Monday, July 23, 2007

Comic-Con Countdown Part 5

We're ratcheting up the post count today with a look at the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival. From the looks of it, it appears to be a great way to augment your Con-going experience. If you see any of the films listed below (or any of the premiers on the other days), feel free to email us a review and we'll post it for all to see.

There will also be a number of theatrically released films screened at Comic-Con. However, they are in the "attendee only area" of the site and haven't been released to the general public yet. They will be distributed at preview night (July 25), so in the spirit of the Con organizer's intent, we won't post them for all to see until then.

Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival Strikes Back!

The Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI:IFF) returns this year with a slate of 55 films. The CCI:IFF celebrates independent film, with the accent on genre-related entries. Featured genres include action/adventure, animation, comics-oriented, documentary, horror/suspense, humor/parody, and science fiction/fantasy. Room 26AB is solely devoted to the Film Festival and its events!
Now in its eighth year, the CCI:IFF is a juried event. Respected principals in the fields of film and popular arts view the submissions and decide which films are most deserving of awards and prizes, in addition to inclusion in the Festival.
All films and programs are in Room 26AB, on the south side of the Convention Center, above Hall H.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


12:15-12:50 Razor Sharp—It’s anything but business as usual for corporate thief Veronica Sharpe when she’s hired to battle her way through a high-security skyscraper and steal an exotic codebreaker. However, Veronica’s morality and skill are put to the ultimate test when she’s confronted with the dark reality of the codebreaker itself. Loaded with as much humor as edge-of-you-seat action, this is one adventure that’s criminal to miss. Participating panelists include Marcus Perry, writer/director of Razor Sharp; Jeff Henderson, 30 Days of Night; and Jamie Hardt, Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four, Equilibrium.

12:50-1:10 The Tyrants of Nazca— Westhavenbrook reintroduces the classic serial adventure with the continuing adventures of Travis Brown. In this introductory episode, Brown faces the consequences of being caught grave-robbing. Panelists include Ben Beames, writer/director of Tyrants; John Soares, Sockbaby; and Justin Spurlock, Sockbaby. Room 26AB

1:10-1:25 Fission—A man sees himself as a graffiti on the wall. Credits include Kun-I Chang, director; Jamil Shamasdin, main actor; Ayesha, actress; Johnny Gou, DP; and Peter Clagett, music and sound design.

1:25-1:45 The Cocktail Party—A bizarro animated short. Featuring Brandon Duncan, animator/director; and Courtney Nienke, musician.

1:45-2:05 Rindin The Puffer—When our story begins, three young fish make fun of Rindin for being different. However, when the same fish get themselves into trouble, Rindin inadvertently saves their lives. With a newfound respect for Rindin, they all become best of friends. Participating panelists include Len Simon, animation director Titan A.E.; Carmen Oliver, Titan A.E.; Eric Simmons, Curious George; Joe Hernandez, Curious George; and David Rabbitte, Titan A.E.

2:05-2:25 Kuro Kumo—This wildly animated short film concerns Nomura, an old woman racked by nightmares of a ronin (masterless samurai). The recurrent bad dreams ultimately convince Nomura that she was this ronin in a former life. Deeply disturbed, she arrives at the conviction that violence is unavoidable in the modern world. Her therapist makes valiant attempts to steer her away from this perception; then her reality shifts altogether. The crew crafted the film by employing an unusual and innovative method of digitally hand-drawn animation, without the use of a single sheet of paper. Panelists include Jesse Norton, director; Ben McSweeney, lead animator; and Leopoldo Gout, producer.

2:25-2:50 Approximately—A tree, a house, a post office box with so many birds. A girl is waiting for her father while her mother is weaving images of birds. Years and seasons go on, birds start flying but still, no news of her father.

2:50-3:05 Paper Hearts—In a dark world, one small girl battles the creatures that stole her heart. A traditionally animated surreal fantasy, drawn in both America, at California institute of the Arts, and France, at Gobelins Lécole de L’Image. Creator Kelly Matten will be on hand for discussion.

