Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cosmic Control reclaims Modesto!

L-R: Brian Bedell, Don Gerron, Brandon Kane, Rachel Knutton, Lara Schneider

Back on September 10, 2001, I started a job at Brown University working alongside a guy who would become a close friend, Brandon Kane. The next day on the job was an instant bonding experience, as we experienced the shock of witnissing the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center only moments after they happened, via webcasts, NPR and CNN. Needless to say, little work was done that day.

Brandon was just beginning work on his Diabolical Tales trilogy at the time. Six years later (last Friday night to be exact), Brandon and a small delegation from Cosmic Control Productions arrived in Modesto for the annual Shockerfest International Film Festival. The horror/sci-fi fest featured shorts and features from independent filmmakers, and among those featured was CC's own Diabolical Tales Part II: Vengeance of the Men from Within the Earth.

The first of the three Diabolical shorts was screened at the fest last year. Set in the 1950s, the sci-fi/schlock trilogy follows the adventures of FBI Agent Cooper (Brian Bedell) as he fights to protect America from the evil pursuits of Master Zun (Don Gerron) and his men (and women) living beneath the earth, who are bent on enacting the destruction of the "surface dwellers."

Even more than a triumphant return to Northern California for the cast and crew, it was specifically a happy occasion for us all to hang out again. Even though I wasn't part of the cast or crew, I was hearing all about the process from beginning to end, and felt like I knew many of the cast before I finally did meet them off-screen.

Diabolical Tales Part II was screened on Saturday evening. In attendance were Kane (writer/director), Don & Wendy Gerron, Brian Bedell, Rachel Knutton (Kate Cooper), and Lara Schneider (Zeena). And though this was the second trip to Modesto for all but Lara, it also turned out to be the first time for all but Don & Wendy to visit San Francisco (minus Bedell, who headed off to Sacramento to visit family). We drove down on Sunday to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and check out the Blue Angels, who had been flying over the city all week. I didn't get any shots worth posting, unfortunately, as my fingers were fumbling. The jets were flying awfully close to the bridge, and one even skimmed the surface of the bay. The skimming I actually missed, but Brandon caught it and described the water mist that rose up as looking like a force field surrounding the jet. The weather was perfect, and we actually found parking, which didn't look promising when we first arrived at the vista point.

Diabolical didn't end up with a nomination this time, but it has another shot at another festival. It Came From Lake Michigan 2007, an indie film fest in Wisconsin taking place October 26-28, will be screening both the second and third Diabolical shorts. And next year, I'll especially be looking forward to the premier of Brandon's first feature length film, Scorpion Bowl.

It's been great not only watching these films emerge from an idea on paper to an actual product, but getting to know everyone involved. They become their own little worlds, which is ultimately the reason why they're so much fun for someone like Brandon to make. They're not just technical or artistic achievements, they're social networks. That's what keeps the process rolling. It's all about the people.

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UPDATE: Brandon has posted more photos on the Diabolical site!

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