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Dead Before Dawn 3D

TIFF unveiled today the lineup of film screenings and special events for the 2013 TIFF Next Wave Film Festival scheduled for February 15 to 17.

This second edition of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival will again kick off with the Battle of the Scores — a high-profile showcase for young musical and filmmaking talent, featuring high-school indie bands scoring youth-made short films live in front of an audience and a panel of professional judges from the Toronto music and film community, including film composer Adrian Ellis, and director, actor and choreographer Corey Bowles.

The festival’s Closing Night film is April Mullen’s Dead Before Dawn 3D (2012), described as a hilariously clever coming-of-age adventure story that puts a whole new spin on the zombie genre. Starring director Mullen and writer/producer Tim Doiron, the film was shot in Niagara Falls, Ontario and it follows a group of college students that accidentally unleash an evil curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zemons, aka Zombie Demons. 

Film lineup includes:

5-25-77 director: Patrick Read Johnson, USA, 2012
Work-in-progress screening 

It’s late 1976.  Seventeen-year-old Pat Johnson, the only sci-fi-obsessed film geek in his small town of Wadsworth, IL, population 750, is a one-man motion picture studio, expressing his manic energy by making Super-8 sequels to the popular blockbusters of the day, as well as sci-fi abstractions of his own alienated existence.  After meeting and falling in love with Linda Augustyniak, a serious and hardworking local girl, Pat seems ready to renounce his dreams, get a “real” job, and settle into a life of work, marriage, and 2.3 children.

But when his mother cold-calls the editor of American Cinematographer Magazine in a desperately naive attempt to get her beloved eldest child an entrée into Hollywood (and OUT of his probable hometown destiny), Pat is given an opportunity few even imagine.

Bushido Sixteen director: Tomoyuki Furumaya, Japan, 2010

Kaori is a kendo elite who has been practicing since the age of three, but she can’t forget the game that she lost to an obscure opponent. To restore her pride, she enters the same school only to find that the opponent is a carefree undisciplined girl called Sanae with no track record and who practices kendo just for fun. Desperate to find out why she lost, Kaori challenges Sanae in an attempt to discover her hidden talent. Sanae, at first hesitant and unconfident, begins to discover the joy of playing for keeps. Tough-as-nails Kaori and soft and benevolent Sanae: will they become each other’s best opponents?

Dead Before Dawn 3D director: April Mullen, Canada, 2012 (Phase 4 Films)*Director and Writer/Producer Tim 

Casper Galloway’s  future is one giant question mark. With only two weeks until college graduation he still lives with his mother, is indecisive to a fault and is one credit away from failing. But just when Casper thinks things couldn’t get any worse, he and his friends accidentally unleash a curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zombie Demons, aka Zemons. Armed with a slew of homemade weapons and a Winnebago, the team races through the night searching for a way to reverse the curse and save the world.

Earthbound director: Alan Brennan, Ireland, 2012

At 11 years old, Joe Norman is told by his dying father that he is an alien hiding on earth. Joe believes him. He grows up to be a diehard fan-boy working in a comic shop. When he falls for down-to-earth Maria, a fellow sci-fi fan, he is inspired to lead a more normal social existence… until intergalactic bounty hunters track Joe down at his new office and the couple soon learn the dangerous truth about who Joe really is.

Fame High director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy, USA, 2012

From the nail-biting freshman auditions to the spectacular graduation performance,  Fame High captures the in-class and at-home drama, competition, heartbreak, and triumph of one year following a group of struggling freshmen and seniors at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Here, both underprivileged and privileged teenagers reach for their dreams of becoming actors, singers, dancers, and musicians. Fame High is where intensely devoted teachers and highly motivated students go about the business of making the best better. But all-that-talent means all-that-pressure when students are competing for the same roles, the same teachers’ favours, and the same career opportunities. They are also struggling with  grades, family and young love, while defying complications of race, culture, and economic challenges at every turn. 

Family Weekend director: Benjamin Epps, USA, 2012

When mom Samantha (a no-nonsense, high-powered business executive with no time for the family) and dad Duncan (a happy-golucky artist who can’t be bothered to earn a paycheck) miss their daughter’s big jump-rope competition, Emily hits her breaking point. 

Steaming from yet another parental slight, Em enlists the help of her siblings to take her parents hostage, in order to teach the family to be “normal”.

Ghost Graduation director: Javier Ruiz Caldera, Spain, 2012

Modesto is a teacher. Modesto sometimes sees dead people. Not only has this cost him a fortune at the shrink’s, it’s also gotten him fired from every school he’s ever worked at. His luck changes when he lands a job at Monforte, where five students have turned the prestigious school into a house of horrors. Modesto is charged with getting all five kids to pass their senior year and to get out of there once and for all. But it won’t be that easy… they’ve been dead for over 20 years.

Molly Maxwell director: Sara St. Onge, Canada, 2012 (Entertainment One)

In an alternative school filled with prodigies, talents, and unique individuals, Molly Maxwell feels decidedly ordinary. With family and friends eagerly waiting to see how she distinguishes herself, she finds herself unable to commit to any path for fear she’ll let the world down. When her young, handsome, slightly disillusioned English teacher enters the picture and relieves the pressure, Molly is suddenly able to flourish. But when their student-teacher bond becomes more intimate, Molly risks alienating everyone she loves on the road to figuring out just what makes her special.

Otelo Burning director: Sara Blecher, South Africa, 2011

When 16-year-old Otelo Buthelezi takes to the water for the first time, it’s clear that he was born to surf. But then tragedy strikes and, on the day that Nelson Mandela is released from prison, Otelo is forced to choose between surfing success and justice. This is a beautifully made, insightful and entertaining film that captures a turbulent time in the history of South Africa.

Struck by Lightning director: Brian Dannelly, USA, 2012 (Mongrel Media)

High-school senior Carson Phillips (Chris Colfer, Glee) was destined for bigger things than his close-minded small town could ever offer. He was on a path to greatness, but destiny had a different plan when he was suddenly killed by a bolt of lightning in his school parking lot. Demonstrating that life is what happens while you’re busy planning your future, Carson recounts the last few weeks of his life via witty, insightful flashbacks, including a blackmail scheme targeting the popular kids in school that he concocts with his best friend (Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect), a home life that includes a mother (Allison Janney, Juno, The West Wing) who’s more interested in the bottle than her son’s future and, an estranged father (Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend’s Wedding) who suddenly appears with a pregnant fiancée (Christina Hendricks, Mad Men).

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