For the last year or so, a friend from uni has been posting news about the first film he was featured in, an indie grind-house flick called In the House of Files.  I had various bits of on-set footage, latest poster designs, and tidbits about the film festival screenings appearing on my newsfeed from time to time and I finally got a chance to see it this Saturday at Projection Booth East. As you might gather from the title, I’m immensely proud of Ryan.

Ryan Kotack is an actor I’ve worked with throughout school, and been lucky to see his development on the stage as well as share it once (re: that writer profile on the side where I mention something about drag) so when he invited me to the first Toronto screening I was both very excited and a little scared. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get the time off. I’m sure others have the problem of separating the concept of someone they know from the character on screen, it’s something I know I’ve had in the past. It’s not meant to sound negative as it’s often from the viewpoint of being so proud of someone you care about getting a chance to do something they love. I was worried that this might occur, even in a film about two people trapped in a small cellar for several days with nothing to eat or drink. Or worse, the possibility that the film wasn’t very good. What do you say to something like that?

Thankfully, none of my fears came to light. I got the night off and the performances make the movie sit above most other indie films I’ve seen in a long time. Lindsay Smith and Ryan Kotack give performances so raw, I couldn’t help but become invested in their story. Now, for story itself, the film is pretty simple in that regard, but it gave the actors enough space to really get into the moment.

Afterwards, I joined Ryan, some friends, and others involved for a few drinks. We discussed In the House of Flies as well as the shorts that proceeded it in an attempt to understand the point behind them.   I told him, and I genuinely meant it, this film is a very good one to have under your belt as an actor. Especially as a first film, though it is not without flaw. The editing was detrimental to the flow, blackouts were far too many, and the running time was questionable…but damn was I held by the actors and the cinematography. The script would’ve crumbled in the hands of lesser actors, with lines that could seem too obvious or downright lame ended up feeling impressively natural.

I’m not a horror expert and by extension not much of a fan of the genre, so the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival didn’t offer much to my own tastes or understanding or that matter. People who have seen this film and have gotten this far into my kissing of one’s ass might disagree with me. From what my editors tell me, people often do. But in this case, shut up. Ryan and Lindsay kicked some highly troubling ass. Smiley face.