What I’m talking about
DEFENDERS OF LIFE AT GARIFUNA INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FILM FESTIVAL VENICE, CALIFORNIA ON SUNDAY, MAY 21 AT 7:45PM
The sixth annual Garifuna International Indegenous Film Festival is six days of films from May 12 – 27th. I learned of the festival because of the upcoming screening of ‘Defenders of Life’ from director/writer Dana Ziyasheva and Igor Darbo (Producer) that is set in the Indigenous community of Costa Rica and filmed on location.
I am very interested to learn of the Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival and am excited to add this to my list of ‘Festivals to Attend’. I love seeing films representing diverse voices and stories that expose me to lives and people. The festival is during the weekend so am hoping to attend a film or two to see from another person’s eye how they see the world around them.
The film will be screened on Sunday, May 21 at 7:45pm at The Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA 90291with Dana Ziyasheva & Igor Darbo scheduled to attend. If you are unable to attend it is available exclusively on FlixPremiere at https://flixpremiere.com/film/
‘Defenders of Life’ at the Garifuna Film Festival,” said Ziyasheva, a journalist by training and former communications expert with the United Nations. “It is particularly important to me to show the film in the framework of an indigenous art event and next to other films by or about indigenous realities,” added Ziyasheva.
Every year, the Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival connects the Garifuna diaspora from all over the world as well as indigenous communities from across the globe via one of the most powerful art forms: film. Celebrating its sixth annual edition in 2017, GIIFF will kick off May 12th and run through May 27th. “Defenders of Life” is among more than 27 films selected by the festival, including features and shorts from the U.S., Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Iran, and African and other countries.
Director Ziyasheva agrees. Her film is set among in an indigenous community of Costa Rica and was inspired by people she served as a U.N. worker. “‘Defenders of Life’ was born out of the real-life friendship between Carmen, a Ngäbe matriarch, and myself, a United Nations civil servant from Kazakhstan,” she said.
“When staying at her house, we spent a lot of time talking about her life and her hopes/fears for her daughters and granddaughters. We both wanted to give voice to the voiceless, leaving a proud testimony of her ancient civilization under threat and show the place and challenges of women in this culture. We both wanted it to be aesthetic and allegorical,” said Ziyasheva.
The project relied totally on the trust her team built with the community. “We could not disrupt the balance of their lives with a large crew, gear trucks, etc.,” she said. “That was one condition of theirs for allowing us to make the film, along with having all their dialogue spoken in the Ngäbe native language, rather than Spanish. They knew and accepted each one of us into their private spaces and homes, and we lived on site the entire time of the shoot,” she added.
This year’s festival theme is “Remembering the Garifuna Holocaust” to pay tribute to the early Garifuna warriors that died for their people’s freedom 220 years ago, according to festival director Freda Sideroff. The Garifuna people are descendants of the only black Africans in the American continent who successfully fought against being enslaved, “paying the ultimate price, the death of many, and the relocation of resilient survivors,” said Sideroff.
WHAT: Garifuna International Film Festival 2017
So excited to attend the Opening Night Gala with a special screening of Justin Lin’s ‘Better Luck Tomorrow‘ Thursday, April 27th at 7PM at the Egyptian Theatre
Better Luck Tomorrow (BLT): Never underestimate an over achiever. To his classmates and teachers, high-schooler Ben Manibag (Perry Shen) appears to be the “model” student: a perfectionist and overachiever, destined for nothing less than graduating at the top of his class and then attending a prestigious college. But underneath this persona is a darker side – Ben and his bored high-school buddies lead double lives, flying high in a world of petty crime and material excess in order to ease the pressures of “being perfect.” It’s a free-wheeling lifestyle that soon takes a downward spiral, leading to an unexpected end. An Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival, Better Luck Tomorrow is a gripping, edgy and provocative film that rips the tranquil, well-manicured facade off of middle-class suburbia and cultural stereotypes.
Buy tickets to see the opening night film with JUSTIN LIN, SUNG KANG, JUSTIN CHON, KARIN ANNA CHEUNG, RODGER FAN, MATTHEW KNOWLES, AARON TAKAHASHI and more supporting diversity in film with the 2017 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. The Gala is presenting the 15 year anniversary of Justin Lin’s ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ in the original 35mm film that premiered at Sundance after Sept 11th and not the life affirming film that everyone expected. The story and cast is not what people expected from the Asian stars/director.
Purchase a Ticket Package!
“UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!” is the sci-fi parody adventure movie starring 40 former Star Trek actors premiering on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek!
