Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bloody Fun

Rod gets himself bloodied up again...

So, just when I thought I was all healed up from the fall two months ago which broke all the bones in my left hand... I decided that it would be okay to make a short trip on my bike to pick up something at the store. Unfortunately, there was.... Well, just watch the video. Luckily I've been trained to fall.



Monday, July 25, 2011

"THE FUTURE": Man’s and Woman’s Search for Meaning by Mark Donovan


There is an old adage that says, “Matters of great importance should be handled lightly.” I’d be willing to believe that Miranda July lives by that. Her new feature film, only her second, abounds in heady themes, yet she exerts a very delicate touch. She doesn’t let the material weigh down the film. It is actually quite amazing. For those that are a fan of Me and You and Everyone We Know, I’d say that this is an even better, more sure-handed film. For those that are not a fan of her earlier work, I’d implore you to give this film a chance. If the crowd at the Independent Film Festival Boston is to be believed, this may be the sleeper hit of the summer. It is certainly unlike any other film you will see in a theater this summer.


The film stars July and Hamish Linklater as a couple of bohemian slackers in Los Angeles who seem to avoid all responsibility and/or movement, lest it get in the way of all the wonderful things they plan to do if they could ever get off the couch. July is a dancer who gets stuck every time she starts to dance; it’s as if the weight of decisions renders her immobile. Meanwhile, Linklater is looking for a sign to point him towards his purpose in life, having not found one on his own. Together they decide to adopt a sick cat, of which the responsibility of caring for it is seen as an end to their youth and their freedom. Since the cat isn’t well enough for them to take home, they plan to spend their remaining month living life to its fullest. Did I mention that the cat- voiced by July- provides the narration?

The Future seems to exist in a somewhat dreamlike state; from July being stalked by her favorite shirt, to Linklater stopping time, the movie feels as if it is stuck somewhere between reality and a dream, with July and Linklater sleepwalking towards maturity. These characters are in a perpetual fugue state, which eventually begins to affect their relationships, both to each other and to the world around them.

July must have quite a lot on her mind. Just to give a quick run-through of some of these themes: the film deals with the future, the past, life, death, forgiveness, movement, fate, chance, time, responsibility, loneliness, relationships, decisions, the apocalypse, and many others. Though the themes may be somewhat heavy, the film is anything but. July, as writer and director, handles them with a light touch, allowing humor and ambiguity to come through. Most other films with such weighty ambitions can turn into an existential dirge, but this film seems to float on air.

This is a movie that defies characterization. Is it a comedy? A tragedy? A surrealist romance? There are scenes that evoke the mumblecore movement, and others that evoke David Lynch. Time skips around when it isn’t stopped altogether. There is a sublime sort of magic happening; whether it is July watching her life fast-forward in front of her, or Linklater wandering through a frozen L.A., or two gesticulating paws talking about the hardship of waiting. To go into any more detail would perhaps spoil the surprise of experiencing the film as it goes.

With just two feature length films to her name, July has shown that she has a gift for creating superbly original art that exists on its own level, but is easily enjoyed by almost all. Having been six years since her last feature length film, I hope she doesn’t take quite as long to make her next one. Though, if her next film is anywhere near as good as this one, it would be well worth the wait.



"Geek Speek" by JJ Bellamy

JJ Bellamy
With no tickets to ComiCon, I will just have to settle for watching Chris Evans play out his super hero flush! As this publications unofficial resident geek, I can say that Captain America: the First Avenger, Evans' 5th comics-to-film outing, is in good hands. Not only is Evans a spandex veteran at this point, but he's from Sudbury, Mass., guaranteeing he'll do a wicked pissah job! Look for my full review right here at Reelzine.com!

by JJ Bellamy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Get "Banned" Released!

I'm not exactly what this film is, but it looks damn funny, so I think the world deserves to let the funny out. Check out the trailer, and see for yourself. This has the makings of a very, very funny film.

"A mellow jazz guitarist is possessed by the ghost of a wild punk rocker named Teddy Homicide"

RIP Amy Winehouse

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse. You had some pipes...

