Toronto After Dark Film Festival – Interview with Adam Lopez

Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD) 2012

October 2 2012 – October 18-26 2012 are the dates to mark down because Toronto’s best genre film festival will be running. These films are in the category of horror, action, sci-fi, cult or even dark comedies. To be honest I am not sure why they are called genre films, but they are hidden gems that won’t hit the massive commercial jackpot, nor will they be known by most. They are often independent and low budget films that provide an incredible alternative to the typical Hollywood formulaic films.

The big boy of film fests in Toronto is of course the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which features many world premiers and early Oscar favorites in its programming. A hidden gem at the TIFF is the Midnight Madness program which had some great movies such as You’re Next, Livid, Smuggler, and Aftershock. The Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD) takes the concept of Midnight Madness one step further dedicating its entire movie roster to what we consider the best genres in cinema, namely –  Horror, Science Fiction, and Action flicks. We attended TAD for the first time last year and were blown away with the experience. In all we saw and presented TAD reviews on 6 movies and in the wrap-up article of TAD 2011 we stated: 
Film makers put this one on your radar and bring your premieres here! Distributors please attend and show the rest of the world these gems. Movie fans – Be here next year. (Note to self – attend ALL the movies next year). Overall the festival experience at TAD is absolutely mind-blowingly awesome.
Well “next year” is almost here with the festival kicking off in just 16 days. Check out our preview article here to see a recap of the 20 movies playing this year. To get everyone in the right mood for TAD we interview Adam Lopez – the man behind TAD. Here is how it went:
Adam, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. What is your role with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD)? 
Lopez: I’m the Festival Director and Founder of TAD, and I guess I wear a few other hats too, including Director of Programming.
Adam Lopez – Director of Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD)
How did you decide that you wanted to start a film festival and why genre films?
Lopez: Well I always loved genre cinema growing up, from classic monster movies I’d see on TV in England as a kid to sci-fi blockbusters at the movie theatres in the 80s’ it was just part of who I was and I guess, still am.  But when I moved to Toronto about 10 years ago, I felt there was a gap here for a pure genre film fest, and luckly found others who felt the same way. We launched in 2006 as a 5 night event with about 4,000 attendees and here we are, 6 years later with our 7th edition and expecting over 10,000, so it’s definitely been a success story!
What are your personal top 3 favorite genre movies of all time?
Lopez: Oooh that’s a toughie, I love so many and it kind of changes depending on the week and month, and what’s on my mind. I’ll have to go with three I saw at a young age and to this day still really affect me:  THE SHINING, I just love that horror flick to death!  BLADE RUNNER: dripping with sci-fi ambience, and then good ol’ ALIENS… so many memorable moments, and one-liners and a mashup of my two favourite genres, sci-fi and horror! Love it!
One of our favorite parts of watching a TAD movie is the opportunity to hear stars and/or directors take audience Q&A after the screening. How important do you feel it to have stars and/or directors of the movies in attendance?
Lopez: I think Q&As with Directors and talent is a wonderful part of the festival experience. We’ve been very blessed with how keen they are to come to our event – last year we had a record 15 Q&A’s – almost every single screening – it was crazy (we usually only get 5!).  This year I think we’ll be around 10 – half our screenings – but still a really good turnout considering we are a relatively small festival on the world scene!

Adam Lopez – Director of Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD)

Roughly how many people have attended TAD since its inception in 2006?
Lopez: In terms of visiting filmmakers, easily over 50, in terms of fans, probably over 40,000 attendees over all our screenings and events, it’s a crazy number if you stop and think about it!
If someone has never been to a TAD showing before and was curious about it, what film would you recommend they come to see as a first experience with the festival and maybe see a zombie or two in the audience?
Lopez: Well I think the most crowd-pleasing zombie film this year is probably going to be COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES and with zombies in the audience (as we usually have on our Zombie Appreciation Night which takes place in the evening of the world-famous Toronto Zombie Walk)  it will be quite the event!
Adam Lopez – Director of Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TAD)
This year for the first time ever TAD will also feature Indie Video Games and is called Darkade. Tell us about that Adam. 
Lopez: For years we’ve had the local indie game community (which is very vibrant in Toronto) approach us about teaming up. Many of the gamers and developers in that community attend the festival. And this year we thought why not actually try something? Our Sister festival, Austin Fantastic Fest in the US also branched out into adding an indie gaming component with its Fantastic Arcade initiative, with great success, so we figured let’s go for it. 
Honestly we had no expectations here though as it was a brand new initiatiative for us.But the results were really, really encouraging for our first year: we had over 50 entries, including many very VERY cool indie games that just blew us away. About 20 horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action and cult (to match our festival’s core genres) indie games , or two a night will be be available for play in the DARKCADE, which will be a part of our Pub After Dark social events, which take place straight after the last screening of each night at Paupers Pub right opposite the screening venue, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Can’t wait to see how the games are received by the fans! 
Adam we wish you and all your staff at TAD a great 2012, any parting words for our readers?
Lopez: Thanks Terry. We can’t wait to see you all After Dark this Oct 18-26! It’s going to be quite the event, cheers!

So there you have it folks, we strongly recommend you give this festival a try. At the minimum go to see one movie and see how fun it is. The Festival takes place at the Bloor Cinema 506 Bloor Street West (and its licensed – so you can have a beer at your seat watching the movies!!!) 

You can follow TAD on Twitter here and on Facebook here and check out the YouTube sizzle trailer for 2012 below.

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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Horror Movies Of All Time - T-Mak World Style | T-Mak WorldT-Mak World

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