Comic-Con Film School is back for another four-day, nuts and bolts course on how to make a movie for very little money using available video technology and desktop postproduction software. Whether you're shooting your first vampire film or that story about the leather-clad girl who hunts dimensional refugees, this course will take you from script to final product so that you too can enter your own movie into the CCI-IFF. This first class covers the specifics of preproduction on the cheap, including screenwriting, casting, scheduling, location scouting, crewing-up, and getting equipment for nothing. Panelists include Valerie Perez (producer/star, Paula Peril series), Jack Conway (writer/producer, Fear News), Vera Vanguard (producer, The Building of Good and Evil), Nick Murphy (writer/director, Pizza and Bullets), and Sean Rourke (writer, Ballistica).
Aurora-After his wife is kidnapped by a group of slave traders, Emerson Marks, captain of the airship Aurora, must decide what he is willing to sacrifice in order to bring her back. Participating filmmakers include Chris Kellett and Jeremy Kelly-Bakker (Australian co-creators).
Dust of War-In a post-apocalyptic American Frontier, a soldier fends off a brutal warmonger to rescue a girl fated as the savior of humanity. It's like Star Wars but on the prairie. Participating filmmakers include Doug Jones (Hellboy 1 & 2), Gary Graham (Star Trek Enterprise), and Andrew Kightlinger (writer/director).
Project Arbiter-A WWII sci-fi espionage story about a top secret O.S.S. unit. Captain Joseph Colburn is tasked with using a prototype invisibility suit to infiltrate a mysterious villa on the Polish border. Colburn's mission abruptly begins when his plane is shot down. What is in the villa? What is Mixture 9? Participating filmmakers include Michael Chance (writer/director), Vicki de Mey (producer), Jason Beckwith (cinematographer), and Jesse Boots (VFX supervisor).
The End of Dates-Dennis is finally on a date with the girl of his dreams. As he summons the courage for that first kiss, will a catastrophic alien attack on Earth ruin his perfect moment? Participating filmmakers include Kyle Stafford (writer/director), Mike Mangan (FX supervisor), and Dave Child and Brooke Lenzi (co-stars).
Blind Luck-On an afternoon walk with his owner, a seeing-eye dog momentarily shirks his duties and must choose between his owner and his favorite toy. Participating panelist include Diane Aarts (creator).
The Art of Pho-A moving and surreal story about a lovable creature named Little Blue and his friends. An extraordinary sequence of events brings Little Blue to Vietnam's bustling capital Ho Chi Minh City, a.k.a. Saigon, where he learns to master the art of making Pho-Vietnam's ubiquitous national noodle dish. The adventures that ensue set him on a marvelous path of self-discovery.
Location scouts work with the director and production designer to translate their cinematic visions to reality by traveling the world to seek out where the movies will be made. Six location scouts will discuss the creative and logistical aspects of their jobs, tell some exciting anecdotes, and answer audience questions. Panelists include Becky Brake (Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol), Caleb Duffy (Thor), Scott Allen Logan (Iron Man 2), David Lyons (Community), Rebecca "Puck" Stair (Terminator Salvation), and Scott Trimble (Star Trek Into Darkness).
Padak-A film about the lives of fish in a seafood restaurant-some fish accept their fate, while others fight to change it. Participating filmmakers include Austin Osueke (producer) and Jongmin Shin (producer).
PostHuman-Set in an adrenalized future of espionage, assassins, and out of control superscience, PostHuman follows a genius hacker and his dog as they help an enigmatic young woman free the remaining test subject of a black ops ESP test lab. Participating filmmakers include Cole Drumb (writer/director/producer), Jennifer Wai-Yin Luk (producer/editor), Jesse Norton (animation director), and Tom Price (storyboard artist).
Skeleton Girl-Millicent, a small orphan girl who lives in a land of make-believe, comes upon an abandoned cemetery where she takes a valuable gem from one of the gravestones. That night, during a spectacular thunderstorm, she begins to hear the tapping of bony fingers on her walls. As a skeleton pays a visit to retrieve what is rightfully hers, Millicent soon discovers why it isn't a good idea to steal from the dead. Participating filmmakers include Becky Scott (executive producer), Leo Wieser (producer, co-director, production designer, screenwriter, animator, technical director), and Amanda Rye (puppet wrangler, props, animator, fabricator).
