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Apocalypse Oz

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Release Date: 
Advance Screener
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Ewan Tilford
Alexandra Gizela
MC Gainey
Brian Poth
Bottom Line: 

Mash-ups are a growing part of radio and internet audio shows.  Pushing different melodies together over a beat or even the same rhythm tracks is becoming a more mature piece as tracks are made more available by recording artists.  DJ’s do it all the time in head-to-head soundclashes.  Cineclash Productions has decided to do the same with films, in a very unique and new way.

The studio essentially uses two different films as a resource, and then creates a new telling of their stories.  In this case, Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz have been used to create a modern story which evolved from the two earlier stories.  The rules are relatively simple according to director Ewan Telford.  The plot and characters are hybrids of the first films, and the dialogue must be sampled from either film.  No new dialogue is introduced, but the lines from the source films may be molded together.  One great example is Dorothy’s chant, “there’s no horror like home”.

Apocalypse Oz tells the story of Dorothy Willard (Gizela), who is stuck in Kansas with her abusive aunt and uncle.  Soon, she is dispatched to go deep into the desert and to hunt down and “terminate with extreme prejudice” the renegade codenamed The Wizard.  As it turns out, The Wizard is none other than Dorothy’s father, leading her to take an action she may be unwilling, or unable, to complete.

The film is very slickly shot, making the most of Gizela’s ability to layer Dorothy’s confusion with her other emotions; anger, discontent or fear as the scene demands.  Kevin Glikmann is properly over-the-top as Kilgore, the “I’ll get you, my pretty” cop who is equally manic and obsessed.  Brian Poth is perfect in his brief role as The Wizard’s doorman.  “Lost” viewers will recognize The Wizard (MC Gainey) as Mr. Friendly on the ABC series.

Telford does a great job in his use of speed and color to bring out the best of his screenplay (with nods to eight different writers as source material).  There’s an early kill which will have a lot of viewers laughing with gratitude.

The movie has already garnered its share of acclaim.  It was an official selection in eight different festivals in 2006.  It won the Audience award at the Filmstock International Film Festival.

Is there danger in this type of film?  Are there licensing and distribution issues when using others’ published material?  Telford says no.  Because both movies were adaptations of older text, intellectual property issues are almost non-existent.  In an interview on the film’s site,, Coppola himself welcomes the writers’ use of his original material, calling it a “cultural transfer”.
The only knock on Apocalypse Oz is that it’s too short.  It’s stupid to even consider that a bad thing, understood, and with the project coming from such a unique origin, it’s understandable that the first step is with a short film.  (Running time is only 25 minutes.)  The good news is that Telford is already working on a full-length version, one which hopefully will bring some behind-the-scenes and commentaries to its DVD format.

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