3:05-3:25 Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum—A tale of judgment, condemnation, and redemption. A victim of the Spanish Inquisition is brought before a tribunal where he is condemned and sentenced to the dungeons. Awaiting his death, he struggles with hope and faith, while his captors employ fiendish machinations in their efforts to unhinge him. Participating panelists include Ray Harryhausen, executive producer; Arnold Kunert, co-producer; Susan Ma, producer; and Marc Lougee, director.

3:25-3:35 The Struggle—One man tries to get ahead. Animated traditionally in Flash. Participating panelists include director and animator Frank Forte (Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Re-Animated, The Mr. Men Show).

3:35-3:50 Guy’s Guide to Zombies—Zombies. Shambling scourge of the modern world? Or just a little misunderstood? If in doubt, check out Guy's Guide To Zombies, the definitive A to Z guide to living with the dead!

3:50-4:10 Creepers—A group of clumsy rainforest creepers secretly become superheroes who stumble through rescuing their fellow creatures from the sabotage of the sinister creeper at the local festival.

4:10-4:25 Who Saved the Moon—Berpunzel is a simple yet lovable fellow who has nothing but the world’s best interests at heart. It just so happens that on his merry journey he comes across what appears to be the moon in trouble. Will our fearless little friend be able to save the moon? This is truly a feel-good film that will cheer you up and leave you feeling “warm and fuzzy” inside. Participating panelists include Luke Feldman, creator of Who Saved the Moon and founder of Skaffs.

4:25-4:40 Assignment: Moon—A lighthearted, nostalgic short film involving an active imagination and the launch of the legendary Saturn V rocket, the vehicle that eventually took America to the Moon. Presented in black and white and heard in glorious mono sound, Assignment: Moon is an animated adventure that pays homage to a bygone era. To answer questions about the movie, creator Brian Simpson will be present following the screening.

4:40-5:00 Teddy Scares—Witness the deranged cyclops teddy bear Cyrus struggle to find meaningful companionship in the junkyard. His affections for inanimate objects prove calamitous as the rest of the Teddy Scares are driven mad by his loud and proud exclamations! Together they must scheme to obliterate their new enemy, Toasty the toaster. Panelists include Joe DiDomenico, Applehead Factory creative director; and William Vaughan, animation director, The D.A.V.E. School.
5:00-5:15 Golf Cart Caper—A group of three unlikely animal friends attempt to hijack a golf cart from two old men in order to get to a nearby Frosty Queen. Director and animator Kerri Jaworski answers questions after the film.

5:15-5:50 Destiny—Queen Adelea must discover who is at the center of the plot to end her reign before it is too late. Participating panelists include Markcus Dunn, director.

Documentary Night I

6:00-7:30 Done the Impossible—See this vivid Browncoat film, hosted by Adam Baldwin, that features interviews with Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly and Serenity, the cast, crew, and most important, the fans themselves. The story chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of the cult TV show Firefly as told from the perspective of the fans who helped save it. Join filmmakers Brian Wiser and Jeremy Neish for a brief Q&A after the film.

7:30-9:15 American Scary—A look at the nation's tradition of television horror hosts, from Zacherley to A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Follow this American folk art form from its beginnings, through repeated waves of popularity, to its scrappy resurgence and survival in the age of cable access and the Internet. Participating panelists include John Hudgens, director; Jerry G. Bishop, Svengoolie; Patricia Tallman, Babylon 5; Malena Teves, 13 Nights of Fright with Neil Gaiman; and Trey Stokes, 2nd unit director.

9:15-10:45 Vampira: The Movie—The new documentary by director Kevin Sean Michaels chronicles the life of the ever-flamboyant Maila "Vampira" Nurmi, who lived on the very edge of show business (she knew Marlon Brando and James Dean) and rose to celluloid cultdom some 50 years later. Pinup queen Nurmi began her short career in the 1950s as Vampira, the first "horror host" on television. Her spooky look was inspired by The Dragon Lady from Terry & The Pirates and the drawings of Charles Addams. After her TV series, the character loomed again in the 1956 low-budget horror/sci-fi film Plan 9 From Outer Space, directed by the notorious Edward D. Wood Jr. Vampira: The Movie features interviews with Nurmi, Sid Haig, and Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects), Forrest J. Ackerman, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Jerry Only of The Misfits and others. Original score by Ari "Jason Voorhies" Lehman. Participating panelists include Kevin Sean Michaels (producer/director), Alexia Anastasio (editor), Michelle Osorio, and Cristopher Spencer, all with VAMP Productions, and Jezebelle X, fetish model who played young Maila.

