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This is my old blog, which I no longer update. Feel free to browse around old posts and such, but the much more recent version of my ramblings are to be found at MarilynAnneCampbell.com

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Wrong Kind of Geek

Last night I made a last-minute trek to the brand spankin' new Toronto After Dark Film Festival - a "premiere showcase of international sci-fi, horror & fantasy cinema". When I arrived at the Bloor Cinema there were lines all over the place as pass holders and online ticket buyers and rush ticket hopefuls all tried to sort themselves into the right place. These were fans, and I felt like maybe I wasn't going to live up to the standard as I hunted down the Guest List table to sign in.

Inside I was found by a horror-fan buddy who had a pretty good looking gash on his neck (the "wound" was even more entertaining when we later ended up at a surprise birthday party). I didn't see other costuming, but if you hadn't known what kind of film festival this was beforehand, the t-shirts were a dead giveaway.

I'm not actually a big horror fan, unless it turns out to be a horror-comedy (whether or not it was intended to be funny is irrelevant). But the opening night film was more sci-fi, an area in which I'm hardly hard-core but certainly have my loves. Special is about how a comic-book fan/parking enforcement officer has his life changed by participating in a drug study. Michael Rappaport stars as Les, this man whose adverse reaction to the medication has him believing he is an unstoppable super hero. It's a good movie with great performances; a funny and sad look at the desperation that lays under so many lives.

The thing is, the movie was obviously made by people who understand the superhero genre of comics, with lots of parallel moments to the classic story arcs. While I caught all of those references (I think), the reference that was like a 2x4 smash in the face for me was the blue feather used in the medical testing project's logo. When that came onscreen I wanted to jump out of my seat - "Oo, oo! Richard Bach's Illusions, right? That's where that's from!"

As much I loved the throws to classic comics and sci-fi plots, a possible connection to a late seventies novel from the guy who gave the world Jonathan Livingston Seagull was what got me giddy. I don't even know if that's really what they were thinking of, even though there was a Q&A (I always feel like you should only ask a question if there's a chance someone else in the audience might care.)

I was also pretty giddy over the short film that preceded the feature. It was a Canadian production called "The Grandfather Paradox" about a physics lecture with more practical applications than the prof was hoping for. A great little movie, if you get the chance to see it anywhere.

So at the end of the night I had a great time and was certainly glad I went, but couldn't help but feel like I wasn't quite the target geek for the festival.

Still, I never felt out of place, because if there's one thing about geeks, it's that they understand getting excited about things that leave other people staring blankly.

Quick Links:
- Toronto After Dark Film Festival (continues until October 24th)
- "Special" Official Website
- "The Grandfather Paradox" on Redhead Productions

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