Star-Crossed-When germaphobe Gideon sends out a plea for companionship, the message reaches Scout, sole inhabitant of a distant planet. Chock full of animation, Star-Crossed is Gideon's adventure: an intergalactic battle for love and courage, the bashful object of his affections, and the adorable amoeba standing in his way. Participating filmmakers include Katie Aldworth (director), Adam Ruckersfeldt (production designer), Lauren Brinkman (cinematographer), and John Wikstrom (producer).
Transmission-In a barren postapocalyptic wasteland, a creature and his dog find a radio with a signal that may lead them to the first sign of other life they have encountered in ages. But is the chance to find new life worth leaving the only home they have? Jared D. Weiss (director) talks about his film.
Scrap Metal-In postapocalyptic New York, a lone robot's only companion is an inanimate screw. But something else lurks within the empty streets...can this unusual friendship survive the threat of the terrible monster Gigaplant? Anthony Straus (ParaNorman) talks about his film.
Debris-September 13, 2001. A lone businessman travels home from New York City, haunted by tragedy and carrying with him a single broken diskette. As his journey continues, memories continue to haunt him, until he is forced to confront his darkest fears, and the man whose life he couldn't save. Participating filmmakers include Anne Walker (writer/director/animator), David Zumsteg (composer), Sandra Holland (sound editor), and Katherine Waddell (animator).
Pro Kopf-Martin's call to his wife is picked up by the maid, who is put in a difficult position due to an indiscretion by Martin's wife with another man. Once the truth is out Martin has one thing on his mind-murder. And he's willing to pay.
Bar Talk-In a dusty Texas bar, a peculiar stranger strikes up a conversation with the lonely man sitting next to him. The more this out-of-towner talks, the more apparent it is he's not from 'round here. Heck, he's not even from this planet! Based on the short story by legendary author Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep). Participating filmmakers include Lowell Northrop (director), Ian Gary (actor), and Garret Price (editor).
Pretty Pictures-Sent to her aunt's home to stay, Laney finds solace in a sketchbook in which she brings her companion Marcy to life. A twisted but ultimately heartening tale of adolescent sexuality, with a fantastical bent. Participating filmmakers include Christina Sun Kim (director), Mick Tolbert (actor), and Michelle Lopes (artist).
The Root of the Problem-In the candy-colored world of 1950s suburbia, a reluctant young housewife suspects that the friendly neighborhood dentist is hiding a horrible secret. But is it just the anesthesia at work, or is there something more sinister hiding below the surface? Participating filmmakers include Ryan Spindell (writer/director), T. Justin Ross (associate producer) and Gregory Tripi (composer).
The Ice Fisherman-A troubled veteran discovers a mysterious creature frozen outside his Northern Minnesota fishing cabin. What follows is a thrilling psychological journey that tests the frayed resolve of this wounded warrior and brings him face to face with his deepest fears. Participating filmmakers include Bob Kundrat (writer/director), Dave Underhill (producer/DP), Pang Maggart (producer), and Dave Lang (composer).
Blue Hole-Michael takes his fiancée Amy deep within the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to a cabin where he plans to propose. Upon arriving, they're attacked by a madman who claims that an eerie pond near the cabin called "Blue Hole" can bring back the dead. Inspired by a true story and a real place in New Jersey. Participating filmmakers include Erik Gardner (writer/director/producer), Michael Alberts (producer/editor), Scott Speiser (actor), and Caitlin Rose Williams (actor).
The Plan-Ben's dreams often mix with his surroundings. Years of self-neglect lead him to look back at his past decisions. Unable to fully comprehend why he took a certain path in life, Ben travels through his twisted, often false, memories, unable to let go. Participating filmmakers include Daniel Fallik (director) and Assaf Ohayon (art director).
Day 2 of this four-day course on microbudget moviemaking focuses on the specifics of production, from shooting techniques, to lighting on the cheap, to crew positions you need (and don't need), to costuming, props, and set decorating for as little money as possible. Panelists include Valerie Perez (producer/star of the Paula Peril series), Vera Vanguard (producer of The Building of Good and Evil), Nick Murphy (writer/director of Pizza and Bullets), Jack Conway (writer/producer of Fear News), and Sean Rourke (writer of Ballistica).
