December podcasts and radio: Asian cinema, H.P. Lovecraft and Alan Moore

The Yellow Sea


Panel Borders: Unnamable horrors in genre comics

Concluding a series of shows about H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Fitch talks to three creators who have recently penned comics inspired by his monsters and scenarios. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning talk about adding a Lovecraftian twist to Marvel Superheroes in their titles Realm of Kings and The Thanos Imperative, which feature alternative versions of Captain Marvel and the Avengers possessed by the ‘Many-angled Ones’. Also Ed Brubaker discusses Fatale, his latest collaboration with artist Sean Phillips, following Sleeper, Criminal and Incognito, which mixes noir storytelling with occult ceremonies and tentacle-faced Nazis.

8pm, Sunday 18 December 2011, Resonance 104.4FM / extended podcast on Panel Borders after broadcast


Lucky Cat: The best Asian films of 2011

On Saturday 10 December, Virginie S&#233lavy was Zoe Baxter’s guest on the show Lucky Cat to discuss the East Asian film releases of 2011, including The Yellow Sea, Villain, Gallants, Sparrow and The Ghost Cat and the Shamisen.

To listen to the podcast, go to the Lucky Cat website.

Panel Borders episode 250: Alan Moore and the horrors at Red Hook

Continuing a month of shows about H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Fitch talks to Alan Moore about his final graphic novel that isn’t part of the continuing League of Extraordinary Gentlemen narrative – Neonomicon – which has just been published, along with its prequel The Courtyard, as a graphic novel by Avatar Press. Both comics follow on from Lovecraft’s tale ‘The Horror at Red Hook’ and Alan discusses why he chose that story in particular to explore further, plus the origins of The Courtyard in an abandoned short story collection called ‘Yuggoth Cultures’, and examples of Lovecraftian imagery in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen saga.

Listen to the podcast on Panel Borders.

From Pulp to Cleaning Up: Low-Budget Distribution

Cleaning Up

audio Alex Fitch talks to director Tom Guerrier about his short film Cleaning Up, featuring Doctor Who stars Mark Gatiss and Louise Jameson as a hitman and his landlady; and to Adam Hamdy, co-director, and actors Jay Sutherland, Gavin Molloy, Simon Burbage and Lee Ravitz, about Pulp, a caper movie set in the small press comic community. Both films are starting to tour festivals and Alex talks to their creators about the making of each project and their ambitions to get the films to larger audiences.

Cleaning Up will be screening next on 10 January 2012 at the London Short Film Festival at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. The LSFF runs from 6 to 15 January 2012, celebrating the very best in contemporary British short filmmaking and providing a snapshot of the UK film scene. More information on the LSFF website.

Pulp receives its UK premiere on 2 February 2012 at SFX Weekender Sci-Fi convention, Prestatyn Sands, Wales.

Podcast produced by Alex Fitch.

2011 Film Round-Up


I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, Friday 16 December, 5-5:30pm, Resonance 104.4 FM

Virginie S&#233lavy and Electric Sheep contributors Jason Wood, director of programming for Curzon cinemas and author of The Faber Book of Mexican Cinema and 100 Road Movies, former Plan B editor and musician Frances Morgan, and writer Eleanor McKeown talk about the best films, shorts, re-issues and events of the year.

The Art Theatre Guild of Japan

Death by Hanging

audio Virginie Sélavy talks to Julian Ross about the summer’s seasons of experimental and independent Japanese cinema of the 1960s and 70s. In the 60s, the Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG) in Tokyo became the centre of a vibrant independent filmmaking scene, encouraging bold experiments and innovative collaborations with other artists. The discussion focuses on the ATG, its related space Theatre Scorpio, and the films the ATG helped produce or distribute, including works by Nagisa &#212shima, Kôji Wakamatsu and Shôhei Imamura.

Julian Ross is a commissioning editor at Vertigo Magazine and the programme coordinator for the Theatre Scorpio season at Close-Up Film Centre and the Art Theatre Guild season at the BFI Southbank.

First broadcast on Resonance FM 104.4 on Friday 19 August.

KanZeOn: Sound and Japanese Buddhism


I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, Friday 18 November, 5-5:30pm, Resonance 104.4 FM

To mark the opening of Zipangu, the UK’s foremost Japanese film festival, Virginie Sélavy talks to festival director Jasper Sharp and to Neil Cantwell and Tim Grabham, directors of the opening film, KanZeOn. KanZeOn is a unique documentary on the role music and sound play in Japanese Buddhism looking at three musicians: Akinobu Tatsumi, a young Buddhist priest who is also a hip-hop DJ and is prone to bouts of beat-boxing in the forest; Eri Fujii, master of the sho, an ancient Chinese bamboo wind instrument evoking the cry of the phoenix; and Akihiro Iitomi, a performer of Noh theatre and jazz lover. We are delighted to announce that Tatsumi Akinobu will give a performance of his Buddhist chanting and beat-boxing skills on the show.

The Zipangu festival runs from 18 to 24 November at the ICA and Cafe Oto in London. Full details on the Zipangu website.

