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.

VIDEO GALAXY.EP20: Chris and Chris discuss Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g4gfk-f34c8a

This week Chris and Chris talk about the 1984 sci-fi flick The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai! Adventurer, brain surgeon, rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his crime-fighting team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil alien invaders from the eighth dimension who are planning to conquer Earth.


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VIDEO GALAXY EP19: Chris and Chris talk about the 1985 horror classic Fright Night!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9bjmh-f26b94

This week Chris and Chris talk about the 1985 Tom Holland vampire flick Fright Night! A teenager discovers that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire, so he turns to an actor in a television horror show for help dealing with the undead.


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VIDEO GALAXY EP18: Chris and Chris talk about the 1988 film “classic” Vampire’s Kiss starring Nick Cage.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-uhy4g-f1bea3

This week Chris and Chris talk about the 1988 film “classic” Vampire’s Kiss starring Nick Cage. After an encounter with a neck-biter, a publishing executive thinks that he’s turning into a vampire.

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VIDEO GALAXY EP17: Chris and Chris talk about the drama fantasy film The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9yn5k-f13b67

This week Chris and Chris talk about the drama fantasy film The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity whilst living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

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VIDEO GALAXY EP16: This week Chris and Chris talk about the fantasy horror film Gretel & Hansel  (2020) staring Sophia Lillis.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-t2tdd-f06c35

This week Chris and Chris talk about the fantasy horror film Gretel & Hansel  (2020) staring Sophia Lillis. A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

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VIDEO GALAXY EP15: This week Chris and Chris talk about David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rswk9-f019b4

This week Chris and Chris talk about David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) staring James Woods and Debbie Harry. A programmer at a TV station that specializes in adult entertainment searches for the producers of a dangerous and bizarre broadcast.

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