The S from Hell is directed by Rodney Ascher, who made this year’s fantastic Room 237.
THE S FROM HELL is a short documentary-cum-horror film about the scariest corporate symbol in history - The 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka ‘The S From Hell.’ Built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from their childhood exposure to the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees, the film brings their stories to life with animation, found footage, and dramatic reenactments.
Not an exhaustive historical documentary, THE S FROM HELL is a subjective film whose aim is make the audience feel the same fear and confusion as the children who were first confronted by the vexing, unfolding sights and mournful, dissonant sounds that hid in the cracks between their favorite TV shows.
THE S FROM HELL premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and went on to menace audiences from LA to Austin, Florida to London and beyond.
- What was your path to becoming a filmmaker?
While I have been interested in watching films for as long as I can remember, my interest in making films emerged out of my work as a community organizer. One of the most important elements of organizing is having a compelling narrative as to why a certain change was necessary.
Invariably the most powerful narratives are human ones that resonate emotionally with an audience. My first forays into film making, were essentially attempts at creating campaign tools for groups that I was working with. The goals of these campaigns varied from increasing funding for a New Hampshire community center, to ending child labor in South Africa, to supporting resisting the displacement of Indian villagers by a controversial mining project. With each film, I worked closely with the community who was leading the campaign.
Eventually, I became more interested in more complex narratives that needed more time to unravel and embarked upon my first feature doc Herman’s House.
- Five films that have influenced you:
Children of Heaven -Majid Majidi
The Gleaners and I -Agnes Varda
35 Shots of Rum -Claire Denis
Harlan County -Barbara Kopple
Gandhi -Richard Attenborough
- What do you enjoy most about the filmmaking process?
I enjoy problem solving in the editing process. While editing, you are continually faced with challenges of which direction to take the story and where to place those essential scenes and moments that you were able to capture on camera. With every problem you solve you possibly create another one and I can’t think of anything more fun than putting this puzzle together.
- In relation to your current film, what’s one thing you’d like audiences to take away from it?
I’d like people to take away any society, like America’s, that puts over 80,000 people in solitary cages for years on end in the name of justice needs to rediscover the meaning of the word and reform it’s prison system.
- What was a favourite/unexpected moment that happened during the making of the film?
I think my favorite moment during the making of the film was receiving a phone call from Herman Wallace that after 36 years he was moved out of solitary confinement. Hearing his description of what it was like to interact with others and how it felt to be able to walk freely was moving.
Herman’s House begins its run at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema tonight. Director Angad Singh Bhalla and producer Lisa Valencia-Svensson will be in attendance for a post-screening Q & A on Friday, October 12, at 9 p.m. You can book tickets here.
(just before they opened the doors for Spring Breakers, which had a Rush line that began at 3pm)
It’s been great having TIFF hold screening at The Bloor this year, the atmophere has been incredible.
Made by Hand have released their fourth short film, The Cigar Shop, directed and produced by Keith “keef” Ehrlich.
"In 1974, Dominican immigrant Don Antonio Martinez started a small shop in New York City selling hand rolled cigars. Thirty-eight years later his son, Jesus, carries on the tradition. The shop combines craftsmanship with community, mixing equal parts work and play."
You can see their previous three films here
We launched this site ahead of the last festival and it’s now time to re-launch into what we wanted it to be year-round.
Fieldnotes will be an ongoing way for us to post news, great online documentaries, keep you updated with the films we showed at the festival and do what we love most - celebrate documentary.
Director Maya Gallus with the larger-than-life poster of actress Severn Thompson from The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche at the premiere screening. Lynne
Wonderful intro to yesterday’s screening of Legend of a Warrior. Canadian programmer Alex is assisted by his gorgeous daughter Audrey.
GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
Last night I met the talent behind the documentary GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Director Brett Whitcomb and Writer Bradford Thomason. I also met Godiva, former wrestling star of the famous 80s television show GLOW and I challenged her to a match. So if you want to see a great film and the added bonus of an international programmer take on a wrestling champion come to tonight’s screening 11:30 at the Bloor!