Mamo #225: After After Dark

Mamo checks in from the Toronto After Dark film festival 2011, with a good news / bad news analysis of this festival’s market chances in the city with the most film festivals anywhere in the world. Plus unexpected guest appearances from Kurt and John!

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo225.mp3

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Adam Lopez
Guest

I have to say I completely refute the notion in this podcast that my film festival, Toronto After Dark is in competition with TIFF. Many of my staff work for both organizations, and also many of our fans go to both events. Our events co-exist and complement each other nicely as both festivals only bring a small, carefully curated selection of top quality genre films to premiere in the city that in many cases would never normally get a theatrical release here. We were the first film festival in the city to premiere the hugely acclaimed LET THE RIGHT ONE IN for example. Our festival continues to thrive and grow each year and in just six years has built a reputation that is considered World Class on the genre circuit, alongside Austin Fantastic Fest and Montreal’s Fantasia. The idea that Canada’s largest populated city ‘structurally’ can not accommodate two genre events in a year, or that our event is not taken seriously is completely undermined by the record 10,000 attendees at this year’s event (triple our first year), the record number of All-Access passes sold to fans (250 fans bought the entire festival, which I believe is comparable to the number that buy the TIFF Midnight Madness Pass) the record press interest (over 120 Press Accreditation requests including your own – double two years ago) and the record number of respected media outlets now acclaiming Toronto After Dark as one of the “MUST-SEE” events in our city including The Toronto Star, Toronto.Com, NOW Magazine and Toronto Life.
With kindest regards,
– Adam Lopez, Founder and Director, Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Peter Kuplowsky
Guest

This is pretty uninformed guys. I am probably one of the most vocal critics about Toronto After Dark, but you guys are incredibly off-base with many of your observations. I’d be happy to discuss it with you two some time.

Matt Price
Guest

I’d happily give either or both of you guys a chance to come on the show and educate us, frankly. You’d be welcome anytime. Sorry if there are hard feelings, it’s a frank discussion as always and our opinions, however you may disagree with them are sincerely felt and do truly reflect the impression the festival makes on us.

Kurt
Guest

I didn’t hear what you guys were talking about when I wandered in to DarkHorse coffeeshop and joined, but I’d add now the missing ingredient in your assessments is that TADFF is the logical extension of Fan-Expo/Horror-Expo. Rue Morgue is a major sponsor and even presented FATHER’S DAY at the fest, and their Cinemacabre crosses over content-wise. It’s where Adam officially launches the TADFF press in August (and the fest resided at one point as the lead-into and seems to draw from almost the exact same fan base. Whereas TIFF gets some of this a midnight madness, it mainly draws from spill-over from other TIFF things.

I find that TIFF tends to broaden my horizons and push the boundries of horror, action, and rock’n’roll cinema and TADFF caters more to the fan-base and indie/Canadian content.

A subtle difference perhaps, but in the genre community the gradients are many.

Jeff Wright
Guest

I feel like I’m forgetting something, but here are some scattershot thoughts.

I’m really confused by your guys’ take on TAD. To see that they have nearly packed houses for all of their screenings but then say that there’s no place for it in Toronto is weird.

Toronto has nearly 100 film festivals, right? For TAD to break the top ten festivals in the city within 6 years (and I’d say they’ve already been in that top ten for at least 2 or 3 years already) is a huge accomplishment. You suggest that the festival would be a bigger festival in a smaller city, but what would the difference be? If they had 10,000 attendees this year, how are they going to do any better in a smaller city with both a smaller population and one that is less familiar with going to film festivals?

I don’t have interest in a lot of the films programmed at TAD, but I just skip those and see the ones that I’m excited for. You can tell which films you would describe as “fan films” or “DIY” by trailers, reviews, etc. Why not just avoid them if they’re not your thing? Saying that you should be paid to watch those films makes no sense. What’s making you go see them? You’re clearly not their audience.

Do I wish that TAD’s programming was a bit more adventurous sometimes? Of course. I understand why it’s not though. They wouldn’t be as successful as they are right now if their festival was nothing but films I’m going to like.

