October 19, 2011

Brain Picking: Adam Lopez (Toronto After Dark)

(director of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival)

Tomorrow is the opening night of the sixth annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Toronto After Dark is eight awesome nights of genre and cult cinema including horror, science fiction, and action. This year is even more exciting because Toronto After Dark has scheduled four movies featuring zombies, including the world premiere of War of the Dead. To discuss this year's festival line up, zombies and all, I spoke to festival director Adam Lopez.

ZED WORD: This is the sixth annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival. How has Toronto After Dark changed since the first festival?

Adam Lopez at Toronto After Dark 2010
ADAM LOPEZ: We've got a lot bigger in terms of reputation on the world stage, so while we remain a small indie fest in Toronto, we are able to get better films. This year, the quality of entries was leaps and bounds ahead of average!

ZW: Toronto After Dark will be home to a number of premieres this year; which of the premiering films are you most excited for?

AL: All of them. No, seriously, I'm really excited for all three of our record World Premieres this year:  FATHER'S DAY (ultra splattery cult action), WAR OF THE DEAD (intense war film / zombie outbreak hybrid!) and VS (very cool dark superhero film, where the villain is holding all the cards....SAW meets KICK-ASS!).

ZW: Aside from the features, Toronto After Dark always screens some fantastic short films. Any shorts we should keep an eye on?

AL: Opening and closing night in particular:  THE LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM is a fun crowd-pleaser tearing up the festival circuit, and closing night's THE LADY PARANORMA is a stunningly animated spookfest! [click links for trailers]

ZW: Since I've been covering Toronto After Dark, zombie films and the Toronto Zombie Walk have been integral aspects of the festival program. What do you feel is the enduring popularity of the zombie genre?

AL: That's a good question especially in a year where we have a record FOUR ...count 'em... films with zombies in them: opening night's MONSTER BRAWL has a healthy dose of the undead, EXIT HUMANITY (epic zombie western), and of course on zombie appreciation night DEADHEADS (crowd-pleaser zomcom) and WAR OF THE DEAD. I think it's a couple of things. 1) Zombie movies - they are so much fun to watch - I just love a good outbreak followed by the mayhem of brain munching and shotgun wielding that follows! 2) Anyone can be a zombie... you really don't need an expensive costumes, just some white face paint, etc. and your imagination!

ZW: Can you tell us your favourite zombie movie?

AL: My favourite zombie movie -- so hard -- probably SHUAN OF THE DEAD, probably because it has a bit of everything in there: zom and com and rom and geeks too! And as a former Londoner, it's nostalgic too.

Eight nights of awesome genre entertainment awaits you after dark. For more information on these films and the rest of the superb Toronto After Dark lineup, visit www.torontoafterdark.com for details.