Watercolor Demo with Jedi Art Master Iain McCaig (Katie Lennon's blog)

Check out this cool video made by Katie Lennon about legendary artist and conceptual designer, Iain McCaig. 
Very nicely done!
(I confess that the music is mine... but I digress...)

Go to link to see it on the original page, and read Katie's blog:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bojah & the Insurrection at The Middle East Cafe


The Insurrection. Like Band of Gypsies and Parliament Funkadelic had a lovechild and they named him Bojah. I caught their set Wednesday night at the Middle East Upstairs, and I was shocked to find that a group so undeniably funky, musically erudite and politically right-on, was not playing the down stairs room with crowds out the door, and a line around the corner.

However, they did play to a modest crowd of dedicated fans to mark ten years together as a group, and quite an occasion it was.

Mind-melting, dueling funk-synths by Amy Bowles and Christian Kennedy, backed up by Luke Bellamy, the master of the heaviest, funkiest drumming around, and his brother Aaron Bellamy on bass. I had the pleasure of standing next to one of the sound guys who had his eye on Aaron throughout the night, and this guy’s jaw nearly snapped off every time Aaron dropped a bass riff at the end of a phrase, which was as often as possible, and is indeed an eye/ear-popping spectacle to behold.

Bojah himself commanded the stage, whether he was belting out a soulful melody or pontificating on the fact that Sarah Palin and her buddy Glenn Beck are still off of their respective leashes and subverting the political process in these here United States of America.

Hell, let’s just say for a moment that you are without soul, and run in terror at the prospect of things getting a little bit funky… Go to www.Bojah.net and check out this guy’s blog. He  nails it on every point, and is worth checking out just to hear what the man’s got to say. On the other hand, if you’re so dead inside that this band doesn’t blow every sensory receptor in your body, forget it… Go out in traffic and get yourself hit by a bus. These guys are where it’s at, the best kept secret on the East Coast.


Review written by Billyjack Williams
Edited by Rod Webber

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, WB Does the Lantern Right.

Joseph Bellamy
I have been a comic book fan for literally as long as I can remember. I sport half-sleeve tattoos devoted to the Avengers and the Justice League, if that gives you a sense of the depth of my faith. Between the rising tide (some would say ‘glut’) of comic book based films and the recent opportunity to write about them in these pages, I’ve been a happy camper…mostly.
From the Batman, Iron Man, Hell Boy and X-Men franchises, to smaller scale books with big screen impact, like the Losers, 30 Days of Night, Kick-Ass and the now classic M.I.B., it is fair to say the comic-book-to-film formula has been perfected in Hollywood. Even less auspicious works (not necessarily Bryan Singers’ Superman Returns, Eng Lee’s Incredible Hulk, or the tailspins of the Fantastic Four and Spiderman properties…just less auspicious works), have proven to be the grist necessary to sharpen studios up on what the fans want to see in an adaptation. It is these questions of what fans want, as well as why they want it, and how they get it that shapes my following effort regarding WB’s the Green Lantern.

I saw the film opening night on a double date with friends. To the chagrin of my wife, I had elected to wear my glow in the dark Green Lantern insignia tee shirt and a not-quite matching green sleeveless hoodie, emblazoned on the back with a stencil of same. ‘Why?’ you might ask. I am a fan. I spent the twenty minutes before the film answering questions posed by my wife and our companions about the main character because I am a fan. I wrinkled my nose at the traces of palpable evil left on the screen by Tim Robbins and Peter Sarsgaard. I spoke along in a giddy whisper when Ryan Reynolds (the chief, if not sole reason my wife was attending), recited the oath of the Green Lantern Corps for the first time. I “oooohed” and “ahhhhed,” audibly at the galacti-gasm of digital effects (including the impressively accurate rendering of a number of non-human Lanterns) and cheered out loud when Reynolds applied his trademark ‘wide-eyed innocent’ face to Hal Jordan’s triumphant acceptance of his destiny. Why? Because I am a…well, you get the idea. 

