In the 90's (of the last century, of course), it worked like this: either you had a considerable budget to produce your movie, or your movie was “trash”. Digital technology was still practically science fiction. Filming required mastodonic equipment, rolls and rolls of negatives and heaps of money. Cinema was not for the mere mortals. Producing moving images was something for the likes of Moreira Salles. But, as always, there were the few maniacs who refused to accept this type of economic determination.
Without a penny in their pockets, a bunch of kids began making movies (!?) with VHS cameras. The cast was made up of friends. The editing Island? Two VCRs. The productions could never make it to the big screens. They were shown in underground screenings, dodgy infernos. And they were sold by mail. The results were laughable, but the "filmmakers" did not care. On the contrary, they revered this mockery of conventional cinema. What mattered most was kicking the bucket - after all, in their veins flowed audiovisual passion and ketchup blood. It was trash cinema, made in Brazil.
Trash, as the whole globalized world knows, means junk. It was also the title given to low budget films and involuntary humor. Ed Wood would be the Orson Welles of this film genre. There has always been controversy over the term. Could José Mojica Marins, Roger Corman and Mario Bava be considered trash? The fact is that the nickname just stuck to these amateur productions (in the best sense of the term). Little money and lots of invention. And, as the late Jairo Ferreira, used to say, “cinema is an invention.”
As it was, in 1999, completely immersed in the universe of alternative culture, I decided to create TRASH - Mostra Goiana de Vídeos Independentes - Independent Videos Show of the City of Goiania (and, by tally, the first film festival of the State of Goiás). The idea was simple: to offer a platform for these combat and resistance productions, that were completely averse to the institutionalized audio-visual touch and feel. Transgression was the word. It was a success. At Centro Cultural Martim Cererê, the first TRASH took place, and the audience showed up, burring with joy to the anthological sessions. From them on, a lot of gooseberry has flowed under the bridge.
In the years that we have been able to hold the event (free, non-commercial and honorably dependent on the support of programs that incentivise culture) we received the most spectacular films and guests: Ivan Cardoso, Carlão Reichenbach, Paulo Sacramento and even Ze do Caixao – amongst other icons of imagery rebellion. In many ways, TRASH has contributed to the development of many (now well-known) professionals of the cinema scene of Goiás. On the other hand, as a genre, trash was gradually losing its appeal.
That void that existed in 1999, between the moviemaking with money and broke moviemaking was blown into space. Digital technology has turned the world upside down in the last 17 years. Whereas before amateur movies had practically no display windows, now the internet is a limitless platform. Remember: in those gone, youtube was something as mind blowing as a coup d'état in 2016, or Trump becoming president of the U$A.
Digital video equipment was also a determining factor in this transformation. Today, the simplest of phones produces images infinitely superior to the best VHS cameras of the 90's. The result: making trash requires a concerted effort. Or it is done by those that are catastrophically devoid of talent - which is something interesting in itself. In its last editions, the emerging cinema of Goiás stopped submitting its works to the show, for fear of being misrepresented. Without understanding the charm and grace of the genre, a considerable portion of the audience eventually departed from the event. Trash became anachronistic and ended by dragging down TRASH together. Thus, time came to reinvent the oldest and most entertaining festival of the scene.
The main change was to adjust the focus of the show toward fantastic Cinema. With that, TRASH - which may even change its name in an upcoming issue - is now a festival dedicated to horror, science fiction and fantasy films. And more: it is now on an international scale.
Already, TRASH has overcome by far the most absurd expectations regarding the number of entries. There were 2,393 films registered, from the most diverse corners of the planet (111 countries, to be exact). And, in order to carry out an almost impossible task with honesty, curators Carlos Primati –the biggest authority on the horror genre in Brazil - , Beatriz Saldanha, Márcia Deretti and Márcio Jr. - had to create a series of beacons and filters - as well as transform themselves into vampires, turning days into nights and nights into days, because of all the entries submitted.
From this bubbling cauldron, a total of 9 feature films and 46 short films were selected, to be screened between December 7 and 11, 2016, at Cine Cultura. And TRASH - International Fantastic Film Festival, does not stop there. Within the blood and gore menu, there will also be film and special effects studios and workshops, debates, round tables, parties, book and comics launches, as well as special guests.
Stay tuned for news and have no doubt: this TRASH will be terrifying. Let the haunting begin!
Márcio M. Da Paixão Jr. - Creator and curator of TRASH - International Fantastic Film Festival