As previously covered in film ick, the independent sci-fi action film Crops received its not-quite-a-premiere gala screening last night. At last I got to see the finished - or nearly finished - product. There are a number of nips and tucks needed in the FX - it was admitted that as much as 90% of the CGI had only been composited into the film during the previous week - and a few editorial tweaks to be done, but by and large, what we saw was the final version.
There were a few surprises in the after-film Q&A too, most notably the induction of Zara Phythian, one of the film's stars, into the International Karate and Kickboxing Hall of Fame.
Zara isn't seen doing any of her spinny, jumpy speciality stuff until the very end of the film, when a special side-bar, as it were, plays alongside the credits. It's a very pared down, almost plotless sequence, but it was jam-packed with busted heads and kicked butts, and Zara doing just what she does best.
Events like this are like gold to genre film followers. Much fun was had by all, not least at the reception afterwards, where cast and crew ate, drank and made merry with fans. Here you can see George Butiri, the writer-director-producer, and members of his cast-entourage-fanclub.
As more news comes in on Crops' eventual release, we'll have it here. Truly independent features are rare enough, and independent features with action scenes and extensive CGI even more so. Films like Crops prove that, though even Roger Corman's budgets run into the millions these days, and most of the drive-ins have been torn down, the big boys still don't have the monopoly on Saturday-night entertainments.
The pictures above were taken by Mike Reddy, who makes two brief, blink-and-you'll miss him appearances in Crops, as well as being one of the producers.