Latest VHS Massacre Too and MacLeod doc news!

UPDATE!

Here is a link to Shudder’s Mid May Massacre Q&A that followed the screenings of VHS Massacre Too! This was truly delightful and a highlight to my career. Also here is my recap and updates on the MacLeod documentary film festival run on VHS Massacre Radio!

MacLeod and VHS Massacre Too updates.

My short documentary MacLeod is now an official selection of the Cannes World Film Festival. The film is about the king of royalty free music Kevin MacLeod. I wasn’t sure how the film would resonate but it seems to be performing well so far in the film festival circuit. It’s also scheduled to played at the oldest documentary film festival in Canada Northwest Fest in early May.

VHS Massacre Too will screen and have a Q&A with Joe Bob Briggs, Debbie Rochon and Lloyd Kaufman at the Shudder Network’s  Mid May Massacre  4pm Eastern on Saturday, May 15. Also VHS Massacre Too will screen at Saturday June 4th at 7pm at the Film Noir Cinema in Brooklyn! This is exciting news! To some degree it shows that VHS Massacre Too is resonating with the horror the convention communities. I’m happy about this. I still remember renting out my first booth at the Fangoria convention over twenty years ago to promote my film Thrill Kill Jack. A terrible film that we made on VHS. There I met Lloyd Kaufman, Clint Howard and John Russo. My parents bought me a book on filmmaking when I was younger, it was John Russo’s Making Movies, so I was exciting to meet him. I was barely out of my teens so I really didn’t know what to say and the meeting didn’t go as well as I had hoped but his book was thorough and I learned a great deal. Night of the Living Dead, Dawn and Day became very important to me as a filmmaker. Coincidentally I would go onto work with Lloyd and Clint literally over a decade later. Also I grew up watching Joe Bob Briggs as well so it was a treat to be able to interview him for my films so many years later.

I don’t know what this all means to me now. I’m happy that anyone is watching my films but I supposed all of my childhood dreams are for the most part gone. After directing eight narrative feature films that really didn’t go anywhere, I really can’t see making another one. VHS Massacre Too is my second feature length documentary and my 10th feature as director. It could be that I make another doc but I don’t really need to right now. I don’t really aspire to be famous either. I think the last few years have been sobering. Family and friends are really what’s important. I have a compulsion to make films and I’m sure that I’ll be working on something in no time but it’s really more of a hobby at this point, I’m just thankful to have Troma to distribute my films. I really like being a part of a company that has started the career so many famous directors! I did my time at the major networks and studios and it’s no fun so I think I’m going to stick with Troma.

Documentary and Podcast Updates!

MacLeod, my latest short doc (about the king of Royalty Free Music Kevin MacLeod) has been getting into some film festivals lately. It will screen as part of the NorthwestFest International Film Festival in early May! Lift-Off Sessions, The Documentary Filmmaker Showcase and Impact DOCS. Next Month I should hear the results from The Webby Awards, World-Fest Houston and the Telly Awards. So April could be a big month potentially.

In regard to my newest feature length VHS Massacre Too (about film censorship and the American exploitation film), it is still technically competing in the film festival circuit. It’s not that I planned to tour the film for over a year, it’s just that because of COVID the festival dates keep getting delayed over and over, some film festivals have adapted, others have chosen to ride it out until things return to normal. The film could end up snagging a few more awards and selections, it has 20 wins so far. My film is one of two films that feature Blockbuster Video in Bend Oregon. The Last Blockbuster is the other film currently out on Netflix and although I haven’t seen it, I’ve been told it’s a cool flick! I do have to admit I’d love to have my film on Netflix but VHS Massacre Too actively calls out Netflix for turning it’s back in actual Independent film. Netflix in fact was built of the backs on low-budget filmmakers as Massacre Too discusses. That being said it’s nice to see that acquired LBB, I believe it was independently produced. We should celebrate when a film like that bucks the odds. So VHS Massacre Too should be out on Bluray in the summer so wish us luck! I’ll be sure to post updates on Twitter for any more virtual screenings that may arise!