Certified-In 1950s rural America, a postman's first day takes a terrifying turn when a precocious young girl tells him of her family's horrible tragedy. Participating filmmakers include Luke Asa Guidici (director), Kimberley Browning (producer), and Thomas Garner (lead actor).
Out of Hand-Whuh-oh...as if practicing for the school play wasn't hard enough, Nathan has to ditch a mysterious severed human hand before going onstage! Participating filmmakers include Katie Aldworth (director), Aaron Pagniano (cinematographer), Andie McMahon (production designer), and Dustin Waldman (producer).
Thumb-After losing a playful "thumb war" to his date, our hero puts his losing digit through a grueling Rocky-esque training regimen in an obsessive quest to reclaim the title...and his manhood. Participating filmmakers include Josh Duvendeck (Parks & Recreation), Johanna Watts (Star Trek: Enterprise), Kevin Walsh (Padmé), and James Codeglia (cinematographer).
Titans of Newark-In the heavens of Mt. Olympus, the Greek gods debate whether they maintain power over humanity. In present-day New Jersey, unemployed loser Levi Katz (Six Feet Under) gets the interview of a lifetime-not realizing that between him and the interview stands a divine war that will push him to his limits. Participating filmmakers include Mike Marino (writer/director), Raisa Machado (producer), Christy Gray (production designer), Rockie Stephens (editor), and Lili Bordan (Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome).
Deathbed-During his final moments, a dying man lays by his son, who would do anything to keep his father alive...until he is called out on it. Guest starring Death! Participating filmmakers include Sean Becker (director), Jeff Lewis (writer/actor), and Daniel Scruggs (visual effects).
Cats in Space-Space, the final frontier. A feline starship embarks on a mission to boldly go where no cat has gone before. Participating filmmakers include James Dastoli (co-director), Robert Dastoli (co-director), and Emily Paiz (producer).
The Immigrant-After being deported to his native Canada, once-famous comedian Bob London attempts a Hollywood comeback by sneaking across the Mexico-U.S. border. Rejected by his famous friends, penniless and alone, Bob is adopted by a pair of migrant workers who resolve to show him how to make it in America. Participating filmmakers include Josh Levy (director), Robi Levy (producer), and Dave Pullano (co-writer).
Level Up: The Living Video Game-Jayden is a gamer who can't imagine his life without video games. He has a crush on a cute gamer girl name Katie. But the path to get Katie isn't covered with rose petals, because Jayden must obtain experience points and reach to his next level if he wants to talk with her. Participating filmmakers include Cecilio Lanz (director), Felipe Velarde (executive producer), Jorge Quevedo (lead actor), and Alina Bartolini (lead actress).
Moderated by Lora Kennedy (Warner Brothers, EVP, features casting; CD, Man of Steel). With a panel that includes Roger Mussenden (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Sharon Bialy (The Walking Dead), David Rapaport (Arrow), Randi Hiller (VP of casting for Walt Disney Studio, The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor), these leading casting directors will give behind-the-scenes insight to the casting process.
At the End-Earth's days are numbered when a nearby star goes supernova. Seizing the opportunity, an alien race has offered humanity a deal: be our slaves or be left to die. As one couple struggles toward the last escaping ship, they grapple with the cost of sacrificing their freedom for their survival. Participating filmmakers include Jason J. Whitmore (writer/director), Deirdre Morales (producer), Devin Dailey (director of photography), Christopher Devlin (actor), and Ronja Koepke (actor).
HENRi-Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Margot Kidder (Superman) star in this short sci-fi film about a derelict spaceship that becomes self aware and builds itself a mechanical body in order to feel alive. Made utilizing a mixture of old-school in-camera effects and computer animation, HENRi is a genre love letter to the classic science fiction films of the '70s and '80s. Participating filmmakers include Eli Sasich (writer/director) and Kevin Riepl (composer).
The Hatchling-A brother and sister discover a large and mysterious egg in their backyard. Is it real? And if it is, can they really keep it? Breaking an egg is one thing, but breaking a heart is another. Participating filmmakers include John Wikstrom (writer/director), Michael Smith (producer), and Zach Johnson (director of photography).
