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The latest and greatest from Automatic Vaudeville Studios


The Recommendations (2005, DV, 55mins)
D ir: Owen/Perlmutter/Slutsky
Starring: Mark Slutsky, Joe Cobden, Sarah Musgrave, Thea Metcalfe, Daniel Perlmutter, Jenna Wright, Vanessa Johnson, Louis Rastelli, Seth W. Owen, Don Wilkie, Raf Katigbak, Lorna Wright, Nick Robinson
Passion. Betrayal. The mad frenzy of the literary "scene." It is within the stomping grounds of the lettered, the brilliant and the bitter, that you will find The Recommendations.
When Philip Swan's brilliant debut novel Susannah's Wake hits the bestseller list, the Montreal literary community comes together to applaud this rising young talent. But one man isn't clapping. Gordon Gary Ross, a failed novelist himself, shocks the community with a stunning accusation of plagiarism. From there, Ross descends into a spiral of revenge that climaxes with an act of unthinkable brutality, in this dramatic, taboo-shattering fictional documentary.

WOW: You can now watch The Recommendations in its entirety in the comfort of your own home for free! In a groundbreaking experiment in indie film distribution, Automatic Vaudeville is offering the movie as a free digital download. For details on this exciting development just click here!

What They Ate (2006, 6 min, DV)
Dir: Seth W. Owen
Conceived and created by: Nadia Moss
Based on the beautiful and strange artwork of Nadia Moss, What They Ate is a fascinating, otherworldly miniature created with advanced pupeteering technology and made in association with Bravo!FACT. Once you see it, you'll want to tell all your friends What They Ate.

WOW: You can now watch What They Ate online at YouTube!

 

The Clock Strikes Doom (2005, 10min. MiniDV/Super-8)
Dir: D. S. Perlmutter
Starring: Eric Hart, Vanessa Johnson
Terror builds with each tick of the clock.
The thrilling adventure of George Stone, who gets more than he bargained for when he answers a personal ad. Suddenly, his world is turned upside-down as he suffers from a series of bizarre and startling attacks. This picture re-teams director Perlmutter with star Hart, who have previously worked together on The Southside 5, The Underworld Broadcasts and The Prisoner of Zenda. Featuring a stand-out performance from Vanessa Johnson as Sylvia, the femme fatale who steals George Stone’s heart.

WOW: Watch The Clock Strikes Doom online at the Spielberg-approved On the Lot website!

Schandfilm Drei (6 min: Mini-DV: 2005)
Dir: Otto Vaude
Music by the Schandkollektief
Starring: Louis Pearson, Laura Wills, Raf Katigbak, Nadia Moss, Liane Balaban, Dan Seligman, Seth W. Owen, Mark Slutsky, Daniel Perlmutter, Sharon Eisman, "Stu," and the East Van Porn Collective.
The third installment of Automatic Vaudeville's thrilling, chilling, scandalous and controversial Schandcycle is its most outrageous yet. A literal, figurative, emotional, political and above all erotic labyrinth, Schandfilm Drei is a Pandora's Box of a film, a charged "shot across the bows" with repercussions that should be felt for years.

 


 

The Automatic Archive

Or, the history of Automatic Vaudeville in approximately 50 short films

Important: There are some notable absences in the catalogue below. Check back soon for more additions to this incredible inventory of Automatic Vaudeville’s finest.

 

View our history by category:

  1. The Century Project
  2. The Tomato Boys
  3. Workshop Series
  4. Hep 2 Video
  5. Fictional Documentaries
  6. Horror
  7. Contemporary Classics
  8. Erotic Thrillers
  9. Unfinished Epics
  10. Radio Ranch
  11. Mysteries
  12. Euro art films
  13. The Schandcycle
  14. Oddities
  15. Retrospective Documentaries


The Century Project

Bluebeard (1998, B&W, Super-8, 10 min.)
dir: Owen/Perlmutter
Starring: Bella Ellwood, Seth W. Owen, Jon Diamond, Eric Digras
Music by: Jessica Moss
One of Automatic Vaudeville's earliest productions, Bluebeard tells the tale of a dark count who seduces and weds a young maiden only to keep her trapped in a house with many secrets, not the least of which is what happened to Bluebeard's many previous wives. Evoking the style of early German expressionism, Bluebeard is an eerie and terrifying trip into the unknown, lensed on glorious super-8. The elaborate sets by Ryan Adams and Stephen Meinecke are of particular note.

