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Phoenix Comicon 17 Day One

Phoenix Comicon kicked off on Thursday, May 25, and except for a little bit of drama involving someone who came in with firearms (which was handled wonderfully by the authorities), this was as smooth a day as I’m sure the Comicon staff could have ever hoped for. Since the first day tends to have low crowd numbers, many of the big crowd-drawing events were not scheduled for today, but that didn’t mean there was nothing happening. There were already a myriad of small panels scheduled and one we were fortunate enough to attend, Mrs. Frederick and Me, the Science of Warehouse 13. This panel had three young women scientists chairing a panel on the history of a few artifacts and how they might have worked.
There is also an incredible film festival taking place, which we had the pleasure of attending sessions.

Starting off with the Sci-Fi short films…

Piper In The Woods

Director: Matthew Ramirez

“With strange things happening at a remote research station, a university psychologist is sent to investigate.”

This was quite beautiful, but extremely abstract. This is no wonder as the film is based on an original story by the master of that particular literary art form, Philip K. Dick. It was quite perplexing. It isn’t style over substance, rather the substance itself is so weird that all anyone can do is simply talk about that film.

Illusion

Director: Jason Zhao

“Adam’s wife, Helen, has been in a coma for months since the accident. Through virtual reality, Adam is able to visit Helen’s mind within a virtual house created digitally. He can’t stay in this virtual world for long because the process is slowly killing him.”

This is a story that poses the question, what truly is reality? How does Adam finally define what is real for himself? Is it existing in the so-called real world just as he has all of his life, or is it this virtual world that his wife lives in? Which is more real to him? In the end, he answers that question. For a student film, this movie was absolutely gorgeous.

Real Artists

Director Cameo Wood

“Based on Ken Lieu’s short story of the same name, Sophia just scored every animator’s dream interview at the world famous Semaphore Animation Studios. However when the Creative Director, Anne Palladon, reveals that she knows about Sophia’s fan-edit of the studio’s hit film “Mythos,” Sophia sees her dreams begin to slip away.”

Release in January 2017 this film is making the rounds at festivals and conventions, and is an amazing self-satirizing film about how films are made. Amazing attention to detail is made in regards to some of Semaphore’s films that poke fun of some of releases by Pixar Studios. There is an amazing twist at the end that gives it a rather “meta” quality to it and makes it even more self-satirizing than anyone could see coming.

Entanglement

Director: Arthur Veenema

“In the not-too-distant future, everything is for sale online and brought to their doorstep, including the need for human interaction. Entanglement exists as a service to bring people together, connecting soulmates who can promise to make each other’s lives whole.”

The setting is mildy dystopic, and loaded with dark humor about dating services taken to a new extreme. This could almost serve as a statement in support of Internet Privacy Laws, because in this time we see companies who use compiled data to determine who you can, or cannot, date.

H.A.M.

Director: Boise Esquerra

“16 year old Peter must cope with his crackpot father who builds a HAM Radio that inadvertently catches the attention of an alien creature from Outer Space.”

This is easily one of the most beautiful shorts of the entire block. Thanks to TV shows like Stranger Things there is this resurgence to that 70’s style of filmmaking again. This film feels it could have been directed by Stephen Spielberg and is a huge callback to the classic films that were produced by Dreamworks. This was also a student film, and is extraordinarily brilliant.

Dark Machine

Director: Sander van Dijk

“Lonely photographer Viktor Prins is woken in the middle of the night by a phone call. A strange voice gives him a woman’s name. As if by chance, Viktor meets the woman the next evening at a party. The more Viktor becomes fascinated by the mysterious woman, the closer he gets to answers. But discovering the truth will not be without its repercussions.”

This is dark, very intense, and deals with time travel and pre-destination. It’s a rather depressing film in that our protagonist is a victim of his own temporal doing, and will continue to be a victim over and over. This is another one of those movies that can spawn lengthy conversations.

The Mist

Director: Reza Amidi

“A woman obsessed with a strange mist manages to find her way home thanks to the greed of humans and a particular watch.”

This is a very well thought out film that delivers one heck of a twist at the end. To say anymore would spoil it.

CXL

Director: Jordan Blazak

“After celebrating her 140th birthday with family, Martha must come to terms with the reality of death, and isolated from her family she finds her life support chair the center of attention and conversation throughout her birthday celebration.”

A tragic and touching story that simply asks one question: How far would you go to keep a loved one alive when the world, and life itself, isn’t worth living for anymore? This is a student that is based on a conversation that the director had with his uncle about the advances in medical technology. This film is also a proof of concept short.

