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5 Movies From 2022 That Remind Us of RI

This year was packed with tons of highly anticipated movie releases. I was fortunate (or sometimes unfortunate) enough to see these movies for myself, and sometimes I was reminded of our good ol’ Rhody in these viewings. Here are 5 movies that I watched this year that reminded me of RI in some way, shape, or form.

Prey for the Devil

Directed by Daniel Stamm, Prey for the Devil follows the story of Sister Ann [Jacqueline Byers], a nun with a plagued past who tries to tame her demons at an exorcism school in Boston (yes, pun intended). Any time I watch a horror movie, I compare it to famous predecessors, most notably The Conjuring, which was based on events that happened in RI. This movie makes me think of RI in that all the horror buffs who flock here to visit the Conjuring house quite literally make themselves prey for the Devil. Have fun being haunted! Plus Boston’s not all that fah, and the accents there are haunting.

The Menu

Mark Mylod’s The Menu offers a charming, witty commentary on modern ‘foodie’ culture. 12 guests journey through Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant that has a meticulously planned menu specifically for their visit, with a heightened focus on a woman named Margot [Anya Taylor-Joy from “The Queen’s Gambit”]. From its elusive, multi-course meals to microscopically arranged dishes, this movie joyfully reminded me of the quirky, niche restaurants that RI has begun to sprout. Though we all enjoy these restaurants, The Menu gives us a refreshing way to play around with them a bit.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Sam Raimi returned to the Marvel scene this year with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which I would argue is a triumphant return to his superhero films. Doctor Strange [Benedict Cumberbatch] works with teen America Chavez [Xochitl Gomez] to save the lives of innocent people across the multiverse by eliminating threats, outrunning the Scarlet Witch [Elizabeth Olsen], and bumping into some fun cameos along the way. One of the biggest draws of this movie was the concept of multiversal versions of popular characters: Captain Carter, Captain Marvel, and Reed Richards, for example. This film in all of its campiness reminded me of RIComicCon, in that you get to see so many unique interpretations of the same character, whether they have their own spin or a gender-bent quality. Sure, this is true for any large Comic Con, but there’s always such a Rhody charm to RICC.

Terrifier 2

Damien Leone left viewers fainting with his highly anticipated sequel film, Terrifier 2. Leone’s film documents the return of Art the Clown [David Howard Thornton], a horrifying (shall I say, terrifying?) clown who stalks locations like Miles County. In this sequel, Art specifically targets teen girl Sienna [Lauren LaVera] and her younger brother Jonathan [Elliott Fullam]. This movie is definitely unique in comparison to other horror movies of its day: it’s unapologetically gory, campy, but genuinely frightening at the same time. Like most tales of clown murderers, I’m often reminded of 2016 when killer clowns were all the rage after there were rumored to be murderous clowns wandering around RI. I remember being in high school at the time, and all of my classmates and I would be freaked out about possibly bumping into a clown on our way home from school. [ed. note – now Maddie works with clowns, and doesn’t seem to mind]

Smile

This delightfully frightening film centers around Dr. Rose Cotter [Sosie Bacon], a psychiatrist who becomes traumatized and consumed by a horrific experience with one of her patients. However, it turns out that she is not simply consumed by her trauma – she’s consumed by an evil force that’s been at work long before she came along. I couldn’t help but think of New Englanders when watching this movie – who else would be seriously unnerved by the sight of so many people smiling around them on the streets?




George Marshall, Founder of Flickers and RI International Film Festival, passes: George conveyed his love of cinema to generations of viewers and makers

The spectacle of the big screen, the joy of a story well told and heartstrings left barely intact: George Marshall loved all these things, and that was reflected throughout his life’s prominent work. Marshall was the founder and, for 40 years, the director of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. He taught film – be it to teens through KidsEye programs, or to college students at Roger Williams University and URI – for nearly as long.

Marshall passed away on November 1 at Rhode Island Hospital at the age of 68. He is survived by his husband, Larry Andrade, and by an extended family of filmmakers, students, viewers of his “Double Feature” podcast, and fans that reach around the globe.

RIIFF was truly an international event, and Marshall directly or indirectly introduced people from around the world to scrappy little Rhode Island. The festival is one of the few to nominate films for Oscar contention, a fact that routinely raises eyebrows unless you’ve been to the festival and seen the scale and intensity of the programming. It’s one of the events that lends credence to PVD’s mantle as the Creative Capital.