My euphoria at seeing a lifelong favorite character and superhero master classman made real in big screen splendor carried me home and into the next morning. It was not until my daily look-through of favorite online media ports that my mood was destroyed. On page after page, review upon article upon sound bite, the flight into fantasy I had so enjoyed was being panned, pooh-poohed and generally written off as simplistic eye candy that fell short of the money mark demanded by its production cost. Worse were some of the judgments leveled against Reynolds, Robbins, and company.

My knee-jerk response was anger, rage even. Then I was struck by a simple and calming revelation: Most of the people judging this project don’t know what the hell they are talking about. They know studios and budgets and tag lines and demographic studies of responses to Ryan Reynolds’ abs. What they don’t know is what the Green Lantern is and was before getting the Tinsel Town treatment. I now understand that most of what I read or heard was born out of the sadly typical ignorance of the Hollywood media machine to source material. Much was said about ‘problems’ of the effects budget, the pace and complexity of the plot, and the casting of Reynolds’ was misinformed. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify these misconceptions and hopefully shed the light of brightest day before this moment in spandex green history goes quietly into the darkest night of film flop-dom.

Yes, the effects budget and proportion of screen-time devoted to spending it was extensive.  How else can a studio hope to bring to life the first truly cosmic hero of comics’ silver age? Truth be told, the Green Lantern has been left largely un-attempted on film because of the nature of his abilities and the sheer scope of his story. Until the evolution of CGI, the choice for production was to do it well with traditional animation (Cartoon Networks Justice League series) or serve GL up like a plate of nachos, extra cheese (1997 CBS Justice League/America live-action pilot). We are, after all, talking about a man with the ability to create whatever he can conceive of and is charged with using this ability to patrol and protect a territory measured in solar systems, as part of a peacekeeping force composed entirely of nonhumans. When you throw in a villain that is nothing short of planet-devouring evil, the Lantern is the definition of ‘go big or go home’. An approach, which incidentally, might have saved Marvel Entertainment’s treatment of their intergalactic hero in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

If one’s objection is to the look of the energy creations, or the CGI costume, may I point out that in his earliest forms, GL used such ‘cool’ designs as giant boxing gloves, handcuffs, and old fashioned push mowers? The constructs presented in the film: a crude fist, to start, a rollercoaster rail, a big-ass machine gun, and various beams and force fields, are at least reasonable creations of a 20-something adrenaline junkie’s mind.  As to the costume, it is exactly what a Lantern’s uniform should have been all along, a creation of the ring. Who would sweat it in spandex when you can go with a stylish personal force field? Not me, especially not if I had Reynolds’ cut.

I return to the origins of the character in regards to the casting of Ryan Reynolds. It has been suggested that the intent was to update the character, trading Reynolds’ humor and charm for the stoic, conservative space-cop of the comics. It is more likely, or at least preferable to believe, that someone in the studios research department actually earned their pay that week. You see, in the beginning phases of his GL tour, Hal Jordan was an arrogant, thrill-seeking womanizer with a heart of gold, zero ambition, gallons of boyish charm and the body of a classical statue. Imagine, oh, I don’t know, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder in spande…oh, right!

It has only been since Denny O’Neil’s treatment of the character as a foil to the more liberal views of a character called Green Arrow, in comics published by DC in the 70’s, that GL has gone cold fish. Prior to this point, Hal Jordan was just the sort of character Reynolds plays to perfection. While Tim Robbins was doubtless brought in purely to add credibility, this does not diminish his portrayal of the devious Senator Hammond. Besides, am I the only one to see the gag in having a millionaire movie star with an aggressively liberal political bent play a scumbag politician who’s in bed with the defense industry…really? I have no other comments regarding the remainder of the cast save that Michael Clark Duncan was the only reasonable choice for Killowog, and Mark Strong IS Sinestro, period.

