I got the chance to attend the MegaCon this weekend which is Orlando's annual offering of Comics, Anime, Gaming, and now, Independent Film. Terry Cronin, organizer of the Space Coast's own Melbourne Independent Filmmaker's Festival, also writes horror comic Students of the Unusual. He took the best of both worlds of Independent Film and Comics Fandom and mixed them together resulting in the MegaCon Indie Film Expo, which is an amalgamation and celebration of genre films. There were horror films, fan films (in which ultra-fan filmmakers shoot stories with characters that they don't have the rights to just because they love the characters or mythos so much), films from the Students of the Unusual Film Festival (found on DVD inside the Giant Size Extra Credit Special #1 Comic Book), and a number of films that had been entered into Steven Spielberg's On the Lot reality show contest.
The screening took place on Friday, the first day of the Con, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Orange County Convention Center. The room was pretty packed with about two hundred people, including a crew of rowdy pirates. Terry Cronin was the emcee and projectionist, proving he can successfully wear many hats (a very valuable talent in the film world).
Short Films that screened were:
The Faeries of Blackheath Woods, directed by Ciaran Foy
The Green Hornet, directed by Aurelien Poitrimoult
9 Seconds, directed by George Tramountanas
Born of Hope, (LOTR fan film Trailer) directed by Kate Robinson
The Love Craft, directed by Eric Morgret
Post Mortem, directed by Jen Soemantri
Behind the Undead Music, directed by John Taddeo
Akira the Fan Film, directed by Juan Avilez
Mr. Bubbs, directed by Todd Thompson
Tattoo Love Magic, directed by Rick Porven
Foobie Jesus, directed by Katharine Leis
Entombed, directed by Steven Shea
Ninjas vs. Pirates, directed by John Theisen
The programming represented many kinds of films. You saw surprisingly high production value pieces alongside more beginner stuff. A few were bad but many more were very good.
My favorites were:
Ninjas vs. Pirates: A no-holds-barred knock down drag out battle royale between pirates and ninjas (I was fond of the ninjas, but I wasn't about to voice this at the screening as I was surrounded by pirates… the ninjas must've been hiding in the shadows). The soundtrack was overdubbed with vocal effects wizard Michael Winslow (Police Academy, Spaceballs) playing all the character voices. This film was shot in 2 days for $4000 by John Theisen, Florida filmmaker and organizer of Florida Music Festival's Indie Film Jam.
The Faeries of Blackheath Woods: a very short horror film from Ireland that was really creepy. It had nice ambience, decent effects and set the mood well for the rest of the program.
Foobie Jesus: a mockumentary short about a girl who believes her cat is Jesus Christ. This film got a standing ovation, a first in MegaCon Indie Film Expo history according to Terry Cronin. You might be able to see Foobie Jesus on Katharine Leis' Ha Ha Half Hour on local access cable channel 21 if you live in Gainesville or Ocala.
The Love Craft: A hysterical Howard Phillip Lovecraftian Love Boat spoof with a surprise ending.
Best of Fest in my eyes was Mr. Bubbs, Todd Thompson's entry into the On the Lot contest. It started out as any good short story does with immediate high-stakes conflict and then twisted it into a crowd pleasing resolution. Check out http://films.thelot.com/films/10780 to see it.
On Saturday, there was a Q & A panel with the filmmakers. Panelists included John Theisen (Ninjas vs. Pirates), Steven Shea (Hoodoo for Voodoo), Sue Dontell (FMPTA), animator Mark Simon (Simply Delicious), Andy Lalino (Filthy), Katharine Leis (Foobie Jesus), Richard Porven (Tattoo Love Magic), and Alex Ferrari (Broken), among others. The themes most of the filmmakers touched on were "Keep it short." and "Get it made." They also gave information on the production of their various films.
All in all, I think the 3rd annual MegaCon Indie Film Expo was a big hit. Look for forthcoming reviews on Ninjas Vs Pirates and the Students of the Unusual films on this site!