Blood in the Snow Film Festival (BITS), a unique and imaginative showcase of contemporary Canadian genre films, are pleased to announce the Blood in the Snow Film Festival is back for its 12th exciting edition fully in-person November 20th – 25th at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto presented by Super Channel.
Thrillers play a big part of the lineup this year with the festival feature opener Last County by Barret Mulholland and the World Premiere of Walking Supply from director Derek Barnes.
Other highlights include the highly acclaimed My Animal, from director Jacqueline Castel which recently won the Silver Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature at Fantasia and long time alumni Jesse Thomas Cook returns with The Hyperborean. Jesse’s last film to premiere at BITS in 2021, Cult Hero went on to be nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards.
Two short films that originally played at BITS before have been finally made into feature films making their Toronto Premiere at Blood in Snow. Robert Cuffley’s sci-fi film Romi and the festival closes with the gonzo tribute to The Last Video Store by the directing team of Cody Kennedy and Tim Rutherford.
Other titles include the indigenous led horror-comedy anthology series Tales from the Rez and the neo-noir mystery thriller Purgatory Jack by the brotherly Brett Butler and Jason Butler. The festival also includes five feature length short film programs including the highly popular comedy horror program Funny Frights and Unusual Sights and the highly regarded Dark Visions program which will be part of the opening night festivities.
“It has been a challenging time since the pandemic but our partnership with Super Channel has helped us weather that storm for the past three years helping us with online screenings Jacqueline Castel which recently won the Silver Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature at Fantasia in 2020 and hybrid screenings in 2021 and 2022,” said Kelly Michael Stewart, Festival Director and Founder of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival. “Now that we are back fully in-person again for the first time since 2019, I am really glad that we have their continued support along with all of our other sponsors and partners.”
Below is the BITS lineup of features and shorts programs scheduled to screen in-person at the Isabel Bader theatre. All festival features will be preceded by a short film and followed by a Q&A with filmmakers.
Tickets for the Isabel Bader Theatre lineup are on sale now and can be purchased HERE.
BITS2023 Full screening schedule
Monday November 20th
7pm – Dark Visions (103 mins)
Our opening night of the darkest and creepiest films to play Blood in the Snow.
T-Bone dir. Zachary Bennett (8:00)
Jo and Chris relax in their car, recalling awkward moments they’ve shared as a couple over the years. Chris is reluctantly thrust into reality and the resulting tragedy that will forever change his life.
High End Dying dir. Helen Liu (12:24)
When elite level chef Eloise Vaughn receives a scathing review from famed critic Alistair Brown, she invites him back for a private dinner service aimed at redeeming her name. Alistair accepts, and as the service commences, the pair’s shared history is revealed, as are the extreme lengths Eloise is willing to go to impress him.
Sanguine dir. Robin Careless (11:23)
A first date takes an unexpected turn as Mirabel finds herself captured and experimented on by shady figures who believe she isn’t what she seems.
The Monster Inside My Head dir. Maude Michaud (7:48)
A woman is tormented by a menacing creature who tries to take control of her body.
I Can’t Go On dir. Brenna Goodwin-McCabe (12:13)
An alienated young woman discovers a body in her apartment elevator, left to fester under the heels of her unconcerned neighbours.
Twig and Twine dir. Paradox Delilah (15:00)
A camping trip between three friends takes a dark turn when it is discovered one of them isn’t there for relaxation, but to resurrect her missing brother who vanished there fifteen years ago.
Wake Up Frank dir. Jesse Padveen (9:45)
A young car wash attendant discovers his cantankerous old boss’ secret.
Water Moccasin dir. Shelby Adams (5:10)
A group of teenagers visit a so-called haunted island, only to find more than they bargained for.
Blink dirs. Julie Bruns, Steven Kammerer (4:30)
A 1940s housewife struggles with the Sisyphean task of a violent marriage.
Orest Leere and His Marvelous, Mysterious, Malicious Empathy Machine dir. Jeff Smith (10:00)
A dark fairy tale about a man who has isolated himself from the world in his gothic tower. He has created an “Empathy Machine” that allows him to steal memories from his victims, because Orest has none of his own.
Alone dir. AJ Bate (8:19)
A woman stumbles upon a severely injured stranger, the woman realizes she might be the only one that can save the stranger.