I think this might be a Guinness World Record with this many former cast member of the beloved series in one movie!
“As an Independent Film Company, we at Archangel Films have worked tremendously hard on this film, and that work has been a gift. Working with the talented cast of 40 ‘Trek‘ stars as well as two ‘Trek” — The Original Series iconic musical talents was an amazing experience,” said Angelique Fawcette. “I hope that fans, who are used to seeing these actors in more dramatic roles, will have some fun and laughs watching the exploits of a Puppet hero and dozens of their favorite stars in our slapstick parody adventure,” she added.
I’m hoping to cover the premier with over 25 stars and guest stars from all FIVE Star Trek series at the upcoming screening in Hollywood this Wednesday at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. It’s a family affair with Steven L. & Angelique Fawcettee being writing, directing and producing under Archangel Films.
The parody is in the spirit of Airplane! and Mars Attacks but with a ‘red shirt’ Star Trek sensibility. The Chiodo Brothers created the star Kirk Stillwood (puppet) voiced by Kevin Carlson. Geral Fried composed the score of the film and it’s full circle since he worked on the original series.
“We wanted to create a unique and original film that sci-fi fans can watch again and again, celebrating their love for this iconic TV show. It is a Sci-Fi Parody Adventure, which uses none of ‘Star Trek’s’ intellectual property, with a cast of over forty former stars of the shows in a zany parody, along the lines of ‘Airplane!’ and ‘Mars Attacks!’,” said Steven L. Fawcette. “I hope the five exclamation points in the title “Unbelievable!!!!!” convey the film’s comedic sensibilities,” he added.
“Unbelievable!!!!!” is a Sci-Fi Parody Adventure. The movie follows the crazy exploits of four astronauts (one is an animatronic marionette which resembles the character “Captain Kirk” from the 1960s TV show “Star Trek”) who travel to the Moon on a rescue mission to determine the fate of two NASA comrades who have not been heard from in several days. The individuals they find at the Lunar Base are not whom they appear to be and, through acts of trickery and deception, nearly succeed in killing our heroes. The four return to find that everyone on the planet has been transformed into a variant life-form. Aliens from Mars have conquered Earth and now seek to destroy the last remnants of humanity. The astronauts fight back and soon discover how to rid themselves of the alien threat.
‘Unbelievable!!!!!” stars 40 actors who starred or guest-starred on one of the five “Star Trek” TV series, including Chase Masterson, Garrett Wang, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, Robert Picardo, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Nana Visitor, Walter Koenig, Linda Park, Connor Trinneer, Manu Intiraymi, Dina Meyer, Olivia d’Abo, Julie Warner, Armin Shimerman, Jeffrey Combs, John Billingsley, Dominic Keating, Max Grodenchik, Casey Biggs, Brenda Bakke, Patti Yasutake, McKenzie Westmore, Anthony Montgomery, Vaughn Armstrong, Gary Graham, Steve Rankin, Michael Dante, Jack Donner, Michael Forest, Sean Kenney, Gary Lockwood, BarBara Luna, Beverly Washburn, Celeste Yarnall, Bobby Clark, Jasmine Anthony, Crystal Allen, Menina Fortunato, along with Gilbert Gottfried and Michael Madsen, and introducing Katarina Van Derham, Producer/Actress Angelique Fawcette, and Singer/Songwriter Emily L. Stanton.
The 20th Chicano International Film Festival is September 10th & 11th
the closing night will have the Los Angeles premier of
THE OTHER BARRIO starring RICHARD MONTOYA
at the Arlight in Hollywood with a screening and Q&A on Sunday, September 11th TICKETS
Shot on location in San Francisco and based on true events, THE OTHER BARRIO tells the story of housing inspector Roberto Morales as he investigates the suspicious circumstances of a fatal fire in a residential hotel in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying Mission District and finds himself face-to-face with murder in the streets, corruption at City Hall and the mysterious Sofia Nido, a beautiful but dangerous flame from his past.
