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GregMO ROberts

Recapping the 2012 Toronto After Dark Film Festival

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And just like that – it was over.

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival wrapped up its annual event with the closing films The Fear of Everything and Game of Werewolves which both had their Toronto premieres on October 26th. The final films were the last two of 20 films showcased at the festival many of which were having their Canadian premieres.

The event took place at the beautifully restored Bloor Cinema in the heart of the city and the theatre’s upgrade over its dilapidated state of just a few years ago only added to our overall enjoyment.

The programmers of the Festival are surely taking big sighs of relief as the line-up proved to be consistent in overall quality and the genre savvy audience ate up the fun like a starved puppy.

We were able to screen most of the films that were part of the 2012 event schedule and although the festival has yet to reveal the audience chosen winners, we have our own ideas as to which films stood above the others.

For overall audience enjoyment, the winner was clearly Dead Sushi. Grabbers, Cockneys vs. Zombies and Inbred all got the crowds into various moods with paying customers clapping, screaming, laughing and hollering at all the right moments. But it was Dead Sushi that whipped the audience into a frenzy more than the others.

But our particular faves likely differ from the rabid fan base of the Festival. Our top 3 starts with Sushi Girl which had just a wonderfully evil and captivating performance by Mark Hamill. Number 2 was Resolution which was easily our biggest surprise of the fest. But our number 1 pick was Wrong, a bizarre
Trip that was directed by Quentin Dupieux who directed 2010’s Rubber.

We screened many short films throughout the fest as one was screened before each of the features and of the lot, we pick Not Till We’re Married by Shannon Rae Hammer as our top pick.

There were plenty of special guests who appeared on stage with emcee Adam Lopez and all provided the insight and entertainment to the paying populace. But when the dust settles and the 2012 Festival is nothing more than a good memory, it will be the Soska sisters that will be endeared the fondest. Jen and Sylvia Soska were in town presenting their new film American Mary and their outfits were such that I recalled a quip of walking naked over broken glass just to ….well, never mind.

Now that we have to wait some 360 days before the next edition of the Toronto After Dark Festival, we have a chance to sit back and wonder to ourselves some questions we have in its wake.

Like, I wonder if the bar Insomnia will miss the guy who came in all dressed up in a suit each day and swigged 5 bottles of Canadian down in the hour before each show and three more between the 645PM show and the 945PM show.

I wonder if Adam Lopez knows how crazy everyone gets in the lobby anxiously awaiting his presence (which is usually about 20 seconds before he hits the stage). How they talk about rumored ‘Lopez’ sightings and how they all seem so nervous that he isn’t there an hour before the lights go dim.

I wonder if American Mary actor, Antonio Cupo will ever know that the American money that I exchanged for him so that he could by a beer has already made its way to Vegas where it was bet on the Toronto Raptors to make the NBA playoffs this year.

I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go to a wedding again without thinking at least once of the bride swinging a chainsaw at possessed zombie guests.

I wonder if any of the crowd who attended the 345PM screening of Lloyd the Conqueror on October 21st have a new appreciation for LARP’s.

I wonder what Toronto Batman is up to.

And I wonder how the programmers will top this year’s slate of films in 2013.

I wonder a lot.

With but a few last words in closing, I would like to give a special shout out to the workers at the Bloor Cinema, the ticket issuers (two cute girls who worked the front table), the workers who stood outside and herded the crowds in each evening, Gary Pullin who designed my t-shirt, the staff at Insomnia that treated me royally for a week and Adam Lopez for being the face (albeit, a Cockney one) of the Festival. Well done team. See you next year.

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Updated 10-31-2012 at 12:22 PM by GregMO ROberts

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