Interview with Paul Corupe on Canuxploitation.com about BLUE SUNSHINE
Rue Morgue Podcast Feb 26, 2011
Rue Morgue Podcast Sept. 15, 2011
‘House of Psychotic Women’ a compelling dive into the personal appeal of extreme cinema
by Bill Mesce, Sound on Sight, September 25, 2012
Back in November of 2011, Sound on Sight contributors were invited to write about their “gateway” films – the movies that first lit them up to the power and magic of cinema. What became apparent to me over the course of that series of posts was how much our respective choices were shaped by who each of us is. It was never as simple as, “Well, then I took Film Appreciation 101 and saw Citizen Kane for the first time…” Nothing’s that simple. Where we were from, how we were raised, the lives we led…all of that and more in some way influenced the choices each of us made. No surprise, that: we view everything – sex, politics, the way the world works – through the prism of our own experience. Why not movies?
But I’ve never seen the dynamic so clearly at work – or demonstrated so emphatically – as it is in Kier-La Janisse’s House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films, recently published by FAB Press.
It’s a mouthful of a title, yet even that doesn’t quite capture the boiling stew Janisse has cooked up. Let the book fall open at random, and, depending on the page, House of Psychotic Women (the title comes from the American release of the 1973 Spanish chiller, The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll) is a deep investigation of women-victimizing grindhouse splatter; another page and Janisse is off on an extended discussion of psychoanalysis, or cultural gender roles, or religion’s place in society; and yet another, and it’s a disturbing memoir of a traumatic upbringing right out of Dickens.
A la the six blind men trying to describe an elephant, House… is not quite any of these; and yet is all of them. It’s neither hybrid nor blend, but a bubbling up of different ingredients surfacing from one page to the next. And the more one learns of Janisse, the more that makes sense.
Janisse, a writer and film programmer as well as the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB, 2007), is an anomaly: a fan of the kind of blood-drenched low-budget flicks which more typically draw in young males, and persistently tick off the feminists with their depictions of women as victims, manipulating victimizers, and brutal avenging angels. To throw a little more gas on the fire, she’s particularly fond of the made-on-the-cheap grindhouse fodder of the 1970s-early 1980s; think flicks like Ms. 45 (1981), Roadside Torture Chamber (1972), and Prey (1977), and imports like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), and The Blood Spattered Bride (1972).
But it’s not visceral shocks Janisse is interested in (at least not solely). In those movies, she’s found some chord resonant with her own scarred psyche.
Born in 1972 in Winnipeg – “…an isolated city in the dead centre of Canada known for its long, harsh winters and its citizens’ tragic propensity of alcoholism and violent crime” – she suffered through abandonment by her birth parents, a philandering adoptive father and an emotionally abusive stepfather. In the time between her mother’s marriages, Janisse has memories of listening through her bedroom door to her mother being assaulted by an intruder. There’s a parade of foster homes, self-destructive acting out, relationships in which she is sometimes the abused, other times the abuser, an increasingly neurotic and eventually distant mother. She found her own real-life horrors reflected in distorted funhouse mirror fashion in the excesses of a Ms. 45, the fetishistic gore of Italian giallo, and even upscale portrayals of female neuroses/psychoses like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and Persona (1966).
To the dissatisfied memoirist or the impatient splatter hound, the book may seem unfocused, unsure of what it wants to be. But House… – like its author – is its own animal, following few rules, going where compulsive curiosity drives it, however tangled that route may be. What holds it all together is Janisse’s powerful pen: “Guilt ran through 1970s genre films like a parasite, eating away at the psyches of female characters, who oscillated between domestic responsibility and the desire for autonomy.” But she never writes more beautifully – or drolly – then when telling her own story:
“…given my erratic emotional and social patterns, my Christian Aunt Pam started to worry about my mental and spiritual well-being. After all, I was a sketchy juvenile delinquent with a gun living in the basement listening to Anarchy in the UK about a hundred times a day. One night…she and her weird friend Beth came down to my room…they were going to save my soul with the help of Jesus Christ. I was really tired and asked if they could save my soul some other time.”
Whether you’re in the camp that considers exploitation movies an undervalued form of subversive, underground cinema, or that it’s gory pandering of the worst kind, what’s clear in House… is the honest connection Janisse makes between her own traumas and grindhouse excesses. Hers is – with a painful, tragic obviousness – a sensibility shaped by the course of her life, related in compelling, insightful, and even, at times, touching fashion..
In the end, that may be the real value of House of Psychotic Women. It’s not about horror and exploitation films, nor is it purely about Kier-La Janisse, but an illustration of just how subjective film criticism is, how non-existent absolute concepts of “good” and “bad” films are, and how the value of what we see is determined not by what’s on the screen, but the personal lens through which we view it. As Janisse writes:
“Everything we see onscreen is a fiction that we are asked to believe, and we believe in it because we can find truth in that fiction.”
original link: http://www.soundonsight.org/book-review-house-of-psychotic-women-a-compelling-dive-into-the-personal-appeal-of-extreme-cinema/
MENTAL ABOUT MOVIES
By Malcolm Fraser
from Cult MTL, July 20, 2012
The Montreal anglo arts and media scene is very small and incestuous,
to the point where the line between “community coverage” and
“back-scratching nepotism” is sometimes blurry. And so it was with some
hesitation that I approached an interview with Kier-La Janisse—intrepid
programmer at Fantasia, Film Pop and the late, lamented underground screening room Blue Sunshine, as well as the author of the new book House of Psychotic Women, published by Fab Press.
Although we are not close friends, we know each other through a
multitude of overlapping roles—I was her editor at a certain recently
departed weekly newspaper, and she programmed a documentary
of mine at Film Pop and other festivals. But I’ll swear on the tattered
remains of my journalistic integrity that I’m hyping her book here not
because of these connections, but because it’s eminently worthy of
House of Psychotic Women is a new kind of book: an in-depth
analysis of the ways female neurosis and psychosis are portrayed in
horror films, woven through with a bracingly candid autobiographical
story that unsparingly chronicles the author’s shockingly dysfunctional
childhood, extreme relationship dramas and multiple mental breakdowns.
“It seems kind of self-absorbed to write an autobiography when no one
knows or cares who you are,” Janisse admits with typical
self-deprecation. The book took over a decade to complete, but as she
explains, “most of that time wasn’t spent writing, most of it was spent
reorganizing the material. Originally there were no autobiographical
elements at all. It was going to be a book of essays about
different films, many of which I’d already published in my fanzines and
Her university studies found her detouring into feminist film theory,
but as she recalls, “I got disillusioned with academic writing and then
had to start it again from scratch.” After discussions with friends who
urged her to “write from the gut,” she asked herself: “Ultimately,
what’s my point? What am I trying to accomplish? And I realized that
what I was trying to accomplish was personal. Once I started focusing on
that, the writing got a lot easier.”
On top of the film analysis and autobiography, the 360-page tome
includes an appendix exploring the films in even more detail, plus a
coffee table book-worthy gallery of lurid film posters. It makes for a
unique read that defiantly straddles genres and markets. “I definitely
worry about horror audiences just wanting the movie stuff, and thinking
it’s totally self-absorbed and narcissistic. So I’m expecting a lot of
negative criticism from that side. Also, feminists are probably going to
hate it,” she laughs. “So I don’t know what the audience will be.”
But there’s a lot to appreciate in the book, both in her
counterintuitive but persuasive feminist reading of a genre often
dismissed as misogynist, and in the courage she shows in recounting her
personal struggles. She sets the tone early on when she defines the
project’s goal with the powerfully simple statement: “I wanted to know
why I was crazy.”
“A lot of this talk about craziness was kind of a reclamation of the
word, and how it’s not that bad to be crazy,” she declares, concluding
with a laugh: “I think of it as a superpower that can be used for good
See the original article HERE
A Force to Be Reckoned With: Kier-La Janisse and Her 'House of Psychotic Women'
By Maude Michaud
From Planet Fury, August 25, 2012
Let's face it, Kier-La Janisse is a force to be reckoned with.
Over the past 15 years, she has created the CineMuerte Horror Film
Festival (Vancouver, BC, 1999–2005); founded the Miskatonic Institute of
Horror Studies as well as the Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Center,
Montreal's coolest micro-cinema (2010–2012); and programmed for the
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Austin, TX, 2003–2007). That's in addition to
working for the Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal, QC),
being the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (Ashley Fester, 2004), writing A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (published by FAB Press) and contributing articles for Filmmaker magazine, Fangoria and Rue Morgue, among others. And this extensive list is only the tip of the iceberg that is this woman's achievements.
I first met Kier-La in 2009 when she generously agreed to contribute
to my Bloody Breasts documentary webseries by letting me interview her
amid the craziness that is the Fantasia Film Festival – she later
moderated the panel about women horror filmmakers I organized in 2011
for the same festival – and we have since become friends. I have heard
her talk, countless times, about an exciting and intriguing book she was
writing about female neurosis in genre films that would draw from film
studies, but would also be autobiographical.
This summer, the book in question, House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films
(published by FAB Press), was finally launched during Fantasia Fest. Of
course, like anything Kier-La does, it wasn't an ordinary launch.
Instead of the typical "let's gather and have a drink and maybe buy the
book" type event, the House of Psychotic Women launch consisted
of a series of screenings of some of the films covered in the book,
introduced by Kier-La herself, during which audience members could buy a
copy of the publication. For the Canadian launch during Fantasia, the
following titles were programmed: Full Circle (a.k.a. The Haunting of Julia, Richard Loncraine, 1977), Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981), Christiane F. (Uli Edel, 1981) and Dr. Jekyll and His Women (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981).
