All posts by kody

THE VANCOUVER SUN THE LEO AWARDS ANNOUNCED

SHORT DRAMA

The Nominees for Best Screenwriting in a Short Drama are…

Kris Elgstrand – Big Head

Kelly-Ruth Mercier – No Ones Knows You Like Your Mother

Lucia Frangione – Pop Switch

Linda Theodosakis – Smoke

Kody Zimmermann – The Familiar

Cal Garingan – Waiting 4 Goliath

The Nominees for Best Overall Sound in a Short Drama are…

Patrick Haggart Ippersiel, John Boyle – Instant

Jon Ritchie – Savage

Greg Stewart, Ian Emberton, Roger Morris,

James Kusan – Serum 1831

Greg Stewart, Miguel Nunes, Roger Morris, Greg Hannas – The Gray Matter

Hugo Dela Cerda, Kevin Belen, David Green – The Familiar

The Nominees for Best Sound Editing

in a Short Drama are…

Patrick Haggart Ippersiel – Instant

Roger Morris, Ian Emberton, Rick Senechal,

Don Harrison – Serum 1831

Cohen Park – Sindoor

Kelly Cole, Bill Mellow, Kevin Belen, Graeme Hughes, David Green – The Familiar

Miguel Nunes, Roger Morris, Angelo Nicoloyannis, Greg Stewart – The Gray Matter

The Nominees for Best Performance by a Male in a Short Drama are…

Ryan Robbins – Collide

David Richmond-Peck – Instant

Peter Benson – Scott’s Land

Torrance Coombs – The Familiar

DISTURBING FILMS REVIEW

THE FAMILIAR is a 22-minute short from Canadian filmmaker Kody Zimmermann, and Buffalo Screams honored it with Best Horror Short and Best Screenplay (competing against shorts and features). It is the hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story of the relationship between a vampire’s assistant (played by the remarkable Torrance Coombs) and his tyrannical, undead master (the highly charismatic and entertaining Paul Hubbard). THE FAMILIAR is the best vampire film I’ve seen in years, and was made with all the polish of a slick Hollywood movie. It has more than enough material for an entire feature, and I hope Zimmermann and his cast and crew manage to go that route. Regardless, this is a not-to-be-missed film.

I couldn’t help but notice, to my utter amazement, that the film currently has a very low user rating on IMDB. I think most of us are sharp enough to realize that these ratings are largely meaningless, but the rating nevertheless raised my eyebrows. THE FAMILIAR should appeal to horror and mainstream audiences alike, and the audience at Buffalo Screams – maybe 100 people – LOVED it. I can’t help but suspect that Zimmermann or someone else involved with this film pissed off some petty individual who then made a point of sabotaging the film’s ranking. The fact is, anyone who pours their blood, sweat, tears, and financing into a labor of love like this is completely at the mercy of such a loser.

I LIKE HORROR FILMS REVIEW

Sam is obsessed with vampires, until one day, he is given the unique opportunity to become one’s assistant. At first, finding victims and hiding corpses seems great, but after a few years of doing his taxes, cleaning his suits, and bathing his bloodsucking boss, the job begins to ware on him… The last several years have provided a breath of fresh air for the moldy old vampire film, with shorts like YOU ARE SO UNDEAD and now THE FAMILIAR revitalizing the genre with a hip young scripts despite the disastrous effect the TWILIGHT saga has had on Horror fans. Zimmermann’s dry, witty writing playfully pokes fun at genre conventions while cleverly relating the unrecognized efforts of his protagonist to the disenchantment of the average white collar worker. Coombs and Hubbard are great together, in a brilliant cross between NOSFERATU and OFFICE SPACE. The special effects for the size and budget are also top rate, with a stylish mood and atmosphere that has a Modern Gothic appeal. THE FAMILIAR is a big win for first time director Kody Zimmermann!