“RIIFF is George’s legacy,” said Shawn Quirk, long-time creative director at RIIFF. “We will honor him through it, and it will continue for many years to come.”

George left his mark on many aspiring filmmakers who went on to create cinematic greatness, hosting Oscar parties and creating interactive opportunities at festivals that spoke to smaller niches. He loved an opportunity to call attention to a less obvious or harder-to-find piece of art – to any great cinema that was at risk of being lost outside the limelight.

“George was a kind, gentle man who loved the arts, his family and friends. I consider him a brother,” said Steven Feinberg, executive director of the RI Film & Television Office. “We will miss him.”




Movies Galore and Gore and More: SENE and Vortex provide on-screen thrills this month

October will see the return of New England’s SENE Fest to RI for its 14th iteration, across the multiple screening rooms of The Artists’ Exchange in Cranston from Oct 13 – 15.

Post-COVID, it’s extra exciting to consider having a bunch of filmmakers and film appreciators sit together and share a screening experience, and that’s where SENE really distinguishes itself — there’s an atmosphere of gentle but still excited community around the event, where many filmmaking collaborations have been born. While music is a traditional component of SENE, this year, “We had so many great submissions we wanted to screen, we decided to focus on the film aspect,” says co-founder Don Farias. Art by members of the Artists’ Exchange will still be available for viewing and purchasing.

SENE opens with the debut of feature-length Stay with Me by local ex-pat Marty Lang on Thursday night. The drama poignantly explores emotional obsession and mental illness. But it is mostly a festival of shorts, and that’s a good thing. Shorts are where enterprising filmmakers still get to break rules, defy expectations, subvert formulas and maybe throw in a twist or make you think about something in a whole new way. They’re the guerilla attacks of the film world — and if you don’t like the feel of one, another will be along shortly to give you a whole new experience. A curated shorts program is also difficult to find in other modern media (unless you consider the YouTube algorithm “curation.”)

This year’s curation includes a locals night, LGBTQ screening, comedy shorts, animated films, documentary shorts, sci-fi shorts, ever popular horror shorts and a free showing of shorts from the film program at Bishop Hendricken High School. In total, 115 films will be shown, with filmmakers from around the world in attendance. Screenings take place in two buildings at the Artists’ Exchange, 82 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Full schedule for Oct 13 – 15 is available at senefest.com.

Entering the Vortex

The Vortex Film Festival, Oct 15 – 23, is a production of Flickers, the same folks who produce the Oscar-nominating RI International Film Festival. It’s been going on for 20 years, in one form or another, and creates a platform for horror, fantasy and science fiction films, both features and shorts. Films are selected by Shawn Drywa and Shawn Quirk from international submissions, and they skew toward horror. “I’m an all around sci-fi and fantasy film nerd,” says Drywa, “But I do lean toward horror. Back in the day, I would go to the video store a few times a week and rent all the great not-so-great horror movies, as one did back then.”

Drywa was involved in the origin of the festival, when it was called the RI International Horror Film Fest and he was an intern at RIIFF, in the year 2000. After his internship, he wanted to stay involved in the world of horror films and stayed involved until “life happened,” and he went off to have a job and a family. A few years ago, he returned to help produce what is now called the Vortex Film Fest, and is thrilled to see it emerge from COVID.

The festival will include six or seven filmmakers doing talkbacks, including some from as far as Italy and Australia. There will also be Lovecraft walking tours of Providence conducted by the RI Historical Society.

Screenings will take place at Johnson & Wales and AS220’s Black Box Theatre, both in downcity PVD. Details and schedule at film-festival.org




48 Hour Film Project To Reveal Winning Films

You have to be a little crazy to try to write, plan, cast, shoot and edit a short film in just two days. Yet 16 teams of people who are that exact kind of crazy took part in the 48 Hour Film Project Providence in August.

The 48 Hour Film Project is an international competition, and Providence has been participating for 16 years now (full disclosure – the author was the Providence 48 Producer from 2006-2010).

Here’s how it works: Participants sign up with no idea what they’ll be filming. They can prepare equipment and crew, and line up possible cast and locations, but they can’t do anything else in advance. On the Friday night of the weekend there’s a kick-off event where required elements are revealed. A prop, a character and a line of dialog must be included – this year, those were a basket, Christy or Chris Nattingly, Hotel Employee, and “I have a question for you.”

