Clapboard Jungle

Directed by Justin McConnell


Official selection

Canadian Film Festival, Night Visions, Frightfest


Justin McConnell


N/A (Documentary)


Michael Biehn, Larry Cohen, Barbara Crampton, Guillermo Del Toro, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Frank Henenlotter, George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Paul Schrader, Richard Stanley


Justin McConnell, Darryl Shaw


Sean Motley


Kevin Burke, Justin McConnell


Unstable Ground Inc.

Canada 2020 98 mins OV English/Japanese
Genre Documentary

Join us on September 1st at 3:00pm EDT for a live Q&A with JUSTIN MCCONNELL and VINCENZO NATALI.

So you want to make a movie? The tools are easier than ever to get your hands on, but finding backing, and then achieving a release, is tougher than ever. That’s the uncertain territory independent filmmakers like Justin McConnell have been navigating in the 2000s, and that he explores in this years-in-the-making documentary. Beginning with his childhood inspirations and aspirations and continuing into his adult life in the business, McConnell takes us on a guided tour of the perilous waters of financing, production, and distribution. Following the completion of his 2011 thriller THE COLLAPSED, he strives and struggles to get bigger projects like TRIPPED, THE ETERNAL and MARK OF KANE off the ground, and along the way we meet his collaborators, potential angels, and many filmmakers and actors from the genre-film spectrum offering their thoughts on the craft and challenges of getting your vision on the screen.

CLAPBOARD JUNGLE is a true warts-and-all chronicle, as McConnell doesn’t shy away from the disappointments and self-doubts that plague him during the long, long process. There are moments of triumph, too, as when he gets his superior shapeshifter shocker LIFECHANGER (Fantasia 2018) before the cameras. Amidst his own experiences, McConnell weaves in observations from his wide spectrum of interviewees, from masters (Guillermo del Toro, George A. Romero, Tom Holland, Mick Garris) to mavericks (Larry Cohen, Larry Fessenden, Frank Henenlotter, Buddy Giovinazzo) to veteran actors (Dick Miller, Barbara Crampton, Sid Haig, Michael Biehn) to indie sensations (Gigi Saul Guerrero, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, Jenn Wexler, Mike Mendez, Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer). Their words will both engross fans and educate aspiring auteurs seeking guidance for their own efforts. And not just those aiming to scare their audiences; CLAPBOARD JUNGLE touches on subjects germane to every kind of filmmaking, from finding the right collaborators to the importance of festivals and packaging to dealing with reviews. This is a heavily Fantasia-centric doc too, with visits to the fest and its Frontières market and appearances by a number of familiar faces. So for all those missing the Fantasia experience this year, CLAPBOARD JUNGLE may be the next best thing to being there. – Michael Gingold