Ti West’s THE INNKEEPERS was one of my most anticipated films of this year, and I am really glad I was able to see it on the big screen thanks to TAD bringing it to Toronto. It screened at SXSW in March, so there wasn’t another festival in the city that would have brought it. Yes, KILL LIST played at TIFF’s MM after playing SXSW but having two films from that programme isn’t really an option.

You’re way off as well about the timing of the films TAD is programming. The bulk of the films they show aren’t brand spanking new Midnight Madness “rejects”, and those that might be, will often have played Fantasia first. Is Fantasia a lesser festival because of that? TAD’s programming is largely films that have been on the fest circuit that year. Go through the line-up and see when the films premiered. Also… the idea of a programmer saying, “My line-up is full this year, but re-submit next year” is nuts. Filmmakers need to make their money back, and there are enough large festivals throughout the year to launch their films elsewhere. Films that don’t premiere until a year after they’re complete, do so because they’re not very good, and have to settle on a smaller festival after being rejected from the big boys.

TAD has programmed some great films in its short time as a festival including FUNKY FOREST, MURDER PARTY, BEHIND THE MASK, THE LAST EXORCISM, THE INNKEEPERS, MANBORG, RUBBER, BLACK DEATH, THE FORBIDDEN DOOR, and AACHI & SIPAK. I think that bringing those films to screen in Toronto, along with how quickly they’ve built a large and dedicated audience in as complacent a city as Toronto, deserves some props.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

There is room for both Toronto After Dark and Midnight Madness and don’t believe that they compete with each other. Toronto After Dark has managed to get many great films over the years the Midnight Madness didn’t.

I am personally still grateful to Toronto After Dark for screening Trick ‘r Treat in 2009, a film I feared that I would never see theatrically after Warner Bros decided to dump it on DVD after a 2 year delay. Last year, I went to the screening of The Last Exorcism (a major studio release) that had both producer Eli Roth and stars Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell (BEFORE her appearance at TIFF this year) in attendance for the Q&A. In fact, looking over the other films that played in 2009 and 2010 (such as Dead Snow, Black Dynamite, High School, Centurion, I Spit on Your Grave, Rubber, and Human Centipede), I sort of now wish I saw more films during those years.

Toronto After Dark may officially only be 8 or 9th out of Toronto’s film festivals, but, personally, it’s in my top three.

Andrew Moore
Guest

I’m casting my vote as you folks being off base. What I get from your podcast is a lot of opinion but there’s no real evidence to support your take on things (no offense, just saying, like my science teachers, I need my proofs). Don’t get me wrong, that’s your feeling on the festival based on your life experience to date, your personal tastes, your particular and unique way of looking at things. I think it’s important to state that these are only opinions and as such, should not be viewed as the final word on anything.

Speaking of opinions, here’s mine:
Having been to TADFF the last 5 years running, I’ve seen the festival grow and the film lineup never fails to please (me anyway). Personally, I choose a pass for TADFF over Midnight Madness every year. It’s not that TIFF doesn’t appeal to me, I just know that TADFF is always going to deliver. Team After Dark put their hearts into this festival and it shows.
As for competition with TIFF, I just can’t see it. You speak of overlap and ‘taking the leavings of TIFF’ but I don’t see using a short film that screened at both as really being in support of that statement. Perhaps if there were an overlap of say 5 features out of the lineup in a given year, I’d say you have a point. Heck even if there were even only 3 or 2 features screened at both I might give you a nod.
Until it is an issue, it’s not an issue if you follow where I’m going with that.
We see excellent films, fun films, dark films, twisted films, GENUINE films. That’s the key one, genuine. As much as it’s about the fans, it’s also about the films and film makers. The love and honesty that go into making so many of these films can be felt. That goes for everything from the campy films to the mind bending films. Sitting through some of those Q&A sessions blew my mind. I can’t help but respect so many of the people involved in the making of many of this years’ films knowing what they went through to make them.
TADFF fans, volunteers and staff catch films at, and are often involved in, both festivals and it doesn’t seem to have slowed the growth of either. People are HUNGRY for this. If anything, there’s still plenty of room to grow for both festivals.
Obviously, genre fans will ‘get it’ more but whether you’re a fan or a statistician, the numbers would seem to indicate Adam and team are on the right track.
Those are my thoughts anyway, take them for what they’re worth. Toronto After Dark is still my #1.