One clever filmmaker featured a basket sitting randomly on its own by the roadside as characters race by. The characters stop suddenly and give the basket the hairy eyeball – a covert nod to the audience – they then both begin chasing each other again. To an audience in the know, it’s hilarious, but in general the idea is to try to come up with a story that relies fundamentally on those required elements. However you use them, you have to quickly come up with your story, produce and edit a film of 4 – 7 minutes. Ideally, but not always, a coherent film. Occasionally, a really great film. And it gets harder: At that kick-off event, each team pulls a genre out of a hat – anything ranging from Rom-Com to Horror, Mockumentary to Sci-Fi. The film needs to match that genre. It all comes together to ensure that teams conceive and make their films over the course of a single weekend.

The 48 HFP recently changed leadership, and the current Providence Producer is Melinda Rainsberger, who also led the project for a stint several years ago. “I love seeing the creativity and energy this experience brings out of people,” she explains. Rainsberger is a video artist, UX designer and motionographer based in PVD (more full disclosure – she also created the logo animations Motif uses on its video channel – check FB or YouTube for examples).

The annual event featured screenings on the Wednesday after the films were turned in. “In the spirit of the 48 and what the teams go through,” says Rainsberger, “I created all of the promo reels, programs and support materials in 48 hours.”

This year’s films were all turned in on time, which might be a city record. A few were disqualified for length or for misusing required elements. One film tragically dropped a line of dialog – the character says it, but the audio goes silent for a single random line, which turned out to be the required line. Better luck next year! At Wednesday’s screening, there were some less successful and some really engaging pieces, all conveying inventiveness and enthusiasm. Plots varied from the vengeance of undead relatives (a strikingly shot film by repeat participant Alyssa Botelho and Chicken Dinner Productions) to gangsters escaping a desert, and from a completely amoral team of burglars pulling a heist to the misadventures of a hotel-based serial killer (Who stays there? I guess all the guests do.) 

The award winners are selected by judges and from audience voting – you can see the winning films at an encore screening on Thursday, August 25 at AS220, 115 Empire St, PVD at 6pm. The screening will be followed by a QA with filmmakers whose weekend war stories can be as entertaining as the films themselves. You can also check back here after the event for a link to the winning films.




A Stage of Twilight Goes Gentle

Death. As the saying goes, it’s one of the few things inevitably shared by all humans. Yet when it’s pending, we often don’t know how to deal with it – and in cinema this reluctance is often reflected. Film is full of funerals and spectacular, world-saving sacrifices, but tends to flinch from confronting the slow, inevitable road to demise most of us will eventually face.

A Stage of Twilight does not flinch. It’s an intimate, real drama with a primary storyline that follows Barry (William Sadler, “Deep Space 9”), his wife of decades, Cora (Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Arc) and their extended family friends after he learns he has about a month of increasingly failing health left. There is a touching coming-of-age subplot involving a teen choosing between relationships, the family business and a chance to go to college, but the heart of the story by director Sarah Schwab lies in looking at how Cora and Barry cope with end of life issues that don’t typically make it to the screen. 

The film unfurls at a slow but engaging pace, and features many moments of subtle humor. The rural setting and small-town feel are brought to life by lovely cinematography and seasoned actors with nothing left to prove but a great deal of talent still to share.

The director is not afraid to let her actors’ work hold the camera with close-ups that range from thoughtful to intense, and it’s a rare eye that won’t have at least a little tear jerked from it by the end, but Stage of Twilight keeps it simple, without the melodrama that can infect an end-of-life story. And there are enough twists and surprises to keep you guessing. You’ll come away with something to talk about, and it might be something we don’t talk enough about.

RI Film Office’s Steven Feinberg interviews Allen, Sadler and Schwab at the RISD Museum Auditorium screening



Reel Talk: This summer in film

The film festival: a veritable treasure-trove of aspiring talent looking to gain exposure in one of the hardest industries to crack. 

Traditionally, festivals are designed to celebrate the voices of independent filmmakers, acting as the proverbial catapult to stardom. In reality, the major fests have often leaned towards celebrating the celebrity and, in many cases, left the door closed for truly independent creators. So, that leaves the local festivals to carry the burden of finding that next darling of the cinema firmament. And there are a few happening this summer right here in RI. 