Unfortunately, given the length of the book (350+ pages), I can't
offer you a full review as I haven't yet had the time to finish reading
it. (I am still fully savoring every page!) Instead, Kier-La was
generous enough to answer a few questions and shed some light on her
your book takes an interesting approach by focusing on the
representation of psychotic women in genre films, which is arguably the
antithesis of the typical gender studies analysis of the psycho-sexual
dynamics of women as victims. What inspired you to focus on psychotic
At first, it was just because someone pointed out how many of my
favorite films had these kinds of women in them, and so then I started
to wonder why. After many aborted attempts to write the book from a more
academic or objective standpoint, I finally realized that because the
reason I am drawn to these characters is personal, that was the approach
I had to take for the things I said to have any meaning. So, what it
comes down to is just that I relate to the characters. They all either
remind me of myself, my mother or my sister – or my relationships with
them. That triangle is the real house of psychotic women.
You explore such a vast body of work, including films that span
genres. Did you use any particular methodology when deciding which films
you would or wouldn't include? Did you have a rigorous selection
There wasn't really a methodology, and every time I tried to create
one, I would stray from it. The only real criteria was that I wanted the
film to spend some time investigating the roots of that character's
neurosis, or at least give us some clues about it. The idea that these
characters were reacting to trauma was important. So I didn't include
stock "sadistic" female villains unless we were given some way into the
character's psychology. Most of the characters are sympathetic to me in
some way. Certain classic films that are clearly not genre films but
were important to future characterizations of female neurosis include Red Desert, Persona, The Snake Pit, Black Narcissus, etc. My own taste goes all over the map, but it's still a map, and things are connected.
There is a strong autobiographical angle to your book. Can you tell me more about that?
I've had a hard time communicating with people my whole life. I can't
articulate things the way I mean to. I think a big part of why I write
about the same things over and over again is because I never feel that
the way I wrote it the first time was what I meant to say. I had more
conventional nightmares as a kid, but as an adult all my nightmares are
about not being able to talk, or being blind – not being able to connect
with the world. I can feel it around me, and it can hurt me, but I have
no agency within it. This feeling has led to a lot of my problems in
relationships from my parents and siblings to friends, co-workers and
boyfriends. I am constantly trying to assert myself, and so I project a
very hostile energy, I think. I think I'm afraid of disappearing.
So, part of the book was to try to get all these things down, to
create a document of my neurosis, and to see how it was affected by
watching the same kind of behavior paraded in front of me in films. I
realized how therapeutic watching these films really was for me, and
once I sat down to analyze it, I could actually find specific things
from my life that directly correlated with things in the films liked. I
don't think this is especially unique, everyone likes the films they
like because it triggers certain memories or pleasure centers for them,
but I was watching all films that could be seen as triggering negative
memories. But I think that was important, because it made me able to
deal with those problems with some distance. I know there are people out
there who are way more neurotic than me – I can still function in daily
life – but I think any objective fairness I have in evaluating my own
neuroses and to what extent they are to blame in the problems I have,
comes from watching these films. I think I would be a lot worse off
Was it challenging to know you were including so much of yourself in the book? Did you ever question this approach?
Yes, and there are many times I considered taking certain things out,
feeling like maybe they weren't necessary to telling the story and that
I was unnecessarily exposing myself to ridicule. But I left them in
because I felt that, ultimately, they were relevant and, to be fair, I
couldn't hang my mother's laundry out to dry without doing the same with
I know you've been working on the book for quite some time. How do you feel now that it is done? Was it cathartic?
Yes and no – it was good to get it all out and finish a project that
I'd been working on for so long, but it's not as though all those
problems are solved now. It's funny; no one picks up on this, but all my
immediate family members in the book are re-named after people from The Love Boat,
which was a show I loved as a kid because all these people could go out
into the middle of the ocean on a cruise for five days, wrestle with
their problems and come back to the shore with everything fixed. I wish
the book was like that, but it wasn't. A lot of the questions are still
there, the idea of dealing with something with finality so that you can
move on – I don't know if that really exists.
I know it's early to ask that, but what has the response to the
book been like so far? I can imagine it must spark really interesting
I've heard hardly anything yet except from people I know personally
who say they like it, so it's hard to say. I'll know in a month or so I
guess! On the Rue Morgue Podcast, Stuart Andrews hinted that it seemed
self-indulgent and narcissistic, which is probably totally true!
book had a successful launch at the Fantasia Festival, where a series
of films analyzed in the book were programmed as part of the fest. Next
stop will be Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, which will follow the same
model with a special "House of Psychotic Women" spotlight offering a
phenomenal selection of titles. Knowing your background as a film
programmer/curator, how much control do you have over which films gets
programmed during these festivals? Again, given the incredible amount of
films covered in the book, what influences your selections?
Actually, I've been lucky in that I've gotten to pick all the films,
based on availability. I try to pick films that are exciting to me and
that don't get screened often, if ever. In Austin, they're playing Karen
Arthur's The Mafu Cage, which I'm really excited about. Some
of the movies chosen for the retrospectives are not the films that get
the most ink in the book, but I have to think about the audience – Antichrist, for example, is an important film in the book, but it's too recent to screen again at Fantastic Fest.
What is your next project? What would you like to work on next?
I'm working on some writing for other people's projects; Mario
DeGiglio-Bellemare has asked me to write a chapter in a book on 1940s
horror that he is co-editing, but I'm still evaluating whether I know
enough about the period to do so. And I'm writing for a book that David
Kerekes at Headpress is putting out on made-for-television films. Beyond
that, my next personal project, aside from finishing a short film I
should have finished over a year ago, is starting work on a new book
called A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time, about children's programming in the counterculture era.
As an end note, who is your favorite psychotic woman?
Erica Kohut in The Piano Teacher. She is the perfect mix of
debilitating repression and violent hysteria. She tries so hard to
control herself and everything around her, but she just can't. And she's
full of tiny, intricate neuroses. I just love her.
I strongly urge any genre film fan to buy Kier-La Janisse's new book, House of Psychotic Women
– or, better yet, go meet her in person if ever she stops by a festival
near you – as it is one of the most refreshing approaches to a topic
rarely explored in film studies. Kier-La's next stop is Toronto's Fan
Expo this weekend, and then she'll be preparing for the American launch
during Fantastic Fest, which also includes an exciting series of
screenings. For those who can't make it, you can buy online the limited hardcover edition of the book,
which includes a playable postcard (it works just like a record) of
Charles Bernstein's "Somebody's Waitin' For You" from the film Pigs (1972) and gorgeous alternate cover art. The regular softcover edition will be available from FAB press on September 29, 2012.
See the original article HERE.
Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory column in the Montreal Mirror salutes Kier-La Janisse!
FROM "FAST FORWARD WEEKLY" (Calgary):
Festival of exquisite horrors
Vancouver's CineMuerte festival is documented in Celluloid Horror
Published January 10, 2008
by John Tebbutt
in Film Reviews
When video store employee Kier-La Janisse set out to create CineMuerte,
Canada's first international horror film festival, she never suspected
that she was in for an experience as emotionally wrenching as the films
she was presenting. One minute she's over the moon after getting her
idol, French director Jean Rollin, to agree to come to Vancouver as the
festival's special guest, and the next minute she's backhanded by the
realization that her salary from Vancouver's Black Dog Video isn't
going to be enough to fly the artist in from France. Not only that, but
Monsieur Rollin is undergoing kidney dialysis, and without careful
medical planning, the trip could kill him. And you thought planning the
company picnic was stressful.
The 2004 documentary Celluloid Horror
takes a look at the famous Vancouver festival, and at its tireless
organizer, Kier-La Janisse. Janisse, who had no prior experience in
organizing this kind of thing, managed to keep CineMuerte
going for seven remarkable years. Not only that, but she did it without
corporate sponsorship or even adequate press coverage; just one
determined horror-loving lady and her tiny band of loyal volunteers.
term “horror” is a touch too restrictive to properly describe the films
that Janisse programs; in fact, she stopped using the word to describe
her festival after the first few years. For Janisse, great cinema
should confront audiences with damaged characters, intense emotions and
ugly truths, leaving the viewer shaken, provoked and transformed. CineMuerte is not about “fun” horror movies like Jeepers Creepers or Final Destination, but about uncomfortable and unclassifiable works like Possession (1981), The Moor's Head (1995) and The Isle
(2000). Many of the films shown are subtitled, several are over 20
years old, and a number of patrons have criticized them for being too
“arty.” Janisse has resisted pandering to unsophisticated gore-hounds
and kept the integrity of the event intact, even when it has hit her in
the pocketbook (the festival has lost her a lot of money over the
contacts countries all across the globe, trying to secure films and
special guests. She frequently encounters cynical film distributors who
don't seem to care if their films get shown and who spoil everything by
turning her requests down flat, or worse, by taking her money and then
not delivering the promised film print. On the other side of the
spectrum are the special guests who go out of their way to promote
Janisse and her festival. European film star Udo Kier makes a
particularly good impression as Janisse's knight-in-shining-armour; he
brings her along to various press interviews, radiating effortless
charm and gently chastising the suddenly interested news media for not
giving Janisse sponsorship funding or press coverage.
In addition to talking-head interview footage and reaction shots of festival patrons, Celluloid Horror features clips from some extremely rare films screened at CineMuerte.
These clips run the gamut from disgusting to subtle; from ugly to
intriguing, and unless you're very good at tracking down obscure
cinema, you probably won't see this footage anywhere else. The CineMuerte festival had
its last hurrah in 2005, making this film slightly dated, but devotees
of horror cinema in general and the Canadian festival scene in
particular will want to check this one out.
