nominees Super-Size Me and God Sleeps in Rwanda, and the Los Angeles Premieres of Fast Food Nation, Emmanuelles Gift, Stolen Childhoods, Zeitgeist, Zeitgest Addendum and Trudell.

Cocaine Saints goes into production

Russ Diapper, the actor/writer/director behind such films as Spirirts of the Fall, Halloween: The Wake and Stay out of The Woods recently dropped me a line to let me know about his latest project.

Cocaine Saints is a gritty Police drama about Bad Cops, Good Cops, gang war and Drug Addiction. The script has been in development for a while, but the film has now gone into production in conjunction with Rami Hilmis Eagle Eye Productions. It stars Diapper and Hilmi along with Kate Korbel, Kim Sonderholm, Leo Moore and Mitch Powell.

Larry and Burts Gut Rot: A new web series

Larry and Burts Gut Rot, a web series from Substance Productions, is a dark, comedic tale of two guys who have had the stink of the world dumped on them but refuse to give up their belief in personal freedom, the fight of the underdog, and good beer.

Episode one is online now and episode two is coming soon.

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First Look at The Retreat

Damian Morter, the writer/director behind Loose End recently dropped me a line to let me know about his newest project, The Retreat started shooting in locations in the North and in the city of London in early January and is aiming for an autumn release date. And heres the synopsis:

The film centres on two brothers who are searching for their missing sister, believed to have been abducted twenty two years before. Descending into a sleazy world of drugs, abduction and child molestation, the brothers discover that some things are best left locked away.

The film promises to be a powerful tale with a horrifying conclusion and one that the film-makers hope will enlighten some people in what goes on in the world behind closed doors.

There will be more news as it arrives, but for now here are a couple of stills from the film.

Magnolia lands Ondine

Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired U.S. rights to Ondine, the latest from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan who wrote, directed and produced. Starring Colin Farrell, Stephen Rea, and Alicja Bachleda in the title role, the film will be released early this summer as part of Magnolias Ultra VOD program, debuting on video on demand systems nationwide a month prior to its theatrical release.

Ondine is the enchanting story of Syracuse (Farrell), a lonely fisherman who one day pulls a beautiful woman named Ondine (Bachleda) out of the sea in his nets. His young daughter Annie is convinced that she is a selkie -a creature from Irish folklore much like a mermaid. Syracuse has his doubts, but as Ondine brings some luck and joy to his otherwise downcast life, he starts to come around as well. Ondine deftly blends romance and fantasy with the realism of modern life in an Irish seaside town.

Filmmaker Chad Clinton Freeman announces grindhouse film festival

Hes been called the new champion of unabashed B-movie sleaze by Now it looks like filmmaker and promoter Chad Clinton Freeman is doing his best to live up to that title. Freeman has announced plans for an event called The Polly Staffle Grindhouse Film Festival to be held at the Sci-Fi Center in Las Vegas this coming May.

The festival, which will take place May 13, 14, 15 and 16, is going to consist of four days of programming in the tradition of grindhouse theaters with double features each day, bookended by trailers and music videos.

PollyGrind is currently calling for entries for the festival. Submissions are being accepted January 13 untill March 13. Freeman hopes to announce the official lineup by April 13. All films are required to be submitted here or online via

Submission categories include Blood-o-Rama (Horror/Gore Feature Competition), Frontiers Anew (Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Adventure Feature Competition), Area-X (Exploitation/Underground Feature Competition), Weirdville (Arthouse/Cult Feature Competition), Crime Time (Thrillers/Action/Film Noir Feature Competition), Short Film Competition, Music Video Competition and Trailer/Ad Spot Competition.

The PollyGrind is all about the darker side of cinema, said Freeman, a fan of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Doris Wishman. We want edgy. We want sexy. We bloody. We want cool. So any and all genres are welcome as long as theyll fit into the festivals programming.

Freeman says each night of the festival will be similar to what Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez did with Planet Terror and Death Proof, but he hopes to better represent what he calls thegolden age of b-movies when exploitation, sexploitation and gore was alive and well as the bastard child of cinema.

In keeping with the grindhouse theme, Freemans plan is to include burlesque dancers and a 10-minute intermission between double features each night. After the second feature, there will be a QA with all the filmmakers in attendance and a meet and greet with the audience for photos, autographs, selling of wares and casual chatting.

