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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.  [April 20, 2005]





[]  Filmmaker Rick Lavon has a DVD distribution deal for his short film, Stiffs by Sid -- and it's thanks to winning the Hollywood Investigator Halloween Horror Film Awards!

Last November -- after reading about Lavon's winning film in the Investigator! -- Jamie Thompson of the North Hollywood based MovieBank contacted the Investigator, asking to be put in touch with Lavon.

As a result, Stiffs by Sid is now one of four zombie- themed short films to be included on the MovieBank's upcoming Zombie Collection DVD set.

The Zombie Collection, to be released later this year, will contain four features (The Last Man on Earth, White Zombie, King of the Zombies, and Night of the Living Dead), plus four shorts and production notes -- including Lavon's notes about Stiffs by Sid.



* World Horror Convention Screening


As an added benefit of winning the Investigator's 2004 horror film contest, Stiffs by Sid was screened at the 2005 World Horror Convention on April 8 and 10, in New York City's prestigious Park Central Hotel.

The Investigator also screened its other prize-winning films: Vlad, Skinwalker: Curse of the Shaman, Jeremy's Wake-Up Call, and the Pitbull Daycare music video, "You Make Me Feel So Dead".

"You Make Me Feel So Dead" director Paul Hough provided the Investigator with free copies of his music video and feature length documentary, The Backyard. The latter is a brutal exposé of the bloody amateur sport of backyard wrestling. Hough's DVDs were some of the prizes in an Investigator random drawing for lucky fans who attended the screenings.

Excited Canadian fans visiting the Big Apple (left) were thrilled to get some of the Hough DVDs and Stiffs by Sid mini-posters after the screening.

Fans were also giddy over meeting Lavon, peppering him with eager questions after his film's screening.

During the Q&A, Lavon explained his innovative casting method. While most filmmakers seek actors through such traditional sources as casting agents, the Independent Feature Project's résumé bank, ads in Backstage, or flyers posted at drama schools, Lavon instead advertised on Craigslist. (He did use one method popular with poor indie filmmakers: casting friends.)

"The worst thing is trying to coordinate everyone's schedule," said Lavon. He recommends that filmmakers "overbook" their casts "because actors will cancel if a better-paying job comes along."  Especially true when one is offering a none-paying job. Although Lavon's lead actor, Theodore Bouloukos, was paid, much of his cast wasn't. (Hey, what are friends for?)

If two actors show up for the same role, says Lavon, one can always be used for background.

Stiffs by Sid was shot entirely in New York, including the grave-robbing scenes set in California's famed Forest Lawn Cemetery. Period-piece stock footage from the Golden State also contributed to the film's tone. Finally, Lavon's film achieved its polished, award- winning look using a 3-chip DV video camera.

Lavon informs the Investigator that Stiffs by Sid will next be screening at New York City's Arlene's GroceryFilm Festival, this coming May.


Are YOU a horror filmmaker seeking publicity? It's never too early to enter our horror film contest!  We review entries as they arrive.

And if you're a filmmaker or actor who doesn't do horror -- we want to hear from you too! Contact us about your project and maybe we'll write a news story about it!

Copyright 2005 by



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