9:30 – feature: Last County dir. Barret Mulholland (82 mins)
An alcoholic woman with a marriage on the rocks finds an unlikely ally in a wounded drug mule when the two of them are forced to defend her home from a violent siege of corrupt small town cops.
w/ short: GREED & GORE dir. Adam Kirkey (15:00)
Five criminals pick the wrong safe house to lay low after robbing a bank.
Tuesday November 21st
7pm – Emerging Screams (98 mins)
A collection of short films from brilliant first-time directors and the most promising student filmmakers in Canadian horror.
Stay Alone dir. Lukas Wojcicki (8:14)
A horror movie fanatic’s day takes an unexpected turn and he must now deal with a real life horrific situation of his own that makes him fight between his humanity or his survival.
Cordelia! dir. Melissa Jones (11:34)
A troubled young girl finds playing with fire to be an effective coping mechanism. But when problems at home and school become too hard to bear, she realizes she can use that fire to protect herself.
Sisterhood dir. Heather Woolridge (10:30)
Kathy, a recent sorority pledge, struggles to fit in due to her grief over the passing of her sister Alice.
The middle of the garage dir. Lisa Bolduc (13:00)
The mysterious arrival of a huge trunk in the garage of Pierre’s house turns his life upside down. At 55, with time passing too slowly and dreams gone, loneliness suddenly seems less burdensome. The strange appearance of the object became Pierre’s only obsession, and the discovery of its contents, a new goal in life.
Hot Local Singles Are In Your Area dir. Peter Sreckovic (9:10)
A reclusive PhD Student, Alex, becomes infected with a computer virus during the course of her research into Brain Computer Interface.
Les Monstres (Monsters) dir. Frank Tremblay (15:00)
For as long as 8-year-old Jimmy can remember, his overprotective mother has kept him safe inside their barricaded home, away from the monsters roaming outside. But Jimmy gets increasingly inquisitive, desperate to see what’s out there — despite the danger.
The Haunting of a Ghost dir. Portia Lyn (16:20)
Walter can’t wait for the Johnsons to move into their new house, his personal haunting ground, but when the family move in with their very own demon in tow, Walter is in for one hell of a scare-off.
Zip dir. Ava Maria Safai (15:40)
On her 16th birthday, singer-songwriter Melody awakens with a zipper sewn to her mouth. A story about the voiceless, who must fight to be heard.
9:30 – feature: Purgatory Jack dirs. Brett Butler, Jason Butler (101 mins)
Purgatory Jack is a neo-noir mystery thriller set in the afterlife, a dangerous landscape that’s run by a bloodthirsty, limb-collecting gang and populated with outlaws and outcasts. Former musician turned grizzled private detective, Jack Marlin, has a new case and it’s helping new arrival Viv Vacious, a punk pop star who overdosed, stay safe as she races against time to find her mother who committed suicide twenty years earlier. While navigating the treacherous terrain of hell’s waiting room, these two musicians from clashing eras unlock a murderous conspiracy and discover why blood is more than a drug in Purgatory.
w/ short: Perennials dir. Grant Earl MacIntosh (5:30)
An old woman searches for a priceless item. An intruder arrives. What will they find together?
Wednesday November 22nd
7pm – BITS and BYTES (100 mins)
A special feature-length program of some of the best genre web series, music video and proof of concept films.
The Heart of Ravenscrag dir. Dale Hildebrand (2:00) proof of concept
Castle Ravenscrag held off an enemy siege for over 40 days, only to discover that the greatest enemy… may be the enemy within.
Old Chain dir. Emanuel Foucault (5:00) music video
A girl and her dark shadow live peacefully within an enchanted landscape, until mysterious entities disrupt their harmony.
Night Drives: The Silence of the Library dir. Jono Hunter (3:22) web series Alex and Marianna’s date night gets bogged down with movie trivia.
Old Flames dir. Fugitives (4:37) music video
A haunting portrayal of a recovering addict learning to live with her demons.
Hellbound Taxi dir. Brendan Fell (11:20) proof of concept
Bounty hunter Steve is forced to come out of retirement when his former employers come calling, asking him to track down and dispose of a dangerous fugitive: a demon in human form, recently escaped from Hell.
