Will April Mullen be nominated for the Niagara Falls Arts & Culture Wall of Fame ?

John Law, journalist for the Well and Tribune (Ontario, Canada) thinks that April Mullen should be nominated for the Niagara Falls Arts & Culture Wall of Fame. Do you agree ?

April Mullen-Headshot 2013 (2)

Like any wall of fame, it’s not just about who’s on it, but who’s missing. The criteria seems cloudy with our own Niagara Falls Arts & Culture Wall of Fame. There have been some odd choices over the years. People that certainly warrant recognition and respect, but I’m not sure what they had to do with arts and culture.

So, yeah, there have been some head scratchers. But most years, they get it right. Last year, an obvious inclusion like local blues legend John ‘T Bone’ Little was joined by fashion designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran, the late artist Jennifer Garrett, theatre producer Linus Hand, House & Home brand owner Lynda Reeves, and military documentary producer Daniel Rodrique.

A great group. And yet, heading into its 10th year, the Arts & Culture Wall of Fame still has a few bewildering omissions. This year’s inductees should be announced some time next month. Here are five names I hope to see on that list :

1. MICHAEL MADDEN – I’ve stopped asking him how many theatre shows he has directed. He probably lost count a decade ago. Madden has been a fixture at the Firehall Theatre for at least 45 years, giving hundreds of people their first experience on stage. He has slowed down a bit in recent years, and jokes he isn’t as crusty as he used to be, but can still be counted on to direct at least one show per season with the Niagara Falls Music Theatre Society.

2. GREG FRASER & STEVIE SKREEBS – When hair metal was a thing, Niagara Falls had a pretty big player in the game. Though they never broke through in the U.S., Brighton Rock – formed by Fraser and Skreebs in 1982 – had plenty of Canadian hits like One More Try and Can’t Wait For the Night. They still have devoted fans and tour with their original line-up, even with Fraser and Skreebs forming another band in 2007, Fraze Gang.

3. NANCY ZIMMERMAN – Zimmerman had a profound effect on several local artists while teaching at the Peterson Community Workshop in Chippawa. She started a citywide art competition among the high schools called the Peterson Cup, and her vibrant, colourful paintings frequently sell out. She’s a former member of the Niagara Falls Arts & Culture Committee and, oh yeah, she’s Deadmau5’s mom.

4. PETER KRANTZ – Krantz is currently in his 28th season at the Shaw Festival, and his versatile stint there has made him one of the company’s most respected performers. He has also done movies (Exotica, The Ref) and TV (The X-Files, Tek Wars), but his many memorable roles at Niagara’s world-reknowned theatre company makes him an obvious choice.

5. APRIL MULLEN – Though her career is still in its early stages, Mullen has already claimed her own unique corner of Canadian cinema. The former Miss Teen Niagara made a brief appearance in a David Cronenberg movie (A History of Violence), before directing her first movie in 2007, Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way of the Tosser. Since then she has directed comedies (Dead Before Dawn, GravyTrain), a thriller (88) and the upcoming horror flick Farhope Tower, all of them filmed locally.

Source : Well and Tribune (29/08/2015)

Melanie Mullen brings thriller Backcountry back home

Though she’s listed as Associate Producer, there was a day on set of the indie thriller Backcountry that Melanie Mullen was in charge. First order of business ? Deal with the bear that was rummaging around the set. Only appropriate for a movie about a bear stalking a young couple through the woods.

Melanie Mullen @ Backcountry 2015 (1)

“It’s Day One, starting a 19-day adventure of shooting a movie in the woods, and there’s a real bear that’s coming at us,” says Mullen, the Niagara Falls-born sister of director April Mullen. “We had somebody come in and train us on what to do, like a Bear Alert Team !”

On another occasion, the trailers for the film’s stars got stuck in the mud “in the middle of nowhere.” Mullen had to arrange for another truck to find them and pull them out of the muck. “That was like my initiation to a Canadian movie,” she says. When she hooked up with the film’s actual producer later, she said “now I’m good to go. I can do anything if I could do that.”

Directed by Adam MacDonald, the Canadian-made Backcountry has earned several strong reviews since it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It follows a city couple played by Jeff Roop and Missy Peregrym as they ditch modern amenities for a weekend getaway in the woods. While camping, they encounter an off-putting stranger, played by Eric Balfour, who wears out his welcome fast. But as the couple depart, they become lost while being tracked by a black bear. L.A. Times critic Robert Abele says the film “brings on the bloody, but it finds atmospheric ways to depict how the bucolic hush of a nature getaway can morph into a survival nightmare for the unprepared.”

Bringing a movie to her hometown is a familiar feeling for Mullen’s sister April, the director of 88, Dead Before Dawn and the upcoming horror flick Farhope Tower. Mullen has appeared briefly in all her sister’s films, and took a hands-on approach behind the scenes as well. For Backcountry, she was initially hired as ‘sustainability co-ordinator’ – helping reduce waste and minimize the film’s environmental impact – but producers felt she deserved a larger title.