He Killed For Love (1998, B&W, MiniDV, 15 min.)
dir: Seth W. Owen
Starring: Eric Digras, Stephen Meinecke, Michelle Diamond, Nadia Moss, Jon Diamond & The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
Music by: Frankie Sparo
Automatic Vaudeville's first Western, He Killed for Love is a stark tale of obsession, jealousy and revenge played against the wild frontier. Set shortly after the great horse plague, the film follows a lonely drifter as he comes to the sinister town of Rattlesnake, only to fall in love with the local Bad Guy's girl. A tragic turn seals our young hero’s fate.
With a classic AVS score by Constellation recording artist Frankie Sparo, including the hit ballad “He Killed for Love.”

The Southside Five (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 22 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Eric Hart, Jenna Wright, Ryan Adams, Simon Wright, Dave Kalka
Music by: Alex MacSween & Andre Asselin (recorded live at our Hi-Class Picture Show)
A gangster picture and a love story, The Southside Five follows a young hustler who has spent his formative years as a petty criminal and is about to graduate into the big leagues. Given a job by the neighborhood's big boss, our hero tries desperately to find a way out of this life. But is he too far in, and can he trust those closest too him? Set in a rough and tumble 1930s underworld, The Southside Five is a delightful tribute to the old Warner Bros. gangster pics.


The Tomato Boys

Tomato Boys Name Names (1998, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min.)
dir: Otto Vaude
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato, Brendan Agnew-Iler, Noah Wohl, The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
The first ever Tomato Boys picture (disputedly) contains all the ingredients that audiences would come to love and cherish in the brief reign of the Tomato Boys as AVS faves: hilarious shenanigans, delightful camaraderie, bitter betrayals, and shoddy production values.
Here for the first time are country bumpkin Jackie, Latin lover Ernesto, brash big city huckster Shirley and snooty Frenchman Jean-Pierre. In their stirring debut, the Tomato Boys are summoned before a McCarthy-esque committee and asked to name names, which after a brief ballyhoo of bravado, they do. Also features Brendan Agnew-Iler in the first of his several appearances as the Tomato Boys’ Margaret Dumont-esque foil. It is interesting to note that AVS’s premiere comedy team was formed not out of any careful selection process, but rather of the four fellows that happened to be sitting around on the day of the shoot. Whatever the slightly dubious nature of their origins, Tomato Boys Name Names established this funny foursome as an enduring part of cinema history.

Tomato Boys Big Score (1998, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min)
Dir. Otto Vaude
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato, The Zucchini Girls, Brendan Agnew-Iler, The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
The Tomato Boys' sophomore effort is a derivative caper picture that finds the Tomatos attempting to bilk a huffy millionaire out of his gold, before betraying each other mercilessly and ultimately finding themselves conned by two beautiful “Zucchini Girls.”
Of historical note largely due to its being the only big-screen appearance of what was to be a female offshoot of the Tomato Boys, The Zucchini Girls (played by Nadia Moss and Sivan Noah). The film exploits a mild lesbian kiss between the two for all its worth, and consequently the Zucchini Girls were hesitant to be involved in future projects. Noticeably absent from much of the production is Ernesto Tomato, who found the winter shoot to be “too cold” and excused himself from production to smoke dope and watch TV. A sophomore slump, indeed.

Tomato Boys Get Lost (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min)
Dir. Otto Vaude
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato.
The Tomato Boys return in one of their most beloved pictures, which finds the boys stranded in the mountains after a plane crash. Almost immediately, the Boys “go savage” and once again turn on each other. Features a gaggle of now classic gags—“Where are my glasses!?”; the cigarette lighter bit; and of course Ernesto’s drag routine, to name but a few. As the Tomato Boys hit their creative stride, however, there were early reports of egos clashing on set. The beginning of the end?

Tomato Boys Die Young (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min)
Dir. Otto Vaude
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato, The Zucchini Girls, Brendan Agnew-Iler, The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
The Tomato Boys crank out another boffo blockbuster that finds Ernesto in the throes of a terminal illness and the Boys rallying to his side: a three-hanky weepie that showed “the softer side” of the now beloved Tomatos. Tension on the set, however, was rapidly escalating – Tomato Boys Die Young provided Ernesto Tomato with an attention grabbing tour-de-force and left the other Boys feeling left out in the cold. Ernesto’s reported “flamboyant prancing and taunting” on location did not help any, and the film’s success was widely thought to have come at the price of a cherished group dynamic. Nonetheless, delightful.