Reclamation-A postapocalyptic western follows Lawrence (Michael Massee) as he searches for value in a world that's lost everything. A con man by trade, Lawrence takes what he needs, but when he stumbles across a compound of survivors, he finds more than he was looking for. Participating filmmakers include Dave Lehleitner (writer/director), Sarah Vannest (actress), Adam Lee (DP), and Shane Leary (VHS 2).
The Final Moments of Karl Brant-In the near future, a neurologist and two homicide detectives use experimental brain-taping technology to question a murder victim about his final moments. Starring Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman). Participating filmmakers include Janina Gavankar (True Blood), M. F. Wilson (writer/director), Scott M. Davids (producer/editor), and Seth Kleinberg (VFX).
The Invasion Journals of Ian Reynolds-The year is 2014 and Ian Reynolds has barred himself inside his parents' bathroom, holding out for the cure to a recent parasitic alien invasion. Ian has taken it upon himself to document his discoveries and random musings while waiting for his first love to let him know she is alive. Participating filmmakers include Graham Alexander (creator/executive producer) and Micah Coltman (co-cinematographer).
Child Invisible-A young girl must decide if remembering her mother is worth the risks it creates. Participating filmmakers include Bethe H. Gordon (director), Sara Ahkteh (associate producer), and Sarah Takahashi (crew).
Arthur and the Bunnies-An absurdist dark comedy about a man whose life takes a turn for the worse when he starts vomiting bunnies. Participating filmmakers include Dana Turken (writer/director), Cory Miller (producer), Judy Phu (producer), Alex O'Flinn (editor).
Incident On Highway 73-On Christmas Eve five years ago, newly engaged couple Jeff Bedict and Kelly Moga took a trip through the desert and mysteriously disappeared. This is an account of the couple's final, harrowing hours. Participating filmmakers include Brian Thompson (director/producer), Elizabeth Schmidt (co-lead), Ian Alda (co-lead), and Michael Kirk (writer/producer).
Pig-A man wakes up in the middle of the desert with a black hood on his head and his hands tied behind his back. He has no idea who he is or how he got there, and the clues to his identity lead to something more chilling than he could have ever imagined. Participating filmmakers include Rudolf Martin (NCIS), Henry Barrial (writer/director), Mark Stolaroff (producer), and Alex Cutler (co-producer).
Day 3 of our course on microbudget moviemaking deals with how to direct actors, organize a crew, and keep them all happy without anybody making a dime. Panelists include Valerie Perez (producer/star of the Paula Peril series), Vera Vanguard (producer of The Building of Good and Evil), Nick Murphy (writer/director of Pizza and Bullets), Jack Conway (writer/producer of Fear News), Sean Rourke (writer of Ballistica), and actors Kat Steel, Josh Perilo, and Bradley Upton.
Somnius-A science fiction film about a young space-faring monk who is put to the test when he is attacked by a group of bandits bent on hijacking his ship. Forced to take defensive action, the monk must use the unique world-simulating abilities of his vessel - Somnius - as well as his mastery over the martial arts, to thwart his aggressors. Participating filmmakers include Denver Jackson (director/editor), Alain Williams (writer), Marc Junker (composer), and Simon Graham (lead actor).
Karl of the Future-As the janitor of Earth's biggest starship, Karl is used to cleaning up. But nowhere in his job description does it say anything about stopping an intergalactic war. So when an alien comes aboard his ship with a bomb, Karl has to get his hands dirty...off the clock. Participating filmmakers include Nick Reinhard (writer/director), Michael Smith (director of photography), Holly Pearson (editor), and Laura Ortiz (costume designer).
Trash-A dumpster diver finds an abandoned woman in the trash. He rescues her, and she blossoms. Participating filmmakers include Geoff Redknap (The Auburn Hills Breakdown), Katie Weekley (Last Christmas), Shelene Yung (Supernatural), and Leanne Rae Podavin (makeup effects).
Decapoda Shock-An astronaut returns to Earth after a fatal accident on a distant planet. When he discovers he has been the victim of a sinister plot, he decides to take vengeance on those responsible for the death of his family.