Matt Hodgson
Guest

Hi guys,

I listened to the podcast until you were joined by someone else. I have to say that I find your logic very confusing. You state that TAD has potentially reached a turning point, with record attendance and more accessible films, yet you think they need to move to another city. At the same time you state that TAD and MM are in competition with each other. Potentially for some films, but certainly not from the actual ticket buyers.

This is the first year that I have attended MM and TAD (nearly every film in each case), and I learned something about genre film fans. They cannot get enough of this stuff. For some, the month between MM and TAD is too long of a wait.

It may be subjective, but I counted four amazing films at MM: The Raid, You’re Next, Sleepless Night, and Kill List. At TAD this year I saw five amazing films: Redline, Some Guy Who Kills People, A Lonely Place to Die, The Divide and The Innkeepers. In addition to these there were plenty that barely missed the mark, and were still very enjoyable, just not ‘great’. To think that there is a fan out there who would only enjoy the content of one of these festivals is ludicrous.

Talk of Redline coming to Blu-ray in a week seems to miss the point that there is a group of people out there who would like to see it as it was meant to be seen, in theatres. Any idea how many festivals Kill List played before MM? Would you have had them pass up on this film because of those numbers?

It really seems like the main goal of this particular podcast is to be incendiary. Sure we are all entitled to our opinion, but don’t hide behind the guise of honesty. If you were truly honest, you would acknowledge the record attendance at TAD (which you did), the high quality of numerous TAD screenings, the amazing community that TAD has created, and you would come to the inescapable conclusion that this is the definition of success.

Andrew James
Admin

I went to TAD the first three years of its run and had an absolute blast and saw some SENSATIONAL films. I can tell you right now that this web site would not even exist without TAD. I disagree with pretty much all of the disparaging remarks (for seemingly no reason) against TAD in this episode.

GE Hale
Guest

After reading these comments I had trouble reconciling them with what I remember having been said on the podcast so I re-listened to it. As far as I can tell, aside from some comments on the continued growth of the festival and the changing of dates, there are no facts really discussed. The rest is opinion with one Matt clearly stating the subject matter does not interest him at all and that no matter what organization/programming decisions are made there is little chance of him getting on board, and both of the Matts expressing concern than the shared subject material and the close proximity in space and time with Midnight Madness hurts the festival. These are reasonable opinions and I think the objections in the comments stem from an affection for the festival and a little irrational.

Not living in Toronto and having never been to TAD I am in no position to comment on how or what the festival should do to continue to grow, or the quality of the festival and its films. However, from the lens of “movies and popular culture”, TAD is an unimportant festival that serves a very niche audience. Most people have never heard of it, and aside from a few of the adventurous and the aficionados, the general public will never attend. To me, it seems that serving a specific niche market is a just fine and likely can continue to grow, gaining in reputation and size amongst fans of genre films. However, I completely agree with the Matts that if the organizers are hoping for a breakthrough into mainstream consciousness and into popular culture, they have the very real problem that the more mainstream and accessible films (whatever that means) will be poached by TIFF. This doesn’t mean TAD can’t be successful with second-tier and the really out there films, but the general thesis of this podcast seems sound to me.

Andrew Moore
Guest

GE Hale.
“Not living in Toronto and having never been to TAD” also puts you in a weak position to be commenting on TAD at all wouldn’t you say? Either as a supporter or detractor.
That’s like commenting on food at a local diner and never having sampled the dishes or set foot in the door. You’re absolutely entitled to your opinion but let’s be honest and call it what it is.
I think the idea that ‘mainstream films’ will be poached by TIFF is really not an issue. The term Mainstream has a few unpalatable meanings attached to it. I like some Hollywood Blockbusters but I love more honest and humble films that deliver the goods without being butchered and watered down for the masses.
If TAD was so unimportant and unheard of, I’m not sure what to say about the fans that come from out of town to see it. I’m talking Alberta and Tennessee as two examples here.
You do bring up one good point though, Matt stating he has no interest in this and nothing is likely to change that. Sort of casts shadow of negative bias over anything he might have to say about TAD wouldn’t you say?
As always, my opinions are my opinions, take them for what they’re worth.