Tomato Boys Gone Fishin’ (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min.)
Dir. Alan Smithee
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato, The Zucchini Girls, Brendan Agnew-Iler, The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
With Jean-Pierre off to Europe to tend to a bruised ego left over from Die Young, and an aborted attempt at a Y2K themed Tomato Boys venture, the studio went ahead with a “Greatest Hits” of old Tomato Boys clips assumedly intended to enhance the Tomato Boys mythos. The result was a lackluster montage which many considered a thinly veiled “Fuck You” to the Boys’ loyal fans. A travesty.

The Tomato Boys in Viva Tomato! (2000, B&W, MiniDV, 6 min.)
Dir. Otto Vaude
Starring: Ernesto Tomato, Jackie Tomato, Jean-Pierre Tomate, Shirley Tomato.
The Tomato Boys’ last picture can barely disguise the behind-the-scenes bitterness and “been there done that” feeling that had laid waste to the Tomatos’ once inspired camaraderie. Ostensibly a war picture, the Tomatos struggle their way through a series of tepid gags and missed opportunities, turning what should have been a Tomato Boys classic into a muddled misfire and, sadly, a less than fitting swan song. Still, some critics point to the films lack of laugh-out-loud moments as a move towards a more serious and sober era of Tomato Boys projects. We’ll never know for sure. A disappointing end to a lasting comedic legacy.

Workshop Series

The Daily News (1998, B&W, Video, 22 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Mark Slutsky, Laura Perlmutter, Seth W. Owen, Ryan Adams, Brendan Agnew-Iler.
The first in our "Workshop Series," The Daily News is the story of Stu, a lonely news-stand owner with one strange quirk: he hates reading the newspaper. But his life is turned upside down when an old man leaves Stu a fortune. The groundbreakingly threadbare “workshop picture” approach is of particular note here, an approach that would not be revisited until the film’s doomed sequel, Happy Hour.

Happy Hour (2003, Col. MiniDV, ?? min.)
dir: Alan Smithee
Starring: Mark Slutsky, Raf Katigbak, Liane Balaban, Sarah Resnick, Joe Cobden
The troubled second "Workshop Picture" took years to get off the ground. Happy Hour supposedly picks up where Daily News left off, with Stu now running a bar in the tropical port of Patonga. The story, apparently, had something to do with a magical bottle of rum and complicated zoning laws. On-set abuse of alcohol and an “out to lunch” Perlmutter (billed as Smithee) directing put this one on the shelf. The picture has yet to be publicly exhibited. An unqualified disaster.


Hep 2 Video

My Secret Diary (2000, Col. MiniDV, 12 min.)
dir: Seth W. Owen
Starring: Seth Owen, Mark Slutsky, Eric Digras
A deeply troubling confessional from director Owen finds the filmmaker watching re-runs of Frasier, masturbating to Touched by an Angel, and terrorized by a conspiracy of moustachioed men.

Crimes On Tape (2000, Col. MiniDV, 12 min.)
dir. Seth W. Owen
Starring: Crys Cole, Nadia Moss, Luc Rebick & Mark Slutsky
Music by: Jessica Moss w/ Ian Ilavsky
Sinister found footage is the basis for this loosely assembled narrative of wrong doings in the modern age. An all-star cast does bad things on camera. Warning: contains explicit eating of Chinese food.

Application Procedure (2001, Col. MiniDV, 20 min.)
dir: Seth W. Owen
Starring: Eric Digras, Natalia Berlin, Mark Slutsky
Theme Song: Eric Digras.
AVS favorite Digras gives a tour-de-force performance as a seemingly normal man who becomes increasingly unhinged in the making of an “audition tape” for a reality TV series. The AVS debut for the lovely Miss Berlin.

Fictional Documentaries

Jump Ass (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 25 min.)
dir: Otto Vaude.
Starring: Jacob Tierney, Jessica Moss, Eric Digras, Jonny Diamond, Brendan Agnew-Iler, Ryan Adams & The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
Automatic Vaudeville spent three weeks in December of '98 following the street gang Jump-Ass to bring this uncompromising portrait of juvenile delinquency to the screen. Mean, vicious and surprisingly honest, the seven members of Jump-Ass are hoodlums who have grown up too fast, seen too much, lived too hard. At times difficult to watch, Jump Ass tells the real story of gang life, as it has never been seen before.