BrawlStars: Where the Wild Things Were dir. John White (16:08) web series
The BrawlStars interview Big Sean, one of Durham’s most notorious bouncers, about his wildest night on the job. Re-imagined as an 80’s, spine-tingling horror, a cavalcade of creepy characters teach Sean to never judge a book by its cover.
Red Iron Road: In the Heat dir. Sam Chou (17:23) animated web series
When a bruised and battered man claiming to be Santa Clause is arrested for the murder of a child, the interrogating officers uncover a story more bizarre and horrific than expected. A violent Christmas rivalry between the forces of good and evil where the outcome hinges on a promise made decades ago.
Space Disco dir. Walter Sawan (4:17) music video
When dystopian Earth is being attacked by a giant monster from outer space, Thrillhouse, a three-faced beast from the underworld, is humanity’s only hope for survival.
Safron dir. Vanessa Magic (7:56) proof of concept
Armed with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance, a relentless mother embarks on a blood-soaked mission to annihilate the vampire horde responsible for abducting her daughter
Red Iron Road: Lord dirs. Aljosha Kilmov, Hirofumi Nakada (14:09) animated web series
The brutal Lord of a band of renegades sets out on a robber raid across the desert inhabited by nomadic mutant tribes and monstrous beasts in the post-apocalyptic world.
Tiger by The Tail dir. Sharai Rewels (15:35) proof of concept
Boss babes of the 1979 big city disco scene, Cadence and Rex accidentally flood their NYC strip club with a batch of bad drugs. The ensuing murder and chaos forces the duo into hiding at Snake Charmers, a country bar in West Virginia that offers a fresh start.
9:30 – feature: Walking Supply dir. Derek Barnes (90 mins)
After escaping a Russian labour camp, three men must overcome the treacherous wilderness and each other, as their journey home turns into a brutal fight for survival.
w/ short: No More Time dir. Peter Szabo (8:00)
An ageing, troubled man sneaks away from his caregiver and wanders the streets of Barcelona driven to solve a mystery he can only describe with the words, “No more time.”
Thursday November 23rd
7pm – Funny Frights and Unusual Sights (104 mins)
A collection of Canadian shorts premieres, covering a bit of unusual, the surreal, and the lighter side of horror!
The Suckamoto Sales Incident dir. Jeff Robinson (11:53)
Based on True Events — Vacuum salesman collides in an off-beat comedy with a squirt of violence.
Spiritt dir. Kelly Roulette (11:26)
On the way to meeting his Maker, Motorcycle Guy confronts his biggest regret while forcing his gatekeeper to face up to his own.
Heap dir. Kyle Marchen (12:13)
A dark comedy thriller about a woman crushed by the housing crisis, who is forced to lead a sinister double life after discovering a “utopian” society in the building next door.
The Devil’s Note dir. Riley Campbell (7:20)
When a band of rock and roll buskers uncovers a forbidden and mysterious musical note, “the Devil’s Note”, they find more than just a new sound for their band.
Hellmark dir. Jessica Lauren Doucet (12:07)
Despite what Hallmark tells you, throwing your entire life away for the love of a stranger doesn’t always result in a happy ending. Madeline learns this the hard way when her romance ends in horror. Abducted by a crowd of happy cultists and put to work in a Christmas village factory, she’s forced to confront the artificiality of her past and face the terrifying question of: “what now?”
Slip dirs. Sonya Chwyl, Anik Desmarais-Spencer (10:40)
After she is evicted from her basement suite apartment, Laura struggles to find a place to live – until she stumbles onto a horrifying opportunity that may just work to her advantage.
The Good Word dir. Constance Hilton (5:00)
A young mother repeatedly rebuffs two Mormon missionaries.
The Dam (Barrage) dir. Rémi Fréchette (19:00)
In 1964, during the construction of an electric dam, a macabre discovery caused a serious incident. Thinking that the worksite’s communication cut was caused by a broken telephone line, Raymond and Fleurian were sent to the site to repair it. They will be the first to find out what really happened with the workers…
Seed dir. Jacob Weldon (15:45)
Michelle, who is notorious for missing red flags, hooks up with seemingly normal and chill Zack.
9:30 – feature: Romi dir. Robert Cuffley (85 mins)
Forced to hide out at a state of the art smart home, a young woman on the run is terrorized by ROMI, its sinister digital assistant.
w/ short: Ivan dir. Damien Fannon (11:48)
Juliette’s life takes a turn for the worse when she is possessed by an AI device.
