The American Film Market, the US West Coast version of the Cannes Film Festival where buyers and sellers from all over the world meet to showcase their films, officially opened November 2 at the Lowe's Hotel in Santa Monica, California.
The event draws between 4,000-6,000 people a day with 415 films being show over the eight day marketplace generating more than $800 million dollars in film sales from the companies present from all over the world.
I'll be keeping you readers up-to-date on the events, interviews with movie stars and screenings throughout AFM. There's a wide spectrum of films ranging from the well made to the how-did-this-even-get-financed?!
Special mention goes out to Jim Benson and his diligent, hard working team of tireless staff from the Lippin Group including Aida Abramyan, Lisa Porter and all the other ladies in the press office that keep the reporters informed of the latest events day and night. How ever do they find time for sleep?!
Director/actor Ron Howard stopped by opening day to promote his upcoming Formula One racing movie Rush, and talked about how much of a fan he was of the sport, probably influenced by Eat My Dust, the first picture he directed and starred in for Roger Corman back in 1976.
Judging by Mr. Howard's enthusiasm for his new film, it should be exciting.
Flyers are abundant from the companies promoting their films in the hallways of the hotel. So far, my favorite has to be Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead...
It’s a wild, Japanese horror film where a group of high school girls are in search for the perfect tapeworm from the belly of a trout to swallow in order to keep their figures slim. Of course, one of the girls takes the dare and ends up in an outhouse in the barren woods to take care of business only to have a hand reach up from the muck below and try and grab her. Turns out that the worms are alien parasites that have infected the local town people turning them into zombies and the fight for survival is on.
Devil's Rock is a New Zealand horror film by first time director Paul Campion that deals with ANZAC Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hall) and Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater). During the eve of the Normandy invasion of World War II the commandos penetrate a German bunker located on a remote island only to find that all the soldiers have died horrible deaths as they hear the wail of a woman's ghostly voice echoes through the elaborate underground tunnel system.
When the sergeant is killed and the captain captured by the only surviving member of the German outfit Colonel Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland), a battle of wits ensues between the two men where the captain escapes wounding the German officer and discovers the source of the wailing woman chained to a wall... his presumed dead wife, Helena (Gina Varela) who is very much alive.
An uneasy truce is made between the two soldiers as it turns out that the facility they're in was part of Hitler's occult division. Centuries ago, the island they're on was inhabited by witches that were able to raise demons with a book of the dead that Colonel Meyer discovered, and thought raising a demon from hell to do Hitler's bidding would be a great wonder weapon. Unfortunately, it backfired and now the two enemies have to join forces to send it back to hell.
Devil's Rock has a solid storyline, the direction is good, and the performances are top notch all around, but it’s sometimes too dialogue heavy, which combined with sluggish editing results in stage play-like
The lead-up to the discovery of the she-demon is good, but there should have been more build up and mystery especially surrounding the witches' spell book. The she-demon make-up is wonderfully creepy with hats off to Miss Varela who went through the elaborate process of going through the transformation from beautiful lady to beast from hell.
The Hitler/occult mythos has always been an interesting topic, and therefore Devil's Rock is one of those films that really should have been better.
I'll be back soon with lots more from the AFM, so stay tuned!