I accept that anything I say about the script or plot will be likely dismissed as biased lip service from a devoted geek. Nothing could be closer to the truth. It is in this vein that I urge anyone screening, reviewing, critiquing, or even writing a comic book based film to consider what comics truly are: bright, explosively fantastic pieces of mythology. At its heart, any myth strives to explore a basic truth or significant question of the human experience. In the case of the Green Lantern, we are asked to consider the strength of self-belief. The rules of operating the eponymous ring are the moral of the story; when you believe in yourself, you can do anything. It’s a clear message rendered without over-complication in an exciting, eye-catching adventure. This altruistic formula has worked on the pages of comic books for decades, thrilling and educating the young while reminding the older reader of the wonder and faith they knew in their youth. The same holds for the film as its news print counter part. If the plot is simple and the story moves a bit quickly, I submit it is to maximize the enjoyment of learning a tough lesson, a spoonful of green sugar, if you will. Ultimately, although comic books and their adapted films are not just for kids anymore, they are best enjoyed and understood when we allow for the childlike in ourselves. Also, it can’t be dismissed that the story is the opening chapter to a multi-film epic which may itself be part of a larger enterprise, the much-hoped for Justice League film.

I can’t claim that the Green Lantern was a perfect film.  I can say, with the definitive authority of a lifelong geek and perspective of a critical eye, that it was exactly the fun-filled, action-packed trans-galactic flight of fantasy I was looking for when I slid my credit card at the box office. My only regret is that others in my field seem to have been too busy picking at the bark of the trees to take in the emerald majesty of the forest. Perhaps some day, the popularity of the comic book genre will blossom into a fully realized sense of respect for the art form. Perhaps then, when the entire enterprise has been made a dry, dissected academic footnote to our cultural history, my peers will realize they missed the fun part.

Review written by Joseph James Bellamy
Editor: Deborah Bellamy
Published by Reel Zine
© Reel Zine 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My America Trailer

My America:
A film by Rod Webber & Joseph James Bellamy

My America - directed by Rod Webber: An erudite African American whose wife was the victim of a hate-crime reaches the end of his rope when confronted by bigot EJ Winston.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When Life Gives You Razorblades… by Mark Donovan

Mark Donovan




 FILM REVIEW: "Hobo With A Shotgun," by Mark Donovan

Your enjoyment of Hobo with a Shotgun depends on your love of 70s exploitation films, and whether you can watch the kid from Small Soldiers take a flamethrower to a bus full of children. Yes, this in an unapologetic filth classic, served straight.
It is, indeed, a joke, in case the title alone didn’t tip you off, but there are no winking moments, no breaking of the fourth wall, and the director and cinematographer keep the aesthetic within the confines of the 70s/80s exploitation genre. This is an ugly movie, but it is ugly on purpose. If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was a forgotten 70s grindhouse classic.

The movie was originally conceived as a fake trailer for the Canadian release of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film Grindhouse, which also gave the world Machete. Both films perfectly capture the same low-budget, DIY-style 70s aesthetic, but Hobo with a Shotgun hews closer to the rules of the genre by keeping the violence over-the-top and pace brisk. The main problem with Machete was that, at two hours long, it started to drag in the middle. With Hobo being a swift 86 minutes, there’s not enough time for it to get bogged down in plot, let alone for the middle to sag. This is all killer, no filler – no pun intended.

Shortly after arriving in Hopetown/Scumtown, a nameless hobo, played by Rutger Hauer, witnesses some extreme violence, brought on by a man named Drake and his two sons, Slick and Ivan. Slick is the son played by Gregory Smith, of Small Soldiers non-fame, who looks like a cross between Edward Furlong and Corey Feldman. His brother, Ivan, is played by Nick Bateman of…stuff…and looks like a cross between Andy Samburg and Dane Cook. Practically everyone in this movie looks like the non-union, Mexican counterpart to somebody famous - except for Rutger Hauer, who is indeed Rutger Hauer. I’m not sure if that was what casting directors Deirdre Bowen and Sheila Lane were going for, but it works.

Scumtown/Hopetown is the classic 70s/80s staple of a city overrun by crime. In the eternal conflict between Us vs. Them, the Thems have won, and then some. This is an entire city populated by Them. Everyone is either a drug dealer, pimp, pusher, prostitute, or bum. Nobody works a 9-5, drives a minivan, or lives with 2.5 kids and a dog. The police are either ineffective or corrupt. And there is a Santa Claus, but he kidnaps children, and he apparently does it year-round. Scumtown/Hopetown is where hope goes to die – a point made obvious long before the titular Hobo delivers a soliloquy to a room full of newborns - which is why it is amazing that it takes 30 minutes of an 86 minute movie before somebody, anybody, grabs a shotgun and just starts killing people.

