Jovanka Vuckovic's Blog

April 18, 2013

BIG NEWS! The Captured Bird is getting a THEATRICAL RELEASE across Canada!!

We've made a lot of exciting announcements in the last year, but this might be the most exciting one yet. We'll be a part of Raven Banner Entertainment and Cineplex's Sinister Cinema series, opening for the incredible American Mary by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska. This ghoulish double bill will be playing one night only, on May 30th, in 25 cinemas from Vancouver to Montreal - full listings of participating theatres below:

Tickets are available now at participating theatre box offices and online at  The following is a complete list of participating theatres:

British Columbia
Odeon Victoria    Cinemas – Victoria, BC
Galaxy Cinemas Nanaimo – Nanaimo, BC
Colossus Langley Cinemas – Langley, BC
Cineplex Odeon Park & Tilford Cinemas – North Vancouver, BC
Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas –     Vancouver, BC

Scotiabank Theatre Edmonton – Edmonton, AB
Scotiabank Theatre Chinook – Calgary, AB

Galaxy Cinemas Regina – Regina, SK
Galaxy Cinemas Saskatoon – Saskatoon, SK

SilverCity Polo Park Cinemas – Winnipeg, MB

Cineplex Odeon Devonshire Mall Cinemas – Windsor, ON
SilverCity London Cinemas – London, ON
Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo – Waterloo, ON
Cineplex Odeon Winston Churchill Cinemas – Oakville, ON
SilverCity Hamilton Cinemas – Hamilton, ON
Cineplex Cinemas Mississauga – Mississauga, ON
Cineplex Odeon Queensway Cinemas – Toronto, ON
Colossus Vaughan Cinemas – Vaughan, ON
SilverCity Fairview Mall    Cinemas – Toronto, ON
Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas Square Cinemas – Toronto, ON
Cineplex Odeon Eglinton Town Centre Cinemas – Scarborough, ON
Coliseum Ottawa Cinemas – Ottawa, ON
SilverCity Gloucester Cinemas – Ottawa,     ON
SilverCity Sudbury Cinemas – Sudbury, ON

Cineplex Odeon Forum Cinemas – Montreal, QC

And, if you're lucky enough to be in Toronto for the Yonge/Dundas screening, yours truly will be hosting the event! Come and see us on the giant screen!


American Mary


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Published on April 18, 2013 09:50 • 136 views

April 9, 2013

Over 50 film festivals and four Best Short Film Awards later, The Captured Bird is finally available to the public!

The Captured Bird DVD was lovingly made for the film’s crowd funding backers but is now available to you. Inside you will find the short film plus as many extras as we could fit on the disc. Low cost shipping available worldwide! Click BUY NOW and you will be directed to our distributor’s sales page where you can place your order with your credit card.

If you do not have a credit card, CLICK HERE to purchase a copy with your PAYPAL account!

CAPTURING THE BIRD: 30 minute making-of featurette
AUDIO COMMENTARY: featuring writer/director Jovanka Vuckovic, cinematographer Karim Hussain and producer Jason Lapeyre
THE YOUNG GIRL: Skyler Wexler’s audition video
DIRECTOR’S VIDEO DIARY: In-production confessions
HORROR FILM SCHOOL: Interviews with George Romero (Dawn of the Dead), Mick Garris (Masters of Horror) and more
BONUS: Self Portrait, a short film by Jovanka Vuckovic made for the Toronto International Film Festival Talent Lab 2012



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Published on April 09, 2013 08:42 • 231 views

July 3, 2012

Here is a transcript of writer/director Jovanka Vuckovic's recent interview with Toronto is Awesome. Inteview by Natalie Zed.

What inspired the narrative for The Captured Bird? What inspired you visually?

About three years ago, I sat down and wrote the script for The Captured Bird with the intention of it being a calling card film. I wanted make something visually poetic and incredibly ambitious – to prove that I could direct and that I was a visual stylist.  Coming from a writing background, I thought it would be too easy to write a bunch of dialogue. I wanted to write visual poetry. So “Show, don’t tell” was something I kept thinking about while writing the script, which ended up not having any dialogue at all. Of all the influences – Lovecraft, Brothers Grim – there was one thing that was clawing its way out of my subconscious: My twin brother had this experience when I was a kid that stayed with me forever. He said these creatures would come into his room at night; one would hold him down, paralyzing him, with the others looked on. Those creatures have remained hidden in my psyche for years, until now.

2)    I was struck by the tenderness of the film, which also made it more horrifying. I the balance of the lovely and the horrible something that you were actively striving for?

 Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher said, “Without darkness there can be no light.” He was right. There is beauty and darkness in the world, everywhere we look. One cannot exist without the other. If what you are showing people is too ugly, they will turn away. Wrap a severed head in a pretty bow, however, and people can’t help but look.

3)    When you were thinking about how to score the film, what made you decide to go with a metal band, but also a classically-inspired sound?