Friday, July 27, 2007


12:15-12:40 Rocketboy—Roger Lange, a depressed, middle-aged accountant, gets a visit from a strange boy who mysteriously crash-landed on the moon in a homemade spacecraft. Roger’s world is turned upside down as Rocketboy attempts to remind him of his forgotten dreams of space adventure. Filmmakers include Justin Guerrieri, writer and director; Veronica Shamo-Garcia, producer; Arvin Chen, producer; and Joseph Guerrieri, co-writer.

12:40-1:00 Goggles—An adolescent girl runs away in search of the truth when she discovers her parents have taken extreme measures to protect her from the real world. This is the prologue to the forthcoming webisode series “Goggles.” Participating panelists include writer/director Crystal Page plus cast members Kathryn Acton, Ronn Jerard, Marie-Françoise Theodore, and Chayne Andrews.

1:00-1:25 When We Were Bengs—Two brothers, Heng and Bee, live in a rough neighborhood. One day Bee is kidnapped by a notorious gangster and Heng finds himself caught in a ridiculous "Mexican" standoff. Will Heng be able to free his brother and save himself? Join these fumbling brothers on a hilarious journey of brotherhood and self-sacrifice. Alaric Tay, producer/director/writer and star of When We Were Bengs is unable to attend but wishes everyone a bloody good laugh at his expense.


1:30-1:50 Pinkerton—You've never seen a film quite like this one about a violent cop out for revenge who meets an unexpected obstacle. Winner: Most Original Film UCLA Film Festival; Official Selection: Los Angeles Shortsfest LA Showcase. Discussion afterward with writer/director Aleem Hossain, actor James Black (Six Feet Under, The Closer), actor Brian Silverman (Jericho, Monk, 24), and producers M. Scott Veach and Jenn Kao.

1:50-2:10 How to Talk Like a Pirate—Presented in the style of a high school film reel, this is an informational video for the less nautically inclined among us. After all, you wouldn't want to look stupid. Participating panelists include Graham Stark and Paul Saunders (producers for How to Talk Like a Pirate and creators of LoadingReadyRun) and Morgan vanHumbeck, James Turner ,and Matt Wiggins (members of LoadingReadyRun).

2:10-2:35 The Sparkle Lite Motel—The Sparkle Lite Motel is the story of a newlywed couple played by Richard Kahan (The 4400) and Sarah Edmondson (Scary Movie 4) who check into a questionable motel expecting a night of marital bliss. They soon learn that their honeymoon suite has other plans for them when visions of their hypercritical parents, played by Gwynyth Walsh (Star Trek: TNG) and Dean Paul Gibson (Andromeda), begin to appear and all hell breaks loose. Will the couple’s marriage survive the night? Will they? Director/co-writer/producer Cory Kinney and executive producer Nicholas Tabarrok (Weirdsville) will be in attendance to speak about the film.

2:35-3:00 Raven Gets a Life—Sometimes life just sucks, even when you’re dead. Eternally trapped in the body of a 12-year-old girl, a vampire is diagnosed with manic depression and seeks comfort from prescription pills, Bela Lugosi, and the Grim Reaper. Participating panelists include actors Circus-Szalewski (ToonDisney's Squash & Stretch), Kenny Dusek (trippin'), and Molly Emmons (Meat is Murder).

3:00-3:15 Pimp My Casket—Join Xhibitionist and the West Coast Casket Crew as they pimp out Mrs. Walker's casket, the animated short parody based on the popular MTV show, Pimp My Ride. Room 26AB

3:45-4:00 Wheeled Migration—A look at what shopping carts do at night when no one else is around. Have you ever wondered how a shopping cart makes it to the curb at the edge of the parking lot? He's trying to escape and that's how far he made it the night before. What happens in the complicated social order of this mysterious species? Robert Reeves, director, will be present to talk about his film.