Los Angeles premiere of THE OTHER BARRIO at the 20th annual Chicano International Film Festival
The Chicano International Film Festival (ChIFF) will take place September 10th, 2016 at Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education in Lincoln Heights and September 11th, 2016 at Arclight Cinemas Hollywood. ChIFF includes independent film screenings, panel discussions and an exclusive art exhibit comprised of renowned Chicano artists, in conjunction with live musical performances by some of LA’s budding new Chicano/Latino musicians. The festival will close with the Los Angeles premiere of THE OTHER BARRIO co-written by and starring Richard Montoya. This independent feature film directorial debut from Producer/Director Dante Betteo is based on a noir short story by San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia. Shot on location in San Francisco and based on true events, THE OTHER BARRIO tells the story of housing inspector Roberto Morales as he investigates the suspicious circumstances of a fatal fire in a residential hotel in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying Mission District and finds himself face-to-face with murder in the streets, corruption at City Hall and the mysterious Sofia Nido, a beautiful but dangerous flame from his past. Q&A with the filmmakers and Alejandro Murguia to follow the screening. Red carpet beings at 12:30pm in front of ArcLight Hollywood. To learn more about ChIFF, please visit http://chicanoiff.com
I had to share this fascinating story of Chester Novell Turner who filmed his own horror films to … well no acclaim back in the 80s but was discovered by horror fans who wanted to see something new. Well they got new, scary and well BLACK with Chester’s twisted horror films. After reading this story in the NYT now I want to see Black Devil Doll and his other that alas are still on VHS but will hopefully be transferred to DVD or streamed online so that I can get a little scared in the comfort of my own apartment. It just goes to show that everyone has a story and SOMEBODY wants to hear that story!
Fairy Tale Ending in the Horror Realm
Chester Novell Turner and ‘Black Devil Doll’ Are Back
Images from “Black Devil Doll From Hell,” a 1984 film directed by Chester Novell Turner.
By ERIK PIEPENBURG – NYT November 17, 2013
In the 1980s, when the home-video revolution turned backyard directors into VHS auteurs, Chester Novell Turner lived his childhood dream of making horror movies. He bought a video camera, borrowed money from his mother and enlisted the help of buddies, a girlfriend and a preacher to make two ultra-low-budget movies that looked as if they were shot in a basement, because, in some cases, they were. “Black Devil Doll From Hell” was about a kindly woman who is raped by a ventriloquist’s dummy; “Tales From the Quadead Zone” was a trilogy of shorts that featured a killer clown and the ghost of a dead child. As word slowly spread about Mr. Turner’s gritty movies with African-American casts — a rarity in the very white horror world — bootleg copies of his films spread like crazy along the VHS underground.
Christian Hansen for The New York Times
Chester Novell Turner, who briefly made horror movies in the 1980s, at the screening of his “Black Devil Doll from Hell” at the Nitehawk Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Christian Hansen for The New York Times
A limited-edition poster designed by Earl Kessler Jr. for the screening this month.
Then he stopped. Although Mr. Turner told a newspaper in the late 1980s that he was at work on another film, it never materialized. In 1996, rumors surfaced that he had been killed in a horrifying car accident. Grief spread among his devotees, who by now were sharing the Gospel of Chester on the Internet. Although, by then, DVDs had started to replace VHS as the home entertainment option of choice, Mr. Turner’s films became some of the most prized VHS horror titles among fans who treasured the low-fi beauty of a chunky plastic box of tape.
As his renown among indie horror connoisseurs grew, mysteries remained: Why would he make a sinister psychosexual movie like “Black Devil Doll”? How did he come to make his leading character a working-class black woman, an unheard-of protagonist in the horror genre? Just who was this Roman Polanski of the South Side of Chicago?
Fast forward to 2013: a spry and alive Mr. Turner, 67, learns to his surprise that he is a niche horror star who is being cheered by fans at sold-out screenings across the country and is the subject of a new DVD boxed set.
“The reason we’re watching this film 25 years later is that you can tell Chester didn’t make it because he thought it would get him to Hollywood,” said Bryan Connolly, who manages a Vulcan Video store in Austin, Tex. “You can tell he had some weird ideas in his brain, and he had to get them out by any means necessary. Whether or not you think his films are trash, his drive is what a true artist’s drive is.”
Just after midnight on a recent Saturday at Nitehawk Cinema, a theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, mouths were agape during a screening of “Black Devil Doll From Hell” (1984). Filmed in a church, bar and other locations in Chicago, the bizarre sexual tale features Shirley L. Jones, who became Mr. Turner’s girlfriend, as a woman who undergoes a troubled sexual awakening after being assaulted by a dummy that looks like Rick James. The film is slow moving, crudely edited and has a low-budget look that comes from the VHS tape it was shot on.
John Woods, Nitehawk’s programing director, stocked “Black Devil Doll” at a video store he once owned, and he said he would tell customers: “Be prepared. It’s a crazy movie. It’s something you’re not going to forget, whether you love it or hate it.”