Even before the pandemic, the film fest was becoming a bit of a tough sell. With the pervasiveness of the medium, access to content is easier now more than ever. So, what’s the draw of a live event? What can pry droves of starry-eyed souls off their couches to the local parks and auditoriums to view independent films with hardly any explosions? For a few local groups, the answer lies in creating meaningful programming that relates to their community. 

The folks at FLM FWD, pronounced Film Forward, set out to create festivals that tackle themes that are, according to festival President Lisa Lowenstein, “pressing subjects of our day as well as transversal subjects of interest to many people in our community.”  These issues: empathy and environment, are, according to Lowenstein, “urgent.” Hence the choice to brand the festivals in shorthand and, since their mission is focused heavily on community building, they’ve also removed the “I” from film, “because it is about a community-wide festival. Not an individual initiative.“

The organizers have re-envisioned the area where Barrington’s Town Hall and Library sit to form a temporary “village” that offers food, drink, live music and children’s activities as well as an area of information booths for local organizations to go with the film screenings. This will mark the inaugural year for their Environment Festival, happening June 24 – 26, and the second for their Empathy Festival, Aug 26 – 28. The Empathy Festival will also feature a section devoted to  the military, veterans and their families. 

What’s more?This year we are adding an alcohol-free after-party dance event just after the film screenings, with a DJ behind town hall,” said Lowenstein. “It will be held in the area we call ‘The Boulevard’ that is set up to resemble a European café-lined street with its mood lighting. It should be a blast!”

This is a free event. Follow FLM FWD on social media @flmfwdfestival.

The Block Island Film Festival, founded in 2018, is a non-profit event designed around the Block Island community. Like FLM FWD, BIFF’s organizers are focused on important cultural and environmental issues, as well as opportunities for young filmmakers through their student filmmaker competition. Founder/ Executive Director Cassius ‘Cash’ Shuman is truly excited about this. “The students get to network and learn from other filmmakers at the film festival,” said Shuman. “Education is a central and important part of our mission.”

The fourth BIFF, Sep 7 – 10, features film screenings, spotlight programs, tribute and award ceremonies, question and answer forums and nightly social mixers; most take place in their new venue, the Block Island Maritime Institute.  Shuman said, “It is located right at the edge of the Great Salt Pond, so it should be a spectacular setting for the film festival. We have some terrific documentaries that we are screening, and spotlighting in partnership with BIMI and its mission.”

Shuman is no stranger to Hollywood as, according to the BIFF website, he is an award-winning screenwriter, journalist and filmmaker, but BIFF organizers choose discovery over celebrity, focusing on the quality of the films rather than using energy to attract Hollywood A-listers. Even still, BIFF does attract some attention this year with the Terence Howard, Jeremy Pivens film The Walk.

The organizers are truly about making their community better and it shows. Any proceeds from the festival are donated to an Island nonprofit. Past beneficiaries include Friends of the Island Free Library and NAMI-Block Island, an advocate for those with mental health issues. 

Finally, perhaps the biggest and certainly the longest-running film fest comes from Flickers. Their Rhode Island International Film Festival™ (RIIFF) will take place at venues throughout RI, Aug 8 – 14, and features a hybrid event with a drive-in, outdoor and online screenings, filmmaking workshops, meet-and-greet industry events and seminars. 

Says Festival Director Shawn Quirk, “We make it our goal to highlight films of all shapes and sizes with the goal of appealing to the largest range of audience members possible.  Some will come to discover a collection of international shorts, others will come to support a local filmmaker or see an industry celebrity speak… RIIFF serves as an ideal meeting ground for both the film industry and audience members.”

Quirk is excited to have visiting filmmakers share space again – “RIIFF brings the world to Rhode Island every year, and we’re looking forward to celebrating Flickers’ 40th anniversary with everyone in August.” 

RIIFF also prides itself on connecting future auteurs with established makers. In recent years they’ve showcased films directed by William Fichtner, Karen Allen, Brad Hall, Denis Villeneuve, Bob Balaban and others. Says Quirk, by “placing newly discovered filmmakers in the same context as some of Hollywood’s leading talents, we can empower the next generation of filmmakers. Last year we had the pleasure of featuring the US premiere of You’re Dead Helen. The film was later short-listed for the Oscars and purchased by TriStar Pictures.” A feature version of that film is in the works with Sam Raimi as producer and the original director, Michiel Blanchart, at the helm.  