Matt Hodgson
Guest

GE Hale: It is difficult to have ‘reasonable opinions’ and a ‘sound thesis’ without a shred of evidence (actually the evidence seems to be indicating that there is no competition). Sounds like baseless speculation to me, which is fine, but call it for what it is.

As for breaking through to the mainstream. I don’t speak for the anyone at TAD, but that would seem like a bizarre goal for a genre and community-based film fest. I don’t even think it is the goal of MM, which is also anything but mainstream. This part of the argument seems like a straw man.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

GE Hale: What’s this niche crowd you are talking about? If you are saying Toronto After Dark only attracts genre film aficionados in their 20s and 30s (myself included), you are quite mistaken.

In fact, I have to say that the crowd for Toronto After Dark isn’t that much different than the crowd for any other film festival. I also have to say that it’s NOT an unknown festival and it does get mainstream media coverage.

Isaac Alexander
Guest

Disclaimer. I have personally never been to Toronto, nor have I attended Toronto After Dark Film Festival(TAD).

Lets start this discussion with actual “Facts” shall we?
1. Since 2008, Toronto After Dark Film Festival(TAD) has been a member of the North American Fantastic Film Alliance(NAFFA).
http://fantasticfestpressrelease.blogspot.com/2008/06/north-american-fantastic-festival.html
NAFFA Website
http://fantasticalliance.org/
As you can see this film alliance includes Fantastic Fest, Fantastia Fest, etc… ActionFest just became a member of this organization this year according to an ad in the Fantastic Fest Program Guide(page 20).
http://www.scribd.com/doc/65157236/Fantastic-Fest-Guide-2011

2. You have an assertion that there’s only room for “one” genre film festival or track available in the city of Toronto. Or that the city of Toronto can’t support more fests.
Here’s a site that includes a list of all the festivals in the city.
http://www.torontofilmfestivals.com/search/alphabetical/ALLFESTIVALS.html
Now, as can be seen from the above link that there is just one pure genre film festival in Toronto and that’s TAD. Since Midnight Madness is a programming is part of the larger Toronto Int. Film Fest(TIFF). There’s certainly also quite a few conventions in the metro area that also cater to genre films. Fan Expo, Anime North, & Polaris come to mind. No where in your podcast did you mention those three events.
Now as for population numbers, here’s the official government census numbers from 2006 on the population of Toronto.
http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/popdwell/Table.cfm?T=201&S=3&O=D&RPP=150
Wouldn’t you be able to conclude from those numbers that the region can support multiple events in the region?

3. Here’s a list I created this past spring listing all the genre film festivals across the globe. I plan to publish an updated one for 2011 later this year, but I wanted you to get a glimpse of how many of these events there are in the world.
World Genre Film Festival Calendar
http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/4/world-genre-film-festival-calendar-for-2011.html

In conclusion, if you’re going to give opinions out on festivals, have some actual ‘evidence’ or ‘facts’ to back up your statements. You’ll appear much more credible in the future.

Otherwise, I enjoy your site and your podcast. Keep up the great work covering genre films across the globe!

Kurt
Guest

This podcast was discussing impressions, overall vibe of the cine-landscape in toronto from two VERY knowledgable cinephiles. Facts and stats do add some very interesting dimensions to the equation, but I bet there are a lot of cinephiles in T.Dot that have a similar impression of TADFF. Personally I think the Matt’s went after TADFF with kid gloves, lets not get our backs up about avid filmgoers in Toronto with a well articulated opinion. Let’s keep calm and have a conversation.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Put me in the Team ADFF. My impression with the general public, that people seems to have more awareness of ADFF over Midnight Madness that gets lost inside of TIFF. TIFF gets a huge amount of attention, but it seems to me that many don’t realize that there’s a genre festival inside of TIFF. I’ve certainly heard of Midnight Madness before, but it’s only this past year that I decided I really need to go see some Midnight Madness films next year, partly because of coverage of the Substream, Row Three & Mamo. Also even if people are aware of both, many still see any TIFF screening as something that is hard to get tickets for, that you have to plan ahead for, while ADFF is something you can just go the night of and get tickets. Not that this is reality, this is what is the perception when I talk to people about going to see either a TIFF or ADFF movie.