Hero Story-Faced with his increasing popularity and responsibility as the new hero on the block, Sam Fauster wants to profess his love to his longtime girlfriend and reveal to her his superhero alter ego, White Bolt. Only his plans are foiled when a new villain arrives and an unlikely ally intervenes. Participating filmmakers include Kaylon Hunt (writer-director), Jus Riddick (producer), and Ayla Barber (illustrator).
Just Us Guys-Scott is a gay father who is best friends with his straight teenage son, Max. Find out how these two got into Comic-Con, who Scott's new feisty employee is, and what they think the difference is between a geek and a nerd. Participating filmmakers include Clinton Steeds (Disney Channel's I Didn't Do it), Mark Litton (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers), Chris Lilly (creator/writer), and moderator J. P. Karliak (Marvel Mash-Ups).
Childhood Sale-A short documentary about a comic book lover forced to liquidate his comic collection, Childhood Sale charts the hard choices that must be made when you decide to let go of childish things. Should you sell your comics on eBay? Should you just give them away? Or do you hold an epic comic book stoop sale and film the proceedings? Director Casimir Nozkowski and his girlfriend Hannah Bos went the stoop sale route and tried to figure out just how much a childhood is worth.
Beast Wishes-A documentary that takes a heartfelt look at the fascinating world of Bob and Kathy Burns, the goodwill ambassadors of sci-fi and horror film fandom. This amazing couple has dedicated their lives to nurturing the creative spark in award-winning masters of the Hollywood makeup and special effects industries. Participating filmmakers include Dana Gould (The Simpsons), Frank Ippolito (SyFy's Face Off), and Trish Geiger and Frank Dietz (directors and producers).
Whether your main character is a hero, a villain, a sidekick, or a one-of-a-kind original, empathizing with a main character is essential if you want your audience to experience your story at a personal level. Even the meanest main character is sympathetic when you get inside his head. This workshop gives you several surefire, practical techniques to get your audience squarely involved in your main character's personal issues.
Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin'-This documentary delivers insight into multiple American counter-cultures by following the great American artist and underground legend Robert Williams. From Hot Rods to Punk and Metal, from LSD to the top of the art world, the influential paintings of Robert Williams defied categorization until they became their own art movement. Participating filmmakers include Robert Williams (living legend), Nancye Ferguson (producer/co-director), Michael LaFetra (producer/co-director), Mary C. Reese (editor/director) and Doug Blake (producer/co-director).
The Comic King of Guatemala-A carload of comics head from the U.S. to Guatemala-a dream or a disaster? This entertaining documentary looks at Guatemala's first-ever comic book shop. Will it survive in a place where one out of every two people can't read? Participating filmmakers include Dan Terzuola (iAy Robot! Comics), Rabeyah Khan (iAy Robot! Comics), and Matthew Cleaves ("Oh My!" Creative Studio).
Devoted to the Dark Side-Go behind the masks of the 501st Legion and discover their intense passion as the members bring notorious Star Wars icons to life. Participating filmmakers include Adam Ruckersfeldt (director), Aaron Pagniano (cinematographer), Josh Smooha, and Jesse Zhu.
Nightmare Factory-How the gross-out geeks infiltrated Hollywood and carved out their place in the history of cinema. Participating filmmakers include Donna Davies (director), Robert W. Zimmerman (director of photography), and Dan Stewart (location sound mixer).
The final day of our comprehensive course on microbudget moviemaking revolves around what to do after your movie is shot. Panelists will go over the basics of postproduction on your home computer; what software to use for editing, graphic design, sound design, and visualFX; and finally, how to burn your finished product to DVD and upload it to the Internet. Panelists include Valerie Perez (producer/star of the Paula Peril series), Nick Murphy (writer/director of Pizza and Bullets), Jack Conway (writer/producer of Fear News), and Sean Rourke (writer of Ballistica).
The films have been shown, now it's time to award the recipients of the 2013 Comic-Con Independent Film Festival with their trophies and recognition! Comic-Con's Gary Sassaman talks to this year's trio of judges -- Alex DeMille (winner of last year's CCI-IFF Judges' Choice award for The Absence), journalist Geoff Boucher (senior writer at Entertainment Weekly and the force behind EW.com's CapeTown) and acclaimed award-winning actress Kathy Najimy (Sister Acts 1 & 2, Hocus Pocus, Rat Race) -- about the films and presents prizes and trophies to the winners.