See the original article HERE
CINEMUERTE'S LAST STAND
KIER-LA JANISSE TALKS TO KRYSHAN RANDEL ABOUT LAST YEAR OF HER LEGENDARY VANCOUVER-BASED HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
(Introduction wholeheartely stolen from my article on last year's CineMuerte )
There are no shortage of film festivals and fast film contests in
this town, and no shortage of producers that put on these events to
inspire Vancouver's independent filmmakers and film lovers, get their
names, businesses and causes known, etc. There is only one person I
know, however, that supports and admires a particular brand of
filmmaking so much that she puts on a film festival every year knowing
that she will lose hundreds, if not thousands of dollars doing it. One
woman that willingly programs almost exclusively obscure to completely
unknown films, in order to get them seen. One woman who buys her own
prizes, flies in special guests from around the world on her own dime,
and organizes everything herself, without a co-producer or assistant,
and only a handful of loyal volunteers to help her. That woman is
Kier-La Janisse, and the festival is the Cinemuerte Film Festival,
devoted exclusively to showcasing horror and fantasy films that range
from works to art, to cinematic atrocities banned around the world, to
solid genre cinema. In my humble opinion, Cinemuerte is the greatest
film festival in Vancouver (with the exception of the Vancouver
International Film Festival), and when it comes to bringing out my
inner movie geek, nothing else comes close.
Kier-La knows the
horror / fantasy genres inside and out, and since she began Cinemuerte
in 1999 (when I was just old enough to legally see this stuff), the
festival has introduced me to dozens of extremely well made (often with
an emphasis on the extreme) one-of-a-kind films, including Wisconsin
Death Trip, Punishment Park, Uzumaki, Dagon, Nekojiro-so, Don't Look
Now, Pretty Poison, The Day Of The Beast, Tattoo, Zero Day and the
legendary Cannibal Holocaust (banned in over fifty countries). Her
festival is also terrific because of her tireless devotion to making
the event as, well, eventful as possible for its attendees, including
fantastic prizes, special guests, short films, old movie trailers and
many many surprises. This year her festival event's included a Buffy
sing-along night, two screenings of her own 48-hour horror filmmaking
challenge, and an all-night exploitation marathon. Did I mention she
also organizes the entire fest from Texas? She has been working there
for the last two years as a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse.
I spoke with Kier-La shortly before the launch of her seventh and final CineMuerte event. Why final? Read on...
KRYSHAN RANDEL: In a nutshell, what is the Cinemuerte Film Festival?
KIER-LA JANISSE: An annual film festival devoted to horror and exploitation cinema, both premieres and retro obscurities.
KR: What motivated you to start Cinemuerte?
The lack of horror films that played theatrically in Vancouver, and the
inaccessibility (at the time) of 95% of the world's horror films.
KR: What is your criteria and/or selection process for the films that are shown at Cinemuerte?
I try to find films that I find engaging on both a visceral and
intellectual level. With older films, the audience is more demanding;
the film has to really stand out, be innovative, have great dialogue or
cult actors. If it actually scares them, even better. But for new
films, people almost don't even care how good the film is, they're
already willing to give it more of a chance because it's new. So for
new films I can pick things that are more silly. And for older films,
they are picked according to these two criteria:
a) Has it been made available on DVD in the last two years? (if so, then I usually pass on it)
Is it such a universal favorite that a substantial audience have/will
watch it over and over again? (i.e. THE THING, FRIDAY THE 13th)
What are some of the notable reactions to some of the more "extreme"
films you have shown at Cinemuerte (e.g. fainting, hate mail, creepy
KJ: Well this year I've gotten some hate mail for
showing CASUISTRY: THE KILLING OF A CAT, but not as much as I expected.
I ignore letters about CASUISTRY, because only idiots who haven't seen
the film protest it. They have no idea how pro-animal cruelty laws it
is. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST - one guy fainted and got taken away in an
ambulance, and a woman ran out crying. I was nice and gave her a
refund. But at the same time, some people left that screening because
they thought the film was boring and "not harsh enough". I also got one
guy who was very upset at the cover for Year 2's programme. It was a
still of a woman who had killed her whole family being electrocuted. I
think her name was Ruth Snyder. Basically it was this weird picture
that was taken with a covered camera strapped to a reporters ankle. The
image is very blurry, and you wouldn't necessarily know what it is
unless you knew it was a famous photograph. I chose it because there
was something abjectly horrifying about it - and I say that because you
couldn't tell what it was, but it was still unsettling for some reason.
But if you found out the history of the picture, it would have
additional meaning, and I guess at that time, that was what I was
trying to do with the programming - horror films may superficially be
"scary", but when you know their history and the history of the people
who make them, it creates this whole new level of interest. For
example, that picture of Ruth Snyder was widely published, and as a
result capital punishment was abolished in many states. Also because I
sometimes play documentaries, I thought it wasn't out of line to use a
picture of a real thing rather than a still from a fictional film.
Talk about the incredible guests you have brought to Cinemuerte in the
past, and some of the cult legends we can expect to see this year.
Jack Taylor (this year) is a legend. If any horror fan doesn't know who
he is they should feel embarrassed. Udo Kier was a maniac, Jean Rollin
was a sweetheart, Jim Van Bebber scared the audience, and that made me
happy. John Saxon could be my dad. Ed Neal has decided he IS my dad.
Too much awesomeness to even recount in such a small space.
What is different about this year's program than previous years? I've
noticed that there are far more recently made horror and sci-fi films
at your festival, for example...
KJ: More people like the new shit, as stated above...
KR: Why is this the last year you intend to bring Cinemuerte to Vancouver?
The films are too expensive for the amount of attendees I usually get,
the DVD explosion killed me, and this is the first year The Georgia
Straight will ever have done an article on CineMuerte! If the Straight
had treated the festival as a serious entity every other year, it may
have attracted enough people to keep it going.
KR: To all the Vancouver filmmakers and filmlovers reading this...why should they go to Cinemuerte?
Because if they've lived in Vancouver for 7 years and NEVER gone to
CineMuerte, they are movie-poseurs! When Quentin Tarantino and
Rodriguez make their GRINDHOUSE movie you might actually have a clue as
to what they're getting at instead of just having to pretend to. And
all the people who HAVE gone already know the reason.
More information about CineMuerte can be found at www.CineMuerte.com. The festival ran from Oct 27 to 31, 2005 Kryshan Randel
See the original article HERE
AUSTINIST INTERVIEWS MUSIC MONDAYS MASTERMIND KIER-LA JANISSE
Every single Monday night, music fanatics converge upon the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown to attend Music Mondays, a brilliant series of engaging, informative and sometimes peculiar films about music.
It’s an awfully cool series, and while we’ve always assumed that
these sort of things magically organize themselves, that turns out not
to be the case at all. Music Mondays is actually the invention of
writer / music lover / dedicated film junkie Kier-La Janisse.
Recently, Austinist had a chance to sit down with Kier-La to discuss
Music Mondays, the unique nature of music films and the questionable
legitimacy of The Monkees.
Were you involved in film before you came to work at the Alamo?
I was doing film stuff for maybe five years before I came here. When I
lived in Vancouver, I used my student loan to put on my first film
I’m sure the government would be happy to know that.
Yeah, I’m still avoiding their phone calls. In 1999 I put on a horror
film festival called Cinemuerte, and I did it every year up until last
year. I just worked at a video store, and I would just pay for this
festival out of my own pocket.
When I first did it, I rented some theatre for really cheap, and it
was by complete accident that I rented it. I basically went to the
theatre owner and said, “Why don’t you play some horror movies?” And he
called me up later and said, “So, what dates do you want to rent the
theatre for? Because I’m setting up the new schedule”. And I was like,
“I don’t want to rent the theatre. But…well, how much is it to rent the
I’d just gotten my student loan, so I was like, “okay, I’ll rent the
theatre then”. So I booked it for ten days, which is insanely long for
the first time you put on an event. Most people start by doing a
weekend thing, and if it’s popular they’ll do it longer the next time.
But I didn’t know what I was doing.
The place could only play 16mm and various forms of video, so the
first year that’s all I could show. Now, I’m totally opposed to showing
video – if the film is shot on film and available on film, I will not
show a tape or a digital version. But the first year, because I only
showed 16mm and Beta, it was fairly cheap. I was able to get in touch
with the rights holders for most of the films through people I knew at
the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.
Was the festival successful?
I didn’t expect anyone to actually go. I just thought it’d be fun to
watch some horror movies on a big screen with my friends. But it turned
out that people came, and it got to the press. So I did it again, and
moved it to a bigger theatre, and got 35mm prints of everything, which
made the whole thing a lot more expensive. The shipping of the films is
expensive on its own – and I brought guests in from Europe. I brought
in Jean Rollin, who made a lot of French Lesbian Vampire stuff in the
60s. And I brought a German underground director named Jörg Buttgereit
who’d made this movie Nekromantik that I really liked.
So I went right into this full-on, expensive festival with no
sponsors or anything. And doing that for years was what got me the job
at the Alamo. Tim and Karrie, who own the theatre, came up there one
year after hearing about my festival from a mutual friend, and they
were watching me run around and do everything, and they were like,
“don’t you have anyone else that does that?” And I didn’t! I eventually
had volunteers that would work the door, but for the first four years I
didn’t even have that. I’d work the door, run in to introduce the
movie, and run back to the door.
and Karrie were impressed with the different skills that I had doing
this festival, so they were like, “well, if you ever want t a job, you
should come work for us.” And I said no at first, because I didn’t have
any intention of moving. I wanted to open my own theatre, which I did;
but I ran it into the ground after about three months.
And they still wanted to hire you after that?
Well, it was my attitude that they liked. They thought I was crazy –
they liked that I’d throw myself into it. If somebody’s willing to put
their own money into things, those are better people to have on your
team than people who just want to blow your money on shit.
If you’re in film exhibition, everyone comes up to you and says,
“you should show my movie”, or “you should show my friend’s movie”,
with no concept of the bottom line. Everyone wants to pick the movies –
that’s the fun part. So I think me having the experience, and having
put my own money into things, even if they failed, was impressive to
them in some way.
Were you in film school in Vancouver?
