0

You Could Become a Star!

large

Via here.

4

Cinepix’s Unseen Poster Collection Going On Display

Dave Alexander’s “If They Came From Within” art show isn’t the only movie poster exhibit happening right now at Fantasia–when you finish checking out fictional Canadian horror films at Cinematheque Quebecoise, head over to BBAM! Gallery for a glimpse at the real deal, on display now through August 20. BBAM! curator Ralph Alfonso, in partnership with Greg Dunning, Cinepix founder John Dunning’s son, have put together a unique look at some of the movie memorabilia treasures in Dunning’s vast archives. Featuring rare posters including B-movie gems from around the globe, Cinepix’s own cult classics and even commissioned artwork  for films that Dunning never managed to make, it’s a wonderful chance to take a look at some of our genre film roots and support a great cause. 

In anticipation of the exhibition’s opening party at 4pm on July 27 at BBAM!, We talked to Ralph Alfonso and Greg Dunning about what to expect.

How did this exhibit come together?

RA: The exhibit came about because we have the late John Dunning’s vinyl LP collection for sale on consignment on behalf of his estate. Greg and I were going over those details and started talking, and I asked about posters and memorabilia. Greg said that although a lot of material had gone to the Cinematheque Quebecoise and other archives, there was still a lot of personal stuff from his dad’s collection. John kept copies of everything so it’s astounding just how much material there is and how extensive Cinepix was in its distribution.

We agreed having a cool exhibition would be a great fit for us since we’re a rock ‘n’ roll pop culture gallery. When I contacted Kier-la Janisse to talk about getting her involved, I mentioned that there were also some posters available for movies that Cinepix never made. She then turned me on to the Fantasia Festival and “If They Came From Within.” After some back and forth and meeting Dave Alexander in Toronto at NXNE  it all came together. It’s amazing how it all worked out. I owe it all to Kier-la for connecting us — it was really fortuitous timing!

 

Do you have any insight as to why John Dunning kept this wealth of movie memorabilia over the years?

GD: My dad was a packrat, but there’s another, more interesting reason. John’s father (Samuel John, but known as “Micky” in the biz) was owner/operator of the Park, 5th Avenue, and Century theatres in Verdun. S.J. died unexpectedly in 1944 and my dad, at 17, had to take over the running of the three theatres–this was his “official” baptism by fire in the business, starting in exhibition. In the early ’50s when TV came, grosses at the theatres dropped cataclysmically, and ultimately my dad repurposed the buildings or sold them.

S.J. kept all the original posters that came from MGM (directly from Louis B. Mayer himself, since he had Norma Shearer on contract and the actress lived across the street from S.J. on Roslyn, in Westmount) and the other studios that would provide him with product. These were not cheap reproductions since the technology didn’t at the time for mass printing. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of silent film posters (Chaplin, DW Griffiths, Fritz Lang, etc.), posters from the first talkies, and more. Well, when the theatres were being closed and the basements had to be cleaned out, John’s mother just threw everything out and had everything burned. Today, what was in that basement would be worth millions today. My dad never forgot that incident and he still could barely talk about even last year without getting emotional. So from that day on, he kept everything–and I mean everything. My new job is inventorying, cataloging, and finding a new home for his archive.

What’s the your favourite poster for a Canadian film that you’ll be displaying?

RA: Absolutely EAST END HUSTLE — it’s the quintessential 1970s exploitation poster. It’s pretty much perfect in every way: tag line, fonts, design, photo (yay! Montreal streets and skyline). It was in a special container that John Dunning had marked as “historical”.

What did you give to the “If They Came From Within” show?

RA: Again, this was hooked up and facilitated via Kier-la. We contributed seven posters to the show, the centrepiece of which is an amazing original painting by the same artist who did all the ILSA posters (Alain Thomas, although at the time I submitted the poster, I thought it was either Basil Gogos or John Duilio). The painting was originally commissioned for a movie called THE JECKYLL LIGHT (never made) and showed a ship run aground and a bikini clad woman and ship’s crew being attacked by baboon men! The painting was then revised to change the baboons into zombies for a new project called FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (also never made). That painting was framed and hung in John Dunning’s office alongside all the ILSA paintings.

The other posters for unmade Cinepix films we found in a promo book that was sent to studios and investors in hopes of raising money and partnerships to finance a series of horror/SF features: VORTEX, ALIEN ASSAULT, ERUPTION, and my personal favourite… VAMPIRE BIKERS.

These were mini glossy posters with a plot outline and “film stills” on the other side. The original files can’t be found so we scanned these professionally and blew them up to mini-poster size. Final scripts exist for all of these porjects and I believe Greg is still pursuing trying to get these made or maybe create graphic novels. We will have mini-posters for sale at BBAM! Gallery of all of these unmade films.

I understand the posters on display are going to be available for sale, correct?

RA: Every single poster is for sale and in many instances we have multiple copies. There are some really amazing things: Russ Meyer’s MOTORPSYCHO, DEEP THROAT II, WRESTLING QUEEN, CANNIBAL GIRLS, EUGENIE DE SADE. A lot are European (German, Italian, French) and gigantic (63″ x 47″). This show is obviously geared for the Fantasia crowd but the archives are vast and there is lots we aren’t showing including a trove of press books (both domestic and foreign), and a ton of  humorous  ’70s  porno posters. Maybe in the spring or later in the fall we can do another show.

I understand that the money raised in the show will be used to establish a trust for filmmakers. Can you tell me a little more about that?