Learn about this year’s lineup – and the local film night on Wednesday, Aug 10 at Dusk (cosponsored by Motif, Dusk and R1 Entertainment Center) – at film-festival.org




The Future of Movie Theaters: On the brink of change

Most of us aren’t old enough to remember the first few decades when cinemas became a normal part of American life: they’ve been around for well over a century. However, some of the practices film companies engaged in in those early days were abusive and had to be addressed on a national scale.

A key example of this was film production companies owning movie theater chains and holding exclusive rights to their films. This meant that if you wanted to see a film, you would have to go to a theater specifically owned by that production company, and most theaters would not play any films except those from their own film studios. This made it virtually impossible for both independent films and theaters to thrive. 

In 1948 the Supreme Court found in U.S. v. Paramount Pictures that this violated United States antitrust law, and this landmark decision fundamentally changed the way films were produced, distributed and exhibited in the United States. This ruling created the Paramount Decree, which stated that no film production companies could own movie theaters.

However, nearly two years ago former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department moved to throw out this old consent decree, and the sunset period during which the old rules remained in effect will reach its end in August of this year.

The argument for vacating the Paramount Decree is that with so many technological changes, the old decree is no longer relevant. 

Former co-owner of independent theater Limelight Cinema, which closed in 2001, and Motif writer Michael Bilow weighed in. “The old consent decree was limited to traditional movie theaters, putting movie producers at a disadvantage relative to competitors such as Amazon and Netflix who are unrestricted as to owning the entire vertical business chain from production to distribution,” says Bilow. “In other words, the old consent decree was having an anticompetitive effect, protecting Amazon and Netflix from competition.”

However, the total vacating of the decree still presents significant problems for independent theaters and filmmakers. When so much of the entertainment industry has already been monopolized by a select few companies, the choice to vacate the decree entirely rather than alter it to be more relevant to our current era could have serious consequences.

Disney, for instance, has been continually growing its grip on the industry for several years now. The corporation’s assets include not only the traditional animated features associated with the company, but also ABC, ESPN, 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Lucas Films, and Pixar, among many others. With the ability to have Disney-only theaters, they can buy out independent theaters and older chains and, especially for those who may only have one or two theaters local to them, consumers who want to see films in theaters could find themselves entirely limited to whatever production company owns their local theater. 

“I think this will kill independent theaters, which have been a dying business for 20 years, and probably also accelerate the demise of all theaters, which I expect to be gone in 10 years,” says Bilow. He cites the Cable Car Cinema, Acoustic Java, and the Route One Cinema Pub in Attleboro all as local examples of independent theaters that have closed in recent years, although the latter plans to reopen soon after temporarily closing for the pandemic.

“The issue is much broader than the consent decree and really reaches into fundamental changes in consumer behavior,” Bilow adds, citing streaming releases occurring simultaneously or instead of theatrical releases as another variable complicating the issue. This practice became more common in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and puts movie theaters in an even worse position.  

For consumers, the negative impact of vacating the consent decree will likely be mitigated by the existence of streaming. Streaming creates more accessibility for consumers (at least in theory) so that any person can find and watch the film they are interested in online. However, streaming poses an additional threat to movie theaters, as well as to independent filmmakers without the funds to access those distribution channels. 

The true impact vacating this decree remains to be seen. Whether we end up in a reality where, ten years from now, there are no theaters left; or instead one where theaters are bought out by production studios and revived, but monopolized, has yet to be determined. Still, come August this year, the Paramount Decree will be abandoned – for better or worse.




Candyman actor Tony Todd talks Providence

Tony Todd is the face and voice behind one of the most iconic characters in horror films: Candyman. He’s also appeared in hundreds of other roles across TV, films, video games and his first passion, the stage. He’ll be one of over 100 celebrity guests attending this year’s Comic Con at the RI Convention Center November 5 – 7. We caught up with him just before he headed out to the Con from his home in California.

Mike Ryan (Motif): I usually ask Comic Con guests if they’ve been to RI before. But in your case, you have some real local ties.