“They said ‘You’re doing way more than just sustainability co-ordinating, you should be the associate producer.'” But keeping the film as green as possible was still her focus. Her efforts during Dead Before Dawn earned the film a Green Screen Award at the Planet in Focus Film Festival.

Melanie Mullen @ Backcountry 2015 (2)

“For moviemaking, you build a whole world and then you end up wasting the whole world,” says Mullen. “It’s a lot of waste, not a lot of longterm thinking. For April’s movies and with Backcountry, we just tried to reduce waste as much as we could.” Mullen was on set every day for the Backcountry shoot, shot mostly in North Bay and then about a week in Vancouver for the bear footage.

“Everybody was terrified (at first),” she recalls. “But it’s funny, because the bears were 90 per cent bum when we got there. Their whole bodies were bum with a little head, and they were so cuddly. “They looked pretty sweet. They were all eating Timbits. It was like the most Canadian movie ever !”

The film opens for a one-week engagement at the Niagara Square Cinemas starting Aug. 28.

Source : Niagara Falls Review (19/08/2015)

“Farhope Tower” poster

The “Farhope Tower” poster has been unveiled… Check out for stills and pics from the set very soon !

Farhope Tower 2015

First stills of “Farhope Tower”

Check out the first stills of April & Tim’s next movie “Farhope Tower”.

April Mullen & Tim Doiron @ Farehope Tower still 2015 (1)


Don’t forget that the world premiere is schedule for August 30, 2015 in London during the FrightFest.

‘Farhope Tower’ world premiere at the London Film4FrightFest

Film4FrightFest is the UK’s premiere international fantasy and horror film festival.  Founded in 2000, it is now in its 16th year.  Each August, FrightFest attracts thousands of genre fans to the heart of London’s West End to enjoy five packed days of premieres, previews, personal appearances, signings and surprises.

April and Tim‘s next movie ‘Farhope Tower‘ will have its World Premiere here, at the festival (see former post).

FrightFest 2015


August 30, 2015 – 14:00 FARHOPE TOWER (UK Premiere)

Director: April Mullen. Cast: John White, Tim Doiron, Evan Williams, April Mullen, Laurie Collins. Canada 2015. 82 mins.

Synopsis : Five paranormal investigators venture into the infamous Farhope Tower, known for its dark history of unexplained suicides, with dreams of landing a Reality TV deal. But they get more than they bargained for when they enter the strangely ever-changing layout, lair of the most powerful spirits they’ve every faced. For once inside the derelict structure an omnipresent evil begins manipulating the team, and the higher they climb the more everything spirals out of control. For heaven’s sake, don’t go up! From the filmmakers behind ’88’ and ‘Dead before Dawn 3D’ comes a classy chiller to leave you super-creeped out.

Ticket will be available from July 4th, 2015 HERE.

Team Wango! will be in London for the World Premiere !

“88” screening at the Niagara Falls Comic Con

There will be a free screening of “88” directed by April Mullen and written by Tim Doiron at the Niagara Falls Comic Con. You can check it out in the main Theatre on Saturday, June 6th at 6.00 pm during the event !

88 banner

Katharine Isabelle interviews for “88”

Check out what Katharine Isabelle had to say in two recent interviews, doing promo for “88” :

–       Did you approach your part in 88 as two different characters ?

–       I had to, to keep them straight. I got the script a day and a half before we started shooting. April was great at keeping me on track with who was I, where were we, what just happened, and what was about to happen.

–       I imagine you had a lot of questions for the writer-director team.

–       I did, but there is not a lot of time when you’re shooting a low-budget independent Canadian feature. It was mostly last-minute panic questions.

–       How gruelling was the shooting, given that the entire movie hinges on you ?

–       It was gruelling. I’m in every scene except one. It was long hours. But when you have a great crew and a great script, it’s not painful. Also, we didn’t do many takes and the pace we shot at worked in my favour. If you do the same scene again and again, it can get stale.

–       You seem to eat a lot of food in 88.

–       I did. There was a scene in particular in which I’m swallowing pancakes, milk and smoking a cigarette. I had a barf bucket next to me just in case. I’m not fond of pancakes and, if I was ever in Fear Factor and they give me a glass of cold milk, I would be out right away (…)

Source : Interview – Katharine Isabelle, Low Budget Muse (The Canadian Crew 08/05/2015)

88 Official Trailer 2015 (54)

– You called working on 88 one of the best experiences of your career. Can you elaborate ?

Well, it’s one of those things where you’re thrown immediately into it. And we had such an amazing crew. I mean, I joke that they were about 15, but they were about twentysomething. So they were really young, really enthusiastic, really wanting to be there.

And I mean, what’s not to like ? I got go around shooting guns and working with the amazing Christopher Lloyd and Tim [writer and actor Tim Doiron] and April [Mullen]. It was just so much fun. We had a wrap party where our gun guy let us blast a couple of blank rounds into the sky ! No one felt like it was work. It was just a big party with guns ! (…)

Source : Katharine Isabelle on 88, Hannibal, and Why She Likes Playing (and Working With!) Horror’s “Timeless Bitches” (The Mary Sue Interview 17/05/2015)


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