All that aside, I definitely think there’s room for 2 genre festivals. Hell, I think there’s room for even more than just 2. There’s certainly seems to be plenty of genre movies out there and I think most fans can afford to go to both film festivals (although the weekday midnight screenings can be hard to do and still go to work the next day). I don’t require the movie I’m seeing to be potentially the best movie of the year, just that it’s enjoyable.

As for regarding Netflix, note that while they have been losing subscribers in the US, they have been doing well in Canada and have already been profitable despite it being all streaming in Cabada. Also it wasn’t expected that Netflix Canada was going to be profitable this soon. That said, Netflix Canada is going to invest in getting a wider selection and doesn’t expect to be profitable again until a year from now. However, in Canada there isn’t much competition and while there is increasing competition in the US and some of the other markets like the UK there are other services there.

Here’s one article that brings up some of these facts:
http://thenextweb.com/media/2011/10/25/netflix-gambling-on-international-markets/

Matthew Price
Guest

Guys, honestly this is the best discussion thread we’ve generated in our entire time here at row three. It’s a passionate and very well informed group of comments, and I for one am thrilled to have been boneheaded enough to make you all this mad. We’re hard at work on a follow up show, and hopefully you’ll all stick with us for it.

Isaac Alexander
Guest

Matthew Fabb, I totally agree with you that Toronto can hold more genre film festivals. You have a very healthy genre convention scene there with Fan Expo, Polaris, Anime Expo, etc….

In Seattle where I’m located, is half the population size of Toronto yet has three genre film festivals. Similar to TIFF, there’s Seattle Int. Film Festival(SIFF) which has a Midnight Adrenaline genre lineup. There’s also the Science Fiction +Fantasy Short Film Festival put on by the EMP & Sci Fi Museum as well as the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, which I’m a Co-Founder of.
Matthew Price, would love for you on your followup podcast to do a review if you will of all genre film festivals and how they fit in. If you wish, I can email you my updated calender for 2011, and what 2012 is shaping up to look like.

Jesse Cook
Guest

Hey Guys,
Very amusing podcast. For the record, our investors are on pace to make a 500% return on Monster Brawl and Exit Humanity, which is very rare to do in Canada. In response to your concern of what our investors thought, they all loved the fest and the films. Also our films were both selected to Sitges among several others, which was the first time a Canadian company had two films in Sitges in the same year. It’s been a great year for Canadian genre filmmaking, wish we would hear more about that.

GregMO Roberts
Guest

I don’t agree with the thoughts expressed in the podcast – in particular that the TIFF Midnight Madness series and the Toronto After Dark Film Festival cannot co-exist in one of the largest cities in North America. In the same city that argues that they have the fan base to support two separate hockey teams, I can assert that there are more than enough horror, cult and science fiction films for both festivals and enough fans to accompany and stand-by those films. I have attended the Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness program for six years while attending the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for three and never have I considered the two to either be in competition with each other nor do I think that either has substantial impact on its brother. Both attempt to provide valued entertainment to a horror/cult starved audience and both have performed exceptional in their co-existing.

In fact, I can argue that TAD might actually do a BETTER job than that of the prestigious TIFF. TIFF brings the flash and glamour of the internationally renowned film festival to the masses and the results include audience members that have secured tickets just wanting to be part of the festival who have no appreciation for the genre about to be presented. Colin Geddes does a great job of finding those films that can dazzle and daze an audience and his resources for sourcing those films and securing them for the festival is likely second to none.

But the TAD Festival caters more to the people. The films are crowd pleasers and are a better representation of the genre to which they represent. I have never thought ‘this is too cheap to be at TIFF’ or ‘this is too good to be at TAD’ and your podcast suggested that Toronto After Dark is the pesky younger brother what won’t go away and should just pick up his ball and go play in another neighbourhood.

You could not be more wrong.