We also recently completed our 400 podcast episode! VHS Massacre formerly New York Cine Radio was started in 2011/2012. Through various format changes and shows the podcast has continued to this day! The gang unites to discuss the 2009 vampire Steven Seagal flick Against the Dark! James Richardson, Ken Powell, Tom Seymour and David Leute.

M.F.A in Film Production Completed, now what?

It’s has been a few months since I graduated from Hunter College with my M.F.A in Film Production. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, man I can not believe I finished. It feels very much like finishing directing and releasing a feature-length film. You feel, exhausted and overwhelmed. There are so many little things that needed to be completed that it feels endless. It’s not the length of the film I’ve submitted, it’s the round after round of changes and it’s not the academic paper that went with it, it’s again, the round after round of changes. This is something I have had to do in my professional career but it started to wear on me and it was compounded by the epidemic. It’s like the mental version of overeating. When I look back on it I feel full, like “Yuck, I couldn’t eat another bite.”

I was pretty burned out towards the end. Keep in mind I’ve been in school for seven years, first to turn my A.S. degree in the a B.A. and then to pursue my M.F.A. I’m proud that I did it. As a matter of fact part of me doesn’t even understand how I had the drive to do it. I get nauseous just thinking of it. I think it’s because I didn’t know what was coming next, there was always a surprise, a fire to out and a project that was due. It was a humbling experience for sure. I was working on my tenth feature film during my time at Hunter but no one really seemed to care. I had to do directing exercises and video projects like everyone else. Even though I was a CBS News editor, a Lecturer and had worked on Emmy nominated shows when it came to a broadcast class, I still was treated like everyone else. If I wasn’t raising a child and working full-time during a pandemic I think this degree would have seemed much easier.

Without going too much into detail having an M.F.A. may have very little effect on my job in the Film & TV department at my college (and it deeply saddens me) but I now have the same level of education as my fellow lecturers and professors. Some things are just out of my hands at the moment but I am hopeful that things will change in that regard. In the end I went back to school to prove that I could. As you approach middle-age there seems to be less doors of opportunity open to you, this is not bad necessarily, it makes you choose more carefully which ones to pursue. I had an opportunity to go back to school so I took it and not everyone has that luxury. The M.F.A is a strange degree… graduate art school. I’m lucky to be so indulgent.

My Thesis film entitled MacLeod is completed. It’s about the king of Royalty-free music Kevin MacLeod! I’m competing in about thirty film festivals. I really have to thank my wife Stephanie and also Tim Kulig for producing and believing in the film. I really wasn’t going to push this film but Tim made sure we did a full festival run. Also I have to thank Lloyd Kaufman and Thom Demicco from Troma Entertainment who distributed the film and entered us into a few festivals as well! This was a good feeling, to have people believe in you. Also my tenth feature film VHS Massacre Too winner to twenty film festival awards will be released through Troma hopefully this summer!

For anyone thinking of going back to school I think it could be a good idea if you can find a reasonable priced program. In state public colleges can have relatively affordable film programs for those who want to a former education in film production and hold a degree (Many media jobs are corporate these days and require a B.A.). That average CUNY undergraduate student typically graduates with less than 10K in student debt. I was surprised how much it helped my self esteem. For most of my career I’ve have had what most people would call impressive work experience working in various networks and studios but I never felt up to par with my education. I just needed that box checked to feel more well rounded, not only in my film career but my academic career. Not everyone needs that of course, but I did.

For those who are interested I appeared on the Chris & Chris Podcast to talk about the 2002 Don Coscarelli film Bubba Ho-Tep! Elvis Presley and “JFK” stay in a nursing home where nothing happens…until a wayward Egyptian mummy comes and sucks out the old people’s souls thru their a-holes. The two decide to fight back.

2002 Don Coscarelli film Bubba Ho-Tep! 

MacLeod Doc Finished and VHS Massacre Too updates!

Listen to the latest update on MacLeod on VHS Massacre Radio!

