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Interview with Julien Bodivit - alias Kérozène - March 2003

Julien Bodivit - alias Kérozène - March 2003

If there's anyone trying to do something to perpetuate Fantastic cinema it's definitely this guy !
Festival organizer, writer for fanzines, killer condom in lost times, Julien tries to share his passion with envy.
The second Lausanne Underground Film Festival (LUFF) which is scheduled this year, inspired me to find out more about this person.
Oh My Gore : "Julien, first of all, would you introduce yourself to the Oh My Gore public ?"

I am the manager of "The Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival" (LUFF) and I also do the programming for the "Etranges Nuits du Cinéma" festival (Strange Nights of Cinema) at La Chaux de Fonds, both festivals take place in Switzerland. On the side, I write a little also for the fanzines "Trash Times" and "Susperia".
The festival of Chaux de Fonds is oriented B series, genre and exploitaion movies.

Oh My Gore : "It's the second edition of LUFF, when standing back, what will you change in comparison to the first one ?"

The beginning of LUFF is a little chaotic in reality.
At first, it was only simple early night projections taking place in a squat a couple of kilometers from Lausanne. The programming was based on selected movies from the "New York Underground Film Festival". After two or three editions like this, it was decided that we should give it more importance and make it a real festival. Just a brief story, it took place in the city of Vevey, where took place at one time the festival of comedy films - Vevey is the city in which Charlie Chaplin spent the rest of his life. End of story.
Anyway, it was no longer about simply showing movies, but about integrating a short films contest and invite the directors.
We had already invited Nick Zedd to pay homage to this underground New-York director the year before, and now we have all of a sudden ten directors. At that time we had only a room at our disposition. The festival manager did not want to renew this experience and therefore it was I who took up the torch. We moved the festival to Lausanne, which is much larger, and where is located the Suisse cinemathèque which was ok in receiving us.
At that point, we were bursting with crazy ideas and when considering most of our troop, we had no experience. What followed were four contests, four locations for the projections, free open air projections, concerts every night from 11 to four in the morning, one exhibition, guests, conferences, etc... we almost did it all !
But the errors were numerous, and because of that we all got a big smack in the face. The festival was, to our surprise, a big success, but the organization was bad. At the end of the week, we were completely worn out.
Organizing an event the way we did it was bad, never did I imagine at what point it could be a mess. So, for the year 2003, the first change consisted of making sure that responsibilities and tasks were better distributed, and in terms of programming, we'll probably be less oriented horror cinema. The press had logically put on front stage Troma's presence as well as the homage we paid to José Mojica Marins and forgot the rest. Because of that, the public believed that underground is assimilated with gore and horror.
Now the question is what is underground, a question that has as many answers as there are individuals.

Oh My Gore : "Last year, we got Lloyd Kaufman and his crazy team, as well as a small retrospective Coffin Joe, what are we to expect this year ?"

For this year it's a little early to talk about it, but I have the intention of paying homage to the movement Panic with a couple of movies by Jodorwski and Arrabal. I'm thinking, but nothing is for sure yet, it depends on a lot of things, of paying homage to the film director Ian Kierkhoff that I discovered at "L'Etrange Festival" in Paris.

Oh My Gore : "Why was the date planned for the festival changed from June, like last year, to October ?"

The reason is really simple. The location in which the festival takes place, called the Casino of Montbenon, had the Suisse cinemathèque as well as one theatre under its wings. It's in this theatre that our concerts take place and the thing is it was already reserved for the month of June 2003.

Oh My Gore : "Have you ever wanted to cross over as an actor or movie director ?"

Yes, of course, it's actually what I wanted to do after high school graduation, I packed my bags and left for California to take classes, and after unwanted unexpected events but that had nothing to do with the teaching, I came back to Europe where I started studies that had nothing to do with what I had started.
At the same time, I worked for a show on a local channel and in which we focused on film directors from around the region.
The idea of making a short is still to date, the scenario is ready as well as the troop, but we lack cash and the Swiss institutions aren't too keen on financing a film about incestuous cannibals.

Oh My Gore : "What all goes on in organizing such a festival, it must be a lot of work, no ?"

It's monstrous work. I don't even try to imagine what it represents to put in place festivals such as Bruxelles or Sitges. And yet they're used to it, and receive payment for most of them.
As for us, we're all volunteers, we have jobs on the side. So we can't really invest ourselves enough in organizing like we would have wanted such a festival. The most difficult task in the beginning is to get the necessary budget together, finding sponsors and financial aid is a really annoying thing to do and not always gratifying.
When you add 15 refusals at once, it's discouraging. But when it's not the case, it's party time. Then you have to think about logistics, managing copies of movies, managing the bars and the drinks, the ticket office, the volunteers, be on schedule, receive the guests and the public of course...
It's when you're neck deep in shit that you come to realize what it all represents, and there's always unexpected things that happen at the last minute that end up driving you stark raving mad! And we're going to do everything to avoid that kind of thing this year.

Oh My Gore : "You also participate in organizing the 2003Plan9, do you have still time to sleep ?"

Yeah, I'm ok, I take care of myself :).

Oh My Gore : "Ok, you're Swiss, but what do you think of the Gore/Fantastic cinema in France? And in general ?"

Just for information, I'm not Swiss, but really French... which doesn't change anything :D.
Honestly, the horror cinema seems to be doing well in general. I'm not a partisan of the "it was better before" attitude. The number of Gore/ trash productions that are released is pretty impressive. Sure, the movies don't have that retro feel of the 1970's movies that I love so much, but at that time, we said the same thing concerning the 1950's movies.
When considering Horror in the French cinema, well it's doing well in the sense that France was never very productive in that area. Quality is not always there, but when we see movies like "MALEFIQUE" for example, we can think to ourselves that there is potential. In a general matter, Fantastic is doing well, and the latest edition of "Fantastic' Arts" proves it to be the case, we could find movies that are very good and very gore, like "MAY" and "CABIN FEVER".

Oh My Gore : "Which film director would you have liked to invite at the LUFF ??"

In 2000, at Vevey, we wanted for John Walters to come. Of course, today, he doesn't care about small festivals like ours. It's ok though, but it would have pleased me. I'd like for Jodorowski to come this year if we do this program Panic, otherwise I'd like for Richard Kern to come, one of the majors in underground New-York cinema in the '80s. I'd also would have liked for Jean-Louis Costes to come but the rest of the LUFF team is not really motivated, one wonders why : D. I wanted also for José Marins to come last year, unfortunately it was not possible, but we at least were honored by André Finotti's presence who worked on the Coffin Joe documentary : The Strange World of José Mojica Marins.

Oh My Gore : "Your projects for the LUFF ?"

We are not lacking ideas, but one LUFF at a time !
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