Young Cons (2000, Col. MiniDV, 25 min.)
dir: Otto Vaude
Starring: Mark Slutsky, Daniel Perlmutter, Seth W. Owen, Eric Digras, Matt Slutsky, Lorna Wright.
Young men. Young brothers. Young friends. Young Cons. A shattering exposé on the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes terrifying world of the confidence game, Young Cons follows two con men as they practice their trade on unsuspecting marks.
(Available on Your Hi-Class DVD Vol. 1)

Spanked: The Ron Friendly Story (2002, Col. MiniDV, 25 min.)
Starring: Eric Digras, Daniel Perlmutter, Seth W. Owen, Mark Slutsky, Jenna Wright, Louis Rastelli.
Music by: Jesse Levine

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
Francis Bacon
“Why do you try to understand art? Do you understand the song of a bird?”
Pablo Picasso

Looking at the life and work of Ron Friendly, the groundbreaking Montreal performance artist, we always maintain the sensation that we are being looked back at, being observed and probed by the scorching gaze of that most impenetrable of artists. For the paradox is this: as an observer Friendly was nonpareil, and even his most minor works reveal the eye of a man who saw through convention, through social mores, through even the anagrammatic constructs of science itself. But as a subject himself—aha! there lies the conundrum. For to look at Friendly is to see oneself reflected right back, flaws and all, in the shimmering mirror of this man who was above all a cipher.
And that, in the end, is what keeps me coming back, almost obsessively, to Spanked: The Ron Friendly Story. More than any other critical reading of his work or puffed-out biography, Spanked reveals the man inasmuch as he ever could be revealed: as the product of our imaginings and fantasies, a mythical dreamchild with a soul woven from the deepest reaches of our collective experience. He may never return to us; but as long as we own the value-priced Your Hi-Class DVD Vol. 1, as long as we purchase additional copies for friends, family, and lovers, Ron Friendly will remain an inexorable part of our lives. —Andrew Handy

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM, BEST SCREENPLAY, The Nickel Independent Film Festival, St. John’s, Nfld, 2003.
(Available on Your Hi-Class DVD Vol. 1)

Horror

When The Hippies Get Killed (1998, Col. Video, 6 min.)
Starring: Jessica Moss, Stephen Meinecke, Brenda Agnew-Iler, Eric Digras
Theme Song: The Moss Sisters.
Automatic Vaudeville's very first production, Hippies is the terrifying tale of a group of pot-smoking long-hairs who spend a weekend in the country only to find themselves getting killed off, one by one. Could the killer be one of the local hicks, or does this film contain a twist ending too sinister to even contemplate…? When the Hippies Get Killed is a bold and brutal work of “naïve” cinema, with a grainy, upsetting aesthetic reminiscent of classic redneck shockers of the 1970s. With a haunting theme song by the sisters Moss.

The Devil’s Tablet (2000, B&W, MiniDV, 22 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starrring: Andre Ethier, Laura Perlmutter, Jenna Wright & Benjamin Phelan.
Music by: Nadia Moss
Who knows what evil lurks within us all? What monsters hide beneath our thin layer of civility? These questions and more are answered in this horrifying film. The Devil’s Tablet tells the story of a young journalist (rocker extraordinaire Ethier, in a rare AVS appearance) who will stop at nothing to get the truth. Of a scientist who, in a relentless search for freedom, gives in to his darker nature. Of two women, one venturing into the heart of terror, the other clamoring for a way out. But most of all it is the story of scary monsters and how... scary they are. In glorious black & white.

Hysteria 3000 (2003, Col. MiniDV, 25 min.)
dir: Pablo Norway
Starring: Laura Wills, Nick Robinson, Natalia Berlin, Thea Metcalfe
Music by: Nadia Moss (feat. Unitard)
A boldly modern giallo by notorious horror-meister Pablo Norway, Hysteria 3000 is a nightmarish tale of killer hallucinations that unite a troubled young girl and a shaken police detective with relationship trouble – AVS faves Wills and Robinson in their first starring roles. Weaving in and out of its protagonists’ darkest dreams, Hysteria 3000’s diabolical Monster lurks in the shadows of man’s mind, ready to pounce. The Goblins-reminiscent score is by Miss Nadia Moss, who also designed the horrifying Monster.

Beyond The Beyond (2001, Col. MiniDV, 5 min.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Starring: Eric Digras, Luc Rebick, Ryan Adams, Daniel Perlmutter
A small town sheriff discovers that an evil and mysterious talisman is behind a spate of mysterious deaths, and only a crippled psychic and his handsome German attendant can help him stop the unspeakable evil before it is too late. Controversial.

 

 

 

Contemporary Classics

All the Weekends in a Year (2002, Colour, MiniDV, 6 min.)
Dir. S.W. Owen
Starring: Eric Digras, Laura Perlmutter, Chad Jones
Automatic Vaudeville’s first romantic weepie, All the Weekends tells the tragic tale of a married architect (Digras) who falls in love with a beautiful young woman with a terminal illness (Perlmutter). They agree to meet on every weekend for a year, which happens to be the amount of time the girl is expected to live. They eventually must part ways, the architect never knowing the girl is going to die… Digras and Perlmutter make for a classically romantic big screen couple in this classic “women’s picture” that made Digras a sex symbol and Pelrmutter a bonafide movie star. Chad Jones offers able support as Perlmutter’s skeptical doctor and friend. Heartbreaking.