I was actually in school for Medieval Studies.
Is that even a real thing?
It was supposed to be according to UBC’s course schedule. But it turned
out to be not very real at all. All the teachers were dead or retired,
but they still had a Medieval Studies degree listed in their stuff.
You could get your PHD in Medieval Studies. I went there because of
that, and I took all the entry-level courses. But once you got into
your third year, there were no courses. So I just kept taking
electives. Random shit like “Scandinavian Studies” or whatever.
Eventually I just quit because I was racking up this $40,000 student
loan but not getting anywhere near my degree.
And film seemed the next most attractive thing to you?
Film was the thing I was always really interested in, but my parents
and everybody I knew were very discouraging. The way people are with
any kind of random art like that. Like, “you can do that for a hobby
but you can’t really do it for a living”. Plus I didn’t really want to make
films. I was just more interested in films than I was in anything else.
I loved watching films, but didn’t think I could do anything with it
for a job.
So you’ve been at the Alamo for about three years now, but how long has Music Mondays been running in its current form?
Music Mondays has been going for about two and a half years now. And
it’s funny, because Tim was originally against it. I kept trying to get
a music series together, and he was like, “there’s so much music stuff
already going on in this town – who wants to come and see music movies
when they could go see a live band?” And I was like, “but they’re not
going to get to go see Klaus Nomi live”, you know?
Yeah – I’d actually think it’d be the opposite. I’d think that Austin is one of the better places to do this kind of series.
That was my argument. There are so many people interested in music
here, so there’s practically a built-in audience. But Tim wasn’t
willing to let me do it.
It eventually happened like this: Christmas week, it’s impossible to
pick movies, because no matter what you pick, it’s going to fail. So I
said, “give me the Monday night, two days before Christmas” It was the
worst night of the week on the worst week of the year, so it didn’t
really matter that much if it failed. So I put in a Serge Gainsbourg
show, which was a compilation I’d put together of clips and interviews
that we’d translated from French. They were interviews that were only
available in French, so we subtitled them with these lame, half-assed
subtitles, and we put it on a double-bill with Pretty Things,
which was a glam rock compilation that I’d made. And they both sold
out. It was incredible. Tim was just floored – especially because they
weren’t even real movies, they were just compilations that I’d made
So that’s how Music Mondays was born. But in the last month or so,
we’ve seen this decline in attendance, and I’m not sure where it comes
from. We used to be sold out pretty consistently.
I mean, we’re not able to have something every week that deals with
a universally appreciated musician or subject. But part of the idea
behind the series was that we wanted to be able to do these more
obscure things and have people come anyway because it would be seen as
sort of a musical education series, where you could go every week and
learn something new.
Is there something specific about music movies that you like? What draws you to them?
Well, I just like music. And I’d say, as a kid, a primary influence on
me was Scooby Doo. You had my two favorite things: rock bands and
haunted houses. And a rock band in a haunted house was the perfect
premise for any movie.
So I loved all those Hanna-Barbera cartoons that had people solving
mysteries and monsters and rock bands. Some of the people on the Butch
Cassidy show were actually in rock bands. Or they’d have guest stars.
But there seemed to be this real pop culture tie-in. And I think a lot
of the things I grew to like as an adult came form watching those
What do you think film brings to music? What does it do that music can’t do on its own?
For a lot of music documentaries, it’s about the story. For a person
who’s already a fan of the musician, they don’t really care about a
documentary as much as they’d rather just see unexpurgated footage of
the person performing. But in order for that musician to reach a
broader audience, they need people to hear their story. It’s like a
newspaper article. What’s the personal interest angle? You have to sell
the person to the audience.
It’s rare that you get a music documentary where fans of the artist
think that it’s anything but superfluous. But people who are just
learning about the musician might think that it’s the most amazing
movie they’ve ever seen. So music movies are definitely built to
convert to people to the music. Most of these films are made because
the filmmaker loves the music, and they want to share it with other
people and draw attention to the artist.
What’s your favorite of the films that you’ve shown at Music Mondays?
One of my favorites is Head, the Monkees movie. I love the Monkees.
You know that they don’t play their own instruments, right?
They DO play their own instruments! That’s a myth – trust me.
I trust you, but I’m totally going to look it up when I get home.
They have studio musicians that play extra shit, and I think on the
first album they didn’t play their own instruments. Don Kirshner was
producing them at the time, and he also produced most of those
Hanna-Barbera cartoons – he got a lot of the musical acts to be on them
- and he didn’t want The Monkees to have anything to do with the music.
He just wanted them to be puppets. But after they had some hits from
that first album, they were allowed to have more control and they
wanted to actually play and produce the songs themselves.
More of the Monkees, their second album, was mostly
outtakes form the first album, so that doesn’t really count. But after
that, they definitely wrote their own stuff and produced songs and
played their own instruments.
And they played live concerts! And people would say that there was a
live band behind a curtain who was actually playing the songs, but that
wasn’t true. Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith were actually already in bands
when they got cast. Micky Dolenz did have to learn to play the drums to
play the songs, but Davy didn’t really do anything besides play the
I was out of town recently, and went to a regular theatre to
see a movie, and couldn’t help thinking, “this sucks!” I mean, I find
that the best experiences at the Alamo are when it’s busy. But at a
regular theatre, you want to go when nobody else is going to be there.
Yeah. Have you been to Weird Wednesdays yet?
No, not yet.
The Weird Wednesdays experience is very cool. Lars’ introductions are
way better than mine. I don’t like doing introductions. But Lars is
very comfortable up there, and he knows a lot about movies. If you
pitted QT against Lars in a Movie match, Lars would win, hands down. I
know a fair bit about movies, but I also know when someone knows more
than me – and Lars definitely does.
Well, I'm definitely going to be a regular at Music Mondays.
Good. There are people I recognize as Music Mondays regulars, and
sometimes if they don’t come one week, I’ll actually email them the
next day to say, “Where the hell were you?”
See the original article HERE
From "Films in Review":
A VIOLENT PROFESSIONAL: THE FILMS OF LUCIANO ROSSI by Kier-La Jannise
By Oren Shai • Mar 15th, 2008 •
What a year 2007 has been for lovers of exploitation films! Following the theatrical release of GRINDHOUSE,
multiple DVD labels started issuing sleazy double-features from the
60’s and 70’s, and while they don’t get the royal treatment companies
like Blue-Underground or Synapse would give them, they are still great
for those of us who don’t own a VHS player. In theaters we had the
Tarantino / Rodriguez affair, Craig Brewer’s superb, BLACK SNAKE MOAN
and Eli Roth’s HOSTEL: PART 2, that featured notable genre actors
Edwige Fenech and Luc Meranda, and a moving cameo by legendary
director, Ruggero Deodato (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST). From a
Spaghetti Western retrospective at the Venice Film Festival to various
screenings hosted by Tarantino, Roth and Edgar Wright in LA, everybody
wants a piece of the Exploitation pie – longing for the days when
independent cinema was truly independent.
This surge of exploitation appreciation didn’t skip your bookshelf.
Tim Lucas released his massive biography of Mario Bava (reviewed by Roy
Frumkes in the Christmas Editorial), the Italian company, Cinedelic,
published beautifully-made reference guides for Italian genre cinema,
and the British FAB Press has been consistently putting out some of the
best genre writings out there.
And here comes a treat to the Italian Exploitation enthusiast from
FAB’s “Cinema Classics Collection”: Kier-La Janisse’s “A Violent
Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi”.
“While countless books and magazines have been devoted to the female
stars of the Italian exploitation films, commonly assessing their faces
and figures more than their acting,” writes Kier-La Janisse in her
introduction, “I have yet to encounter a book where a female fan of the
genre appraises an actor in a similar fashion.” It is true that most
studies of Italian Genre Cinema and the Exploitation industry are
conducted by male writers, an unfortunate fact that Kier-La
successfully counters. One could only wish her intro ran longer then
2-pages, as her personal point-of-view is one of the strong points of
Luciano Rossi is an interesting subject as he is an obscurity within
an obscurity. Although he is one of the most frequent faces in
Spaghetti Westerns and Italian Crime cinema, Rossi never managed to
reach stardom and usually portrayed a psychopath who meets a violent
death at the hands of heroes like Django (Franco Nero) or Commissioner
Betti (Maurizio Merli). It would be easy to dismiss Rossi at first, but
once the viewer becomes aware of him, he is undeniable, always
delivering an intense, powerful performance, even in the smallest of
parts. Without a doubt, he is one of the most prolific actors of the
Italian Exploitation cinema.
“A Violent Professional” is a survey of Rossi’s roles and films,
offering a summery of each and a description of his character. His
actual biography runs a short 4-pages and leaves a reader hungry for an
in-depth look at his life and career, but that is not the goal of the
publication. Not a “straight” read, “A Violent Professional” is a
viewing companion, a reference guide. Kier-La has two rating systems
for each film: A star-rating for how big Rossi’s role is and a
heart-rating for how cute he is in it. Those personal touches give the
book its edge.
Rossi’s career creates a collage, a remarkable landscape of Italian
Exploitation cinema. He worked alongside the best Italy had to offer
and also some of the worst. In the close-to-70 films covered in this
book, a reader would find Western classics such as Sergio Corbucci’s DJANGO and obscure gems like Mario Lanfranchi’s DEATH SENTENCE.
Seminal Crime-genre works by Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi and Stelvio
Massi. A few great Giallos and a handful of other genres. With the
exception of maybe Tomas Milian, very few Italian actors have a body of
work that follows these genres from birth to disappearance. While the
book may focus on Rossi, the nature of his career makes it a reflection
of the Italian Exploitation industry as a whole.
“A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi” is not a primer
or a beginner’s guide, and would be hard to recommend to those who are
new to Italian genre cinema. But if you are a fan who wishes to explore
these genres further, you’d want it mounted on your bookshelf.