I am thankful for Colin Geddes. I am thankful for Adam Lopez. The world is better with the two of them in it, and so are our horror festivals.

…..Oh, and don’t even get me started on how TAD has an easier and simpler way of securing and picking up tickets as does TIFF.

Fingerless Hobie
Guest

It seems to me that the comments on this thread seem to be slightly misaligned with the content of the podcast.

After acknowledging that this festival has grown by leaps and bounds, the central notion of the podcast seemed to “how high can this thing go?”. The entire context of this podcast is predicated on the the upward trajectory of the festival’s development. Perhaps it is an erroneous assumption that the TAD Festival organizers would ever want it to become mainstream on the level of TIFF but the fact that this is even a topic of conversation is hardly disparaging. The ‘structural problems’ that are postulated are perceived barriers to the festival’s ability to grow even larger. Furthermore, Matt and Matt appear to go to great lengths to be open about the biases they bring to the conversation (ranging from their personal affection towards the people who run the festival to their interest in the genre subject matter).

Perhaps the usage of the word ‘competition’ is too confrontational for some, but to think that it is not occurring on some level is just silly. Competition doesn’t necessarily imply Thunderdome (even though it’s the best kind); it’s simply the acknowledgement of more than one enterprise occupying the same marketplace. In this case, film festivals tend be more motivated by their love of cinema and work together on many occasions towards this. But, if one single consumer has saved up their money and is able to buy only one festival pass (and not attend the other) – then those two festivals have just competed with one another.

Mamo – In the future, if you’re going to start citing census data as much needed evidence in your podcast, can you also throw in some info from the almanac? I’d like to know how well my crops are going to do.

rot
Guest

a horoscope would be nice too.

Isaac Alexander
Guest

That’s great you plan to have Adam on the next show Matt.
On another note, I have to kind of scratch my head at some of the comments above that make light of having “facts” in forming an opinion. Guess it’s a new day and age I suppose.
Besides Adam, do you plan to interview any other genre festival organizers in Canada or beyond?

Kurt
Guest

There is a difference between ‘impressions of a festival on a person’ and the overall stats. Admittedly Mamo! often blurs the line, here. I don’t think many of the commenters are ‘against facts/stats’ but rather understand when it comes to a cultural even and how it is perceived, facts are certainly not the be all and end all. This isn’t a chemical reaction, or particle physics people…

Andrew James
Admin

The problem here isn’t really opinions or facts. It’s the strange need to bash a very successful festival for seemingly no reason. And some of the theories set forth aren’t even really true. What is the ultimate goal here? Is it to get Adam on the show? Then success. Is it to get TAD to leave town or to give up? Why would you want that? You talk about the movies not being very good and it’s all TIFF leftovers and not really an audience (“too much audience overlap”) and “a structural problem they won’t be able to overcome” and “no matter what they do they’re lost in the shuffle” – none of these things are accurate.

Then you admit you don’t really go to any of the movies but then mention a movie here and there that is screening and they’re all “really great.” So the whole conversation is a series of contradictions and bashings (and the occasional backpedal). But to what end I ask you? They screen to packed houses, audiences love it (I’ve personally seen several absolutely fantastic films there), they’re growing, they’re cheaper than other festival and it plays at Halloween! Yet TAD “has no place here” and they should “move out of Toronto.”

I relistened to the conversation today and quite honestly it’s one of the most baffling exchanges I’ve ever heard come out of the MAMO.

Kurt
Guest

The goal is to have a conversation, turn things over. This is a city of cinephiles that go to a lot of festivals. Nothing wrong with considering where TADFF fits into the mix and the Matts are pretty seasoned festival goers. You may not agree with their assessment of TADFF, Andrew I see no issue with this, and I don’ t see how you find this baffling.

You are seeing their statement as ‘authority’ on things, I see their statements as ‘considering’ things. There is a difference. It is this comment section that seems more inclined to jump the gun rather than a quite moderate and gentle podcast that happens to not have a 100% positive take on the fest.

Matt Hodgson
Guest

Kurt:

There are two issues at hand here and I will try to explain them as best I can.

