Festival Director Dick Dale Discusses MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA!
Dick Dale, legendary shorts filmmaker (CREAMY LOVE anyone?), TRASHARAMA founder and festival director, raconteur and general champion of Australian genre cinema has taken his passion for programming to the next level by instigating the inaugural MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA in Adelaide this month! The festival runs for four days, opening with the Adelaide premiere of this season’s TRASHARAMA on Thursday January 19th and closing with the Australian premiere of Paul M McAlarney’s THE UNGOVERNABLE FORCE on Sunday January 22nd. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Dick to discuss everything from the genesis of the festival to the program’s curation to a few surprise revelations of what you can expect to experience across the four days of the MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA!
CULT OF MONSTER: What was the inspiration behind the MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA and what lead you to kickstarting the festival this year?
DICK DALE: MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA was inspired by the need for Adelaide to have its very own alternative counter culture film festival. I’ve been going to MONSTER FEST in Melbourne since it started back in 2012 and have seen lots of great feature films! When I came back to Adelaide, I had no one to fillum critique with about them. MONSTER FEST’s original festival director, (Adelaide expat) Neil Foley has been pinnacle in encouraging me with kickstarting the infamous TRASHARAMA Film program and indeed he can share some of the blame for inspiring and encouraging me with this project. To be honest, I’m not sure there would be a TRASHARAMA without Neil and the MONSTER FEST gang’s encouragement. Hell, apart from that, MONSTER FEST is where I source at least half the TRASHARAMA line-up. Very much appreciated. I couldn’t do it otherwise. Speaking of which, its twenty years since Trasharama was spawned in 1997. I decided it was time to up the ante! We have the Adelaide Film Festival here but they don’t cover enough of the lower budget and more importantly exciting genre films that I and others enjoy. The same reason I originally began the TRASHARAMA short film program twenty years ago. I want a film festival where it’s ONLY the good films I like…I have exceptional taste you know, the most exciting, bizarre and craziest original films I can find. Genre films mainly: grindhouse, exploitation, bad taste comedy, low budget action adventure, thriller and horror. Something fun and irreverent. As the wheels were turning and I was toying with the idea.
Local Adelaide film maker, Trevor Fleming contacted me early to ask whether I could screen his feature BLOODLOVE at TRASHARAMA. I told him I don’t screen features but as I was already thinking about it, I told him to hold on, I may have something in the works. Paul M McAlarney’s feature film, THE UNGOVERNABLE FORCE was accidentally submitted to TRASHARAMA too. I read the synopsis about it being an offensive punk rock comedy horror with a great punk soundtrack, punk rock guest stars and featuring a cameo including Lloyd Kaufman from Troma studios. I thought I’d give it a watch and loved it. I needed to screen it! This is a couple of the selfish reasons I wanted to start a festival like this. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. I just kept coming across movies I wanted to see on the big screen but most of the time didn’t have the means. Never one to let an opportunity pass, I asked Paul if he had any shorts I could check out for TRASHARAMA. He did and that’s why his film MAUL MY CHILDREN is screening in the TRASHARAMA program. These days, a low budget movie doesn’t have to look like a Roger Corman b-movie of the 1960s. You get a lot more bang for your buck with the advancement in technology so they can potentially look as good as any Hollywood blockbuster. I want to fill a void here where Adelaide audiences can go and see films that they wouldn’t get to see at major cinemas because the film makers don’t have access to them. In the end, Melbourne has MONSTER FEST and MUFF (Melbourne Underground Film Festival), Sydney and Brisbane have underground film festivals. Sydney also has the International Night of Horror and Perth has the Revelation Film Festival, even Tassie has STRANGER WITH MY FACE. Now we have this. Just proves, if you want something done, do it your fucking self!
COM: TRASHARAMA is the opening night event at the MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA, how did the premiere of the program go down at MONSTER FEST late last year?
DD: I think well I hope it went down pretty well. I got good enthusiastic feedback. I seem to still be on speaking terms with everyone. I didn’t have any money to buy them drinks so I don’t see why they’d lie to me. ‘Best one yet. Even better than last year!” I got that comment the previous year before too. Hopefully it just means it’s getting better and better! I really think I got the mix just right this year with lower budget (or next to zero budget) and higher budgeted films along with a nice selection of both international and Aussie shorts. There is a good variety in this program too. Even a few different uses for penises which is refreshing I spose. It always has a good turn out in Melbourne at MONSTER FEST. The audience are very receptive to the program there. They really get into it. TRASHARAMA, off and on has been touring to Melbourne for sixteen years so it has grown there, like a cancerous tumour you’ve become fond of! It goes down well where ever I screen it nationally too. It’s just getting the word out I find the most difficult with my meagre casual work and Centrelink budget. This is non-funded, DIY. All I’ve learnt and used from being in my previous years in punk rock bands with promoting, marketing and securing gigs, For better or worse.