See the original article HERE
From the Austin Chronicle:
Just Another Manic Monday
Music Mondays (and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, etc.) at the Alamo Drafthouse
Journey was the original emo band. Not emo in the "I hate myself/I
wanna die/Why don't you love me?" way, but actually emotional.
Journey's songs were about triumph over the broken heart, going your
"Separate Ways," spreading those "Open Arms," and, sometimes, about
"Sandcastles," but that's just on Japanese import. People tend to talk
about them with hushed admiration or bile-eaten hatred; there's really
no one who says, "Yeah, Journey's OK."
Haters would have had a field day during Faithfully: the
Journey Sing-Along at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown on a recent
Saturday night. "Travis County's premier Journey cover band," Odyssey,
provided the preshow score. Nevertheless, there were some personal
triumphs happening in the rowdy, to-capacity audience. There's triumph
in the scattered air-drum solos during "Open Arms"; there's triumph in
the fact that a fortysomething investment banker is wearing his 1981
Journey Escape tour T-shirt and no one harasses him; and when the time
comes during "Lights," we hold up our cell phones in place of a
In short, we feel it, man. This is why Journey still gets
played at every prom in the country; they're part nostalgic longing and
part white-fringe leather irony, which equals some sort of guilty
triumph. On the night in question, folks pounded the tabletops, stood
up and cheered, and collectively laughed at Steve Perry's moustache in
the video for "Faithfully." We also cringed when close-ups of the
band's commendably tight pants lingered a little ... too long.
Journey was getting its night of crowd-assisted "Lovin',
Touchin', Squeezin'" on an appropriate headliner night, but the Alamo's
Music Mondays, roughly 21/2 years old now, have neatly coexisted with
events like weekend sing-alongs of R. Kelly and competitive events like
the Austin Air Guitar Championships. Music Mondays mold bits of
cultural detritus into 90-minute history lessons, exposing local music
fans to rare footage of underground or cult-status acts, while also
screening wide-release documentaries like Lian Lunson's poetic Leonard
Cohen doc I'm Your Man and indulging audiences in the
occasional guilty pleasure like the recent boy-band sing-along. In
other words, Music Mondays are a void-filler on otherwise dead evenings
Music Monday emcee and programmer Kier-La Janisse, an
energetic, petite brunette with an armful of tattoos, is largely
responsible for the material shown; she's been a film junkie since her
college days, when frequent arguments with film professors stoked her
passion even more.
"I'd always been 'the horror girl' since as far back as I
could remember," Janisse explains. "In kindergarten I scared other kids
with gruesome stories, collected Fangoria and Famous Monsters
[magazines], watched the Saturday Creature Feature religiously, and
brought hand grenades to show-and-tell. By the time I hit 30, my
interest in the genre was starting to wane a bit; I had kind of
overdone it my whole life."
Janisse met Alamo owners Tim and Karrie League in Vancouver,
where she was putting on her annual splatter horror fest Cinemuerte.
"We had a mutual friend who recommended that they come check out my
festival," she explains. "So they did, and we became friends and later
ran into each other at another festival in Spain. It was there Tim
offered me a job while under the influence of alcohol and then forgot
that he had offered me a job when I decided to take him up on it
several months later. But I was keen for a break from Vancouver and
decided I'd come down here for a year to try it out. I stayed."
In December 2003, during a particularly slow Christmas week, she screened Pretty Things: The Rise and Fall of Glam Rock together with I've Come to Tell You I'm Going,
a Serge Gainsbourg compilation she cobbled together. Both sold out, and
Music Mondays was born. Since she began, at a bargain-basement door
cover of $2 (it was $1 until a few months ago), music lovers have been
treated to a variety of films, from the enlightening to the downright
weird. Back in May, they presented a night devoted to enigmatic cult
crooner Scott Walker, and earlier this year was the hell-and-gone 1981
documentary Urgh! A Music War, featuring performances from Gang
of Four, the Cramps, and Gary Numan, and Klaus Nomi's alien arias,
which brought down the house. Folks have campaigned to bring this one
There was Derailroaded, the heartbreaking bio of Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, a Sixties counterculture casualty and performer; the grainy but excellent TV Party,
a late Seventies/early Eighties cable-access show in New York in which
Basquiat and Deborah Harry were regular cast members; the Monkees'
trippy, Jack Nicholson-penned film Head; the well-attended retrospective on New Zealand's Flying Nun Records; the stark investigative doc Jandek on Corwood; a sold-out screening of Amazing Grace,
a Jeff Buckley retrospective; and a terrific BBC documentary on the
Fall that made Mark E. Smith seem kind of likable. Music Mondays have
also delved into the lives of reclusive or revered artists like Gary
Wilson and Nick Drake. Then there was the Wayne Newton birthday party.
Beyond just music films, however, the Alamo has been attempting synergy. Whether it's a director Q&A, like Gram Parsons, Fallen Angel
director Gandulf Hennig, Ian McLagan's Faces live set and birthday
party for one-time Austinite Ronnie Lane in conjunction with The Passing Show, The Life and Music of Ronnie Lane,
or this Saturday's Cut Chemist show in Waterloo Park, with visuals by
the Alamo's Rolling Roadshow and sponsorship from Emo's, music and film
have come together in a community where both thrive. This only means
good things for both camps, DIY endeavors much of the time.
One recent experiment was the Beats Per Minute film festival,
co-sponsored by Vulcan Video and the record store folks at End of an
Ear, where local teams were given 48 hours to create a music video.
Entries included someone in a Big Bird suit doing dirty deeds to Olivia
Newton-John's "Physical" and a guy in bike shorts thrusting to Def
Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." There's the potential for absurdity
here, with Austin's reputation for weirdness and all, but there's also
potential for serious discourse, whether it's watching a bunch of
metalheads burn churches in Metalstorm or shimmying to the history of bubblegum music.
The most synergistic event so far may have been the recent screening of Fallen Angel,
another sold-out event and a film Janisse had stalked for years.
Immersed in an obtusely utopic Southern California backdrop, the
documentary, now on DVD, plays out as a stunning portrait of a genre's
birth, though the majority of the film is profoundly sad; Parsons could
never quite tear away from his reflection, but the music was almost
prescient, resigned to fate years before his untimely death. It also
prompts the question: Could anyone in country music today get away with
wearing sequined suits with pills and marijuana leaves sewn on them?
Steel-blown pop quintet Li'l Cap'n Travis played live after the
film, which is another aspect the Alamo has nurtured. Psych heroes ST
37 were one of the first local acts to score a classic silent film for
the Alamo, then accompany it live ("The Sound and the Fury," Music, September 10, 1999). The group's bassist, Scott Telles, remembers their scoring of Metropolis
as one of their "most successful gigs ever. I think most bands would do
it for free Alamo food and beer and the exposure," he says. He also
provided narration for several segments of a recent Krautrock doc.
The Flying Luttenbachers, meanwhile, played live for a screening of Contort Yourself: A New York No Wave Tutorial.
Cry Blood Apache held court in a parking lot before a recent Monday
Judas Priest doc, while Golden Arm Trio composer Graham Reynolds
presents a small orchestra for the musical portion of the A Scanner Darkly
showing at the Alamo this weekend (see Screens p.50). Janisse says she
wants to do this more frequently, but with the budget, she has some
"I know there are probably some bands that would be happy to
play for free," she acknowledges, "but I usually feel bad asking them."
While the quality of the films isn't always top-notch, with the low
admission price, big films aren't always available. So Janisse searches
out 35mm prints or broadcast video format. If it was shot on film, they
play it on film. "We can't bring in a lot of classic music movies that
are owned by studios, except maybe every once in a while," Janisse
laments. "So that's why we haven't played Stop Making Sense or The Last Waltz or Tommy.
Also, the availability of the films in 35mm is often a problem. I don't
like to show films on video that were shot on film. So I won't show Get Crazy or Suburbia unless I can find a 35mm print.
"Also, this is just the snobby part of me," she adds, "but I
tend to avoid really popular contemporary bands. If I do things
focusing on a recent band, it's usually an indie band. But I do want to
expand the spectrum of music that I'm covering with the series, so
suggestions are always cool."
Of course, there are some misses. One particularly bizarre choice was the recent Stunt Rock,
a two-hour opus featuring a Rod Stewart-looking Aussie stuntman and a
bedazzled band called Sorcery. When Janisse doesn't have a full-fledged
doc on hand, she often edits footage and interviews together and adds
voiceovers for context, such as for the Gainsbourg doc, a process that
doesn't mesh with every viewer. "The only thing I've really noticed is
that sometimes people think the films are too long," Janisse says.
"This is common with indie filmmakers who fall in love with their
subject and forget that the audience can get disengaged quite easily.
But, usually, I find the strengths of the film outweigh the weaknesses
and that if I have to choose between showing a movie that might be 15
minutes too long and not showing that movie at all, I'll show it
anyway, because I think the subject matter is underexposed or the film
makes some valid arguments."
And discussion is what Janisse is striving for, as an ardent
music lover herself. There are usually regulars in the audience every
week, regardless of what's playing, and in a city so cross-pollinated
with filmmakers and musicians, Music Mondays offer a meeting point, a
forum for all the music and film nerds in town to revel in obscure
musicians and bands, or learn about a musician they've never heard of,
and possibly get drunk and eat curly fries.
"I hope to create a following for it like Weird Wednesdays,
where the audience is just really open-minded, and they'll go every
week even if they don't remember what movie is playing," Janisse says.
"I would love to have the theatre full every week and then everybody
just goes for a beer afterwards and raps about the movie."
Or about the creative legitimacy of "Oh Sherrie," as was overheard that Saturday night at the Journey sing-along.
"In high school, I took a lotta shit for liking this band," Janisse said to the crowd. "Who else got shit for liking Journey?"
A few claps.