Believe it or not, the DNA for The Captured Bird came from a music video for a heavy metal band. Some of the imagery came out of a discussion I had on a plane with Shane Faulkner of Redeemer. We had discussed the idea of me directing a music video for them, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the idea that eventually became The Captured Bird was more suited for a short film. This sort of explains why I ended up choosing Redeemer to do the score. They offered to collaborate on the project and were up for the task of doing a traditional film score. I know these guys and I know they’re capable. With Shane sort of directing, I could communicate to him in a language that we understand – the language of horror soundtracks. He’d then communicate those ideas to the rest of the band, who put it all together. I gave Redeemer a handful of my favourite horror soundtracks to study as reference for The Captured Bird score: The Entity, The Amityville Horror, Hellraiser, Session 9, with specific tracks highlighted. I was pleasantly surprised when upon first viewing, they had generally nailed it. Now I’m not the first director to collaborate with a band nor will I be the last (Mastodon did the entire score for the movie Jonah Hex recently) but I think it’s important to try new things. We got some additional vocal production from legendary composer and frequent Lucio Fulci collaborator Fabio Frizzi, but all the notes, they were pure Redeemer. Just not the way you are used to hearing them! Violin, cello, harps – an aria – not their typical fare!

What do you think is the relationship between heavy metal culture and horror? Why are so many fans of metal also horror fans and vice versa? What is it about heavy metal music (especially anything with an industrial influence) that works so well with horror movies?

I think heavy metal and horror have been frolicking in the same stained bed for so long because both are immensely cathartic. The horror genre in particular is a great springboard to express our fear and anxiety about death and dying. Watching a horror film in the safety of your living room, with the awareness that you can effectively be a tourist of death with impunity – now that’s exciting! People into horror tend to embrace other outsider art including aggressive music like heavy metal, because it also screams and rages against the dying of the light.

5)    Was it important to you that your first film premiered in Toronto? What was your experience like working with the Worldwide Short Film Festival?

It was important that we premiere in Toronto because this is my hometown. I was born at Toronto General Hospital. I’ve been here most of my life. I also wanted my friends, family and crew to be able to attend the premiere so the Worldwide Short Film Festival was an obvious choice. It is one of only three Oscar-qualifying festivals in Canada and competition is fierce. Out of 5000 entries, only 250 films were selected, ours was one of them. Of this, we are tremendously proud. 



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Published on July 03, 2012 10:37 • 93 views

May 17, 2012


The Captured Bird will make its world premiere at the 2012 Worldwide Short Film Festival on June 9th in Toronto, Canada.

The short concerns a little girl who is drawn to a mysterious mansion where she witnesses the birth of five horrifying apparitions, is executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth) and produced by Jason Lapeyre, writer/director of I Declare War (Best Picture/Screenplay, ActionFest 2012).

“Having grown up in Toronto and previously attended this festival as a fan, it’s an absolute honour to be attending as a filmmaker with my first short,” says Vuckovic.  

The dark fable, which del Toro describes as “lyrical and brutal” and “filled with beauty” is the culmination of two years of collaboration with some of the top talents in the genre world including cinematographer Karim Hussain (Antiviral, Hobo With A Shotgun), editor Douglas Buck (The Theatre Bizarre, Sisters), Oscar-nominated special effects company Spectral Motion (Looper, X-Men: First Class), matte painter Deak Ferrand (Twilight, Lord of the Rings), Oscar-nominated production designer and frequent Terry Gilliam collaborator Anastasia Masaro (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus) and animatronic special effects designer Paul Jones (The Thing, Silent Hill).

WSFF marks the beginning of The Captured Bird’s festival run, which will include screenings at many top tier events across the globe (to be announced). The film will also be available for viewing by press and industry at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year as part of the Short Film Corner.

THE CAPTURED BIRD plays the World Wide Short Film Festival on June 9. For tickets, head right here.





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Published on May 17, 2012 06:37 • 72 views

February 28, 2012

It feels like forever since we wrapped principal photography but we finally made it - The Captured Bird is done! With five different visual effects vendors from four different countries working on the film, it took quite a bit of time and co-ordination to complete the 25 shots - some of which took two months or more to create and render. More importantly, we took the time to do it right and our dreamy little picture now looks and sounds beautiful! 

Yesterday we officially delivered The Captured Bird to broadcaster Bravo!, which provided a substantial portion of the budget through a generous grant. We also began submitting the short to film festivals last week - first up was Cannes (wish us luck!). As promised, when the film has completed its festival run, we'll be sending out links to HD downloads and DVDs to those of you who earned one with your backer package. Of course we encourage you to come and see it at a festival screening if you can, so subscribe to the BLOG, like the FACEBOOK page and follow us on TWITTER so you can keep updated on film festival screenings. We would love to meet you at one! Additionally, we have an IMDb page now, so feel free to "like" that too.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and support. We literally could not have made the film without our backers - proof that filmmaking can be democratic and that crowd funding works. Congratulations, you're a part of film history! 

Here are some photos of us in post production and one of Jovanka visiting Guillermo del Toro on the set of Pacific Rim yesterday - where she hand delivered the finished film to del Toro. 