Friday November 24th
6:30 pm – Tales from the Rez dir. Trevor Solway (93 mins) – want to cut credits to make it closer to 85 mins
Tales From The Rez is a six-part horror-comedy anthology. Tales from the Rez adapts popular Blackfoot traditional tales and twisted indigenous urban legends to the screen.
w/ short: Cloud Striker dir. A.W. Hopkins (16:13)
Elijah Cloud Striker was stolen. His father rides for weeks, visiting every residential school within hundreds of miles to find him. In the morning the Chief finds the right school, what he walks in on is more than any father can endure. Revenge is the only course of action.
9:00 – feature: The Hyperborean dir. Jesse Thomas Cook (95 mins)
w/ short: Conquest dir. Kate Kroll (6:00)
When an incompetent intergalactic conqueror crash lands at a comic convention, he must find a way to subdue the locals or face the wrath of his merciless counterparts.
Saturday November 25th
4pm – Mournful Mediums (102 mins)
Not too short, not too long! A shorts film program of the best in Canadian medium-length genre films.
White Noise dir. Tamara Scherbak (16:54)
Ava’s debilitating hyper-sensitivity to sound is becoming unlivable. Her doctor’s prescription of exposure therapy backfires as she descends into a fit of panic in class and collapses in a park when bombarded by ambient noise.
Solitary dir. Maninder Chana (16:59)
With minutes left before U.S. forces level a Mujahideen camp, a Sikh prisoner trapped in solitary confinement turns to his faith to make a daring escape.
Cold dir. Liz Whitmere (20:00)
Jane likes things to be clean. Jane has just turned 40. Jane died sometime last week.
She’s cold all the time, her skin is grey, and her appetite is nonexistent. Something is wrong.
Spaghetti dir. M. H. Murray (15:58)
A queer woman is haunted by the ghost of her recently deceased lover on her final night in their home before it is sold.
Cold Light dir. Rogelio Rodriguez (17:40)
In the middle of the night, a beaten young woman is tied to a chair and about to be buried alive by an old big farmer. Being in the middle of nowhere, she seems to have no escape but to try to talk her way out of there. How did she get to be in that position? Only a miracle could help her.
Get Away dir. Michael Gabriele (15:25)
A group of friends spending the weekend at a remote vacation rental in the desert, play a mysterious VHS tape, and realize that there are too many strange and terrifying coincidences.
6:30 pm – feature: My Animal dir. Jacqueline Castel (103 mins)
Heather, an outcast teenage goalie, longs to play on the hockey team of her small northern town. She meets and falls in love with newcomer Jonny, an alluring but tormented figure skater. The girls’ relationship blossoms despite Heather’s struggles with her alcoholic mother, her hidden sexual orientation, and a familial curse that transforms her into a feral wolf under the full moon. Heather and Jonny’s secret tryst soon clashes against the conformity of their small community, exposing dangerous truths and igniting a passionate, violent night of personal transformation.
w/ short: Pest dir. Matthew Broughton (6:00)
A woman calls over a pest controller to deal with an infestation in her house, but not of termites…
9:00 – feature: The Last Video Store dirs. Cody Kennedy, Tim Rutherford (83 mins)
In this love letter to the era of the video store, we follow Nyla who accidentally uncovers a ‘cursed’ V/H/S tape. This film holds the power to connect the real world to a dimension where movie fantasy exists as reality. Nyla and a video store owner unwittingly awaken a long-dormant curse that unleashes a series of classic cinematic villains plucked from the bowels of the B-movies themselves.
w/ short: Saint-Sacrifice dir. Jean-Claude Leblanc (14:30)
He had promised her love and faithfulness until death do them part, but Antoine, the widower, will be willing to lose his soul to be reunited with his wife on the other side.
For full schedule details, visit:
About Blood in the Snow
The Blood in the Snow Film Festival is a unique and imaginative showcase of contemporary Canadian horror, genre and underground cinema that exists to challenge social boundaries, explore artistic taboos and support and exhibit independent Canadian genre media artists. BITS takes place in Toronto, Ontario and brings together audiences, media coverage, community partnerships and the filmmaking industry to exhibit and celebrate Canadian genre films.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org