The carnage in Hobo with a Shotgun is bloody, morbid, and strangely creative. The manhole-cover thing was given away in the trailer, but there is much more inventive carnage to behold. Still, for a faux-grindhouse film, there isn’t much nudity. Where most exploitation films would be awash in gratuitous nudity, Hobo keeps the clothes on, for the most part. The cinematography, by Karim Hussain, is appropriately over-saturated, giving the film its grimy feel. There are also some nice 70s touches, like how Slick and Ivan drive around in a Bricklin. The Bricklin is also one of two visual clues as to the setting of the movie; apparently our neighbors to the north are just as overrun by filth and crime as we are.

Still, as I said, your enjoyment of the film hinges on your enjoyment on mindless violence and over-the-top gore. This is a faux-filth film that can either be immensely enjoyable, or deplorable, depending on your tastes. In the recent wave of 70s and 80s throwbacks, it ranks just behind Black Dynamite, and just ahead of Machete. Those looking for a true throwback to the days of anything –goes filmmaking should definitely seek out Hobo with a Shotgun. You won’t be disappointed.

Film website/ Magnet Releasing

Written by Mark Donovan
Editor: Rod Webber

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trailer for Amateur Hour!!!

Check out the trailer for Amateur Hour!!! Along with many other selections, Amateur Hour will be screened at Reel Fest DC in the Fall.

Amateur Hour is the story of Hayward and Richie Boy, two friends who go to great lengths to get their film off the ground. At first, the two friends, pull simple capers around town in order to buy much needed film equipment. But in order to finance the film, they are going to need to pull the heist of a lifetime.

Amateur Hour Trailer #2 from Austere films on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

SCHEDULES: ReelFest Boston: (Fests 1-3)

Schedule From ReelFest 3














VIEW ReelFest 3 SCHEDULE ON OLD SITE

Highlights include "My America" starring Joseph James Bellamy
"Modus Operandi" starring Danny Trejo, directed by Frankie Latina
"Little Gods" directed by Elizabeth Spear

"Super 8 Extreme" series directed by John Hartman
"Acrylic Midnight" by Joseph Schmalke




















































SCHEDULE FROM REEL FEST 2













Featured Feature @ RF2:
Northern Comfort starring Greta Gerwig (No Strings Attached, Arthur)

Best Performance in A Short @ RF2
Isabella Sarah (For Perspectives)

Film Schedule @ RF2
Friday May 28th
MISADVENTURES OF A SYMBIOTE
DEATHWORLD
COOKING TO LIVE
SCHTICK MAN
BARACK'S MESSAGE
THE WAITING ROOM
NORTHERN COMFORT

Sat May 29th
MISADVENTURES OF A SYMBIOTE
PERSPECTIVES
SCHTICK MAN
DETRITUS
FAMILY
NORTHERN COMFORT

Sun May 30th
MILKWEED (Work in progress)
NORTHERN COMFORT

Mon May 31st
MY AMERICA (Work in progress)
NORTHERN COMFORT

Tue June 1st
MUSIC VIDEOS
NORTHERN COMFORT

Featured Features @ RF1:
A Man Among Giants
American Psych Ward

Best Short RF1
Mind The Gap (by Michael Lawrence)

Audience Choice RF1:
Ova (by Juliet Schneider)



FILM SCHEDULE RF1
















Thur July 9
Milkweed (short)
All The Bulbous Accidents
The Unknown (trailer)
Ova
The Suitcase (trailer)
Blink
A Man Among Giants

Fri July 10
Virgil & Caesar
Film Noir
Man Meets Cat
Da Block
The Suitcase (trailer)
Escape
Desert Flower
Combo #3 Madness In America (Excerpt)
A Man Among Giants

Sat July 11
Ketchabrick Music Video Showcase
Tiny The Terrible
Mark Lind & The Unloved
Dropkick Murphys
American Psych Ward *(WIP)

Sun July 12
Ova
Empire Snafu
My Sister, The Psychopath *(WIP)
Harmony Korine & The Malingerer Fish *(WIP)
Redimere
Mind The Gap
A Man Among Giants

Mon July 13
Bo Diddley & The Bout W/ Mike Tyson *(WIP)
Magic
Wrestling With Sanity
A Man Among Giants

Tue July 14
Ketchabrick Music Video Showcase
Tiny The Terrible
Mark Lind & The Unloved
Dropkick Murphys



Monday, July 4, 2011

REEL FEST DC: Call For Entries Coming Soon!