1. As you can see, many people feel that the content of the podcast was disparaging and that the opinion of the Matts was way off-base. Facts and evidence are not necessary to form an opinion, but they are your best friend when you are trying to express an opinion that may be viewed as unpopular by a large group of people. It is disappointing for those who disagree with the Matts and find their speculation confusing to not see them enter the realm of evidence and fact to support their argument.

2. GE hale called some of the commenters irrational, and you yourself asked for people to calm down and have a conversation, in addition to appealing to the experience of the podcasters. I hope you can see how this comes across as insulting to commenters who HAVE been calm, have been rational, and simply want to understand why the Matts would hold this opinion.

Matt

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Text is a tricky thing, Matt_Hodgson. What I intended (i.e. continue the conversation without resulting to flame-warish hyperbole) is not designed to tar everyone with the same brush. Carry on.

antho42
Guest

I am on the anti-MAMO side for this episode. Inexcusable behavior.

Bob Turnbull
Admin

Before jumping in, though I disagree with the opinion of the Matts here, I don’t think they are trying to disparage the festival. I think they truly appreciate any considered comments back to them and I expected nothing less than them inviting TADFF to come on their show to discuss further. I think it could be a very productive conversation (especially given how Adam and Peter responded above).

But I guess I need a bit of context to understand some of their comments (and perhaps they will simply address this on the follow-on show)…I think my main question for the MAMO gents would be “how do you define success for a film festival?” In particular, how do you define success for TADFF? Does it have to usurp Midnight Madness? If not (and that likely isn’t its goal anyway), what would you want to see out of it? Is it a question of whether they can continue to grow? I think it’s done well over the 6 years and – except for the blip when they shifted to August two years ago (it wasn’t last year, they went to August in 2009 and stayed for 2 years before switching back this year) – I have seen growth every year (and I’ve been to every year of the fest). Not massive growth, but slow and steady to the point where I believe it is actually profitable now. If the question is whether it can continue growing or manage to survive at whatever level it may plateau at, I think that’s a valid question and certainly open to opinion. Not knowing the numbers, I think the answer is still Yes since I don’t see the festival waning in popularity anytime soon.

Or are you judging by how many top line World Premieres it can get? Granted, it’s in tough competition, but the more small premieres it gets and the more filmmakers who show up, the more the word will spread. Will they scoop MM? It’ll frankly be hard, but since MM stops at 10 films, I truly believe there is still room to bring some very interesting films in – and not just the “fanboy” films (I must say, that was a bit of an odd comment considering some of the excellent fare the fest has shown). As to whether TADFF will ever show a film that will make your best of the year list, I can tell you they’ve already done that for me – “Black Dynamite” was my fave film from a few years ago. “Funky Forest”, “Retribution”, “Alone”, “Murder Party”, “Let The Right One In”, “4bia” and “Rubber” have all cracked the upper echelons of my lists as well. Were any of those World Premieres? No, but is that the only measure of success that you need to find a big World Premiere that will hit everyone’s Top Ten? I’m sure they would love that and might get there one day, but providing films that scatter across a variety of Top Ten lists is still a pretty solid success in my mind.

And given the list of films above, I’m not sure how you can call the first 5 years “shabby” – oh sure, there have been several films that didn’t work for me and even fell flat with a sizable part of the audience, but as far as I have seen there has never been a slapdash approach to film selection and there is always an attempt to find something that the audience (or in the case of some of the zombie films, a portion of the audience) might embrace. The festival is always run professionally and Adam – whether you like his egging the audience for applause or not (TIFF does it too) – has always brought a sense of fun and community to the fest. Of course, I’m terribly biased because I’ve met a whole bunch of fantastic people through the festival and frequent the Pub After Dark festivities as well.

You also mention that due to its rank within Toronto, it becomes around the 1500th most important film festival in the world. But shouldn’t you be comparing it to other genre festivals? I expect they would still be behind Sitges, MM, Fantastic Fest and Fantasia, but if they can make the top 10 genre fests in the world (and to be honest I have no idea where they would rank right now, but it wouldn’t be low), again, I have to see that as pretty successful and positive for a relatively long life. I think expanding to a much larger size like Fantasia would be a mistake as well – again I have no knowledge of the financial numbers, but I have to think that there are huge practical reasons why that would be very difficult. Not to mention that it certainly waters down your selections as I’ve heard from many who attend Fantasia (having said that, I still want to go there one of these days).

