Trip to Europe

European Premiere of ZORDAX II : The Metal War

Mauvais Genre Film Festival
International genre movies at Tours in France, from april 5th to april 7th 2007 

I’ve arrived at Tours in France at the opening night of the Mauvais Genre Festival where I got pleasantly welcomed by the organizer, Gary Constant, and his friendly team of roisterers. 

They presented an animated stop motion short length of incredible beauty by Vaclav Svankmajer : The Torchbearer.  It was followed by the impressing trailer of Batman, Sin City style, by Julien Mokrani

That evening main meal was guaranteed by the hilarious sci-fi flick Strarslyderz by USA Garrin Vincent.   A happy mix of Star Trek on psychotrope, Flash Gordon, Muppet Shot, Transformers, GI Joe and a little touch of Turkish Star Wars.   Hence, a party film to watch in total sobriety!  I also had the opportunity of being interpret for the team of Starslyders and gave the French the smooth pleasure of my exotic Quebec accent.

In the end, we discussed cinema while ingurgating strange bluish beverages with the living encyclopaedia that is Dr Devo (from, an open-minded 7th art expert who was also a member of the jury.  The jury was presided by the kind French director Laurent Tuel who gave us Jean-Philippe.  The writer and journalist Leslie Bedos who, like me, is a left-handed writer completed the jury with the young cineaste and post-production master Julien Mokrani.

The next day, I’ve assisted at the international competition of fiction short-length. 

I saw the hilarious black comedy Les Morveux from French Pierre-Louis Levacher, a movie he claims being a softer version of Les Choristes.  Also from France Noir Total from François Jamin.  A skilful suspense filled with plot twist about the danger of alcool-induced black out.  Patiente 69 of JP Benes et Allan Mauduit is a french comedy taking place in a psychiatric asylum with the very sexy Macha Polikarpova and a main actor who looks like Micheal J Fox.  Also from France By the Kiss of Yann Gonzalez which surprised the assistance with it’s poetic sensuality. 

L’Étrange Portrait de la Dame en Jaune from Belgium most gruesome couple  Hélène Cattet/Bruno Forzani, in another register, is a disturbing giallo shot consisting of a sequence shot skilfully light not unlike Dario Argento’s Inferno.  The shattering Ange from Belgium director Nikolas List tells a love story between a doll repairman and a spineless woman.

Two short Quebec movies were also on the field, the very ingenious Broil by Érik Cimon and Mémoire Morte by Igor Simonnet.  A movie relating a complicated interrogatory and starring Martin Dubreuil from Rock band Les Breastfeeders as the obligatory bad-ass.

Naufrage by Switzerland Oliver Beguin shows the misfortune of two couples lost on an island and dealing with ghouls.  A tropical drama skilfully directed with the presence of aquatic zombies recalling Burial Ground.  Also from Switzerland, Nouvelle Ordre by Jean-Daniel Schneider, Gregory Bindshedler and Ausonio de Sousa.  An ovni flick in this over-the-top program. 

To close the afternoon the full-length Resonnances was screened (directed by Philippe Robert who worked on the special effects of Dobermann).  It’s a grinding Tremor that was introduced by actors/professional party animals Yann Sundberg and Vincent Lecompte.

Time to eat, and to partake in an alcohol-induced metaphysical discussion about MAIDEN and Dio with Garrin Vincent (director of Starslyders).  I’m losing my French as I keep speaking in English to the Swiss who worked on Naufrage (Olivier Beguin, director and Yannick Merlin, Yannick Rosset and the charming Maya Nicoud).

In the background, a cine-concert of guitar and sax under the circus tent and over the masterpiece of German expressionism, The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari. 

The break is over and the Nuit Inderdite takes its turn with the haymaker of a film Chingaso the Clown, a trash comic looking short, American style.  I miss a lot of films to socialize and I return for the pungent Broken by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes, UK: a iron-heavy mood which could shatter the weak-hearted!

Surprise ! The coordinator Stephanie Gaborit had the kind idea of slipping Zordax 2 between 2 movies.  I’m invited to introduce it and, as the inescapable destiny wants it, I end with my classic scream: ZORDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAX.  The people from Tours liked the show, which lend me some mandatory free beers.

They followed with the short Agence de … Voyage from Montreal collective Dead Cat Films (who are currently working on a feature).  A Michael Jackson doll f*** Barbie on the printing machine, the public laughs out loud, and it’s a success!

The evening ends around 6 AM with some survivors lead by the invincible organizer of Mauvais Genre, Gary Constant, and Olivier Béguin and Yannick Merlin. 

This doesn’t give me enough time to sleep as the official screening of Zordax 2 is at 10:30 the same morning. 

In the face of sleep I still get in time for the Canadian short length panorama.  Izabel Grondin’s Terrore starts the show, a masterly crafted Italian style horror film.  I can’t wait to see the feature she’s working on, it will shred!  Zordax 2 comes next, a homage to italian post-nuclear sci-fi directed by a certain Syl Disjonk.  The plot is thin, but the scene where Mike Waters finds a toothbrush in the sand is the strong point of this film.  The legends has it was done 2045 times      ;-).

The next 3 shorts are from the one and only Carnior who in fact provided a lot of help for the shooting of Zordax 2He’s also part of Air Guitar Heroes with whom I’ve shared the stage several time.  Others member are metal vocalist Mike Waters and Simon Lacroix, infamous for this Total Crap evenings and his animated series of the robot Esbark.

 Although I didn’t really sleep I was strangely receptive of Carnior’s work.  Demain, moi et Pamela is a photo-roman which slow beginnings turns into a 70s pandemonium while keeping a unique sensibility.  L’Étoile du Désir is more sci-fi oriented but goes toward the characters persona.  Il était une fois sur Mars is a Italian-style western drenched in humour.  Carnior is also the founder of Quebec’s fantastic film festival Vitesse Lumiere which will open at the beginning of June.

Follows Radio by Patrick Boivin who was also the director of the brilliant TV show Phylactère Cola for which Carnior also worked.  Starring Martin Dubreuil, Radio tells the schizophrenic delirium of a recluse nurse who constantly hears alarming informations which increases his discomfort and isolation.  The movie ends in a crescendo of demented paranoia.  Uncanny by Mario de Giglio-Bellamare is a nice mix of comic books and super 8 shot material.   End’s Meat by Gianluca Caltabiano was the only movie I never saw.  To my surprise it is a necromancy flick from Montreal!  The Canadian panorama was actually entirely composed of Quebec stuff!
With a video introduction by the one and only Lloyd Kaufman, Purgatory by Éric Falardeau traumatised the audience with a sledgehammer atmosphere, pounding the last nail of the line-up.

After a small walk in the splendid city of Tours it is now time for the international animation competition.  The lack of sleep starts to seriously get to me and I’ve got a hard time keeping my eyes open.  I’ve only caught Our Man in Nirvana by German Jan Koester.  It’s the story of a rock guitarist who, after his death, finds himself in an insane psychedelic universe.  A must-see!

While getting some air outside to wake up, I am surprised by the presence of director Paul Bickel who’ve I met at Tromadance for the presentation of his surrealist short Hollow!
I’ve also met Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, directors of  L’étrange portrait de la dame en jaune.  Who could tell that behind this psychotic short lies a smiling couple!   

The cine-concert over the 1915 French feature Les Vampires with the  Tours Soundpainting Orchestra refilled my stamina.   A gain of energy for a key episode of my visit of Tours: the wine storeroom! 

I’m riding with Paul Bickel, his wife Raya and Stéphanie Gaborit who had the brilliant idea of organizing a wine tasting.  We got to the most beautiful location I saw of my life!  A real-size postcard, it is simply beautiful!

We were warmly welcomed by Chantal who explained the virtue of hydric stress and the behaviour of a wine which keeps its fruit.  The best wine I have ever drank flows freely and suddenly we are assaulted by a hysteric laugh:  The idea of a sci-fi flick called The Space Rodent comes to my mind by watching our friend Yannick Merling faces getting red while drinking glasses and glasses of white wine.  Not forgetting the infamous Cave à Vin 2 : Les Enfoirés à la Taverne.  I simply can’t explain it with words but it was absolutely magical. 

Back to Festival Mauvais Genre for the closing night. 
The winners are :
Jury’s prize :
Best french short : Nouvel Ordre by  Jean-Daniel Schneider, Gregory Bindschedler and Ausonio de Sousa (Sweden)

Best animated short : Soldat by Sasa Budimir (Croatia)          
Special mention  : "Codehunters" by Ben Hibon (UK)
Public prize :
Best french short : Patiente 69 by Jean-Patrick Benes and Allan Mauduit  (France)
Best animated short: Our man in Nirvana by Jan Koester (Germany)
College Jury prize :
Best french short : By the Kiss by Yann Gonzalez (France)
Best animated short: Doll Face  by Andy Huang (USA) 
Festival Mauvais Genre crew prize:
Best french short : Les Morveux by Pierre-Louis Levacher (France)    
Special price: Naufrage by Olivier Beguin (Switzerland)
Best animated short: Temerario by Carl Zitelmann (UK)
A brief interlude follows the ceremony where I discussed music and film with Colin Vettier, editor for  He recalled his coloured experience has a trainee for Troma Entertainement 

It was followed by the horror flick Hollow by Paul Bickel.  A seemingly perfect family hides a terrifying secret.  A frightening film with a psychological touch we rarely witness in that genre.  A director to look forward to!

In the name of partying I skip the closing and feature and go to an interview with Xavier Desnos of radio show L’Autre monde.  I then go to another never-ending night with the Switzerland Olivier Beguin, Yannick Merlin and  Yannick Rosset, the festival crew members Stéphanie Gaborit and Philippe Luchesse, French director of Noir Total François Jamin and of last but not least the charming Estelle who bought a Zordax 2 t-shirt. 

François told us who he shot 200 takes of the shovel strikes to the throat scenes before getting the results he wanted : a perfectionist fellow!  In-between the wine-drenched discussion, I learn there is an open spot in the car of the Sweden team and they’re riding the day after at the  Festival 2300 Plan 9 Les Étranges Nuits du Cinéma down at La Chaux de Fonds in Sweden.  Not only that, but I got a chance of getting Zordax 2 screened!  This I simply love improvised chaos and I’m an ardent admirer of Plan 9 From Outer Space, I decide to throw myself in the adventure.
End of episode 1, not to say the 4th since in the original version of 1 it’s not written 4.
Thanks to the whole team of Festival Mauvais Genre for the warm welcome!
Gary, Stéphanie, Philippe, Lionel, Loren, Frank, Vanessa, Maude & Philippe who provided me a roof, Géraldine and all the forgotten ones!

2300 Plan 9 Les Étranges Nuits du Cinéma at  La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
I must have slept half of the long ride.  A sudden awakening and I see to monstrous nuclear chimney or at least a great setting of a post-nuclear film, YEAH!!!
Yannick Merlin calls his friend Mortimer at Festival 2300 Plan 9.  He tells him about a post-nuclear short inspired by Mad Max and a Montreal director snatched from France.  He accepts without to much questions.  Thanks Yannick!   

The Festival 2300 Plan 9 takes place in an old desecrated chapel.  The site is decorated with a morgue thematic and there’s a bar : fuck yeah!  Our friend Maya Robert Nicoud in now disguised as a beyond-the-grave vamp as to help the friendly Mortimer animates the evening
It’s after the excellent The Devils Rejects by Rob Zombie who after his second feature is already one of the kings of horror that I had the honor of showing ZORDAX II.  Accompanied by pretty Maya and Nathalie, I’ve asked the audience with a half-assed French accent if they were loaded??? Of course, this presentation was concluded with the mandatory ZORDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAX! (click here for the video)

In the course of the screening I gave an interview for the Radio Suisse Romande. Yeah,  I’m at the point of giving directors commentary, drunk remix.  “But why The Metal War?”.  It’s the last round of Zordax 2, but I think they liked it.  I’ve even heard the echo of the Zordax scream during the evening… I think the got the point. 
The Swiss are hardcore partiers and here goes another calm night which ends around 6AM so we can get to the Neuchâtel train. 
Thanks to Mortimer and to the whole team of Festival 2300 Plan 9 Les Étranges Nuits Du Cinéma.  I hope we’ll meet again!

The next day, armed with a beverage which is probably the best beer the world has known I have the opportunity to see some short lengths directed at the time of a festival organized by the mythic bar Le Chauffage.  Even though it wasn’t the best, I am pleased to write that I saw THE POTATOES WAR !!!
Neuchâtel is really a magnificent city, the most beautiful according to actor Yannick Merlin.  After a brief stop at Chauffage to warm up our mind we went to eat Swiss fondue at Maya Robert Nicoud places with our new partner: Alain the math teacher and Captain Flam fan!  We had a good time, and I must point out a very important moment for me: I heard Take My Breath Away from the Top Gun soundtrack covered by Gérar le Normand on Le Bleu des Regrets. Ayoye! It would be such an amazing opening song for Total Crap!  We had to leave the base of operation of Miss Robert Nicoud since she worked early the day after.  Sniff.
We had to trust this good ol’ Chauffage… Did I interpret an air guitar version of Le Bleu des Regrets in underwear on a table?  Who knows?  This was another alcohol-drenched evening with the star of an unexisting movie called The Space Rodent!
A big thanks to my Swiss friends Olivier Beguin, Yannick Merlin, Maya Robert Nicoud, Yannick Rosset, our special guest Alain and my litterary consultant Jean Guillaume de la Myrtille! And don’t forget “You keep your fruit, you put on your coat and you shut the f*** up!”

Next stop: Bruxelles in Belgium for the last round!

Bruxelles is also a nice city, the architecture is sometime magnificent. 
I finish my trip at the BIFFF (Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film). First thing I see, a poster of End of the Line by Montreal director Maurice Devereaux, it’s soothing to see a Quebec feature getting recognized elsewhere!
There’s also an exhibition of fantastic-oriented arts.  The animated sculptures of the Kinetic Totems exposition by sculptor Patrice Hubert are of a singular beauty: pulsating transparent mechanical eggs alongside spinning metal skeleton.  .
My bleeding heart goes to Olivier de Sagazan for his little tortured characters sculptures.  They reek condensed psychosis!  Disturbing! 
On a happier note I met Jean-Luc Henry who was on location with his artisan wine Maitrank.  I’ve managed to exchange a bottle for a DVD of Zordax 2.  Amazingly, he knew Carnior and Simon Lacroix since he met them à Trouville in France. 
A little like Asterix my trip ended on a festive note with an excellent, and insane, show by « The Experimental Tropic Blues Band ».



Back to ZORDAX II The Metal War


Starslyderz at Mauvais Genre festival

Mike Budde (Starslyderz), actress for Starslyderz, Gary Constant Festival Mauvais Genre, Syl Disjonk & Garrin Vincent director of Starslyderz. (Rainbow in the Dark ???)


Cathedral at Tours in France


Tours in France


From Switzerland : Maya Robert Nicoud and Olivier Beguin
Switzerland actress Maya Robert Nicoud and
Olivier Beguin director of the short film Naufrage (Shipwreck)


Cathedral in tours in France


Cathedral, Tours France


ZORDAX II La Guerre du Métal court métrage post apocalypse


Zordax II european premiere


Air Guitar Heroes


Dr Devo, Stéphanie Gaborit, Syl Disjonk et Raya
Film critic Dr Devo from Matière Focal website, Stéphanie Gaborit from Festival Mauvais Genre, Syl Disjonk and Raya


Maya, Paul, Gary, Ray et Syl
Actress Maya Robert Nicoud, director of Hollow Paul Bickel, Festival Mauvais Genre organizer Gary Constant, Paul's girlfriend Raya and Syl disjonK


Whine house



Paul Bickel and Raya at the whine cellar



Whine cellar


Rougeurs de l'espace !
Géraldine, Yannick Merlin and Maya Robert Nicoud


Yannick Rosset, Yannick Merlin and Olivier Beguin
Actors Yannick Rosset and Yannick Merlin with director Olivier Beguin receiving a special jury prize from the Mauvais Genre crew
for the short film Naufrage


Festival Mauvais Genre 2007
Actress Maya Robert Nicoud, director of Hollow Paul Bickel , organizer of the Mauvais Genre festival Gary Constant,
Paul's girlfriend Raya and Syl disjonK

2300 Plan 9


Nathalie, 2300 Plan 9 host Mortimer and Maya Robert Nicoud
Nathalie, 2300 Plan 9 host Mortimer and Maya Robert Nicoud

Nathalie, Yannick Rosset and Maya Robert Nicoud
Nathalie, Yannick Rosset and Maya Robert Nicoud


Brussels grand place

Kinétic Totems at the BIFFF

Sculptures from Olivier de Sagazan

Lloyd Kaufman founder of Tromadance & Syl Disjonk Anna Biller, Syl Disjonk & Bridget Brno

***click here to read my article about Tromadance 2007***