Gabor's War (2004, CinemaScope Mini-DV, 3 mins.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Starring: Nick Robinson, Laura Perlmutter, Seth W. Owen, Sarah Diffenderfer, Daniel Perlmutter, Luc Rebick, Mark Slutsky
Set in the gorgeous, decaying Budapest of the 1940s, Gabor's War follows the wartime struggles of poet Gabor Rainer (incidentally, the grandfather of the poet of the same name from The Recommendations). Gabor is a man of peace, but when his beloved city is overrun by the enemy, he is forced to act, becoming a famous, heroic Partisan leader. His cherished ladyfriend Hillak (Laura Perlmutter) herself joins the resistance, running important information across enemy lines. As the conflict forces Gabor and his friends to take sides, he finds that former friends can become the darkest of enemies, especially when tempted by the offers of the sinister Commandant (Owen, in a standout, Otto-worthy performance).

The Downtowners (2004, MiniDV, 3 mins.)
dir: Otto Vaude
Starring: Maia Filar, Nadia Moss, Chad Jones, Nick Robinson, Luc Rebick.
An uptown success for the Trainspotting set. Based on the acclaimed novel by rock poet Gabor Rainer, The Downtowners is a gritty, true-to-life look at what it takes to live “downtown”. Seen thru the eyes of a suburban journalist who gets caught up in a world beyond her control, The Downtowners pulls no punches when it comes to life in the busy part of town. Gabor Rainer apparently threatened to pull his name from the picture after the studio turned his pained character study into a city-sploitation flick.

Dancing With Myself (3 min: MiniDV: 2004)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Daniel Perlmutter, Louis Pearson
A throwback to the romance films of the late '90s (what? -ed.), Dancing tells the story of Allen Jannings (Perlmutter) a lonely man searching for something more who falls in love with his own reflection (Perlmutter) while shopping for a new turtle-neck. Although the story is timeless, this narcissistic tale is not afraid to deal with the very modern complications of love: the fights, the sleepless nights, the petty jealousies. And through it all Dancing dares to ask the question: Will love survive? It's also the first starring vehicle for Perlmutter and some studio insiders wonder if he can carry a picture on his own. But Perlmutter doesn't seem worried: "Allen is the kind of character an audience can relate to.... there's definite sequel potential there." Of course, only time will tell if today's movie-going audience is ready to love again. But don't be surprised if this sleeper hit dances off with an Otto on awards night.

Erotic Thrillers

Inside Jennifer Juniper (2002, Col., MiniDV, 5 min.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Starring: Daniel Perlmutter, Mark Slutsky, Jessica Moss, Chad Jones, Seth W. Owen
"Jennifer Juniper is that rarest of cases: a double personality. One moment she's Jennifer, that sweet, adorable girl we've all come to love. And the next she's Juniper, her dark doppelganger..." A hard-bitten detective. A series of mysterious murders. Jennifer Juniper, a beguiling psychotic killer. Such is the set-up for Automatic Vaudeville's intense, controversial erotic thriller. There's nothing "basic" about the "instincts" on display here.


Unfinished Epics

Ghosts on the Moon (1999, Col./B&W, MiniDV, ?? min.)
dir: Otto Vaude.
Starring: Fearless Astronauts, Ghosts.
Is there anything more terrifying than the idea that there could be ghosts... on the moon!? Automatic Vaudeville didn't think so when they started this production. But they could never have guessed just how scary it would be. Too scary, in fact, to finish filming.

Krangor: Legend of the Galaxy (2003, Col., Live Action With CGI Backgrounds, ?? min.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Starring: Mark Slutsky, two beautiful spaceships.
Slutsky's sci-fi epic was to chronicle the courtship of two high powered space-crafts, Zarodny 14-a and Nelbor 36, and their elaborate, FX-heavy wedding at the core of the galaxy. Unfortunately, when no one in the studio could figure out how to get two spaceships to fall in love, this one went back to the drawing board. (UPDATE: With recent advances in CGI technology—as witnessed in such films as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow—excitement is again running high for Krangor. "We have the science now," Slutsky was recently quoted as saying, "to make our wonderful dreams come true." Watch this space!)