GD: When you talk to anyone that worked with my father they will tell you that he was nice, honest, generous, and inspirational. He was twice that as a father. He believed that if you are not forgotten then your life was not wasted. I met recently with Fantasia president Pierre Corbeil and mentioned this objective. We both agreed that the best way to create a legacy for John would be to sponsor a meaningful annual cash award at Fantasia. I think that if Fantasia had existed during the Cinepix production years that it would have been the natural venue for Cinepix premieres. Secondly, Cinepix was a Montreal institution, like Fantasia has become, so it is the right place for his legacy to reside.

 

 

0

Q&A — If They Came From Within Poster Artist Eric Robillard

As we noted last week, a very special art show is set to premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival this year. Rue Morgue Magazine editor-in-chief and occasional Canuxploitation contributor (and personal friend) Dave Alexander has developed “If They Came From Within: An Alternative History of Canadian Horror Movies,” a unique travelling exhibit that pairs well-known Canadian directors with artists to create concepts and artwork for Canadian horror films that weren’t made but should have been. As one of the sponsors of the program, we here at Canuxplotiation were immediately taken with the sheer creativity of the posters that will mark the show’s opening at Montreal’s Cinémathèque Québécoise on July 20, 2012 at 5:00PM, and its thrilling to see the filmmakers and directors further mythologizing the Canadian horror genre by imagining the kinds of films that Canadians could of made if they were allowed to. It’s a great conversation starter and a tribute to the way homegrown horror is continuing to break out on the international stage.

Amongst the talented individuals participating in the project is Eric Robillard, a movie buff and graphic designer who has been involved directly in the movie industry for the past 15 years, creating close to 100 movie posters, DVD sleeves and newspaper ads for films. Eric started in the business in 1996 and worked at Alliance and Remstar before starting Kinos in 2003,  the only independent design studio specializing in the film industry in Quebec. In addition to working with clients like eOne, Seville Pictures, Anchor Bay, Remstar Films and TVA Film, Eric notes that Kinos has begun to work with some American studios on DVD art and hopes to eventually work on posters for the U.S. market. Eric created three posters for the project–THE MUMMY SPEAKS, LA MORT DU CANADA, and RED, WHITE & BLUE SUNSHINE (which has yet to be revealed).

Why did you get involved in this project?

I agreed to participate in Dave’s IF IT CAME FROM WITHIN poster art project because it’s a great way to showcase the talents of Canadian designers. As you know, movie poster design is mostly an anonymous art–some people  have a movie poster on the wall of their house, home theatre or office, but even then they may never know who actually created it. For me, working on IF IT CAME FROM WITHIN was a great opportunity to get out of the shadows a little bit.

What is the difference between creating a poster for an actual film and an “imaginary” film?

Doing a poster for an imaginary films is SO much easier because there’s no clients (laughs)!  I had complete control when I was putting together the three posters I did, it was purely my vision of the film–not the producer or the marketing team. It was a bit tricky to find all the images I needed to compose the posters, but these days with image banks you can find almost anything you need to get the job done. If I could, I would only work on creating art for imaginary films–too bad there’s not much money to be made without real clients!

You did three posters for the project, all of very different styles and from different eras. How difficult was it to design for very different time periods?

It was a challenge. LA MORT DU CANADA, which is actually supposed to be from the future, was the easiest because it’s closer to what I usually do, but the THE MUMMY SPEAKS, which was from the 1940s, and RED, WHITE & BLUE SUNSHINE, which was done in a 1980s style, were more difficult. Good thing the internet is full of reference material! The technology we have now gives us the power to create a perfect image, but in the ’40s and ’80s it was all done by hand, so the challenge was not to create a perfect poster, but to match the style of those eras. To do that I had to purposely cut some corners to make the images less “computer perfect”– I was not used to working that way.

Part of this project is re-imagining Canada’s film history. Did you try to put in any specifically Canadian elements into your posters?

No, I really approached creating the posters for these imaginary Canadian horror films in the same way as I do all my posters: I just made the best image I could. I did not try to make it more or less Canadian, but rather I tried to create a poster that was as real as possible that also did justice to the great ideas the directors I worked with had put in their outlines.

Did you have a favourite poster to work on?

I actually like all of the posters I did, but for different reasons. For THE MUMMY SPEAKS,  the challenge of making a 1940s poster was really cool for me, and the end result is a poster that’s very funny. I would definitely watch that film if it was real, it looks so silly and fun. I also love the image for RED, WHITE & BLUE SUNSHINE. This poster reminds me of the films I used to watch as a teenager, like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK or THE TERMINATOR. I think this poster would make for great VHS cover art too. For LA MORT DU CANADA, I really like the decay and the rubble, plus the flag is a very strong political statement. And a good post-apocalyptic film is always cool, too!

For all the latest on “If They Came From Within,” including previews of more of the posters for imaginary Canadian horror classics, like the project’s Facebook page.

0

Here’s to a Full-Tilt Summer

0

The Art of CRIME WAVE

Digging through my old files yesterday I turned up some original scans of art that John Paizs created for his film CRIME WAVE . John gave me a copy of some of the scans that were made of his work a few years back and they’re just too good not to share. Here’s a few of the travel brochures that John designed for Steven’s trip to meet Dr. Jolly:

         

I’ve added some additional images to the interview we did with John back in 2007. If you’re a fan of the film you don’t want to miss them.

Pages ... 1 2