4:00-4:20 A Fellowship of Excellence—On his first day as a temp worker, Davey Delisio quickly discovers that his job duties include much more than filing and faxing, in this parody of Lord of the Rings. A great evil threatens the office, and middle management believes he is the one with the power to defeat it. As darkness draws closer, Davey embarks on an assignment that will not only test his positive attitude and people skills but also determine if he really is the chosen one. Participating panelists include Jack Cornett and Adam White, directors; Joey Garcia, actor; and Scott Jones, executive producer.

4:25-4:50 07—When a mysterious package ends up in the hands of a feared terrorist, only special agent Jack Dour can save the day. Now Jack and his partner, Soulpatch, have just 7 minutes to find a secret warehouse and save the world. Good thing they brought the Jack Sack! Participating panelists include Peter Sullivan, director; Benjamin Sztajnkrycer, writer; Sean Robert Olson, editor; Jason Brandt, composer; and Joe Vandelsem, visual effects.

4:50-5:40 Zombie Love—This musical extravaganza tells the story of Dante, a 200-year old zombie, who tries to change his flesh-eating ways in order to gain the love of a mortal girl. Filled with singing, dancing, blood, and gore, it will have you laughing all the way to your grave! Participating panelists include Darren Herczeg, writer; Seth Stewart, assistant director and “Grave Robber Harry”; and Taylor Greeson, DP.

5:40-6:15 Back Issues—Peter, a wannabe comic book letterer, has just proposed to his girlfriend. Instead of saying yes, she gives him an ultimatum: give up comics and get a real job, or they’re through. The pressure is on and Peter must choose by the end of the workday between his girl or his passion for comic books. Panelists include Todd Brotze, actor (last seen on the cutting room floor of Scrubs); Stephen Pawley, actor (Faith); Diane Karagienakos, producer; Chris Graybill, creator of Zebraton; and Jonathan Parra, director.

6:15-6:50 Orion Slave Girls Must Die!!!—Fanboy or Fratboy? There can be only one. Jules and Matt lead lives devoted to Star Trek and devoid of girls. When Matt falls for Stacey, a sorority girl, he hides his love of Trek to pledge to a fraternity. Outraged, Jules takes drastic measures to return his best friend to the Trekkie fold. Panelists include Eric Kallevig, director and producer; Stuart C. Paul, writer; Chris Billig, producer; Nicholas Downs, Jules; and Hilary Holmes, Stacey.

6:50-8:20 The Adventures of Death—Charlie Bergman, Grim Reaper and UnderWorld outcast, has accidentally killed a few too many people and unbalanced the universe to the brink of self-destruction. Fired from his Reaping Post and sentenced to be incinerated, he must escape the UnderWorld in order to save lives up Topside and rebalance the supernatural energy of the world. Filmmakers Christopher John Fetherolf, writer/actor/director/producer; Matt Godecker, actor/producer/co-creator; Anne Braam, creative consultant; Jeff Bassetti, production assistant; and Beth Burns, actor.

Documentary Night II

8:30-10:15 The Secret World of Superfans—What drives the passion of people who choose to follow or emulate popular culture heroes to a level where it becomes all-consuming? As this film explores the motivations of "fantasy fans" ranging from the uncontrollable collector to the compulsively driven obsessive, it also examines what drives these fantasies—mere memories of childhood or a need for control or escapism? One of the key storylines follows a Superman lookalike who survives off tips from tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. We reveal the fans and their stories to be as diverse as the fantasy heroes themselves. And with input from the celebrity participants, we see how the two worlds coexist with one another and how they can eventually become one in the same. The film features interviews with Gary Oldman, Malcolm McDowell, Margot Kidder, Elvira, Samantha Mathis, Roger Corman, John Carpenter, Forrest J. Ackerman, Bob Burns, and many more. Participating panelists include Sam Okun, director/producer; Constantinos Yiallourides, co-producer; Mark Silverman, psychiatrist and cast member; Christopher Dennis, aka Superman and cast member; and Diane Vincent, aka Lucy and cast member.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Science Fiction/Fantasy

12:15-12:40 Smart Card­—Smart Card is a tale of a utopian future where every aspect of people lives is intergraded into one system. Convenience and simplicity is the product and Smart Corporation does the packaging. Robert Sharpe (David Kreigel) has been living this carefree life. Everything is perfect until he encounters a philosophical vagrant (Bret Roberts) at a local fueling station who steals the one item you cannot do without, his “Smart Card.” James Oxford, director and executive producer, will be present to discuss the film.

