The 1st Annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival

October 2005, Tempe Centerpoint Theater, Tempe, AZ

I started 2005 with a new years resolution to add some film credits to my name and widen my scope of bodypainting to include special effects (SPFX) make-up.  By October, I had co-produced two films and I'm credited with the SPFX make-up on both projects.  The first, The Villikon Chronicles-Mystere and the Disciples of Dido, is still in post production, but the second movie that I wrote and co-produced, Second Chances, is complete and out on DVD.  Although I am proud to have accomplished this much in a fairly short span of time, I was very surprised when I was recognized by the Phoenix Film Project and asked to co-host an educational seminar on SPFX make-up at the The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival.

It was the inaugural first year for this film festival and yet they were successful in securing a handful of celebrities and a bevy of great genre independent films.  Festival director Brian Pulido rose to fame as the creative force behind CHAOS! Comics but has a formidable background in film as evidenced on his website at .  Other notable attendees included Lloyd Kauffman (The Toxic Avenger), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars), Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and the team of John Gulager and Marcus Dunstan (Project Greenlight and Feast).  I was thrilled to join this crew and honored to be presenting my artform for such a concentrated gathering of sci-fi and horror film fans.

Rising to the occasion, I chose to do two bodypaintings to be presented during my SPFX panel.  It didn't take much brainstorming to arrive at the decision to paint two models to be CHAOS! Comic characters Lady Death and Purgatori, brainchildren from the mind of festival director Pulido.  Knowing that the painting would be completed in the public thoroughfare in front of Tempe's Centerpoint Theater, I knew that the models would have to be wearing some clothing.  For this I solicited the help of a master leather worker that I met on the Villikon film set.  His name is Kevin Speidel and his website is .  I knew that he would be the ideal choice to create the leather outfits worn by the characters and he did an outstanding job with a very short lead time.

When it was time to find a model for the Lady Death character, I immediately thought of Heather Keckler with her big voluptuous blonde hair and femme fatal figure.  I had no idea if she would be interested, but when I asked her, she replied, "Chaos Comics did a few Megadeth themed issues back in like 97-98, and I am a HUGE Megadeth I am familiar with and love his (Pulido) work, and I would get a big kick out of being Lady Death."  The search was on for the Purgatori character.  She needed to have long strait black hair and of course CHAOS! drew her with a very sexy body and devilish horns.  I resigned to apply prosthetic horns and contacted the seductive Kayla Rei to play the part of Purgatori.  She accepted and the team was complete. 

Heather was painted white and Kayla painted red, both of them from head to toe in airbrushed bodypaint by European Body Art (EBA paints).  Using a Badger airbrush and compressor I was able to add toning and color variations and then Kevin helped them don their leather fetish costumes.  A few accessories such as wings, capes, swords, and a whip completed the image and then it was off to the SPFX panel in theater #4 of the movie complex.

Kevin and I were joined on the panel by make-up artists Nathan Blaine (Spirits of the Force) and Jason Kimble.  We all fielded questions for an audience of approximately 30 people and our moderator was Dean Ronalds, a film maker with the Phoenix Film Project.  Julie Holman, co-executive director of the Phoenix Film Project, was also in attendance and she is the one who initially invited me to be a part of this festival.

I was kept very busy throughout the event but I did have the opportunity to go to two film screenings.  The first was the feature-length horror winner "The Dark Hours".  It truly was a winner and had a very twisted plot and spine-tingling suspense.  The other film that I watched was a highlight of my weekend at the festival.  The movie is called Feast and it is the film that was chronicled in the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon produced series, Project Greenlight.  I may not have ever heard of the Project Green Light show if my friends on the Villikon set hadn't urged me to watch it.  They said that all of the trials and tribulations that we were experiencing were paralleled by this film project.  The movie Feast was awesome!  It had a nice mix of humor with the horror and I thought it was riviting from start to finish.  Director John Gulager and his wife were on-hand afterward to field questions along with Marcus Dunstan who wrote the screenplay.  I had Gulager autograph my ticket stub and if you ever see the movie, you'll get a kick out of what he wrote..."Choke on it!!!"

Overall it was a successful and very fulfilling project and I encourage everyone to attend next year if you are into this type of stuff.  I hope to be there myself!  Click on the images below for a few more pictures from the event.

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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2005

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