Wicker Tree/Buried Land

The Wicker Tree

audio In this special Halloween-themed podcast, Alex Fitch talks to three directors who have made films about man’s relationship with the land. At this year’s FrightFest, Robin Hardy discusses his classic horror film The Wicker Man and its new, belated thematic sequel The Wicker Tree, which both deal with fertility and terrifying pagan rites, while Larry Fessenden talks about his eco-themed monster movies No Telling, Wendigo and The Last Winter. In addition, in a Q&A recorded at the East End Film Festival, Alex interviews Steven Eastwood, co-director of Buried Land, a ‘mockumentary’/docu-drama about the real-life discovery in a small town in Bosnia of an ancient, buried pyramid, which may re-invent mankind’s knowledge of pre-Christian architecture and empire-building, but in the short term has changed the fortunes of people in the area.

Podcast produced by Alex Fitch.

An Evening of Subversive Japanese Cinema

Sex Jack poster

Sex Jack + talk

Date: Tuesday 15 November 2011

Doors: 7pm

Film: 7:30pm

Talk: 9:30pm

Venue: Horse Hospital

Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

Price: £6/£4

Horse Hospital website

Electric Sheep and Strange Attractor present a screening of Sex Jack (1970, 69 mins), directed by yakuza-turned-filmmaker Kôji Wakamatsu and written by his politically engaged acolyte Masao Adachi. Set against the background of the 60s Japanese student movement, it follows a group of young revolutionaries who take refuge in the flat of a stranger. Screened at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the 1971 Cannes festival, it remains one of Wakamatsu’s most striking works. Wakamatsu and Adachi chose to work in the pink film (soft porn) industry as a way of ensuring financial independence and artistic freedom, and Sex Jack offers a typically radical mix of sex and politics. Denouncing both government repression and the apathy of the revolutionary movement, the film paints a disillusioned picture of collective action, ultimately suggesting that liberation from all shackles can only come from individual action. With thanks to the French-based international label Dissidenz, which has recently released three Kôji Wakamatsu DVD box-sets.

Sex Jack will be preceded by the black and white animated tale Man-Eater Mountain (dir Naoyuki Niiya, 2008, 28 mins), which uses paper theatre to tell a gruesome folk tale. A couple of police inspectors and their guide take a serial killer to the mountains to find the bodies of his victims, but soon they face the demons that reside there. Both beautifully atmospheric and hellishly nightmarish, it has Bosch-like visions of blood-sucking trees, impaled animals, bodies torn apart or eaten by demons. Man-Eater Mountain is presented by Zipangu Fest, the first UK-wide festival devoted to Japanese film, which runs from 18 to 24 November.

The films will be followed by a talk with Jasper Sharp, author of Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema, director of Zipangu Fest and co-editor of the Japanese cinema website Midnight Eye, and Julian Ross, commissioning editor at Vertigo Magazine and programme coordinator for the Theatre Scorpio season at Close-Up Film Centre and the Art Theatre Guild season at the BFI Southbank in July-August 2011. The talk will be hosted by Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy.

Doors at 7pm, film at 7:30pm, talk at 9:30pm. Full details on the Horse Hospital website. Buy tickets from WeGotTickets.

Strange Attractor is an independent publisher that celebrates unpopular culture.

Dissidenz International handles world sales of committed alternative and maverick art-house films with a special focus on niches. Dissidenz International is a label of Blaq Out.

Zipangu Fest is the first UK-wide festival devoted to Japanese film and runs from 18 to 24 November.

Twisted Romance: Simon Rumley on Red White and Blue

Red White and Blue

audio Virginie Sélavy talks to Simon Rumley, director of the unpredictable murder ballad Red White and Blue, which tells the complex, violent tale of an emotionally reluctant girl and an edgy loner. One of the best thrillers of 2010 and a great take on screwed up love and serial killers.

Red White and Blue is released in UK cinemas on September 30 by Trinity Entertainment.

First broadcast on Resonance FM 104.4 on Friday 16 September.

Secret Societies – part 2

The Wicker Man

audio In a companion piece to our May podcast on Secret Societies, we have a panel discussion recorded in the atmospheric confines of a Masonic Lodge on Liverpool Street in London as part of the East End Film Festival, including talks on Jack the Ripper, witches’ covens and religious cults in film. Speakers include Electric Sheep editor Virginie Selavy, assistant editor Alex Fitch, Nollywood scholar Nicola Woodham, filmmaker and horror specialist Jennifer Eiss, and Jim Harper, author of Flowers From Hell: The Modern Japanese Horror Film. Includes clips from Murder by Decree, Season of the Witch, The Wicker Man and Rosemary’s Baby.

Podcast produced by Alex Fitch

Kosmos: Polish and Russian Sci-Fi Cinema


audio Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy talks to Russian scholar Sergei Kapterev (Institute of Cinema Art in Moscow) about Soviet science fiction and the connection between SF cinema and politics, the impact of the space race and the Cold War period, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979),and Roger Corman’s re-edits of popular Soviet SF films. (Originally broadcast 15/07/11 on Resonance FM)

Plus, in a Q&A recorded at SCI-FI-LONDON in April 2010, Alex Fitch talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and SF writer/journalist Wojciech Orli&#324ski about cinematic adaptations of the work of Stanislaw Lem from Steven Soderbergh and Andrei Tarkovsky’s adaptations of Solaris to more offbeat films such as Edward Zebrowski’s The Hospital of Transfiguration.

Kosmos: A Soviet Space Odyssey runs at BFI Southbank throughout August.

Podcast produced by Alex Fitch