Yankee Girls Fight For Glory
(2002, B&W, Super-8, ?? min.)
dir: Seth W. Owen
Starring: Stefanie-Ann Brisson, Cristina Covello, Tammy Lawrence, Thea Metcalfe, Jessica Moss, Nadia Moss, Laura Perlmutter, and Ryan Adams.
Though the American Civil War has been brought to the screen before, never have we had a film that dared tell the story of the brave Union nurses who tread the front lines and paved the way for many to follow. This was to be one of Automatic Vaudeville's greatest triumphs, until a roll of film went missing (still an unsolved mystery) and the production fell apart. Nontheless, the surviving footage contains some of the most striking imagery ever put to Super-8 film. With sensational period costumes by Cristina Covello.


Radio Ranch

The Underworld Broadcasts (2002-2003, B&W, Super-8, 15 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Eric Hart, Jenna Wright, Natalia Berlin, Maia Filar & Lorna Wright
Automatic Vaudeville's throw-back to the serials of yesteryear, The Underworld Broadcasts tells the story of Oliver, a lonely flower salesman, who falls in love with Anne, a demon escaped from the Underworld. The first three chapters have thus-far been produced but keep your eyes peeled: more to come. Historical Note: Features the introduction of Betty and Dotty, the Jr. Crime Fighters.

Prisoner of Zenda: The Lost Film: Restored. (10min: Super-8/Mini-DV: 2004)
Dir. D.S. Perlmutter
Music by Nadia Moss
Starring: Eric Hart, Jenna Wright, Maia Filar, Lorna Wright, Mark Slutsky, Justin Keith, Laura Perlmutter, Gil Filar and Seth W. Owen as Duke Michael.
In the fall of 2003, while rummaging through the Automatic Vaudeville vaults, Daniel Perlmutter came across a small canister of film simply labeled: POZ. “I assumed at first that it was just another one of Slutsky’s ‘incomplete’ sci-fi projects,” the head of production says, clearly reciting a well-worn speech, “But as the first frames flickered across the screen I realized this was something altogether different.” What Perlmutter had found was a long-thought lost silent screen version of the Prisoner of Zenda, the classic swashbuckling adventure. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Perlmutter continued, “I mean, of course I had heard about this film, it had been Automatic Vaudeville’s first literary adaptation, ah, the first sword fight in the AVS canon. But my understanding was that the film had simply been destroyed or left at a bus station or something.”
Thankfully, it had not. “Now, not all the footage has survived, but through a painstaking recovery process, using production designs, storyboards, and a radio drama that was produced simultaneously with the film, we’ve been able to reconstruct what we feel is a fairly accurate portrait of the original project.” And when all is said and done what does Perlmutter have to say about the restored film? “Well, as you might know, there have been several successful screen adaptations of this story, but as far as we know this one is the shortest.” And we all hope that it will be short for a long, long time to come!


Teddy Bears Picnic (2000, B&W, Super-8, 9 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Ben Blase and Lorna Wright
Behind every tree lies a mystery, in every picnic basket a skeleton. Journey into the woods with a young couple as they face off against the elements known.... and unknown. Screwball comedy? Psychological thriller? Razor sharp social satire? You be the judge.


Mysteries

The Sophisticated Detectives (2001, Col. MiniDV, 30 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Nadia Moss, Seth W. Owen, Lorna Wright, Thea Metcalfe, Samir Mallal
Music by: Nadia Moss
An all-star detective romp with action, intrigue and plenty of sexual tension. Join sleuthing cousins Velveeta Duvet and Monterey Jack as they delve into a mystery so bizarre, so... mysterious, that they're not even sure what the crime is. (Historical Note: the first film to be presented in Automatic Vaudeville's patented CHOOSE-O-RAMA.) A troubled production that nonetheless turned out to be a roaring success, be sure to check out the whole story behind The Sophisticated Detectives in Here’s Looking at Us: Chapter One: The First Five Years: 1998-2003: Our Story. And keep your eyes peeled for the astonishingly exciting sequel, The Sophisticated Detectives Musical.