"Fuckin' Journey!" someone screams.
These were the believers. They never stopped.
See the original article HERE
From the Georgia Straight (Vancouver):
Anything goes for Cinemuerte curator Janisse
Standing amidst the rows of horror rentals at Cambie's Black
Dog Video, Kier-La Janisse hunts for a title she'd consider
watching. It takes a little while-she's already seen a lot of
them-but then her eyes fall on the spine of a DVD called Barbed
Wire Dolls. "I'd probably watch this," she says, extracting the
1975 women-in-prison flick by European exploitation king Jess
Franco. A quick glance at its lurid cover reveals that the film
is squarely aimed at a crowd unopposed to scenes of female
degradation and suffering. This ain't Driving Miss Daisy. But
Janisse, as curator of the Cine?muerte Film Festival, loathes
restrictions. She's not put off by the celluloid exploitation of
"Not at all," remarks the 33-year-old cineaste, programmer,
and Fan?goria contributor. "I mean, if you're making a fictional
film and the actors have agreed to be in the movie and they don't
care about the roles they're playing, then they're just having
fun. They're just acting out fantasy situations, and if it's
fantasy, anything goes. Whether it's torturing a woman or
castrating a man, I feel like it's all fair game."
Like-minded filmgoers will appreciate the taboo-blasting works
Janisse has lined up for the seventh and final installment of
Cinemuerte, which runs now through Halloween at Pacific
Cinémathèque. For starters, there's the 1974 Japanese flick
School of the Holy Beast. It's about a young woman who enters a
convent, searching for clues in her mother's strange death.
According to the festival's Web site (www.cinemuerte.com/), "she
soon discovers a smorgasbord of vice as she's abused by lecherous
archbishops, a lesbian mother superior and a line of fellow nuns
ready to whip her (in the film's most deliriously over-the-top
scene) with rose-thorns!" That same title is currently on the
shelf at Black Dog, where Janisse worked from 1998 to 2003 before
being offered a programming job at the prestigious Alamo
Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, where she now resides. The question
is: wouldn't most fans of kinky cinema just rent the DVD and view
it at their leisure rather than jostle for seats at a crowded
"That's one of the reasons the festival is ending," she
relates. "Like, it used to be really hard to find films like
School of the Holy Beast. It used to be that you would have to
get them from sketchy mail-order companies, and a lot of people
just didn't feel comfortable sending cash in the mail to weird
people they'd never met. But now so many DVD companies are buying
rights to them and rereleasing them, remastered and everything,
that it definitely decreases the [theatrical] audience for those
Devotees of Japanese nun-whipping flicks should know that the
Cine?muerte screening of School (Thursday [October 27] at 7 p.m.)
will feature a brand new, "really beautiful" 35mm print. Also of
note is The Birthday (Sunday [October 30] at 7:30 p.m.), a 2004
horror-comedy by Spanish director Eugene Mira that includes a
"very strange" performance by lead actor Corey Feldman. It also
stars '70s Eurohorror icon Jack Taylor, a mainstay of the
aforementioned sleazemeister Franco's films, who will appear in
person to receive a lifetime achievement award from Janisse. She
got one of her contacts from the Alamo Drafthouse, famed American
director Quentin Tarantino, to film a congratulatory intro for
Festivalgoers drawn to more unsettling subject matter might
consider Zev Asher's controversial 2004 documentary Casuistry:
The Art of Killing a Cat (Saturday [October 29] at 7 p.m.). It
tells the story of three young Toronto men, including artist
Jesse Power, who, high on a hallucinogen, videotaped their
torturous slaying of a housecat in the guise of an "art project".
Although there is no actual footage of Power's cat-snuffing video
in Casuistry, Janisse says that it is still the most disturbing
selection at this year's festival. "I guess to a certain extent
it is exploiting the situation," she ponders, "but I feel that
the way the subject matter is handled in the movie is very
respectful and very pro-animal- cruelty laws. Allowing the people
who killed the cat to speak freely about what they did doesn't
make them look intelligent; I didn't come out of the movie seeing
their point. Instead, I came out thinking, 'Yeah, we should have
harsher animal laws.'?"
Janisse got hooked on genre films as a kid growing up in
Windsor, Ontario. Her very first memory is of watching the 1972
Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing terror-on-a-train epic, Horror
Express. But her lifelong interest in movies that shock hasn't
culminated in a desire to push people's buttons for the sake of
getting a response. "I play things that I'm interested in sharing
with people," she points out. "I mean, I've already gotten hate
mail because of playing Casuistry, but I'm not playing it because
I want to outrage people. Sometimes I know that there are movies
that are gonna upset people, but I don't get scared off from
See the original article HERE
The Edmonton Journal
Published: Thursday, January 17 2008
go about our daily routines, treating our co-workers with respect,
avoiding eye contact with people on the bus. At home, we are kind to
our husbands and wives, we chuckle at those deluded children on
American Idol. Most of us avoid the dark thoughts, at work and on the
bus, in the kitchen, in the bath. If, for instance, we're given to
wonder if anyone in the neighbourhood is -- at that precise moment --
having sexual relations with a chrome hedgehog dipped in caramel sauce,
we push that thought away and resume chopping vegetables and listening
to As It Happens.
That is, most of us.
Others indulge these
wonderings and imbed them in cult films. German director Jörg
Buttgereit, for example, who released the ultra low-budget Nekromantik
1 and Nekromantik 2 in 1988 and 1990, which concerned the lust and,
yes, love between a man, a woman and a decayed corpse.
1 and 2 were banned in a number of jurisdictions around the world,
including British Columbia. That is, until a video-store clerk and
horror aficionado named Kier-La Janisse wrote a series of passionate
letters to the film classification board in 1999. She was planning to
initiate a now-defunct film festival in Vancouver called Cinemuerte,
and wanted Nekromantik and Buttgereit to be part of it.
won, on grounds of artistic merit and freedom of expression. The first
year of her festival, designed to peer deeply into the international
underground horror scene, was a success.
Her struggle, and clips
from some of Cinemuerte's most memorable onscreen moments, are
documented in a feature film by Ashley Fester called Celluloid Horror.
It's an intimate look at what it takes to be an arts administrator in
Canada, particularly when the art form or event doesn't neatly fit into
the mandate of any public funding body in the country. Janisse, like
all born administrators, is obsessive about her chosen subject:
extremely disturbing low-budget movies.
Celluloid Horror is a
cheap documentary about a cheap film festival. In my time working as a
Culture writer at The Journal, I've met a number of people like
Janisse: intelligent, organized, passionate and knowledgeable, and
living in apparent poverty by choice. They're the sorts of people who
would excel as bureaucrats or small business owners. Instead, they
choose to work three times as hard, producing small festivals and
running not-for-profit arts organizations.
Fester, who grew up in
Edmonton, now lives in Vancouver. Her mother runs Chickies, the
venerable antique store in Highlands, and her father is a real estate
agent here. Celluloid Horror started as a promotional video for
Cinemuerte but morphed into a
feature-length documentary when
Fester found Janisse --whose formative years included abuse,
evangelical Christianity, reform school, assault with a deadly weapon
and, of course, scary movies -- too fascinating for a short. Their
approaches are similar.
"A lot of people wait to get money from
the government," says Fester, who will be in Edmonton tonight for the
Metro Cinema screening of Celluloid Horror with the 1976 Spanish cult
film Who Can Kill a Child? "People like Kier-La and I, I guess, we just
do it. We'll apply for grants, but if we don't get any money, we'll
find a way to do the thing anyway."
Fester is renting Metro Cinema tonight. She has rented theatres in
her bus tour across Western Canada, and she's selling DVDs of the film
at every stop. Similarly, when Janisse couldn't get grant money or
large corporate sponsors for her festival, she threw fundraising
parties. One, featured in Celluloid Horror, was called Torture Garden.
Audiences were invited to watch a series of laughably bad films for
several hours, some with the accompaniment of an ear-shattering "noise
band." If you decided to leave early, the fee was $20. If you stayed to
the end, it was only $5. She made $600.
It hasn't been easy,
touring Celluloid Horror. Improbably, Fester lost money in Winnipeg,
where Janisse now lives and works at the Cinematheque. In the last 10
years, low-budget feature filmmaking has become accessible to anyone
with a camera and a computer. It's now on par with self-publishing a
novel and recording an album. Anyone can start a festival. The most
difficult and expensive challenge for all of these do-it-yourself
approaches to art is the same: marketing and distribution.
and distribution for an event or art form that concerns itself with
graphic necrophilia offers its own special set of problems. If the
Internet has taught us anything, though, it's that our most fanciful
and vile thoughts are not unique. If you are determined and willing to
forgo middle-class rewards like a house and a car and new clothes once
in awhile, you will find an audience.
assured, several people out there want to see, read or listen to their
neighbours having sexual relations with a chrome hedgehog dipped in
caramel sauce. Just don't bother applying for a grant to facilitate it.
See the original article HERE
From "THIS MAGAZINE":
Notes from the underground
In defence of fantasy and horror cinema
BY Dorothy Woodend
Tell someone you like science fiction, fantasy or horror films
and you might get “the look.” A look that says, “Are you silly,
immature or, worse, pervy?” Fans of genre cinema—the term
applies to many different categories of film but is most commonly
applied to sci-fi, fantasy and horror—have long had a
bad rep as freaky weirdoes, social misfits,
gore hounds and so on. I know because
I am one of them. Despite being a
confirmed coward, I feel drawn to the dark
side simply because there is often some
odd form of truth there.
The success of the Fantasia festival in
Montreal (which runs for almost three
weeks in July), Toronto After Dark and
the Calgary Underground Film Festival
(now in its fifth year) indicates a growing
level of interest, acceptance and
even love for the form. But whether this
is a good or bad thing usually depends
on whether you were a fan before
mainstream acceptance. In this
post-Tarantino age, it’s getting damn hard
to find very much that is truly underground
any longer. Cult cinema ain’t
what it used to be.