Tony Todd: I did spend some time at Trinity Rep, long ago near the start [of my career]. It was an amazing, formative experience with a group of people who were invested entirely in their art – fermenting creativity in ourselves and each other constantly, and in every part of the artistic process theater involves. The acting, finding the character, but also writing and music and set design and costuming – we were all involved in all of it.

I lived on Federal Hill and would walk to Trinity. It was a fun, interesting neighborhood. People would be sitting in front of the shops talking to you. There was a bakery where they would say, ‘There’s that kid, that theater kid – give him a cannoli!’ Those were great cannolis.

But mostly we were at work creating. We were in the theater twelve hours a day and it was the most intense artistic experience. I think three of us from that group are still acting professionally. I still work with Bob Sacchetti on scripts we write together today — we met in that program. We had talented people working very hard there, and it was remarkable.

MR: What is the difference between commanding a stage and commanding the camera, or a film environment? 

TT: Nothing compares to working on stage. There’s something organic and exciting about being in the same space with your audience. You feel a connection and there’s an energy that flows back and forth. You have to rely totally on the human instrument. Don’t get me wrong, I love film too, but it’s very different.

MR: What about working in video games?

TT: That’s a whole different process. They do MoCap [Motion Capture] and cover you in little dots. You have to move and speak very precisely, and everything – everything – has to be in your imagination. You’re acting against nothing, with no set or costume, so you have to have these things in your head. I enjoy it, but it’s a whole different process.
MR: Are you a gamer yourself?

TT: I am. I don’t have a lot of time for it, but I go back to Colecovision – remember that?

MR: Yes! [Coleco made a gaming system in the early 80s] What have you been playing lately?

TT: I’ve been doing a lot of sports games. And Call of Duty. That’s a good one. But surprisingly, I don’t even have a PS5 yet!

MR: Are there any Rhode Island landmarks you’re looking forward to seeing again?

TT: I want to get some of those hot dogs – the NY System? There used to be these great music clubs around the downtown, like the Heartbreak Hotel, Leo’s. The Met had $2 beers. David Byrne had just graduated from RISD and you could walk into a venue and listen to his music with just a few people in the audience. And the Brothers, near city hall. 

MR: Haven Brothers?

TT: Right, Haven Brothers. And you could smell the Providence River from there.

MR: They’ve fixed that!

TT: There were a few good dive bars downtown too.

MR: You like visiting dive bars

TT: When I visit a new city, that’s where I like to go first. A good dive bar is real. That’s where you find the locals, people who really have a sense of the place.

MR: You’re involved in other areas of the arts?

TT: I love all the arts. Painting, music, performance – it all brings people together and builds communities and energy. It helps people think outside of themselves, and that’s important. I think that’s something we’re missing more right now – society is split into these little cultural slivers that don’t interact the way they used to. We used to have a lot more elements of common culture. I also love to read — you gain so much by reading the classics, starting with Shakespeare. But I just read 11 works by August WIlson. You take so much from that. Writing and directing were my original focus in college and at Trinity, but then I got more into acting.

MR: Let’s talk a little bit about your most iconic role. Why do you think Candyman has had such a lasting impact?

TT: I think it just resonated with people. The director, Bernard Rose was looking to capture a fable, but when he moved the setting to Chicago, it came to life with an urban perspective that hadn’t really been exposed before, not so much in the horror genre. The film and the character really resonated.

MR: What was it like to revisit that character again after all this time?

TT: It was a pleasure. That whole film was just a great experience. With Jordan Peele there was so much creativity, and the film was able to deal a lot more head on with some issues. And it was wonderful to work with Nia DaCosta. Working with a female director was great, and I think so important right now. I think it’s a great continuation of the story.

MR: Was the recent reboot a handing off of the Candyman baton?

TT: What is the last shot in the film? That has your answer!

MR: What projects do you have coming up?

TT: There are three unpublished screenplays I’m working on with Bob Sacchetti. No one has picked them up yet, but we keep working on them. I also just finished shooting Travelling Light, LOOK UP CAST. It’s an amazing cast, and that should be coming out. I just did some video games as well — we shot one in Sweden, that was interesting. Venom 2 and a new Spider Man game are coming out.

