Amidst all the studio backed panels and blockbuster hoopla at San Diego Comic Con, there is an event that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. 2012 marked the second year of The Virtual Drive-In panel where Hall H gets turned over to a few talented indie filmmakers to talk about their upcoming projects and show some special footage. With a particular focus on genre (Tucker & Dale and Grave Encounters were featured last year), this is a great way for small movies to find a big audience. Unfortunately, last night's event was tragically under attended with an estimated audience of under 300 people in the massive 6500 person capacity Hall H. It's too bad too, because the films on hand look to be something very special.
After a few trailers (see final paragraph), the event kicked off with moderator Robert Meyer Burnett introducing funny-man director Todd Berger to show an exclusive clip from his film IT'S A DISASTER. The film premiered at LA Film Fest last month and we were big fans. Check out Alex Koehne's review of the film and his interview with Berger and star David Cross.
The main panel was made up of filmmakers and stars of three upcoming genre films. The first was Dave Parker, there to present his film COLDWATER. There has been buzz for Parker's follow-up to The Hills Run Red since last September but it is still in search of a home. Stars Ivan Djurovic and James Duval were there to talk about the 95% improv haunted/invasion home thriller. The trailer is below.
Next up was the most exciting of three films, CRAVE by Charles de Lauzirika. Known as one of the best in the biz for DVD special features, de Lauzirika's directorial debut features an incredibly impressive looking lead performance by Josh Lawson who was there to discuss his "Travis Bickle meets Walter Mitty" role as a crime scene photographer turned potential murder. Heavy on inner monologue and violent delusions, the film looks really fun and certainly dark. Alongside Lawson are Ron Perlman, Emma Lung, and Edward Furlong. The film makes its world premiere at Fantasia Fest July 24th and looks like one that should be sought out. Check out the trailer below.
The last spotlighted film was Jamie Bradshaw and Alexander Doulerain's enigmatic looking feature BRANDED. Shot in Russia, this CG-heavy film involves corporate branding conspiracies on an epic level. The tone of the footage reminded a bit of Carre Blanc, but the film could be hampered if the CG isn't up to snuff. Still, the story certainly has some big ideas and shows a lot of promise. Set for wide release by Roadside Attractions on September 5th, the impressive cast of Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, Max von Sydow, and Jeffrey Tambor could help the film take flight. See the trailer below.
The prelude to the event featured three trailers for some of the indie-est of genre films. GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 by The Vicious Brothers looks to pick off where the original left off with more somewhat typical looking found footage horror. MANSION OF BLOOD, written and directed by Mike Donahue, stars Gary Busey and Robert Picardo and looks distinctly like the B-movie of the bunch. It has a release date listed of October 1. Finally, the trailer for Padraig Reynold's RITES OF SPRING was definitely the most impressive of the three. AJ Bowen stars in a very tense looking non-supernatural thriller that made me anxious to see the whole film before its July 27th release from IFC Midnight. But don't just take my word for it, you can watch the trailer and see a clip from the film right here on ScreenAnarchy.