Kevin MacLeod Documentary

So I’ve been working on my M.F.A. for the last years at Hunter College in the Integrated Media Arts program with a documentary film concentration. It’s rigorous program 3-5 year program but I’m in the home stretch. I recently finished my thesis project, a 25 minute documentary about the King of Royalty Free music Kevin MacLeod. Given the circumstances of the world right now I think it came out well. It was able to get John Brennan from Shudder network’s The Last Drive-in to be a part of it as well as co-host Marcus Park from the Last Podcast on the Left. Troma President Lloyd Kaufman is also featured in the project.

Kevin MacLeod the focus of the film has created over 2,000 songs that anyone can use for free in their projects as long as they give him credit or pay a small one-time fee. His songs have been heard hundreds of billions of times but very few people know who he is. I’ve been using his stuff for years and for me it was important to try to bring attention to a person show has helped out a lot of independent filmmakers and content makers over the years.

So I have a few things left to do, pass my thesis defense in which I screen the film and have a discussion with my advisors and present a 20 page paper to go along with the film. I think I can be done with the paper in the next few weeks. So the question then become what to do with a short documentary. Well it just so happens that Troma is the perfect home for the short. They are the longest running independent film studio in the U.S. and it makes sense that they would have an interest in the subject matter. They might end up putting MacLeod on the VHS Massacre Too Blu-ray which is exciting!

So what’s happening with VHS Massacre Too? As of today we are finalists at the Lit International Horror Festival in North Yorkshire United Kingdom! The film has 20 film festival wins, about 27 official selections and about 10 nominations. We’re still waiting to hear from a few more festivals but it’s been an awesome trip so far and who knows what will happen moving forward! Their is no official release date for the Blu-ray yet but the film should come up in the first quarter of 2021.

VHS Massacre Too Virtual Screening dates starting tomorrow!

Upcoming screenings for VHS Massacre Too!

Dracula Fest (Judges Screening October 14th)

Spirit of Independence UK on (October 15th)

The Vancouver Horror Show, (Oct. 26th)

Montreal Requiem Fearfest (TBA)

Some very cool things have happened since our last update. We just won Best Documentary at San Fransisco IndieFest as part of the Another Hole in the Head screening! Our new documentary feature VHS Massacre Too has racked up 18 awards and 25 official selections total for this this film alone. We’ve screened everywhere from the Anthology Film Archives (sneak preview) in New York City, Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati, to Miami Sci-Fi, Kransk Film festival and more. We also just got a great write up in Pixels Garage as well!

Troma vs YouTube and VHS Massacre Too updates!

Hey everyone. I just posted a new talk about the problem with YouTube and their treatment of Troma Entertainment & All Time Conspiracies. In addition I discuss my new documentary (in preproduction) about Kevin MacLeod and also VHS Massacre Too has four virtual screening film festival dates!  Charlotte Film Festival (Sept.23-27th,  Warped Dimension(Sept.24th), Milwaukee Twisted Dreams(Oct.2nd) Spirit of Independence(Oct.15-19)

VHS Massacre Too & Troma’s Shitstorm updates!

So VHS Massacre Too continues to surprise me. To date we have won 15 awards and will play at the Kansk International film festival in Siberia, the Spirit of Independence Film Festival in England and probably a third festival in September. This week we heard that the 21st annual Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee Oklahoma gave us a Best Documentary and Audience choice Awards.

We’re working on the Blu-ray release of the film now. Lloyd has a tradition of doing introductions to his Blu-ray releases and to me this was always one of the best things about buying the physical media. Not only do you have permanent access to these titles but it harkens back to when auteurs would introduce films… Alfred Hitchcock presents, Quinten Tarantino presents. So I feel really honored to have Lloyd doing an intro to my film and it’s funny as hell, like always. Lloyd who was close friends with Terry Jones does a slow approach to the camera from out of the woods, and then references Monty Python’s famous line “Now for something totally different”.

Lloyd Kaufman’s latest film Shakespeare’s Shitstorm will play at the Fantasia Festival this Saturday August 29th virtually so get your tickets here! It’s cool to see the film playing at such a large film festival to launch it’s festival run! So this is great news but it is bittersweet because Troma’s YouTube channel has recently been suspended! This is very strange because the page has nearly 40 million views, close to a million subscribers and there is no clear reason as to why it has been suspended. I mean, are free B-movies so dangerous? And what can we do to fight back against film censorship? We may have to start a petition, more information soon.

