Just in time for Halloween, our latest festival outing led us to a close encounter with a world-renown horror scribe!
Let me start by saying I didn’t really know what to expect with the Poppy Jasper Film Fest. It’s a “straight” festival in the middle of the California coast, it’s relatively new (just celebrated its 8th year) and its website suggested a very “folksy” feel. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find the screenings were held at a nice modern cinema surrounded by coastal foothills — John Steinbeck land, in fact — and the selection was great. Many of the jurors and volunteers are also filmmakers, and everyone was so welcoming that I felt part of the mix right away! I was joined by Skinnyfat actress Delia Wolfe and cinematographer Nils Myers, as well as my photographer friend Johann from Berlin.
We arrived just in time for the keynote speech and awards ceremony, where Skinnyfat picked up the Jury Award for Best Comedy! One of the volunteers told us that it was the only unanimous vote — all nine jurors loved the film and had next to no deliberations! Fantastic! It was immensely flattering to learn our queer-centric comedy resonated so strongly with folks outside of our admittedly “niche” target audience.
The most amazing part, though, was who handed me the award. It was none other than Victor Miller, the screenwriter behind the very first Friday the 13th movie (or Last Night at Camp Blood, as it was originally called)! I’d noticed him earlier in the audience because he didn’t look like anyone else there. He looked like an old punk…tattooed and holding his years well…what all hipsters should hope to become one day. Turns out he lives here in the Bay Area, so his look made total sense.
I shook Victor’s hand and mentioned I am a huge fan of Friday the 13th. He said, well let’s talk afterward! And true to his word, we did. He was incredibly friendly and shared a wealth of interesting tidbits about the film and his career. It was really surreal to be talking with the man who had such an impact on my imagination as a youngster. After all, I didn’t just watch that movie, I absorbed it! (And all of its decreasingly impressive/increasingly depressive sequels.)
Goes to show you can never judge a festival from the outside, and opportunities arise when you least expect them. Most importantly, though, it goes to show that horror and comedy are never too far apart, are they? In fact, Skinnyfat wrapped production on Halloween day two years ago. It’s all coming full circle! Maybe that Fatty-thin sequel we’ve been joking about can take a turn for the darker…
Here are some videos from our journey, including an interesting conversation with juror Donna Brodsky about aging and dating: