Magazine article Screen International

Colin Geddes, TIFF Midnight Madness, Vanguard

Magazine article Screen International

Colin Geddes, TIFF Midnight Madness, Vanguard

Article excerpt

The ringmaster of Ryerson tells Jeremy Kay about overseeing the two programmes that tend to attract the late night crowd and those in search of something very different.

With a crop of eagerly anticipated titles led by Ben Wheatley's Free Fire, Morgan Spurlock doc Rats, Adam Wingard's Blair Witch and Osgood Perkins' I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, Geddes says there is something for everyone.

However, this audience takes its twisted delights seriously and Geddes and his team need to get right. As he tells Screen, "They know where I live."

You've said people often misunderstand what Midnight Madness stands for

I always struggle with the idea that Midnight Madness is just about horror and this year we really show we have got something for everyone. People forget this is where Borat premiered - it's not just about gore and goofy stuff.

What's your sense of this year's Midnight Madness selections?

I'm trying to programme international diversity and diversity of genre. So this year, there's kind of something for everyone. We've got [Ben Wheatley's] Free Fire, which could easily be summed up as John Woo's Hard Boiled as if written by David Mamet. So we've got action with that and Headshot. Then we've got horror with Blair Witch and The Autopsy Of Jane Doe. And we've got a documentary with Morgan Spurlock's Rats, which is guaranteed to have the audience check under their beds when they go home. Then we have Paul Schrader [Dog Eat Dog] and I never expected to get him in Midnight. Then there is Sadako vs Kayako, which is the King Kong vs Godzilla of horror.

I had to jump through a lot of hoops just to see The Belko Experiment. It's directed by Greg McLean [Wolf Creek] and written by James Gunn [Guardians Of The Galaxy]. It's about an American office being run in Colombia, a not-for-profit. There's the usual camaraderie among these expats and they realise their Colombian co-workers haven't come to work and then new security guards turn up. Suddenly this ominous voice comes over the PA telling them ten of them must die. it turns into a cross between The Office, The Most Dangerous Game and Battle Royale. It's intense and visceral and at the same time really funny. James Gunn manages to walk that line.

Blair Witch came from out of nowhere, didn't it? What can we expect?

It's a continuation of the story. It's the rightful heir to the franchise, as you might say. Adam Wingard and Simon made this in secret. They had been working on this for three years and no-one knew. When I saw it, it was referred to as The Woods. Then they did this bait-and-switch and changed [the title] at Comic-Con, which was really smart on Lionsgate's part. It's going somewhere different and Simon [Barrett, writer] and Adam are huge fans of the mythology and the film got the endorsement of the original creators.

What's the timing and process when you assemble the slate?

I start inviting just after Cannes. I'm always cautious about what's around the corner and I don't want to make mistakes. I'm trying to get premieres, which is more for the audience. I grew up in the Midnight Madness audience and so I've seen what works with the audience and I've grown up in Toronto and I have to be careful with the home crowd because they know where I live. …

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