Rating: 8/10

HORRORPHILIA REVIEW

“YOU MAY THINK YOU HAVE THE BOSS FROM HELL, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE MY JOB, BECAUSE I REALLY DO HAVE THE BOSS FROM HELL”

Sam Matheson vampire connoisseur lands the job of the century, when he meets an old man, while watching…what else…a vampire movie. Sam and the man converse over the semantics of vampires and how to become one. The man is taken with Sam’s youth, as he is old and his days of vitality wanes. The old man takes Sam to meet Simon Boliver.

Sam quickly learns WHAT Simon Boliver. Sam has his own face-to-face interview with a VAMPIRE. After a short talk between the old man and Simon, Sam is hired to become Simon’s familiar. A familiar is one who cares for a vampire and takes care of personal affairs during the daylight while the vampire slumbers.

Time flies and Sam learned quickly Simon was amoral, foul mouthed and arrogant self centered son of a bitch. Life as Simon’s Familiar was not all it was cracked up to be. When a slayer is murdered, secrets are learned and a vendetta ensues.

“I like whore! I love them. The way they dressed…the texture of their skin, the way they smell.”

I enjoyed watching Zimmerman’s FAMILIAR. His vampire was a real asshole! Simon’s favored flavor was Harlot blood. Sam would have to line up dates with “women of the loosest morals” night and then be expected to foot the bill.

The twenty-two minute short covers 5 years of Sam’s servitude to Simon and all the hell his boss put him through. Sam may be young and according to Simone is a “moron” so the ending was sweet surprise and I quite liked the ending. And the Song City of Vampires by the Dead Vampires was reminiscent of the vibe of the 80’s band, THE CULT and as the credits roll, the lagniappe was getting to listen to the song…loved it.!

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE INDEPENDENT CRITIC REVIEW

Sam Matheson (Torrance Coombs) sounds like a nerd. Sam Matheson sort of looks like a nerd. Heck, with his early in life vampire movie obsession it’s entirely likely that Sam Matheson was a nerd.

On Sam’s 21st birthday, everything changes when a mysterious gentleman offers him what seems like his dream job as an assistant to Simon Bolivar (Paul Hubbard), a 400-year-old vampire. Intrigued and excited, Sam accepts the opportunity to become this strange and neurotic vampire’s “familiar,” an assistant who remains fully human while both protecting the vampire and cleaning up his, um, “messes.”

Written and directed by Kody Zimmerman, The Familiar has already captured several film festival awards as a delightfully offbeat 22-minute horror short blending equal doses of horror, comedy and loving tribute to the old Hammer flicks that could masterfully blend the sort of horrific humor that is so completely absent from flicks today.

Rumored to have been inspired by Zimmerman’s own experiences as a personal assistant to an unnamed Hollywood actor, The Familiar isn’t so much likely to elicit belly laughs as it is chuckles of amusement along with a genuine admiration for Zimmerman’s obvious filmmaking craft. Actor Torrance Coombs (The Tudors) comes off a lot like Colin Hanks in any of his seemingly endless supply of teen/young adult comedies, giving Sam a sort of Office Space meets Shaun of the Dead sensibility with neither film’s comic nor graphic extremes. While Zimmerman frames Matheson as the central character, Paul Hubbard steals the show as the high maintenance, endlessly neurotic Simon Bolivar. Bolivar sort of resembles a David Johansen with fangs, a statement that manages to be simultaneously a compliment and insult. There’s a rather delightful kitsch to Hubbard’s performance and his scenes with Sam’s predecessor, played by Brock Shoveller, feel like we’re watching two old pals who’ve spent centuries getting to know each other. Rachel Sehl also has a solid supporting turn as a young woman who sparks Sam’s change of heart about his life long commitment to the boss from hell.

Shot on HD video with George Campbell as D.P., The Familiar blends excellent camera work with ever so slightly off-kilter special effects that nicely fit the film’s irreverent mood. Richard L. King adds to the mix a nicely complementary original score.

Continuing on the film festival circuit, The Familiar takes everything beloved about old school horror and mixes it magically with contemporary situations and modern-day technology to create one of the more delightful horror shorts to come across my desk in quite some time. If you get a chance, check it out!