Isaac Alexander, who contributes
to different science-fiction blogs and
worked with the Seattle-based anime
convention Sakura-Con, says, “When
I grew up, I was a part of school
clubs devoted toward science fiction/fantasy and anime. These clubs provided
the ‘distribution’ to discover video
programming from distant lands,” says Isaac. “Now, you just
need to load up the internet and head to YouTube.”
Kier-La Janisse, who founded Vancouver’s infamous (and
now defunct) horror film festival CineMuerte, pulls no punches
in her assessment of this phenomenon: “I think the mainstream
always comes knocking when anything underground proves to
be viable to some degree, regardless of genre. Then they rip off
the ideas of all the real pioneers, the people who took all the
chances to prove that these types of films could work.”
She adds that a true aficionado is someone who works to
locate low-quality versions of these titles. “When I want to watch
Messiah of Evil or something, I watch a crappy VHS of it. I need
the specialness—otherwise you’re just a consumer.”
A consequence of this contradiction is that films that do
very well at bigger festivals like Fantasia or Toronto After Dark
often err on the lighter side of the darkness. A case in point is
an Austrian film called On Evil Grounds, which has screened
in multiple festivals including the Calgary Underground Film
Festival and Fantasia. On Evil Grounds is very much like a Tex
Avery horror film (for those who don’t know the man, he was
the looniest of the Looney Tunes animators). Bodily fluids erupt
everywhere, and one doesn’t know whether to laugh or throw
up. Maybe both. Since it is made for people to hoot and holler
at, the film was a massive
success at festivals.
Of course, festivals cannot
live on love alone; you still need
funding, and bums in seats.
Certainly there is devotion from
committed fans, the occasional
bit of critical respect, even money.
Well, sometimes. Bill C-10 is only
the latest offensive that critics fear
will deny tax dollars to films that
are excessively violent without an
educational value. You can have
your bloody mayhem, but there
better be a lesson buried at its centre.
Despite the increased visibility
and popularity of genre cinema,
the festivals that program it don’t
get much help from the Canadian
Try explaining to the Canada
Council the educational benefit of
films that depict maniacs hacking
up boobalicious teenagers, and you
get the picture. Or maybe you don’t,
since many films simply don’t get
shown. Brenda Lieberman, who runs the
Calgary Underground Film Festival, says, “People often stereotype
horror fans, which makes it less likely for sponsors to jump
in.” CUFF has been growing slowly over the past five years, but
the festival still struggles to break even, balancing more obscure
offerings with crowd-pleasers.
If you really want to see weird stuff or, worse, show weird
stuff to other people, you still have to do it yourself. I think it’s
time I started a film festival.
See the original article HERE
From UPTOWN MAGAZINE (Winnipeg):
BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these bands, baby
compilation explores the bands, the producers, the writers - and
occasionally, the chimps - behind the bubblegum pop music of the '70s
its title from a collection of essays on prepubescent pop edited by Kim
Cooper and David Smay, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth is an
evocative trip into the previously uncharted, much-maligned territory
of music history.
With its primary focus on the years between
'67 and '72, compiler/narrator Kier-La Janisse has delved deep into her
files of rare footage for material representing such kooky and sickly
sweet bands as 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Archies, Ohio Express (the
group behind Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, not to be confused with its other
smash, Chewy, Chewy), and The Sweet.
than anything else, the bands themselves are largely revealed to be
frauds and fronts;n neatly contained packages of pop confections. As
was more often the case, raging creative egos and enterprising spirits
would ultimately take over after a band would have a hit, and the unit
would either implode or go on, such as The Monkees, to finish up its
run (and television series) at a resourceful peak. Later, songwriters
and producers worked around this by not using human beings at all, and
thus: animated cartoons - The Archies, The Groovy Goolies - were
ushered forth to become the predominant venue for these manufactured
Of all the music sampled, the most out-there acts
may be The Banana Splits (colourful, costumed animals) or the actual
group of monkeys that headled the Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp group.
Pure WTF concepts, these trippy concoctions have numbers that are
catchy as hell and even more entertaining to witness, with utter
travesties and underrated gems alike springing forth at a tremendous
clip. It's almost too hard to keep up.
Charting the phenomenon
from The Brill Building (which began with such stellar songwriters as
Neil Diamond, Carole King and Gerry Goffin), to West Coast producers,
animated one-offs, The Partridge Family, U.K. glam sensations, Scotland's Bay City Rollers and, finally, to '80s boy bands such as
Menudo, Janisse leaves no stone unturned. The corresponding images and
sounds parade over the viewer, leaving them in a hazy daze, unable to
reason with what they've just seen, but excited at the possibilities of
what's coming next.
Thankfully, the selected excerpts from the
many essays inside the book put everything in context - who knew that
the Jackson 5 (depicted here in their difficult-to-locate cartoon)
spawned many imitators and cash-ins, including The Osmond Brothers?
Here, their animated shows seen side-by-side, the correlations between
the two are thrown into sharp relief.
As a flashback to a
simpler time of breakfast cereals, bell-bottoms, and moon rocks,
Bubblegum Music... knows no equal. Only in retrospect do we realize how
uncorrupted and ingenious this music could be.
— Aaron Graham
See the original article here
September 2nd 2009 - THE UNITER (University of Winnipeg Paper)
Contributing to the culture
Independent film programmer Kier-La Janisse shares her love for music documentaries and horror films with Winnipeg audiences
Kier-La Janisse may be the only Winnipegger who can say that Quentin Tarantino once fought on her behalf.
In 2007, Janisse was applying for a visa to keep her position as
head programmer at the the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema movie theatre in
Austin, Texas, where she’d worked the past four years.
In order to help prove that Janisse had special skills no one could
replace, the Inglourious Basterds auteur wrote a letter to the
government praising Janisse’s unique programming.
“I don’t know Quentin personally,” Janisse, 36, said over a beer at
Cousins recently, adding she was able to get the letter because
Tarantino is a friend of the Alamo’s owner. “But he has done a few
favours for me over the years.”
In the end, her application was denied and Janisse moved to Winnipeg after accepting an assistant position at Cinematheque.
She doesn’t mince words about what it was like returning to the city where she was born and attended high school.
“It was a little bit of a blow to become an assistant and come back to Winnipeg, which I hated.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Winnipeg. It’s just that when
your main interests include obscure horror and exploitation films, as
well as documentaries about under-appreciated musicians, the city
doesn’t have much to offer.
“You realize it’s what you make it,” Janisse added about her return
to Winnipeg. “And any place can be great if you’re determined to make
“If I’m not satisfied with the culture where I am, I feel like I have to contribute to it.”
To that end, Janisse has started putting on music-related screenings
through her Big Smash! Productions moniker, such as The Queen
Sing-Along + Freddie Mercury Birthday Tribute at The Park Theatre this
coming Saturday, Sept. 5.
A week later, Janisse will introduce Winnipeggers to her taste in
film when she presents Ten Hours of Head Trauma: A Trash Film Marathon
at the Ellice Theatre (see sidebar).
“You could explain everything from my life based on the fact that I
watched Scooby-Doo as a kid,” Janisse said. “A gang in a van who solved
mysteries, Don Knotts, rock ‘n’ roll, horror—it kinda had everything I
was interested in.”
Janisse’s love for horror films also comes from growing up in
Windsor, Ont., watching the creature features on a Detroit TV station
Saturday nights with her father. He would even wake her up so they
could watch an additional creature feature the station would air at 3
“My dad would get excited about these movies, so I would get excited.”
Janisse got her start in film writing and exhibition in 1997, when
she started Cannibal Culture magazine, a quarterly Vancouver-based
fanzine devoted to reviews and essays about obscure horror films.
In 1999 she started the CineMuerte International Horror Film
Festival in Vancouver because many of the films reviewed in the
magazine weren’t easily accessible to Canadian horror films.
She paid for everything out of her own pocket and did everything
herself. The festival lasted for seven years, and led to opportunities
to curate programs in San Francisco and advise festivals in Montreal.
Janisse, who currently works at Into the Music and Video Pool to pay
the bills, has written for a variety of horror magazines, published a
book on the subject and is currently working on another. She’s been the
subject of a documentary, edited a few herself and met most of her
cinematic heroes along the way.
While she misses working in Austin, where it was easy to find people
who were just as excited to put on similar events as she was, she
praises the opportunities available in Winnipeg.
Although it’s already culturally diverse, there’s still room for more people to do their own thing.
“Anything anyone wants to do, no one’s doing it,” she said. “There’s
opportunity for people to get a foothold, carve a niche or start a
career doing what they want.
“I feel hopeful. I mean, I wouldn’t be planning all these events if I didn’t.”
See the original article here
From MONDAY MAGAZINE (Victoria, BC):
The Sight of Music
Antimatter celebrates a dozen years of deviation
For the past 12 years, Antimatter has provided a venue for short
films, video installations, live performances and feature-length movies
that you won't see in your average theatre—or even your average
festival, for that matter. And, because the selection process is based
on what curator Deborah de Boer and festival director Todd Eacrett (as
well as several guest curators) deem to be the creme de la creme of the
hundreds of films submitted each year, de Boer says that the term
"theme" doesn't apply.
"We're a pharmacy: whatever ill you have, we can treat it," she says. "We have many different programs."
And while it might not have been intentional, there do seem to be a
large number of music-oriented events at this year's eight-day
festival, from the Small World opening gala—where local musicians will
offer up their interpretations of classic Disney tunes—to closing
night's Zaireeka in Sound and Pictures, a presentation of the Flaming
Lips' famed quadraphonic album accompanied by works by eight Winnipeg
filmmakers. For local artist and musician and Small World curator J
McLaughlin, an invitation from de Boer and Eacrett to create an
opening-night party meant she was able to realise a dream six years in
"It's been in the back of my head and I thought it would become that
show that would never happen," says McLaughlin. The Friday-night show
at Open Space will have folks like Wes Borg, Slut Revolver, Run Chico
Run and many others doing covers of tunes like "Pink Elephants on
Parade" and "A Whole New World."