REEL FEST will soon be accepting submissions for ReelFest DC!


After three successful seasons of ReelFest Boston, join us by being a part of our new Washington DC  showcase of some of the country’s finest filmmakers.

ReelFest DC is Sept 22nd to 26th.Check back soon for submission details!! 
MISSION:
Reel Fest is a film showcase with the mission to create a seed-bed for films outside of the mainstream which personify innovation, individuality and daring strokes of bold new cinema. Reel Fest accepts all lengths, genres and all styles of films. The key ingredient we are looking for is innovative work. Reel Fest is especially interested in low-budget, indie spirited filmmakers who are seeking a larger audience for their work around the U.S. and the World, around the web and in the "Brick and Mortar" stores. We will consider any kind of movie... Just as long as you've got something to say, we'll help you to say it.

REEL FEST Welcomes ReelFest DC!

REEL FEST would like to welcome ReelFest DC to the family!

With a location just secured for our new DC branch, we will soon be accepting submissions!

Check back soon for submission details!!



Friday, July 1, 2011

About

Reel Fest/ Reel Zine (and the Reel Family)
Reel Fest was formed in Boston in 2009 by Rod Webber, David T. Grophear & Ali Bell as a means to showcase films and music outside of the mainstream. In 2011 we added our web magaZine "Reel Zine," and welcomed Reel Fest DC to the family.

MISSION:
 

ReelFest is a film showcase with the mission to create a seed-bed for films outside of the mainstream which personify innovation, individuality and daring strokes of bold new cinema. ReelFest accepts all lengths, genres and all styles of films. The key ingredient we are looking for is innovative work. Reel Fest is especially interested in low-budget, indie spirited filmmakers who are seeking a larger audience for their work around the U.S., the World, around the web and in the "Brick and Mortar" stores. We will consider any kind of movie.  If you’ve got a story to tell we will help you tell it.  

INTRODUCTION TO THE DC SHOWCASE:
 

There are a handful of film festivals in the DC area but only a small portion of those show true independent films. Washington, DC is a media powerhouse and ReelFest aims to use the media in Washington to provide exposure to innovative films from independent filmmakers who may not have the means to do so.  ReelFest seeks films that challenge convention and explore creative thought.  We accept films of all lengths and genres: Features, shorts, documentaries, animation and music videos. 


Click for Film Submission Details

Reel Zine - Writer submissions: Send to Rod Webber
 
The Crew:
Rod Webber 
www.rodwebber.com
Contact: Rod AT rodwebber.com
David T. Grophear 
Founder/ Reel Fest Boston Programming Director
Ali Bell
Founder/ Manager/ Publicity/ Writer
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Joseph James Bellamy
ReelZine: Head Writer
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Mark Donovan
ReelZine: Writer
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Sam Moussavi
Organizer ReelFest DC austerefilms.com

Joe Poleman
Organizer: Reel Fest DC
www.indyavepictures.com
Contact: joeypfromdc AT gmail.com 
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Jesse B. Rauch
Organizer: Reel Fest DC
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S.M. Crowningshield
ReelZine: Writer
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Robert P. Young III
ReelZine: Writer
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Crosby Tatum
ReelZine: Writer
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Deborah Bellamy
ReelZine: Editor
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Justin Fielding
ReelZine: Writer
CastParty.com
Franchot Lubin
Executive
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A.T. Sayre
ReelZine: Writer
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John Hartman
"Super 8 Extreme Segment" Manager
ReelGroovyFilms.com
Zee Zarbock
"Super 8 Extreme Segment" Manager
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Mike Ryan
ReelZine Writer
RIFC

Mike Messier
ReelZine: Writer
MikeMessier.com