Embers and Dust

Director: Patrick Biesemans

“As the radio broadcast of “War Of The Worlds” travels across the airwaves, a young boy’s imagination is sparked, sending him on his own kind of vision quest, stepping deep into the neighboring forest.”

This is another one of those beautiful shorts that looked like it could have sprung from the mind of Spielberg, about a boy who befriends an alien life form, all set against the radio broadcast of War Of The Worlds.

 

White Lily

Director: Tristan Ofield

“A tense spaceship captain and his co-pilot set out to investigate a comet, wen a technical fault cuts to the core of their relationship problems.”

The title is terribly misleading, and deals more with long space missions, with an almost too easy to guess twist regarding the co-pilot. The movie looked beautiful, but at times looked too much like a video game. The strength of the story is what makes this film stand out.

 

Waypoint

Director: Soma Helmi

“Scattered across our galaxy, there are Waypoints, safe houses where travelers can rest during long journeys. It is at a Waypoint on Earth that a bounty hunter has located his quarry.”

This is also a proof of concept film, dealing with interstellar travelers using safe houses throughout the galaxy, including those on present day earth. This movie is extremely intelligent, and has amazing potential.

After the sci-fi short films we made our way to a special broadcast area for live podcasters, and Thursday was our first shift of the day. Because our studio setup is in our hotel room we decided to do something a bit different…

Here is our Facebook Live video we shot just outside of the hall of Heroes before it opened on Thursday.


 

After that was over we made a quick trip in to the Hall of Heroes to meet up with a vendor who reached out to us named Tony Kim. He has created a line of clothing, including a denim jacket that is being released for Comicon that has a Wonder Woman design, but is made for men! The item was originally made for preorder and created quite the buzz, and now Tony is selling it, along with many other items of his, here at Phoenix Comicon.

The story’s website is called Hero Within – Men’s Geek Nerd Fashion DC Comics Suits, and is officially licensed by Warner Bros. and DC Comics.

 

 

It was this point we went back to the film festival to catch some of the Dark Comedy short films…

Hope

This is a film out of Norway, that gives us a new thought about zombies. They weren’t always the brain eating, terrifying monsters we know of today. In fact they were originally quite benign. So how would the world be like that with them in it? How would we treat them? Would they feel anything? The movie is disgustingly funny and answers this question: “Why are zombies brain eating monsters?” The answer is, “Because we made them mad!”

Merry Christmas… Love K.

This comedy takes a hilarious stab at what happens when children are naughty at Christmas time. Does Santa give them a lump of coal, or is there something more nefarious in store for them?

Father Burke’s Boss Battle

“A young Catholic Priest addicted to video games must control his increasingly frenzied gaming urges, while avoiding a suspicious and all-too-well-knowing Mother Superior.”

This film shows that even priests like to game, as well as approaching their priesthood duties like a video game. This film is outrageously funny, but it also offers a wonderful and touching twist at the end.

Dead West

Director: Kevin Kittle

A very original First Person POV film set in the old west during a sudden zombie apocalypse. Gory, but not surprising given it deals with zombies. The film also has some delicious one-liner jokes to it and is absolutely brilliant in that the shot in this movie is a one-take shot. Just goes to show the originality of independent filmmakers these days!

 

 

Zomburbia

Director: Nathan Wold

“A 1950’s housewife must defend herself against the zombie apocalypse armed with a spatula, egg beaters, a blender, and a rolling pin.”

A very suburban film that looks like Donna Reed meets Night Of The Living Dead. All she wants to know is, are you smoking pot, or are you just a zombie?

Afterwards we made our way down to the Dealer’s Room, but encountered something that just made our hearts leap!

Arizona Opera has a booth at Phoenix Comicon. Why you ask. Well, they are performing a hybrid Opera/ Movie production this next season entitled, Hercules Versus the Vampires. It is based on the 1961 Mario Bava film Hercules in the Underworld. The dialog has been set to music and sung along with the projection of the film. We have talked about this several times on our podcast. Check out this article about the production: Arizona Opera “New Season to Include Vampires”

They are also selling tickets at a discount during Phoenix Comicon.

They are also giving away a pair of tickets.


From there we continued on in to the Dealer’s Room, which this time is so unbelievably huge that part of it had to be moved to the 3rd Floor Hall Of Heroes. Because of that we only saw a tiny sample of what that room has to offer, and because it was getting late we decided to call it a night.

So that was our first day at Phoenix Comicon 17. It was a busy day, but an enjoyable one nonetheless, and we are looking forward to what the remaining three days have to offer!!!
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Updated: May 28, 2017 — 8:21 pm

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