"The Pine Family has taken over the entire Robin Hood soundtrack,
apparently. I'm not quite sure how we're going to fit that in," says
McLaughlin, adding that the musical performances will be accompanied by
archival and home footage of 1950s-era Disneyland, video mixing and 15
Kier-La Janisse, one of the eight Winnipeg filmmakers who created
original short films for Zaireeka, says the project was initially
intended to be a one-off thing.
"I'm actually considering submitting it to other places now, because
a lot of festivals seem interested in branching out into more
multimedia or non-traditional cinema," she says. "I'm glad that it gets
to live on outside of Winnipeg, that people are interested in it
elsewhere and that these filmmakers' work didn't have to just play once
and then disappear."
And a lot of work it was: each of the eight filmmakers chose a tune
from the Flaming Lips album—which consists of four CDs, each with a
single stereo track on it, meant to be played in sync—and made a short
film to go with the song. The catch? Each film has four screens of
"At the very end, everything was put together into one program and
played on four different sound systems," explains Janisse. "So I guess
it's not even quadraphonic, it's octophonic."
Other music-oriented screenings include Loki, a feature-length
documentary about former Os Mutantes singer Arnaldo Baptista on October
13 and Just One Kiss: The Fall of Ned Kelly, where Finnish filmmaker
Sami Van Ingen will be premiering his 55-minute experimental film—a
recreation of the first-ever feature film by the same name—accompanied
by a live soundtrack courtesy of Dixie's Death Pool's Lee Hutzulak,
happening October 14 at Cinecenta.
"The narrative is told through these intertitles in between the
clips and the actual clips, it's kind of a tangential relationship,"
Hutzulak explains. "[Van Ingen] has collected some incredible images to
And Hutzulak has collected some incredible instruments to accompany
the film, including a circuit-bent keyboard, a homemade reverb pan
("it's a frying pan that I've put springs overtop of," he says), scrub
brushes and a synthesizer. "It's like improvisation with a lot of
The former Victorian says he's looking forward to performing at
Cinecenta and he's been doing time-lapse video of a lot of the creative
process. I'm planning to document the project and the actual
performance at the show so I can make something, a piece of art from
this piece of art."
Just One Kiss is an Antimatter event that Eacrett is particularly
excited about. "The piece itself, which is the world premiere, is
something that's going to change and evolve every time it's shown, both
because he's going to edit it and add more footage and take stuff out
and work with different composers and musicians each time," he says,
adding that nearly three-quarters of Antimatter's films are either
world, Canadian or North American premieres.
And while the diverse array of short-film programs is sure to draw
in the region's more avant-garde cinema fans (pick up a program guide
or check the Antimatter Website
for details on the programs and installations), does Eacrett think the
music-based programming will help reach some new viewers? "I hope so,"
he says. "We've done some music-based stuff in the past, both
individual programs and some longer documentaries, and some hybrid
things that involve performance and live music. It definitely reaches a
crossover audience, whether it's people that are interested in the band
in question if it's a documentary or in that confluence of music and
cinema and performance."
And if they come to see a band documentary and leave an experimental film fan, all the better.
See the original article HERE
From The Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday May 1, 2010:
Festival aims to draw in animation fans
Organizers pulled a few strings to include
puppet fare, too
If you think cartoons are the domain of benign sweetness and light,
you might want to meet Kier-La Janisse.
Before she programmed films for Cinematheque and Austin's Alamo
Drafthouse, Janisse of Winnipeg's Big Smash! Productions, was the brains
behinds a notorious Vancouver horror film festival called Cinemuerte.
Specializing in transgressive horror movies and thrillers from around
the world, it was a labour of love for Janisse that ultimately cost her
thousands of dollars of her own money to produce.
Janisse, 37, is putting her money where her heart is once again with
Plastic Paper, a festival devoted to the more innocuous (but no less
edgy) arts of animation and puppetry.
Co-curating the four-day event with local filmmakers Clint Enns and
Leslie Supnet, Janisse brings her passion to the fest, which will see
the Winnipeg debut of the Oscar-nominated feature The Secret of
Kells and appearances by a cult animator and the scion of a
puppeteering legend. And if it all seems a far cry from programming
Italian cannibal movies, Janisse suggests otherwise.
"Animated films are more respectable in a certain way, but they get
to be a lot more experimental than regular films," she says. "So you
could have something be completely surreal and nonsensical or whatever,
but it's still a more respectable medium.
"And a lot of these films, I'd consider to be experimental."
On the program:
-- Seconds Under the Sun (Wednesday May 5 at 8 p.m.)
A program of Japanese animated shorts from 1972 to 2009 curated by
Toronto programmer Naomi Hocura. "This is one of the best short-film
programs I've ever seen," Janisse says. "With most short-film programs,
you get maybe three duds, but I loved everything in her program."
Indeed, all three of Plastic Paper's programmers were so impressed, they
elected to make this the opening night event, with Hocura in
-- Handmade Puppet Dreams with Heather Henson (Friday, May 7 at 6:30
The daughter of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, Heather Henson
was invited by Janisse to a special screening of The Muppet Movie
at the Alamo Drafthouse a few years back, where Janisse also got to see
Hensson's touring program of short puppet films. "I loved her program
and I don't think I expected to as much as I did," Janisse says. "It
made me a lot more appreciative of puppetry in general." Henson's
Winnipeg show is a "best-of" four past programs and while "it's
kid-friendly, it's marketed at adults," Janisse says. "There's not a
whole lot of silly voices." Tickets are $10.
-- The Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party
(Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m.)
Janisse revives the tradition she began as a Cinematheque assistant
programmer, combining a buffet of breakfast cereals (including
hard-to-get cereals purchased in the U.S.) and a program of equally
junky retro animation culled from TV shows of yesteryear. Tickets are
-- Bill Plympton's Animation Master Class (Saturday, May 8 at 1 p.m.)
Bill Plympton may be an Oscar-nominated animator, but he has a cult
following drawn to his oft-surreal spectacles and his off-centre sense
of humour. "What I like about his work is that he always uses a pencil
and paper and he hand draws everything," Janisse says. "His feature
films normally feature something like 30,000 drawings." Plympton teaches
animation classes in New York City and "he's going to do a condensed
version of the classes as a workshop here," Janisse says. Admission is
-- The Secret of Kells (Saturday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m.)
This 75-minute film set in a walled-off Irish abbey during the Middle
Ages was nominated for an Oscar in the best animated feature category
alongside Up, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox and
The Princess and the Frog, and yet never received a meaningful
theatrical release. This screening may be the city's only chance to see
it on a big screen before it goes to DVD.
-- Summer Wars (Saturday, May 8 at 7 p.m.)
You may never have heard of this 2009 Japanese feature, but the anime
fantasy about the battle for a virtual world (called Oz, if you please)
by Mamoru Hosada is "a way bigger film than we should be able to have,"
Janisse asserts. "Mamoru is considered the new Miyazaki."
See original article HERE
From Winnipeg's Uptown magazine, Thursday April 29, 2010:
Watch the Magic Unfold
Plastic Paper: Winnipeg’s International Festival of
Animated, Illustrated and Puppet Film gives an under-appreciated art
form some much-deserved recognition
by Kenton Smith
Winnipeg is about to
become a more animated place.
Plastic Paper, Winnipeg’s
International Festival of Animated, Illustrated and Puppet Film, unfolds
May 5 to 8 at the Park Theatre. Among the films being screened will be
The Secret of Kells, nominated for Best Animated Film at this year’s
Guests include Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton,
who will present an animation master class, as well as puppeteer Heather
Henson — daughter of Muppeteer Jim Henson.
Kier-La Janisse of
Big Smash! Productions leads Plastic Paper’s crack team of organizers:
local filmmakers Clint Enns and Leslie Supnet (herself an animator) as
well as Toronto’s Todd Brown.
Personally, Enns is looking
forward to the screening of Barry Doupe’s Ponytail, which Janisse
declares is “one of the most original films in the festival.” As for
Brown, he’s excited about Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars.
great film from someone who I believe is a major emerging talent in the
world of animation,” Brown says. “It was a pretty complicated process to
obtain it — we had to coordinate with companies in both the U.S. and
“I think the festival’s significance is largely how it
brings the sheer variety of animation and related forms to light,” he
continues. “The animation we see in the multiplex represents such a
small amount of how the medium can be used, and yet it’s all most people
ever have the chance to see.
“In North America, animation is
still an under-appreciated art form. It’s quite limited — it’s still
largely seen as something for kids. But in other parts of the world,
things are different.”
“Animation is a weird animal,” Enns says.
“It isn’t taken as seriously as arthouse or experimental cinema, but it
is often more experimental and deals with more complex themes.”
Supnet says, animating allows you to work with a minimal crew — which
means less constraints and full control.
“Animation,” she says,
“is a great medium for control freaks.” Brown adds it enables unlimited
imagination, because “drawing something costs nothing.”
there is some debate regarding the respective definitions of animated
and illustrated film.
“To me, illustrated film is a rising
sub-genre in which flat, 2D images are manipulated without actually
animating them,” Brown says. “The wave of ‘motion comics’ coming out is
good examples, as is John Bergin’s feature From Inside.
projects are drawn but the images don’t really move — only the camera
So how does puppetry fit into the scheme of things?
included them because puppetry comes from the same crafty place: you
know, very hands-on, labour-intensive and detail-oriented,” Janisse
Plus, she wanted any excuse to bring Heather Henson.
See the original article HERE.