All my own opinion and definitely not based on any facts regarding the economic health of the festival. Looking forward to hearing you gents discuss further on the cast.

Matt Hodgson
Guest

Kurt:

Thank you for your sagacious clarification. Next time I won’t even waste my time trying to explain why the other side is baffled.

Permission to carry on?

Matt

Kurt
Guest

My sarcasm meter is busted. What exactly is happening here?

Either way Matt_Hodgson, I suggest you wait for Part Deux to this podcast, where I suspect that all will be clarified/elaborated/settled. I also imagine that on balance, the energy/vibe between Mamo! and TADFF will come out quite positive.

(Yes you have permission to carry on. (Yes this is an attempted joke). Carry on.)

Isaac Alexander
Guest

Well said Matt Brown. I didn’t take from the podcast that you were out to get TADFF. I just plainly thought your opinions were wrong and provided information as to why it was. That’s it.
I’ve also enjoyed reading others thoughts on this topic in this forum and am VERY happy that the discussion has been well informed and literate, rather then going to the gutter of “shut up” or “your opinion sucks”. I would like to thank everyone for moving the discussion forward in a positive direction for all parties.
When does the next episode go live on the web?

rot
Guest

It is a strange experience to read the outrage in the comment section first and then hear the podcast. They fumble through their opinions and exaggerate here and there as one does in an unrehearsed conversation that takes a life of its own, but I think what they said was pretty tame, and they kept reiterating that in spite of their opinions, this and that are good about it, and it has value. You would think from some of the comments and the number of responses piling in they had really laid down some fire and brimstone in their vitriol for TADFF.

Lighten up. They were talking out their ass to some extent, like any of us do sitting in a bar with friends.

And I don’t write for Row Three anymore so my opinion is not representative of Row Three inc.

whew.

Adam Lopez
Guest

I just want to thank the many commenters above who have contributed to this informed discussion on Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Over six long hard years, hundreds of volunteers, staff and filmmakers and thousands of fans have come together in Toronto to create one of the most respected and important film festivals for showcasing new genre cinema in the world. So perhaps understandably, all of us who have sacrificed so much to make this success story happen, were quite dismayed to hear two respected local film podcasters use such negative language in the context of our event. Especially upsetting was that many of the assumptions and assertions made about our event were simply not true. I really appreciate Matt Brown’s heartfelt response to our fans and the commenters to his podcast above. And I look forward to going on a Mamo cast in the next two weeks, to clear up some of the confusion that led to this episode. With thanks again to everyone who has participated in this discussion.
– Adam Lopez, Founder & Festival Director, Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Matt Hodgson
Guest

Matt,

Thanks for taking the time to understand where some commenters were coming from. I really look forward to the follow-up podcast and will go into it with an open mind. I’m also very happy we were able to have a discussion that didn’t ‘flame’ out.

Matt

Matthew Fabb
Guest

One of the things that I personally think that make MAMO a great and entertaining podcast, is that it’s very much a free flowing conversation between the two Matt’s (and anyone else who might be making a guess appearance). Sometimes wrong assumptions are made or they get their facts incorrect and few times they might check something out first on a spare iPhone, but the conversation keeps moving.

Matt Brown goes all the way back to Mission Impossible 3 in 2006, but I’ll point out that you only have to go back 4 episodes to get a podcast titled: “And Lord Knows, I’ll Be Wrong Again”. 🙂

I’ve mentioned before in the comments, that the way the show is structured, that I am still entertained by the show even if I disagree with their points.

Perhaps if the Matt’s do another show between now and the 11th, they can talk about how Joss Whedon now has ANOTHER film production that if released in 2012, will make it 4 Whedon films in a year. Wait another week or two and at that point the conversation might be about Whedon’s 5th or 6th movie for 2012. The man is taking his Avengers money and becoming a movie mogul! 🙂

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[…] familiar with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, but the MAMO boys caused quite the stir with this episode of their show. They caused such a stir in fact, that a follow up show to speak with some of those […]

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