“VHS Massacre Too” will have a physical release through Troma!

VHS Massacre Too Blu-ray!

Some exciting news. For those have have been curious about the VHS Massacre Too documentary release. Thom Demicco and the Troma Entertainment gang have started work on creating the the Blu-ray! Believe it or not, this was up on the air for a bit. I think everyone was unsure about just how we would all proceed during these strange circumstances but Troma is forging ahead. There is no official release date yet but I should have some more information soon. There will be some really awesome extras like the full James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) Interview in which he talks about how he independently created the Angry Video Game Nerd feature film! Also Professor James Richardson and I did the audio commentary along with some additional extras!

Festivals wins and laurels!

VHS Massacre Too recently won Best Documentary and The Audience Choice award at the Underground Indie Film Festival! I don’t think I have ever won an audience choice award before! It was a great screening and Q & A! In addition we were given a Honorable Mention Laurel from the L.A. Underground Film Forum. In total we have won eleven awards and a half a dozen other nominations, honors and selections! So far so good!

Troma Dance at the Drive-in!

Troma Dance Film Festival News! As Joe Bob Briggs says, “The Drive-in will never die!” I am excited to hear that Troma Dance will take place at the Mahoning Drive-in next month! Details here. It warms the heart to know this festival in its 20th year will take place in a physical space!

My New Short Film

MacLeod: There Can Be Only One is a short documentary I’m going to start working on about the king of royalty free music Kevin MacLeod. He may be the most listened to musician in history, I guess that’s what happens when you write 2,000 songs and let the internet, films, games, podcasts and apps use them for free! More news to come but listen to the newest VHS Massacre Radio show to learn more about this project!

Academia

So some of you know that I’ve been on an eight year journey in my college education. I had two A.S. degrees for the longest time. So it took me three and a half years to obtain an B.A. in Media and Communication from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. I then started at Hunter College in NYC to study film production in the Intergraded Media Arts program. So I’m still going. I have a class that starts up in a few weeks. I’ll be learning about grant writing for film. I’ve also completed a course in teaching online through Blackboard software and although I’ve been using it for years it is a step forward to be formally educated in using it. This could help me down the road if I decide to pursue online teaching more often. With luck I should have my M.F.A. degree completed by by Christmas.

Horror Hound Reviews “VHS Massacre Too” & wins at the 41st Telly Awards!

I was notified that there is an excellent review in HorrorHound Magazine of VHS Massacre Too. It has been nearly a decade since I’ve been featured in a major horror magazine so it was very meaningful to me and they actually liked it! Order a copy today! Here is a quote!

VHS Massacre Too is Infused with nostalgia, humor and passion…  without a doubt worth watching!”

-Jay Kay, HorrorHound

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This week I’m happy to report that VHS Massacre Too has won two awards including Best Documentary and Best Low-budget Project at the the 41st Annual Telly Awards. This makes 9 wins and 11 selections. We are also entered in 20 other film festivals including a screening at Horrorcon UK in late September but we will screen at the Underground Indie Film Festival virtually on Saturday June 13th. As more information comes in I’ll be sure to update everyone. There is no release date yet for VHS Massacre Too. Troma Entertainment has informed me that they are looking at a summer release and I’ll be sure to post updates as they come!

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On a personal note I finished another semester at Hunter College in the Intergraded Media Arts program which means I am now “in thesis”. With some luck I’ll have my M.F.A. by Christmas. I’ll spare you the details of how crazy things have been but I was proud to barrel through the semester under the circumstances. I made a few videos including a little news package on my wife and how she’s helping New York restaurants and companies promote delivery services during the epidemic. Also I posted a lecture on how to use symbolism and metaphor within cinema. My thesis project will be on the King of Royalty Free Music Kevin MacLeod! You’ve heard his music a dozen times and you didn’t even realize. In any case it should be a fun project. Drop me a line if Kevin has been a big influence on you!