Spy Lonesome: Microfilm 1 (Mini-DV: 6 min: 2004)
Dir. S.W. Owen
Music by Nadia Moss
Starring Camilla Ingr, Chad Jones, Daniel Perlmutter
Seth W. Owen sighs with a weary fortitude. The confused reception given to the first Spy Lonesome Microfilm has clearly been putting him through the wringer. The project is, after all, one that he has been trying to get off the ground for over five years, a project that has seen shoots in Montreal, Paris, London and Vienna, a project that has always threatened to spiral ever more out of control. Microfilm #1 is but a small jigsaw piece of the much larger puzzle that is Spy Lonesome - a labyrinthine espionage epic for which Owen can provide no easy explanation. “It’s tough to make sense of an espionage thing,” he says, overlooking a bank of video monitors where several Microfilm feeds unfurl chaotically, “It’s taken me five years, and I still don’t have a clue what’s going on, and apparently neither does anyone else.” Through the fog of subterfuge, one thing is abundantly clear – Microfilm 1 features star-making turns from rock & roll superstars Camilla Ingr and Chad Jones. ORDER YOUR OFFICIAL SPY LONESOME MICROCARD™ AND YOU CAN PLAY ALONG WITH THE SUPER SPIES!

Euro Art Films

Travels in a Treacherous Land: Approach to the Castle (2001, B&W, Super-8, 4 min.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Slutsky's notorious 1999 jaunt to Europe provided the fodder for this enigmatic picture, filmed on location in Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Krakow, and various other continental locales. An impressionistic, moody mystery of a picture.

The Successor (2002, B&W/colour, Super-8 film and 35mm stills, 7 min.)
dir: Mark Slutsky
Starring: Adam Gollner, Lena Katvolgyi
Music: Adam Gollner and Liane von Balaban
Technical Advisor: Phillippe Blanchard
In 2002 Slutsky would return to Europe, with the aim of producing a follow-up to the underground smash Approach to the Castle. Rendezvousing in Budapest with his friend Adam Gollner, Slutsky tapped the Magyar-Canadian bad boy to star opposite Hungarian ingenue Lena Katvolgyi in this mythologically-inspired tale of lost meetings. Notable for its use of advanced experimental Super-8/35mm still "morphing" techniques.

The Schandcycle

SCHANDFILM (SHAMEFILM) (2004, MiniDV, 8 min.)
dir: Owen/Perlmutter/Slutsky.
Starring: Liane Balaban, Nick Robinson, Louis Pearson, Sarah Diffenderfer, Raf Katigbak & An American Gorilla

"Play[s] like a lost collaboration between Maya Deren and Mack Sennett." —Jason Anderson, EYE Weekly

SCHANDFILM is a shattering new piece of cinematic scandal. A gaudy whore of surrealist desire, Schandfilm features a smorgasbord of dreamlike imagery and shattering political commentary, all in the service of creating a profound mythology for the modern age. The “first shot fired” in Automatic Vaudeville’s wildly ambitious Schandcycle, Schandfilm had its world premiere at the 2004 Pop Montreal music festival, winning the Prix D’Audacité in the filmPOP sidebar. Warning: Contains mature imagery of a nature not suitable for children and those with nervous dispositions. Screened at our Hi-Class Picture Show in Toronto with a special live soundtrack by Schandkollektief (in a rare Toronto appearance). Additional Montreal performance to be announced soon.

SCHANDFILM ZWEI (SHAMEFILM TWO) (2005, MiniDV, 5 min.)
dir. Owen/Perlmutter/Slutsky
Starring: Jessica Moss, Chad Jones, Nadia Moss, Raf Katigbak, Nick Robinson & An American Gorilla
If SCHANDFILM was transgressive, then SCHANDFILM ZWEI is downright explosive. Deepening the mythos only hinted at in the first film, ZWEI re-introduces all of your favourite characters, revealing secrets, alliances, and deadly betrayals beyond your wildest imaginings. Disgust, delight, joy, anger, contempt, loathing, revulsion, erotic experimentation and much, much more co-mingle in this filthy, wonderful stew. As with its predecessor, children are not encouraged to watch unless they are particularly brilliant and emotionally capable.


Oddities

Hot Sausage (1999, MiniDV, 8 min.)
dir. Jimmy Wow
Starring: Angie Gammage, Ryan Adams, Jonny Diamond
Music by: Eric Digras
The first film in Automatic Vaudeville's unPorn series, Hot Sausage lays bare the sordid world of the breakfast eater. When a gorgeous young nurse invites a handsome park ranger to join her in for the most important meal of the day it's time for a greasy gorge-fest the like of which has never been seen before.
(Available on Your Hi-Class DVD Vol. 1)


Where Are My Panties? (1999, B&W, MiniDV, 8 min.)
Dir. Otto Vaude
Starring: Jonny Diamond, Chad Jones, Jessica Moss, Nadia Moss, Seth W. Owen, Daniel Perlmutter, Laura Perlmutter.
With a growing reputation for being Montreal’s premiere gagmeisters, Automatic Vaudeville made a decided move to express its mores serious and artistic aims and ambitions. The result was the dark, dreamlike Where Are My Panties? With its stark black and white photography and surreal imagery, Panties? recalls the early work of a Bergman or Buñuel. Contains Nadia Moss’ infamous “Puppet Dance” and her sister Jessica’s equally scandalous “Blindfolded Hula-Hooping.” Production was almost cancelled when the brutal “Wood Slamming” sequence threatened the structural integrity of the studio building. An early precursor to AVS’s current Schandcycle. Never released.

