FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 25, 2010

bated breath

If you were on any horror-related websites yesterday (well, except this one), you may have caught wind that Jovanka Vuckovic has launched the website for her forthcoming short film The Captured Bird. The movie, a "dark fable about a little girl who has to face her own very literal demons after taking a wrong turn", has been been hailed by my brain as "something I cannot fucking wait to see".

As an avid fan of Jovanka's work at Rue Morgue Magazine and of...well, of Jovanka herself, I'd be practically salivating over seeing any one of her creations onscreen, but The Captured Bird looks to be an astonishing debut, an ambitious myth- and monster-filled fantasy to be executive produced by a man who knows more than a little about such things: Guillermo del Toro. “Jovanka's vision has been honed to perfection and combines true poetry with savage instinct,” says del Toro. “[It’s] lyrical and brutal. Just what the doctor ordered.”

Yeah, not a bad person to have on your team your first- or, hell...any time out. Jovanka's tenure at Rue Morgue put her in touch with innumerable horror luminaries, and now that she's becoming a filmmaker, she's got her own pep squad featuring the likes of George Romero and Stuart Gordon. Their support is evidenced by quotes that grace the film's website, and it's fantastic to see them so enthusiastic about...yeah, I'll say it: a horror film written and directed by a woman. Sure, we could rattle off a list of horror movies directed by women- some, like Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark and Mary Harron's American Psycho, are often cited as some of the genre's finest. But are there any women out there who could be considered (to use a hoity-toity term) dark auteurs? There are countless women making movies in the indie horror world. When talking about the genre's true heavy-hitters, the ones who conjure up images and feelings and memories at the mention of their names, the ones who have a style so personal that they essentially become their own genres ("a Dario Argento film", anyone?)...are there any women? Maybe. Maybe I just don't know who they are. Maybe in five years it'll be different and we'll have a list of names thanks to Jovanka and others of her ilk: the women who, as I said, are toiling away in the indie world to bring their visions to life (umm, not to put too much pressure on anyone, of course). In a perfect world of filmmaking, gender wouldn't matter. A woman wouldn't have to be called a "female director"- she could just be, you know, a director.

The Captured Bird's website promises to offer a wealth of information in the months leading up to the film's projected 2012 film festival tour, including interviews, a call for donations, an on-set live feed, and a blog from Vuckovic which will detail her journey as a burgeoning filmmaker. "Like" the movie on Facebook and follow it all on Twitter. Get excited for this, horror fans. I am.


Stu said...

I find it kind of silly that a film be accepted into festivals before it has even been shot but I know it is somewhat commonplace and who am I to argue. The concept art is stunning and, based on its backers, I'm sure the finished short will be spectacular.

Anonymous said...

She got really, really, really lucky. Editing at Rue Morgue put her into the pole position. Now we'll see if her work lives up to the hype. I've never read any of her work in fiction. This is the kind of opportunity that could cut either way. I wish Jovanka the best of luck with this. As for being excepted into a film fest before the flick is shot, kind of fucked up. A nice gesture though.

Now Stacie, you, your work, that's something I've been keeping an eye on and I'm much more excited about....

Hart D. Fisher
author/Poems For The Dead

Stacie Ponder said...

Sight-unseen acceptance into festivals is certainly...I don't know the right word. Squidgy? That'll do. I mean, it's fucking great for the film and creators, and I LOVE that it demonstrates how much faith people have in Jovanka and her work & abilities. Still, it underscores how far of this business (and, particularly, the festival circuit) is skewed. It's tough to get notice, and people spend hundreds & sometimes thousands of dollars sending out their film to fests and the such, hoping to get a bite that may never come. Like 99% of other occupations, it's mostly about who you know.

That said- and yes, Jovanka certainly knows many, many people who can help her out- it will only take you so far. Talent is talent, and if you don't have anything to show behind all the connections, you won't have longevity. I mean, that's what I'd LIKE to think anyway.

I've never read any of Jovanka's fiction either, but what I HAVE read and what I DO know about her have me excited enough for this. She's a smart, good writer. She knows her shit- she knows horror. She has a strong point of view, and I think that'll translate to that thing called "vision"...which is one thing many indie filmmakers are lacking. Sure, she's got lots going in her favor with ths project- that's undeniable. But I'd anticipate it all just as much even if she only had fifty cents and a camera.

And thank you for your vote of confidence, it's very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Jovanka is a wonderful person, irresistibly likable, immensely admirable, and undeniably talented. Under her editorship, Rue Morgue was the undisputed best horror magazine ever. I'm looking forward to seeing "The Captured Bird." That said, I can't imagine that there's ever been so much hype and publicity over an unfilmed six minute short. You'd think Tod Browning, James Whale or Lucio Fulci had risen from the grave to direct a new movie! Jovanka rocks, and I'm sure her filmmaking career will be very cool, but can we wait until a clip or two has been shot before we hyperventilate?

Love you Stacie, thank you for your perspective.