This interview was edited for length. Tony Todd is at RI Comic Con Nov 5 – 7




Kevin Smith’s Mooby’s Pop Up Heads to Trinity Beer Garden for RI Comic Con!: Rhode Island Comic Con brings the fictional restaurant to Providence to celebrate the largest Clerks cast reunion to date

21-11-03 – Mooby’s P

Starting this Thursday, Mooby’s, the fictional restaurant set in Kevin Smith’s View Askew-niverse, will be in Providence for RI Comic Con!

Mooby’s Shadoobies

The iconic pop-up will set up shop in Trinity Beer Garden right by Kennedy Plaza, just around the corner from RI Comic Con. Mooby’s was originally featured in Smith’s Dogma and eventually became the backdrop of Clerks II. This year’s RI Comic Con event will feature the largest Clerks cast reunion yet to be seen, including Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Scott Schiaffo, Kevin Weisman, Trevor Fehrman and Kevin Smith himself.

Mooby’s Pop Up co-owner Derek Berry is excited for the event. “Mooby’s is PUMPED to be taking over Rhode Island, for our first ever Comic Convention!”

“RICC is a top notch event for Mooby’s and to top it off, it’s housing the biggest Clerks reunion ever, so how could we not pop up! Come snack on some Cow Tippers and Cow Dongs in REAL life, while sipping it down with an I Assure You We’re Open beer!”

Mooby’s Pop Up will open at Trinity Beer Garden, 2 Kennedy Plaza in Providence. Hours are Thursday, November 4th – Sunday, November 7th from 11 AM to 9 PM. Walk-ups are welcome but ordering ahead is recommended. You can place your order at moobyspopup.com




We Assure You RI Comic Con is Open: “Clerks” Reunion & Beer

RI Comic Con is back after the 2020 hiatus and it’s going to be bigger than ever. Starting Friday, November 5th through Sunday the 7th, the Rhode Island Convention Center will be overflowing with artists, vendors and celebrity guests, including a nearly complete reunion of the cast of Clerks. Clerks was the first movie by director (and Comic Con headliner) Kevin Smith. The black and white film indie was a true labor of love for Smith and didn’t come to be without any sacrifice. In efforts to scrounge together a bare-bones budget, the future comic book store owner ironically sold his extensive comic book collection, maxed out his credit cards and depleted his college fund. The film — depicting the mundane yet magical everyday life of two convenience store clerks — became an icon for the everyman, and a beacon of hope for DIY filmmakers and artists everywhere. 

Local breweries are no stranger to the hard-working do-it yourself-spirit, so it’s fitting that Proclamation Ale of Warwick, RI is partnering with Altered Reality Entertainment and RI Comic Con for a third time to create a Clerks themed beer for the event. The beer is the successor to 2019’s “Take a Vacation to Rhode Island ComicCon,” an IPA featuring the Griswold family station wagon from National Lampoon’s Vacation, honoring that year’s headliner Chevy Chase. 

“Beer? Do people still even drink that? At Quick Stop we had a strict weed-only policy!” says Bryan Johnson – Kevin’s real-life friend of whom the film was based off of. 

The Clerks Beer will be a 7.2% Abv Double IPA conceptualized by Proclamation owner Lori Witham, offered throughout the con for Clerks and comic book fans alike. 

Beer won’t be the only concession collaboration from Smith this year, as he also presents “Mooby’s Pop-up” – the fictional fast food chain from Clerks II

Kevin and his team kicked offPin his hometown of Red Bank, NJ in September of 2020. Since it’s debut the fake food chain appeared in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Boston. Now Rhode Islanders will have a chance to get their hands on a Mooby’s signature Cow Tipper with a side of Hater Totz 

Be sure to check out the  rare panel, featuring the film’s main cast. Actors Brian O’Halloran (Dante Hicks), Jeff Anderson (Randal Graves), and Marilyn Ghigliotti (Veronica) will be joined by director and Silent Bob himself Kevin Smith and his counterpart Jason “Jay” Mewes. Other View Askew guests include Trevor Fehrman and Kevin Weisman of Clerks II, and Scott Schiaffo of Clerks

All guests will be available for photos and autographs as listed on the RI Comic Con website. The 2021 con-beer will be offered throughout the Rhode Island Convention Center and at select vendors through Craft Collective, so fans should take advantage of the opportunity to crack a cold one with their favorite Clerks cast member. Have one, have 37, we don’t judge!