Mysteriola (1999, mixed media, 25 min.)
dir: S.W. Owen
Starring: Jon Diamond, Jenna Wright, Daniel Perlmutter.
Music by: Go #1 Detective Squad.
The first installment of director Owen’s uber-enigmatic multi-media sensation, Mysteriola was performed with an electrifying live avant-garde score by Jessica Moss, Eric Digras, and Harris Newman. In one of her first AVS performances, Jenna Wright’s strikingly (and disturbingly) naturalistic performance made her an overnight sensation. Further installments of Mysteriola were undone by the director’s drunken inability to operate a VCR correctly.

Hay is for Horses (1998, MiniDV, 5 min.)
dir: Otto Vaude
Starrring: Eric Digras, Mark Slutsky.
Shot on the abandoned Western sets of He Killed for Love, Hay is for Horses was Automatic Vaudeville’s first musical. It finds two cowboys (Digras, Slutsky) settling an argument by breaking into a “straight from the hip” song and dance number the likes of which have never been seen before or since.


Retrospective Documentaries

Cat's in the Bag: The Unmaking of O.C. II (1999, Col. MiniDV, 30 min.)
dir: Daniel Perlmutter
Starring: Seth W. Owen, Mark Slutsky, Nadia Moss, Jon Diamond.
Cat's In The Bag offers viewers a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes at Automatic Vaudeville. The film chronicles the disasters that plagued the filming of Obtained Covenants 2: Son of Psychic Cat. The doc features never-before-seen footage of OC2, as well as revealing interviews with some of AVS' biggest stars.

AUTOMATIC VAUDEVILLE PRESENTS A PERSPECTIVES SERIES PRODUCTION: “HERE’S LOOKING AT US” CHAPTER ONE: THE FIRST FIVE YEARS: AUTOMATIC VAUDEVILLE 1998-2003: OUR STORY (2003, miniDV, 65min.)
dir. Owen/Slutsky/Perlmutter
Starring: The Automatic Vaudeville Players.
Automatic Vaudeville Studios Presents A Perspectives Series Production: “Here’s Looking At Us” Chapter One: The First Five Years: Automatic Vaudeville 1998-2003: Our Story is a film every bit as grandiose and impressive as its title would suggest. “Here’s Looking at Us” tells the amazing true life story of Montreal’s Automatic Vaudeville Studios, a low-budget outfit with its head in the stars and its feet planted firmly on an Ottoman.
Told through the recollections of a highly attractive assortment of Automatic Vaudeville’s studio chiefs, actors, writers, directors, musicians and crew members, and illustrated with a barrage of clips, “Here’s Looking at Us” is a dizzying journey through the only cinema history that really matters: the cinema history that is distinctly Our Story.
From the early days of Westerns, gangster pics, and low budget slasher films like When The Hippies Get Killed, to the musical grandeur of All About Town and Hay is for Horses!, to the skillet-based erotics of Hot Sausage!, Automatic Vaudeville Studios has been entertaining Montreal audiences for five years, with little technical know-how and barely a dollar to its name. Here, finally, is the long awaited peek behind the curtain.
Let it be known, however, that “Here’s Looking at Us” is no promotional diatribe, no fancy whitewash job – this is gloves off, shoot-from-the-hip, name names kind of stuff – the studio’s dirty laundry laid out for all to see. It’s a highly illuminating and very uncensored look at the stories behind the movies – the scintillating controversies, intense rivalries, and unhinged ego trips that have made the studio what it is today. Watch in amazement as rabid alcoholism and a missing camera derail Obtained Covenants 2: Son of Psychic Cat! Weep for the lost footage that sunk the Civil War nurses epic Yankee Girls Fight for Glory! And gasp at the intrigue and ingenuity that made The Sophisticated Detectives a surprise hit – and the first film to feature Automatic Vaudeville’s near-patented Choose-O-Rama process!
It is a story five years in the making, and the most remarkable thing of all is that EVERY WORD IS TRUE! This is independent cinema’s greatest moment, and best kept secret. “Here’s Looking at Us” must be seen to be believed.
(Available on Your Hi-Class Picture Show Vol.1)