Mr. Turner’s mystique hit a zenith a few years ago, when an eBay auction of an original VHS copy of “Tales From the Quadead Zone” sold for nearly $700. The winner was Earl Kessler Jr., an illustrator who later designed a poster for the Nitehawk event. This year Mr. Kessler sold the video to another collector for over $1,300.
“They said, ‘Oh yeah, some kid stole that tape from us years ago,’ ” Mr. Justin recalled.
He called a Chester Turner who lived several blocks from the store. This Chester Turner, when asked if he was the director of “Quadead,” replied: “Yeah. Why do you want to know about that?”
Mr. Justin said: “I explained I was a giant fan of his films and said I would be honored to work out a deal and release them back into the public. His reply was, ‘Yeah that would be a lot of fun.’ ”
Mr. Turner, originally from the West Side of Chicago, said moviemaking was a side passion he developed as a child who devoured Hitchcock films and “The Twilight Zone.”
“I love the strange and the bizarre,” he said during an interview before the Nitehawk screening. “I had a twisted sense of humor.”
After taking a correspondence course on filmmaking basics, he shot “Black Devil Doll” with about $10,000.
“All my friends would say: ‘Who does he think he is? Steven Spielberg?’ ” Mr. Turner said. “But I said I’m going to do this because this story is worth telling.”
Mr. Turner self-released “Quadead” but sold “Black Devil Doll” to a distributor, who, he said, stiffed him. After that experience soured him on independent filmmaking, he focused on his home remodeling business.
Filmmaking “was a part of me that was left unfulfilled,” he said. “But there were other practical things that had to be taken care of,” like raising several children. (His wife died several years ago.)
Mr. Turner’s Brooklyn appearance was the last stop on a cross-country tour that commenced at the Cinema Wasteland horror movie convention in suburban Cleveland in October and continued in Los Angeles; Austin, Tex.; and Philadelphia. Far from looking like the creator of a demon doll, the director speaks quietly, with soft eyes and a wide, warm smile that delivers a hearty high-pitched laugh.
“People came up and shook my hand, and they were so sincere,” Mr. Turner said. “I’m amazed that people have that kind of feeling for something I did a long time ago.”
His re-emergence mirrors stories in recent documentaries about minority artists unaware of their acclaim among mostly white fans. Think of Sixto Rodriguez, the reclusive Hispanic musician in the Oscar-winning “Searching for Sugar Man,” or the three black brothers in a ‘70s rock group at the center of “A Band Called Death.” Like those artists, Mr. Turner turned the tables on racial conventions, in this case for horror movies, by casting black actors and shooting in black neighborhoods in Chicago and Alabama, where Ms. Jones was visiting relatives. His fans, however, have been the bread and butter of the modern horror genre: white and young.
Lars Nilsen, a programmer for the Austin Film Society, said he was initially concerned there was a “condescending hipster racism thing” in Mr. Turner’s following. “But I didn’t detect it at all” at his organization’s screening of “Black Devil Doll” with Mr. Turner and Ms. Jones, he said. “I think the fact that he’s black in a world that’s primarily white adds to the underdog thing. He’s a complete outsider in so many ways.”
Mr. Turner’s influence reaches beyond the horror set: Last year the Museum of Arts and Design showed “Tales From the Quadead Zone” as part of its VHS retrospective. Jake Yuzna, curator of the show, said Mr. Turner stood apart from other amateur filmmakers because his films “failed in a way that made them more original and fantastic.”
“If you watch the films, you can’t imagine there’s anyone else out there like him,” Mr. Yuzna added. “Like any auteur we talk about, like John Waters or Melvin van Peebles, these films are uniquely his. If you gave him a camera today, you’d know it’s his film.”
At a table in the Nitehawk lobby, Mr. Justin was doing a brisk business in DVDs and other merchandise. Later this year, the label Poisoned Mind Records plans to release a vinyl version of the “Black Devil Doll” soundtrack, which includes Mr. Turner’s own minimalist score (think of Kraftwerk with an R&B swagger) and original songs. Mr. Justin declined to go into detail about his contract with Mr. Turner, other than to say that he paid Mr. Turner for the rights to his two films, which is more “than what he made originally.”
“He’s been treated well,” Mr. Justin said of his deal with Mr. Turner. (“I trust him,” Mr. Turner said in a separate interview.)
Will Mr. Turner return to directing? He has several screenplays at the ready, including “Tales From the Quadead Zone 2” and a film about an afterbirth that comes to life.
“I haven’t reached a masterpiece yet,” he said.