They Came From Within London — A Q&A with SHIVERS Programmer Vince D’Amato

Canada is set to invade the UK later this month in a brand new screening series that will shine a spotlight on one of the more neglected aspects of Canadian horror, the independently produced films of the 1990s. “The Influence of the Tax Shelter Films”, an all day movie marathon curated by Shivers,  a new London-based film society. In anticipation of their upcoming screening on May 20, 2012 at The Roxy Bar and Screen, we caught up with one of Shivers’ co-founders, Vancouver-based film fanatic Vince D’Amato, to talk about the films Shivers has selected, the group’s plans to expand back home and why Canadian genre films matter.

How did you get the idea to start the Shivers film society?

Justin, a friend of mine who runs the Filmbar 70 film club in London, came up with the idea of screening a series of Canadian films, like a mini-festival. We thought about programming and, after a couple of months, decided to form Shivers as a one-time event. However, after putting all that work into scheduling and designing ,we discovered a lot more interest in this idea than we’d initially anticipated, so we decided to take it even further.

Instead of 1970s and ’80s films, your upcoming event will focus on more recent Canadian indie horror. Why did you decide to go this route?

To us, Shivers is really about creating a history and renewing interest in Canadian cinema. With this mandate, it’s important to show both historically relevant Canadian genre cinema as well as contemporary, unexposed or independent cinema. Each screening series will tell a little bit of backstory in Canadian genre cinema history, and its relevance in contemporary filmmaking. So we’ll always have a mix of the contemporary indie with the celebration of classic Canadian cult films.

Tell us a bit about the films you will be showing.

For this first series, we’ll be mostly showing films from late-nineties and early-millennium filmmakers, films that we felt were still influenced by classic Canadian cult films by guys like David Cronenberg, William Fruet and other early-1980s Canadian tax shelter film. We have Christian Viel’s revenge/exploitation actioneer DEADEN playing with John Fallon’s short film, THE RED HOURS. Both of these films are a tribute to true indie don’t-wait-to-get-it-done cinema energy. We have Maurice Devereaux’s $LASHER$, a flick that was really innovative for its time and suffered at the hands of Canadian distributors’ re-cutting — the entire two-hour film was meant to be one single shot, and they edited it! We obtained the proper cut from Salvation Films in the UK, who have  been really supportive of Shivers. We’ll also be showing the decidely Canadian take on Film Noir in THE HARD CUT DOUBLE/FEATURE and winding it up with a film directly from the influential tax shelter era — one of my all-time favorites –VIDEODROME.

In your opinion, how has the tax shelter films influenced more modern films like the ones you will be showing?

Well, today’s Canadian filmmakers got to see a lot of tax shelter films via television and pay-television in Canada back in the ’80s and ’90s.  While the CBC did broadcast a few of these  films, I remember seeing many of these films on Canadian pay-television channels Superchannel and First Choice, many of which still aren’t  available on DVD or on VoD.  Superchannel and First Choice were key in bringing these films to Canadian audiences.

What do you hope to show for future Shivers screenings?

We’re currently planning a second Tax Shelter film night focusing more on the actual films from the 1970s and ’80s, before moving into a new series called Figures on a Canadian Landscape, where we’ll use Canadian films to construct an identifiable landscape that is really Canadian. We’ll continue to screen genre classics, contemporary indies, and basically celebrate the Canadian cult film and genre filmmaking.

What is the status of your plans to bring this event to Vancouver?

People in Vancouver seem to be keen on the idea. I’m currently meeting with venues and with help I can accomplish this sooner than later. But I think it will happen, regardless.


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  1. Shannon says:

    Sweet! Please give us any updates when it comes to Vancouver. Its sad that a lot of events that I want to go to are in Toronto or Montreal.

  2. Mike says:

    really looking forward to this. Vince is full of energy and he’s worked super hard on the event in London!