Magnet goes Down Terrace

Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, announced yesterday that it has acquired world rights to Down Terrace, a genre bending portrait of a crime family scheduled to play at the Slamdance film festival this month. The film has already been warmly received at Raindance, where it won the award for Best UK Feature, and Austins Fantastic Fest, where it won Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

The feature film debut of director Ben Wheatley, Down Terrace has been described as The Sopranos if imagined by Mike Leigh or Ken Loach. Down Terrace stars real life father and son Bob and Robin Hill as Bill and Karl, the heads of a crime family struggling to keep their business together as infighting and a police informant in their midst threaten to unravel it completely. Featuring stars familliar from British TV series such as Spaced, The Office and Extras, the film is a pitch black comedy that alternates unexpectedly between shocking violence and realistic, even moving family drama.

The film will play the festival circuit this spring, with an anticipated US theatrical release in the summer.

Kill Theory is the final Film to Die For

Kill Theory, the eighth and final pick for After Dark Films Horrorfest 4, was announced on Friday by ADF CEO Courtney Solomon. The US national film festival opens January 29, 2010 for one-week in 25 markets.

Kill Theory was written by Kelly Palmer and directed by Chris Moore In the film a group of college friends visit a secluded vacation home to celebrate their impending graduation. The fun doesn’t last long, however. Forced to participate in a deadly experiment by a sadistic psychopath, each friend must kill in order to survive. As tension builds and friendships crack, these friends realize that only one can make it out alive. Loyalties are tested, tensions escalate and hope fades as each one struggles to survive.

According to Chris Moore, The idea in this movie scared the hell out of me. I was so excited to get to make this my directorial debut.

Dan Abrams adds, the psychological grinder that these characters go through is what really grabbed me. It was a great pleasure to work with Chris Moore on his directorial debut and to see him and these fantastic actors tell such an intimately horrifying story.

Vampire fans bring about early film release

Cult DVD label The Weird World of Wibbell has bowed to the demands of thousands of vampire fans, making their new comedy horror film The Vampires of Bloody Island available to fans several weeks in advance of the DVDs official release.

The low-budget independent British vampire comedy has been steadily building a network of over five thousand fans, eagerly following the adventures and missadventures of the films writers stars, husband and wife team Allin Kempthorne and Pamela Kempthorne, in their very personal fortnightly newsletters.

The official release date for The Vampires of Bloody Island was set for January 25th in the UK Europe, and February the 1st in Canada the USA. However, following recent newsletters in which Allin and Pamela described having the first shipment of 2000 DVDs manufactured and delivered, the response from readers became even more overwhelming. The upshot of this is that the DVD is now available to fans in the UK and Europe through the Wibbell website. The NTSC DVD will be available on February 1st.

The Vampires of Bloody Island is a comedy horror story which harks back to the style and nostalgia of the British Hammer vampire movies of the 1970s. Filled to its rotting rafters with creepy comical characters and plenty of exploding vampires, its a laugh-packed send up of every vampire film youve ever loved.

The Scream Magazine calls it A real cult classic, Dark Nights Magazine calls it Genuinely hilarious and tremendous fun while British Film magazine says the film is set to tantalise fans of horror and comedy alike.

No Right Turn Swerves onto DVD in USA and Canada

Four people. Four different paths. One intersection.

Nina is the voluptuously alluring girlfriend of Johnny, a charming but delusional crook. To escape from her life with Johnny she casually sleeps with an old friend, Teddy.

One night after an argument with Johnny, she storms home where she is abducted by a pair of thugs but is rescued by a beautiful and timid girl, Monella.

Together Nina and Monella begin an erotic and passionate relationship that leads to a plot to steal Johnnys drug stash hidden in a safety deposit box.

But nothing goes as planned and the two beautiful women get caught up in a lethally twisted tale of revenge and betrayal that send all four characters to their dark destiny

After 4 years of blood sweat and tears, and plenty of grinding grassroots indie filmmaking, No Right Turn (review, trailer) has finally been released onto DVD.

This movie will appeal to fans of film noir, mystery, pulp and anyone who likes damn good independent movies. As a bonus the DVD is packed with extras. The distributor has done a simply amazing job fitting so much onto one DVD possibly the most packed single release DVD this holiday period.