12:40-12:55 Repressing Tansy—Repressing Tansy is the story of a little girl who has a very little problem . . . named Tansy. Scott Russell will share his 5-minute film about a girl and her fairy and will be available to discuss how he made the film for the price of a good meal, along with his cinematographer Carly Lyn, effects coordinator Sean Dollins, and stars Leslie Stevens and Blaine Saunders. Also in attendance will be Aaron Hendricks, co-founder of Group 101 films and the GeeksOn podcast.

12:55-1:20 Transgressions—Carl and Sophie Phillips and their two young children live in a utopian society that idolizes celebrity assassins called “Agents.” Celebrity Agents torture and execute “transgressors” on prime-time TV as entertainment for the masses, young and old alike. Carl, a human garbageman dreaming of a better life, has enrolled his son in Agent Training Camp. Sophie disapproves, but as a woman in this society has no right to use force. She must use the only way she knows how to keep her son from going. Panelists include director Valerie Weiss and Robert Johnson.

1:20-1:40 Descendents of Eden—Time folds back on itself when a stranger from the future warns punk hairstylist Juno Diaz her descendents may cause a coming holocaust. Now Juno fights to stay alive long enough to discover the truth about the Descendents of Eden—and those who want them dead. Participating panelists include Kam Miller (Law & Order: SVU), Tom Kopache (The X-Files, Star Trek TNG and DS9), Cara Santana (Lipshitz Saves the World, Strong Medicine), and Richard Tillman (Notes from the Underbelly, Jack & Bobby).

1:40-1:55 Tomten Hollow—While searching for his lost baseball in the woods, a young boy encounters a mysterious gnome who transports him to a magical world beyond our reality. Filmmakers include Evan Daugherty, writer/director of Rusty Forkblade; Erik Desiderio, composer for Slammo and Sloshie; Philip Schaeffer; James Darling, writer/director of Citizen; and Andrew Lobel, writer/director of Delirium and the Dollman.

1:55-2:20 Algesia—Alice is a weird and lonely girl who works with strange little creatures by day and peeks on her neighbor at night, but she also lives with a bizarre secret that leads to a bloody climax. Participating panelists include Cathy Alberich, director; Aaron Soto, director, Omega Shell; Edgar Guerra, music and sound; and Ursula Velarde, lead actress.

2:20-2:45 Man Vs. Woman—Four scavengers—a man, a woman, a cloned velociraptor, and a robot—fight to the death over a puddle of water on a desolate desert planet. What species—or gender—will end up on top? Filmmakers include writer/director Juan Carlos Vargas, visual effects artist on 300; and composer David James Nielsen, orchestrator for Star Trek: Enterprise.

2:45-4:30 Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth—An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious and intense interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he is an immortal who has walked the earth for 14,000 years. Participating panelists include director/producer Richard Schenkman (The Pompatus of Love), producer Eric D. Wilkinson (The Violence Movie), executive producer Emerson Bixby (Welcome To Hollywood), and cast members Tony Todd (Clive Barker’s Candyman), William Katt (The Greatest American Hero),Richard Riehle (Star Trek Voyager), and Ellen Crawford (ER).

