If local film events were trends, Crazy8s would be that one that never gets old, no matter what. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a running joke I retired and won’t be doing every single year. It has run its course. Lately, a lot of people have been questioning how the films even get chosen probably due to the content matter. Usually, the choices are up to the jury, but I personally think things have been a tad different now that we don’t have Paul Armstrong in charge of it anymore. The things that man has done. Come to think of it, what is that man doing nowadays? Well, Crazy8s continues to do what it does having 6 different teams make films in 8 days introducing them to excessive stress, lack of sleep, and an experience they’ll never forget. If they’re real lucky, their films will be showcased in festivals worldwide. This year’s Crazy8s had a theme much like last year’s only this time it was an Alice through the Looking Glass type theme, almost similar to some immersive cocktail experience I went to last year (the female Mad Hatter hostess at that had a thing for me, I could feel it) and this year’s theme was actually a lot more suitable and better looking, especially for the Afterparty. But I can’t get into that just yet. Let’s explore more about what happened at this event first.
Pre-Screening Buzz – There’s a good amount of that before the screenings are official. It’s often the same, a nice vibe with comfortable feels, familiar faces, and even some new folks. I came about 40 minutes early and it didn’t seem too crowded at first, but people eventually became filing in and it’s a good thing I saved some seats for my party. Unlike last year, I didn’t hang out with the bigger names in any of the VIP rooms like I did last year, so I may have missed a speech or two. But I wanted to try and be a little different this year in trying something out. Eventually things got hectic, and some ads and teasers began showing on the big ol’ screen.
The Event itself – Once people were advised to take their seats and they did, that’s when we got opening remarks from our MC of the night, Marci T. House who was loud and proud enough to make everyone excited for the night. We got some other speeches by Bob D’eith who wants Vancouver to be the prime spot for all things film, Allan Harmon who gave a lot of tribute to the industry, and a few more people (Mike Klassen, Barbara Chirinos, Matthew Parry) who were well-respected in our community. Then Marci introduced the teams via a BTS video where the directors and creators of the films shared their experiences and what Crazy8s was for them. They also talked about how they got no sleep, and had plenty of support. That was evident by the many screams of audience members when a certain person came on screen. Following that was Grace Chin giving a speech of her own and showing a slightly muddled slideshow of all the great staff that worked on Crazy8s this year. Now to get onto the films.
I Can’t Go On – When a young woman finds a dead body in the elevator of her apartment, all she can think about is how it can still be there no matter what. The other neighbours don’t seem too concerned. Disgusted, but not concerned. It doesn’t even get moved. It was disturbing and kind of funny, but mostly disturbing.
Passiflora – A young man named Theo goes to a very interesting party with drag queens and other costumed people where he drinks a cocktail that is sure to help him find love. This film was weird but cool. Not the most consistent in details, but fun to follow along with as I’ve always been into surrealism since childhood.
Zip – Okay, NOW we’re getting interesting. This film is about a young lady named Melody who wants to sing but her father forbids her and wants to get her married to some guy she hardly knows. Despite how much she wants to speak out about this, she can’t when her father has surgically stitched a fancy zipper across her mouth preventing her from talking. It was pretty creepy throughout, but the scenes of Melody taking Sex Ed class were pretty funny. A whole lot of crazy stuff, and the ending was so emotional, everyone loved it. That’s the first time I saw a short at Crazy8s get a standing ovation. It really educated and she light on how some things are forbidden in Iran such as women speaking their minds. Everyone talked about this afterwards. No joke.
The intermission was the same as before, but I feel they only get more disorganized each year. Not to mention the excessively long lines at the restrooms.
Hellmark – Some people could probably relate to this one being on Hallmark movies. Me, I don’t know. A young lady named Madeline gets dragged away from the man she loves at the end of a Christmas movie and is put to work in a factory that builds Christmas decorations and all sorts of things related to Christmas. Now Madeline must escape and find out where she is. As someone who can’t stand the holidays (and especially can’t stand predictable movies similar to what Hallmark does) this was relatable and I rather enjoyed it. But the holiday-related stuff may have been a bit too much on the eyes.
High End Dying – What is it with these disturbing concepts this year? Did the film jury have a thing for blood? A chef in charge of a restaurant can’t get over the fact that a famous food critic chastised her restaurant leading to nose bleeds and stress. She invites him for a second-course and accidentally drips her own blood in his soup. But it gives the chef an idea to make the meals even better for the critic who doesn’t seem to mind he’s eating flesh and blood. This was funny, insane, and really messed up. It reminded me of a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror except I could manage watching this short film instead. I’m not sure why though…
Meditation 4 Black Women – Another one that everyone was talking about afterwards. The story of four black women who all live different lives but have something in common: How they all managed to save one young black boy by loving who they are. A little girl who is best friends with him, her mother, his grandmother, and a dance instructor who came across this boy all talk about him and the experiences they went through. This film was beautiful, impressive, had some hilarity and a lovely powerful ending.
Afterparty – Now comes the fun part. All the teams came up on stage afterwards for recognition but that itself was so fast, and everyone was scrambling out for the afterparty which was rumoured to have a green screen photo op session and magicians. Okay, I didn’t see any magicians but that’s probably because I was staying with my group instead of meandering like I usually do. However, we still saw plenty of stuff, like the photo op, some delicious cupcakes that got snatched up quickly by the other attendees, some interesting sour power cocktails, and some weird kind of cake resembling moss. I had a nice cocktail known as the walrus, which was mostly orange flavoured stuff. Plenty of people to meet, and a lot of stuff to play with since it was at Science World.
Crazy8’s is one party in Vancouver that you just can’t miss, even if you’re involved with the film industry or not. While the films weren’t as top-notch as they were in some of the earlier years, or earlier earlier years, they still had some qualities to them that I’m sure will take them worldwide on a festival run of sorts. Adding to the rest of the feel, the crowds may have been a little too overwhelming and I may be nitpicking but something about the afterparty felt a bit off. Seriously, why isn’t the chocolate fountain being utilized anymore? Despite all these minor setbacks, the experience and the event was, and I always enjoy coming to this, no matter what the movies are like. Maybe it’s the fact I get to mingle with people and catch up with the familiar folk.