By MICHAEL GINGOLD
An extensive documentary on the perils and pleasures of independent filmmaking, with an emphasis on horror and interviews with a wide roster of top films and filmmakers, is debuting next month, and a trailer and poster have just been released.
Justin McConnell, director of LIFECHANGER and other fright features, has announced that CLAPBOARD JUNGLE will world-premiere March 26 at Toronto’s Canadian Film Fest, with more festival dates to follow. Produced by McConnell’s Unstable Ground with Federgreen Entertainment, the doc will be released in Canada by Indiecan Entertainment, and is being repped for U.S. distribution by 79th and Broadway Entertainment. In the works since 2014, the movie tracks McConnell as he gets LIFECHANGER off the ground, in production and out into the world, through many markets and festivals, and also includes interviews with over 100 directors, producers, actors, etc. The lineup boasts major names and cult figures like Guillermo del Toro, George A. Romero, Richard Stanley, Larry Cohen, Larry Fessenden, Tom Holland, Barbara Crampton, Paul Schrader, Frank Henenlotter, Tom Savini, Mick Garris, Mike Mendez, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Michael Biehn and many others. (Full disclosure: Yours truly is also one of the interviewees).
In addition to the feature version, McConnell is also preparing an eight-episode educational series in which each installment will cover a different facet of the film business. “I set out at the beginning with the goal of creating a sort of film school in a box full of knowledge from people who knew a lot more than me,” he says. “At a certain point the project just grew into something else, and the decision to split it into two very distinct purposes seemed natural. The film now starting festival play has a lot of information, but it’s also emotional and a little esoteric, the goal giving a full story arc and not just an educational piece. The series is the film school in a box. With both of those and a bunch of extended web and Blu-ray material, this is the kind of thing I wish existed when I was first starting out. And I’m glad I surrounded myself with a great team that could give me advice and a little objective distance from the source material, as you can’t get any closer to the subject than turning a camera on yourself.”