FANGORIA ARTICLE

For those of you unaware of Kody Zimmerman and his wildly successful short film THE FAMILIAR, you’re in for a hilariously dark treat. After nearly two years of festival haunts and with more nominations and wins than this writer can count, Zimmerman has posted the movie on-line, and I promise you the most fun 19 minutes you’ll spend today!

But first, indulge me for a moment and let us dream together about having the perfect job. OK, not that one where you work for yourself, but the one where it is early in your dream career and you get that golden opportunity to assist the best of the best in your field. Oh, how you might imagine yourself working by his or her side, indispensably, learning everything there is to know, all in the hope to one day be in that person’s shoes yourself. And once all your hard work is completely noticed, you finally do get promoted. You are there. Ah, to reach the top, to live what once seemed the improbable good life. Well, wake up. This is not that story!

The tale I’m bringing to your attention is that of one vampire’s assistant, or what is also known as a “familiar.” “Hey…a vampire with his own assistant?” you may be wondering. Well, I was too. Guess we should have realized that when you are cool, hip and hotter than hell, then yes, you get your own lackey—just like all those glam-fam posers in Hollywood. Remember, this is the vampire we are talking about here!

So what makes THE FAMILIAR so special? Mostly, the fact that it mixes horror and comedy so successfully that it becomes hard to truly distinguish one from the other. The merging of the two genres is no easy feat—what comes to mind is Don Coscarelli’s BUBBA HO-TEP, but even that film bends more toward laughs than chills. THE FAMILIAR is a perfect blend of both.

The movie is told in the first person by our hero Sam, played by THE TUDORS’ Torrance Coombs. Sam is obsessed with vampires, so much so that he wishes to one day become one himself. Well, it seems dreams can come true, as he is approached one day by a mysterious stranger and offered a job as a vampire’s “familiar.” Sam is ecstatic, feeling his prayers have been answered. That is, until he starts the job and gets to know his new employer, the 400-year-old bloodsucker Simon Bolivar (Paul Hubbard), who is literally the boss from hell.

What makes THE FAMILIAR so, uh, familiar is, who among us hasn’t had what we may have considered the worst boss on the planet? I’ll raise my hand. We relate to Sam as his hopes and dreams are dismantled one by one, and we watch in sympathy as his job is reduced to the most degrading of tasks—in his case, wrangling whores for his barking vampire boss, chopping up leftover body parts and being screamed at and belittled on a constant basis. All in all, not quite what Sam had in mind. Plus, soon into the gig, poor Sam finds that being a vampire’s familiar may not deliver the expected payoff after all. Just what kind of situation has Sam found himself in, and what is there to do about it?

The Canadian Zimmerman tells us, “I think everyone has had a boss who was either a bastard or a clown or both. At some point, everyone has been disappointed with the thing they previously thought was the cat’s meow.” Perfectly put!

Both Zimmerman (pictured right) and his producer Riley Walsh never expected THE FAMILIAR to have the great success it has garnered since its launch onto the festival circuit at Screamfest LA in 2009. To date, there have been 27 Official Selection showcases, and 19 awards in 2010 alone. Of the wildly “unfamiliar” fame that the film has brought him, Zimmerman says, “I knew filmmakers who were having success at festivals, but a successful run was maybe four or five screenings. Riley and I wanted to hit what we considered to be the top dogs in North America and Europe: Screamfest LA, followed by the New York City Horror Film Festival and then Sitges. To get into those was like being on fire.” THE FAMILIAR was an official selection at all three and a winner at the prestigious Sitges fest in Spain.

So how does it feel to make a short film and seemingly strike gold and bat one out of the park so fast? Zimmerman shares some of that feeling: “At Screamfest, the reaction was overwhelming,” he recalls. “You have no idea how validating it is as a struggling filmmaker to get a minute-long applause after the last shot, then another big round after the credits play. Every time it gets into a festival, let alone wins an award, that same sense of validation occurs. It tells me I am on the right path.”

