The good news is that Ryan Cauchi and Nick Stathopoulos’ superlative, low-budget, practical FX-driven, monster plant flick, It Grows!, is sending out its tendrils, and taking root in film festivals worldwide.
The short film had its world premiere on October 11, at the Salty Horror International Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah, where it picked up the award for Best Editing. The same weekend, it screened at Halloweenapalooza in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Below is the screening schedule for It Grows! (to date), complete with dates for those wanting to track it down (and believe me, you want to see this film):
Official Selection List (note: this list will be updated as new festivals are added)
- The Salty Horror International Film Festival
- The Eerie Horror Film Festival — Erie, Pennsylvania, Oct 17
- Northwest Horrorfest — Seattle, Washington, Oct 21
- Fargo Fantastic Film Festival — Fargo, North Dakota, Oct 24–26
- Knoxville Horror Film Festival — Knoxville, Tennessee, Oct 26
- Terror Film Festival — Online Competition, Oct 30–Nov 1
- ZED FEST Film Festival — Burbank, California, Nov 7–9
- The Sci Fi Film Festival — Parramatta, NSW, Nov 14–16 *Official Australian Premiere*
- Buried Alive Film Festival — Atlanta, Georgia, Nov 23
Writer, producer, co-director, FX designer and star Nick Stathopoulos (pictured in his role as star) commented:
It’s great to see It Grows! being accepted in film festivals and screened to large audiences. It started out as such a low — brow and budget — project. Ryan and I have learned so much, which was one of the things the project was meant to do. I’m really pleased with the look of it, and Ryan’s just taken out an editing award from one of the festivals [The Salty Horror International Film Festival], which is a major achievement. He did an awesome job blending the new material seamlessly with the original seven-minute version. That’s been very successful.
The film’s 17-minute run-time is packed with eye-popping imagery, all created by Stathopoulos, and is a homage to some of the great genre films of the past. “I grew up obsessed with Universal’s Classic Monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man), the original King Kong and Ray Harryhausen’s entire body of work,” director Cauchi told Undead Backbrain. “It Grows! is my love-letter to all of these. It combines my enthusiasm for practical effects with an unashamed love for tacky horror and B-grade schlock.”
Certainly Sydney will never be the same!
Cauchi and Stathopoulos decided to rework the film’s initial 7-minute “Tropfest Cut”, adding characters and scenes, expanding the plot and finessing some of its technical aspects, in the end making it an even-greater wonder to behold than it had been. As well as Stathopoulos himself, the film stars his dog Bonnie (who proved to be a born thespian), writer and friend Catriona Sparks, Jaimie Leonarder (aka Jay Katz, well-known Australian musician, archivist, social worker, film critic, radio announcer, and DJ), and Stathopoulos’ sister, Henri Stathopoulos — along with cameos by Greg Kaplan, Chris Hawkshaw, artist Lewis Morley, poet Adrian Robinson and Alexander Wright. As well as a terrific music score by Andrew Thomas Wilson, it boasts a theme song vocalised by media personality Bob Downe (alter ego of comedian Mark Trevorrow).
The plant makes a house call
Cat Sparks as the long-suffering girlfriend
Jaimie Leonarder as the bemused scientist
Nick Stathopoulos as Zac, about to be consumed by his non-digital, FX-created co-star
The new cut has been a really fun creative challenge. We’ve had incredible support from both Tim Newsom (Sound Designer) and Andrew Thomas Wilson (Composer), as well as film industry figures like Matt Ferro (EP, ‘Happy Feet’) and Craig Wood (Editor, ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Rango’). But my biggest thanks go to my co-director and producer, Nick Stathopoulos. He is an amazing collaborator and a real joy to work with. We already have two more short films lined up and you can be sure that Undead Backbrain will be the first to spread the news!
See! Good news all ’round. Stay tuned!
Source: Ryan Cauchi and Nick Stathopoulos