BY PETER WONG OF Broke Ass Stuart
Is it insanity or is it really possible to hold an entire film festival via the Zoom app? The curious can find out by checking out the inaugural edition of Mr. HoleHead’s Warped Dimension (hereafter Mr. HoleHead), which runs September 24-29, 2020 on Zoom.
The folks behind this six day festival of indie science fiction, fantasy, horror, art/experimental, and even documentaries didn’t exactly fall off the film festival organizing truck. The Mr. HoleHead staff has also brought Bay Area filmgoers the Another Hole In The Head Film Festival.
This new festival promises to offer a different model for online film festivals than what’s currently done. Mr. HoleHead does offer 13 feature films and 97 short films. However, catching the films will not be a matter of watching the films any time you like once the festival starts. Each film and shorts program will only be shown once at a set time on Zoom. lf you miss the scheduled showing, then you’re SOL.
Torturing or inconveniencing the ticket holder isn’t the point. The Mr. HoleHead festival aims to recreate the live film festival experience in online terms. Q&A sessions with the filmmakers will stream live generally after the film ends. For filmmakers who live outside the US in different time zones, other arrangements will be made. Got a question about the film you’re watching? Use the Zoom Q&A button to send your query. The filmmakers or somebody from Mr. HoleHead’s staff will answer them during the Q&A session.
Feel free to make use of the Zoom chatbox while watching your movie. Send text messages and emojis so your fellow viewers can see your reactions and perhaps offer their own feedback.
Even the audience award voting process has been simplified. Instead of fumbling for paper and a writing instrument or sending a text message, just hit the polling button after a film ends.
If you’re a fan of Troma Films, there’s quite a bit of Troma-related films to be seen at this Mr. HoleHead. For those with far different genre cinema tastes, you’re also bound to find something that’ll catch your eye. Here are some suggested starting points:
The Hill And The Hole
AGFA Mix Tapes–Take coronavirus lockdown and a huge unsorted pile of rare found footage related to the world of horror films. When director Bret Berg starts creating mixtapes out of this raw and rare cinematic material, what will the viewer see? Freddy Krueger, Jaws, and Giger’s Alien make appearances while Siskel and Ebert serve genre film haterade by the gallon.
Los Ausentes (The Absents)–7-year-old Rafaelito and his fellow huapangueros face the first professional challenge of their short career. They must sing at a wake in the Huaxteca Potosina region. However, not only do the child singers face their first encounter with death, they must do so despite possessing a repertoire of only three songs. (Screens as part of the Benji’s Cosmic Finds II shorts program)
Blackmail (ASMR)–This experimental neo-noir film is set at a Paris perfume shop that’s actually a front for a blackmail ring. But a twist of fate involving a prospective target will bring a hidden past to light. To get the full effect of this film, wear headphones and lower the volume. The whispers and practical sounds will send your mind into a state which will noticeably contrast with what you see and hear on screen.
The Bold, The Beautiful & The Bizarre–This collection of art and experimental short films feature everything from manipulated slow motion nature videos to a poetic look at love being undermined by hatred to a found footage essay film about our world’s banal unreality.
The Burned Man–He’s secluded himself from humanity so long that he has no idea what another human being looks like. Tonight, he plans to do something special: step outside. But when he gets scorched alive, is that the end of his plans? (Screens as part of the Assorted Flavors 3 shorts program)
Droids Revision–C-3PO and R2D2 finally get their heroic props in this fan-edited film. Ever suspect that the real heroes of the first six “Star Wars” chapters didn’t include a punk-ass farmboy or Jedi masters with sticks up their rears? See how the two supposed comic relief droids manage to save the Rebellion over and over again.
The EIA Welcomes You!–If alien conquerors are going to invade the Earth, why not help them ensure that they don’t make a mess out of the planet? But then, those invaders may wind up regretting Earthling helpfulness… (Screens as part of the Scientific Methods shorts program)
Flesh City–Closing out Mr. HoleHead is this visually stunning film from Germany. In a nihilistic techno club, Vyren and Loquette explore the club’s offerings. Unknown to them and the rest of the city, a laboratory-created organism is growing quickly and forcibly inhabiting the brains of the city’s residents. Is it possible watching this film to the end will cause your own brain to be secretly altered? There’s only one way to find out.
The Hill And The Hole–This film updates a tale by revered San Francisco dark fantasist Fritz Leiber. In a remote corner of New Mexico, archeologist Tom Digby encounters an enigma involving a man-made hill whose highest point is not where it should be. The secret behind that enigma is one some locals are quite eager to violently protect. But Digby soon finds that something far more otherworldly and dangerous might be behind the enigma.
In The Deathroom–In this adaptation of a Stephen King short story, New York Times reporter Fletcher is in serious trouble. He’s been captured by a South American dictator’s people and brought to the “deathroom.” Here, Escobar will interrogate this supposed rebel sympathizer in a battle of wits where only one man will leave the room alive. (Shows as part of the Assorted Flavors 1 shorts program)
Millicent–Millicent Patrick was a costume designer whose most famous work was the Creature From The Black Lagoon. This short film from Laurie Garner is both a tribute to Patrick’s imagination as well as an impressionistic look at the obstacles women working in the Hollywood film industry faced in the mid-20th century. (Shows as part of the Assorted Flavors 1 shorts program)
Serious Matters In The Middle Of The Night–In a near future Southern American city, a rideshare driver has a side hustle of selling her passengers electronic empathy drugs. But a new iteration of the drug leads her into the digitized faith junkie subculture. (Screens as part of the Scientific Methods shorts program)
TripAdvisor–Read online reviews a lot? Then you’ve probably encountered the online review that doesn’t match at all the reality of the thing being described. So what if some really negative online reviews created the places that lived down to their descriptions? (Screens as part of the Benji’s Cosmic Finds I shorts program)
Troma’s Mutant Blast–Sometimes you just need to kick back with watching hordes of zombies getting killed. For those days, something like this horror comedy actioner might be what you want. The setting: a city mostly wiped out by a nuclear strike. In the red corner, a band of survivors led by soldier Marla and her super-serum enhanced sidekick TS-437. In the blue corner, an endless horde of zombies plus mutated humans displaying animal-like abilities. Fans of practical effects, great zombie kills, one-liners, and 1980s synth scores should check this out.
You Will Dance To The Tune Of Propaganda
You Will Dance To The Tune Of Propaganda–In this experimental performance art film, a brainwashed woman tries to take back control of her self via a journey through metaphorical dream states. (Screens as part of the Assorted Flavors 4 shorts program)
For those who wonder if Mr. HoleHead’s Warped Dimension means this year’s Another Hole In The Head Film Festival isn’t happening, rest assured that’s not the case. Plans are still going forward to have that event in some form in December. While you’re waiting, why not take in this festival which uses Zoom technology in a new way? Go here to order a day pass for whichever day(s) catch your fancy.