With TRASHARAMA you know you aren’t going to get anything too serious. Just come along for a laugh and a good gross out. It may help if you get your kicks out of the ‘all bodily fluids covered’ ideals. I have a big phobia with human bodily fluids so this might be my catharsis. Saying that it’s not ‘too serious’ however I always try to throw a film in the mix somewhere that might disturb you or at least you’ll have stuck in your mind long after your filth filter cataracts on your eyes have healed up. There might even be two this time. Back to MONSTER FEST, the premiere was good because afterwards we had the awards night where FINALLY after, (I’m sure) a year of sleepless nights and checking the mail box everyday, (Hellbournian) Nathan Armstrong received his Golden Lomax award for most sick and twisted film of 2015. We also announced the 2016 winner for the current program, THE CONTRACT. Directed by Chrzu Lindstrom. I have to send that one to Finland. Was a good night all round and thank Beejebus I had a trophy to hand out. I didn’t really want to do an impromptu dance routine again like I did the year before when I turned up empty handed as the trophy was late in getting made. I made them myself this time.
COM: How did you go about curating the feature line-up for the festival, was it open for submission or did you have specific films in mind that you wanted to program?
DD: I curated the line-up by films I had seen through various means over the last year and by contacting filmmakers who’s work I had previously been a fan of. I was fortunate enough to see MONDO YAKUZA at MONSTER FEST and loved it but I already knew it was going to be great. In fact I’d asked Addison Heath before I’d even seen it. After all these years of curating TRASHARAMA, I’ve got quite the knack for sniffing out great films. If you are aware of the filmmakers’ work and you’ve seen the trailer, you can generally ascertain what the finished product is going to be like. By the way you can let me know when I slip in my own shit. FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS, I knew I really wanted so pestered James Bickert for his permission to screen it. Thankfully he gave his blessing. The trailer for that movie alone is fucking amazeballs. I can’t wait for everyone to see the film!
COM: Are there any parallels between the content of TRASHARAMA and the feature programming, given that three of the features are directed by previous TRASHARAMA filmmakers?
DD: DOLLY DEADLY, SHEBORG MASSACRE and GONE LESBO GONE are all made by previous TRASHARAMA filmmakers, Heidi Moore, Daniel Armstrong & Jarret Gahan. There was no method in my madness, great movies are great movies. I always try to keep in contact with the fine tasteful folk whose films I have screened at TRASHARAMA over the years. I think that the time is right really. Heidi has just made her first feature and I thought it sounded great. She gave me a screener of DOLLY DEADLY and it’s a fucking cracker, it wasn’t a hard decision. Daniel has just made his fourth feature and I previously loved the roller girl slasher flick, MURDERDROME. I’d heard great things from reputable filmophiles about SHEBORG MASSACRE when it screened at MUFF. Watched the trailer and I had to have it!! GONE LESBO GONE is a doco and I thought that would be great to have an entertaining but also ‘educational’ film in the mix. Many years ago I helped with a screening of that depraved Doris Wishman inspired ‘roughie’ feature, LESBO A-GO-GO here in Adelaide at the Mercury Cinema. I hope some of the old farts remember and come out to see the whole story of Andrew Leavold’s labour of love (and cartons of beer) and how it was created. Not only is it educational and very funny, it’s also inspirational. I hope it inspires at least SOMEONE to get out there and made a film! Fuck, I hope it inspires me to the *dizzying heights I need to follow and finally finish my first feature, RIBSPREADER. *NOTE: dizzying heights: NOT referring to getting off a bar stool.
COM: In addition to the film line-up, you have THE SCREAMING MEANIES performing live, how did you go about securing him for the festival?
DD: Very happy to have THE SCREAMING MEANIES playing LIVE at the Festival. On opening night and whenever he damn well pleases really! I’ve known THE SCREAMING MEANIES for a few years now through MONSTER FEST and fellow Queenslanders Andrew Leavold & Jarret Gahan. Whenever TRASHARAMA tours Queensland (and any screening when possible), I think it’s a great idea having THE SCREAMING MEANIES performing his fantastic catchy cinematic tracks in the foyer. He looks crazy in his wrestling mask and skeleton overtone attire. It sets the scene and atmosphere. Sometimes you have to tell the punters, “he’s not just playing tracks, he’s written and composed too you know? He’s playing that theremin fucking LIVE!!!!” Once the kids realise that, they tend to appreciate what is actually happening there and how cool it all is. THE SCREAMING MEANIES has composed the TRASHARAMA theme to go with our all-new animated credit sequence so it’s all fanfuckingtastic! To be blunt. He’s also composed the scores to GONE LESBO GONE and MONDO YAKUZA! It’s like a little gang of film freaker misfits we are developing here! He can’t stay for the Sunday as he’s flying out to Japan to work on Addison ‘MONDO YAKUZA’ Heath’s new horror film, THE VIPERS HEX. Aweskum times!
COM: What can audiences expect from the MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA?
DD: To come along and have a GREAT time seeing films on the big screen that are exciting, unique and ORIGINAL. No remakes or formula films here! There has never been a film festival like this in Adelaide before. Come check out these up and coming sickeningly talented filmmakers, both Australian and international feature films and the TRASHARAMA shorts. There are special guests, giveaways, q&as and more! There’s comedy, thriller, punk rawk DIY, action adventure, horror, Australian and Adelaide premieres! All independent and all fan freakin-tastic. I hand picked them myself and am doing this on a Centrelink budget! LIVE music by THE SCREAMING MEANIES in the foyer. I’ll be hosting it and if there’s one thing about me…I CAN’T JUST SCREEN FILMS, IT HAS TO BE MORE! Did I mention? It’s CHEAP too!! Welcome to my nightmare. I KNOW your going to like it…
For line-up, session times and ticketing information, visit the official MURDER CITY CARNIVALE OF CINEMA site right here!