The sixth night of the festival saw the events split across two venues. This was obviously problematic for several reasons. Firstly it divided the attendance and forced people to choose between screenings and secondly it meant that we weren't able to provide full coverage of the night. The Howler Bar was hosting the films NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD, COME BACK MR BULE and I AM EVANGELINE. These are all films I was every excited to see, but was unable to attend due to our own screening. We would hate for these three films to go unmentioned in our MUFF DIARY and so I would encourage you to click on those titles and check out the interviews we did with the filmmakers.
From all reports they had a brilliant turnout. Richard mentioned a near sell-out crowd (roughly 200 patrons), which is absolutely amazing. HUGE congratulations to each of the filmmakers. I will be making an effort to watch each film as soon as possible and will share my thoughts with you. Because I was unable to attend their screenings I put a call-out for guest writers to cover the night for us. At this point I have had no responses but if you were at those three screenings and would like to share your thoughts with an article (not unlike this one) then we would LOVE to include it.
And so on the other side of town at The Backlot Studios, we found ourselves with a much more modest attendance (smaller venue), but a good one and an enthusiastic one. Some had come along to eagerly witness Albert Pyun’s ROAD TO HELL while others were curious about Shane Ryan’s MY NAME IS A BY ANONYMOUS.
Following some drinks and mingle-time at the bar we all filed into the cinema. I stood at the front and welcomed everyone and proceeded with my introduction. With a few Pistonhead Larger beers in my system I cannot entirely recall what I said, but it was all documented on camera and so that will be revealed very soon. With a huge cheer for Albert we got the ball rolling with an exclusively recorded video message from the man himself. Joined by his wife Cynthia (who is also his writer and producer) they thanked everyone and gave some insight into the film itself.
The film rolled and from what I could gauge, the audience responded really well. I was unsure how the film would go down. I know that in my own mind it is a stunning one. One that is surreal, nightmarish and very experimental. Such a film is bound to be divisive but after the end credits rolled we all met in the foyer and shared our thoughts. The response was overwhelmingly positive. One person described the experience as ‘transcending’ while another called it ‘trippy’. If my recollections serve me well I believe I mentioned in my introduction that the film had imperfections and that these were what made it so wonderful. It showcases a filmmaker with his heart on his sleeve, in a truly raw and visceral way. Many people later told me that they agreed with that assessment. And so the world premier of the final cut of ROAD TO HELL is done and dusted. It plays so well on the big screen. It looks stunning and it sounds amazing. Michael Pare commands the screen brilliantly. The music is awesome and the entire surrealistic landscape is overwhelming.
Following a twenty-minute interval everyone filed back into the cinema to watch a very different sort of film. One that proved to be incredibly polarizing. I introduced the film and shared some back-story into Shane’s work, and thanked everyone again. The cinema lights dimmed and the audience were treated to another exclusive introduction. Shane thanked everyone and then told his story of what inspired the film, where his mind was when making it and how the public has received it. It was a personal and informative introduction and we will definitely be sharing it with you online soon. The film played to a stunned audience.
Once the film ended everyone made their way outside for drinks and smokes. It was a strange mood that rippled amongst us. Some had responded to the film very positively and found it to be a confronting, earnest and thought-provoking experience while others down right hated it…. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction! This is the precise division that Ryan’s films attract and this is what makes him such an important and dangerous filmmaker. His work is challenging and demands a reaction. Having the opportunity to screen it to an audience has meant the world to me and I hope to be able to showcase more of his work later down the road.
And so it was. Another night of MUFF16 is done and our exclusive FakeShemp.Net event is over. Thank you to Richard Wolstencroft and the Melbourne Underground Film Festival for allowing us to take over the event for one night. I am thrilled with the reactions and feel that we have presented two films that truly embody the spirit of MUFF. Raw, audacious, confronting and controversial. That’s what it’s all about after all, right?