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Blood flowing in Heavy Hitting Films’ B-Grade Horror Film Festival

What: Second Annual Heavy Hitting Films B-Grade Horrorfest

Where: MY (Millennium) Place

When: Thursday, Oct. 30, 10 p.m.

Tickets : $9.99.

Like all of the best ideas, it started for fun.

Last year, local indie filmmaker Feet Banks, notorious for his 2000 ski flick Parental Advisory, produced by his own Heavy Hitting Films company, gathered together a crew of creative-minded cohorts to make a no-budget slasher flick. Knowing they weren’t the only horror movie fans in Whistler, they encouraged others to do the same.

Plans were made to screen the rotten fruits of their labours at the start of Shits ’n’ Giggles Productions’ annual Halloween party at the GLC. Artist and DJ Chili Thom, organizer of the GLC party, was also a collaborator on the film.

Not knowing whether or not anyone else would follow through, they went ahead and named the event the Heavy Hitting Films B-Grade Horror Film Festival. It was, says Banks, mainly an excuse for the two of them to make their own movie.

But people did follow through. When the projector started rolling, there were 10 flicks lined up for judging. And it wasn’t Banks’ and Thom’s film, but a gory spectacle called Hagridden made by a punk pixie named Lauren Graham that took home the mounted skull trophy.

Because of last year’s success, this year’s fest gets its own night and its own home. The 15 expected entries screen at MY Place on Thursday, Oct. 30 with the Shits ’n’ Giggles’ GLC party on the following night. The separation, says Banks, is nice, but as they learned last year, it’s also necessary.

"By the time the last movie played it was past 10 o’clock," Banks remembers. "Some people were really juiced, not paying attention, kicking the plugs out on the projector and stuff like that. It was a little too long, and that was only 10 movies. This year we decided we’d have to do something different."

While last year MY Place seemed way out of their league, this year it’s a natural fit.

"You never know how many movies you’re going to get. Last year, we didn’t know if we’d only have two movies, if anyone was going to be into it, or what was going to happen. So we went small," says Banks. "We knew we were going to be able to fill Millennium Place this year because it’s almost doubled in size."

Along with the menacing-looking trophy, Banks is trying to secure a cash prize for this year’s winner, something he hopes can result from the inclusion of event sponsor Base Energy Drink.

"It’s nice to win a trophy but you can’t make a movie for nothing," he says. "You’re spending a couple hundred bucks to make even the lowest budget movie. So for the winner, it’s nice to get even a little bit back."

It’s that attitude that guarantees the festival will continue to be a success. Banks is a filmmaker’s filmmaker and the festival is as much for him as anyone else. He considers it a contribution toward an alternative to the already strong sports action video scene that Whistler supports. And he says he’d like to see others step up and create an even wider variety of forums for independent films, alongside events such as the 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in the spring.

"Yeah, I’d like to keep it going as long as we can," he confirms. "The independent movie scene up here is totally growing and I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m sure getting sick of pointing my camera at skiers and snowboarders. It’s good to have another outlet to put your energy into."

Those with strong stomachs will want to be sure to catch the Second Annual Heavy Hitting Films B-Grade Horrorfest at MY Place this Thursday, Oct. 30. Tickets $9.99 through MY Place’s Ticketmaster outlet. Call 604-935-8418 for more information.

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