4:30-6:10 Automatons—Somewhere in the distant future, The Girl is alone. After a generations-long war she is the last of her people, determined to continue the fight using her small army of antiquated robotic soldiers. Men started this war, but the machines will finish it. Panelists include James Felix McKenney, writer/director; and Lisa Wisely, producer. Room 26AB


6:10-6:40 Eli—A man awakens on an operating table with no idea where or even who he is. Armed with only one memory of a girl on a beach and a tattoo on his hand that reads "ELI,” he must elude his captors and unravel the sinister truth behind his missing identity. Participating panelists include Josh Lee Kwai, director/producer/editor; Tyler Erskine, writer/producer; Ron Beyers, writer/producer; Simon Heselev, composer; and Ron Erskine, associate producer.
6:40-7:00 Shut Eye Hotel—A cartoon noir murder mystery that takes place in a sleazy hotel. As cops investigate the gruesome murders, they become victims of this evil force. Shuteye Hotel will do for sleeping what Jaws did for swimming. Bill Plympton, animator of The Tune, Mutant Aliens, and Hair High, will discuss his latest film.

7:00-7:30 By Appointment Only—Jane has left the big city behind in search of a more peaceful country life. But when Jane finds the perfect old house for sale, she will learn that buying a house can kill you. Participating panelists include John Faust, writer/director; Matt Ryan, Lyle; Nancy Sinclair, Lillian/Mother; Belen Greene, Jane; and Howard Heard, supervising editor.

7:30-7:55 Eye of the Beholder—Natalie is intrigued by a picture at a garage sale and just has to buy it. As the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that there is something strange about the picture. She apparently bought more than she bargained for and becomes entwined in the mystery behind the picture. Filmmakers include Robert Michael Conrad, producer; Tim Russ, writer/director; Chase Masterson, Natalie; Menina Fortunato, Natalie’s friend, Sharon; and David Anderson, technical consultant.

7:55-8:20 The Cabinet—In this suspenseful retelling of the Bluebeard fairytale, a young woman discovers her lover's macabre secret when she is left alone in his home overnight. Participating panelists include Karen Lam (The Bone Snatcher) and Karen Wong, Mustard Pancakes Productions.

8:20-8:35 Crazy Love—Charlie believes in love at first sight. From the moment his eyes fixed on Brenda, he knew she had to be his girl. Now, Charlie must overcome all obstacles on his way to winning Brenda’s heart. Panelists include William Van Cuyck, writer/director; Robert Ashe Jr., Charlie, and the film’s editor; Kristin Van Cuyck, producer; A.J. Gardner, Girlfriend #2 and script supervisor; and Adam B. Gardner, Crazy Love’s hard working 12-year old production assistant.

8:35-9:05 Watcher—A retelling of the classic “monster in the closet” story—with a twist. The horrifying and unexpected ending will be sure to shock you! Director Eli Sasich (Dead West), composer Michael Sasich, and actor Chris Sasich will be on hand to answer questions after the screening.

9:05-9:25 Into the Maelstrom—In the outer reaches of space, a long-lost communications vessel has just been found. Investigating a distress signal onboard, two detectives, Weller and Ford, make a gruesome discovery: the entire crew has been brutally slaughtered. And the killer is still on board! Participating panelists include Marc Ferrero, producer; Peter Sullivan, director; Eric Etebari, actor Witchblade); George Reasner, director of photography; and Patrick Tsao, visual effects.

9:25-9:50 Revenge—Julie, a young attorney, becomes a new partner in a law firm. An accountant hired by the firm finds evidence of her shady past and confronts her. Julia's reaction to the confrontation leads to unpleasant results. Panelists include Robert Michael Conrad, co-producer; Crystal Allen, Julie; and David Anderson, technical consultant.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


1:00-2:25 Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures—French artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud—co-founder of Heavy Metal magazine, designer of The Fifth Element film, and massive influence on the medium—is one of the most influential comic creators of all time. This mind-bending tour of imagination past, present, and future also features interviews with Stan "The Man" Lee, Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Jim Lee (X-Men, WildC.A.T.S.), H.R. Giger, and more, with a soundtrack by industrial legend Karl Bartos (Kraftwerk). Producer Bart Simpson (Sundance-winning documentary The Corporation) will be present to discuss the film.


2:25-5:00 2007 Festival Award Winners—Did you miss the CCI:IFF award winners? Or maybe you want to see them again? This year for the first time we’ll re-screen the winning films from each category, as announced at the 12:00 Festival Awards

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