Regarding what’s next, Zimmerman is choosing from a few scripts—one of which is a feature-length version of THE FAMILIAR. He sums up for us: “It’s really about keeping the momentum moving. I think THE FAMILIAR started something good, something noticeable; the trick is to find the right connections to reach the next level.”

KILLER REVIEWS.COM REVIEW

THE FAMILIAR is a 22-minute short from Canadian filmmaker Kody Zimmermann, and Buffalo Screams honored it with Best Horror Short and Best Screenplay (competing against shorts and features). It is the hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story of the relationship between a vampire’s assistant (played by the remarkable Torrance Coombs) and his tyrannical, undead master (the highly charismatic and entertaining Paul Hubbard). THE FAMILIAR is the best vampire film I’ve seen in years, and was made with all the polish of a slick Hollywood movie. It has more than enough material for an entire feature, and I hope Zimmermann and his cast and crew manage to go that route. Regardless, this is a not-to-be-missed film.

I couldn’t help but notice, to my utter amazement, that the film currently has a very low user rating on IMDB. I think most of us are sharp enough to realize that these ratings are largely meaningless, but the rating nevertheless raised my eyebrows. THE FAMILIAR should appeal to horror and mainstream audiences alike, and the audience at Buffalo Screams – maybe 100 people – LOVED it. I can’t help but suspect that Zimmermann or someone else involved with this film pissed off some petty individual who then made a point of sabotaging the film’s ranking. The fact is, anyone who pours their blood, sweat, tears, and financing into a labor of love like this is completely at the mercy of such a loser.

Five Wins at Four Fests

We are proud to announce THE FAMILIAR has won the following festival awards:

. *Outstanding Vampire Short at the Vampire Film Festival;

. *Best Short Film at the Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival;

. *Audience Award at the Mile High Horror Film Festival;

. *Best Horror Short and Best Screenplay at the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival


Thanks to the festival directors, promoters and most of all the audiences for all the support!

ROGUE CINEMA’S REVIEW

The Familiar is a cross between obsessions and choices versus a boss and the treatment of an employee, while wrapped up in a comedy vampire film, which is not over the top. A misinformed vampire fan becomes the personal assistant to a real Vampire, is the setup for the plot, but wait there is more to this story.

The storyline involves one vampire horror obsessed college student named Sam (Torrance Coombs) who presented with a glorious opportunity to be Simon (Paul Hubbard) – a 400-year-old Vampire’s assistant or a familiar.

Sam faced soon with hard slaps of reality as his dream job has a few drawbacks and filled with endless years of mind numbing chores. His menial disgusting tasks give little back, from the disposal of bodies to fetching more meals to handling finances to the repulsive task of bathing a his boss. His job begins to become confining as this is for a lifetime to repeats, with no chance of ever becoming a real Vampire (a dirty little secret of the business).

Although previous horror comedies such as Love at First Bite (1979) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) (starring the late and great Leslie Nelson) have had a worthless ‘Renfield’ assisting them, Sam is the dutiful one, who is given nothing but troubles from his owner regardless of what him does to help him exist.

Writer and first-time Director Kody Zimmermann grants us this unique film that burned up the festival circuit in 2010 with numerous nominations and wins with his 22 minutes of different and yet enjoyable slant in this current climate of vampire cinematic rage with such films as Twilight. His film goes in the opposite direction from the endless remakes and is an exciting venture yet still pays to the legendary homage of Hammer Studios and shows the classic Nosferatu (1992) that Sam watches with memorized eyes.

Kody’s film is an exorcism of his own demons, that he discovered when spending time as an Hollywood actor’s assistant with sleepless nights, insane requests and ego trips all showing the shallow recesses of humanity while presenting a modern day Renfield’s point of view of countless unpaid and unappreciated servitude.

The Familiar features the gallows humor with that of the workplace while showing an assistants job bites them into a dark reality and sucks them dry of their life force. Some critics and fans of the film call for a full-length feature, however I disagree, and demand that it becomes a television series. The best line of the film is, “I wanted to meet Dracula and I ended up serving Danny Bonaduce with fangs”.