Coming soon to a festival near you.... The Captured Bird!



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Published on February 28, 2012 08:40 • 99 views

January 5, 2012

In case you missed it, here are Jovanka's picks for the best horror films of 2011. Reposted from Revolver Magazine.

An author, filmmaker, and journalist working in the horror genre, Jovanka Vuckovic is Revolver's resident fright-flick guru, the writer of Splatter Matters, which kicked off in the new, 100th issue. She was recently named one of the top 10 most important women in the history of horror. For more, visit and follow her at @JovankaVuckovic on Twitter.

What better way to ring in the New Year than with a little godless onscreen violence? As always, last year there were plenty of pointless-yet-entertaining big-budget remakes (The ThingFright Night 3DDon't Be Afraid of the Dark, Straw Dogs), sequels (Paranormal Activity 3Scream 4, Wrong Turn 4, Final Destination 5), and other genre-bending fare at the multiplexes (127 HoursSuper 8Attack the BlockThe Darkest Hour, Contagion). Then there were the big misses (Season of the WitchPriestThe RiteRed Riding HoodApollo 18, Dream House), which came and went like a fart in the wind. The original horror films–the ones that made this list anyway–lurked around the independent scene. Of course, that, too, is a mixed bag. There were movies I really wanted to like but didn't (Red StateBurke & HareThe Ward) and others I wish I could un-see (The Human Centipede 2A Serbian Film). Then there was the abysmal straight-to-DVD drivel, which you should take care to avoid entirely (Hellraiser: RevelationsThe Howling: Reborn). I've waded through the good, the bad, and the ugly to bring you a list of the year's finest genre films. Here they are, in no particular order. Happy New Year!

The Skin I Live In
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Antonio Banderas stars as a research scientist who has developed a synthetic skin that he's using on a guinea pig whom he alters to look like his dead wife. Obvious comparisons to Eyes Without a Face aside, The Skin I Live In is a unique, melodramatic art-house horror film that reveals its shocking secrets slowly. Not since David Cronenberg have surgery, sex, and violence frolicked in the same stained bed so skillfully. A must see.


Martha Marcy May Marlene
Directed by Sean Durkin
Elizabeth Olsen (yes, the younger sister of the Olsen twins) walks the line between sanity and madness in a breakthrough performance as Martha, an ex-cult member who tries to re-enter polite society after having been brainwashed to ignore social values. Told in a style that's reminiscent of Michael Haneke's Funny GamesMartha Marcy May Marlene divided critics at festivals due to its ambiguous ending. Powerful and unsettling.


I Saw the Devil
Directed by Jee-woon Kim
A serial killer (played by Old Boy's Min-sik Choi) gets more than he bargained for when he kills the fiancée of a prominent special agent in this highly stylized, savage thriller from the director of A Tale of Two Sisters. Seeking vengeance, the grieving cop kidnaps his wife's murderer, tortures him a little, then frees him only to track him down and torture him over and over again. Worth the price of admission for the wildly creative (and brutally bloody) taxicab scene alone. Merciless, uncompromising, and unforgettable.


The Woman
Directed by Lucky McKee
Feminist filmmaker Lucky McKee (The WoodsMay) examines the horrors of misogyny is this incendiary intellectual revenge film (co-written with Jack Ketchum) about a handsome family man and successful lawyer who kidnaps a feral woman and chains her up in the cellar. Beautiful, bizarre, and barbaric. As a primer, you can watch this video of a viewer's extreme reaction toThe Woman at the Sundance Film Festival.

Troll Hunter 
Directed by André Øvredal
What do you get when you combine Cloverfield with Nordic Trolls? This very funny monster mockumentary. I know what you're thinking: Trolls? Really? Just see it. And when you do, watch it with Norwegian subtitles lest you miss some great voice performances in this foreign creature feature. Great fun.



Cold Fish
Directed by Shion Sono
A teenaged girl takes a job at a fish store owned and operated by a couple who turn out to be much more than fish mongers. If you're familiar with Shion Sono's work (Suicide Circle, Love Exposure), then you already know what to expect from Cold Fish. This is totally bent Asia extreme serial-killer cinema at its best–equal parts disturbing and blackly comic. Make time for it, though, because like Sono's other films, it's overlong.


Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Directed by Eli Craig
In this, the Three's Company of horror comedies, two redneck buffoons run afoul of a gaggle of teen partygoers on spring break who misjudge the hillbillies as a threat. Grave misunderstandings give way to fountains of unintended violence. Hilarity ensues.





Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani
This film has been doing the festival circuit since 2009 but became available on Blu-ray this year, and, boy, is it ever a doozy. If the films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento could make a love child, Amer would be it. A dizzying, non-narrative, near dialogue-free art-house experiment in avant-garde filmmaking, Amer shares as much in common with Un chien andalou as it does Strip Nude for Your Killer. Lush eye candy or psychosexual nightmare? You decide.



Stake Land
Directed by Jim Mickle
Director Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street) retrieves the vampire's balls from the Twilightfranchise with this gory apocalyptic road movie. It's about an orphan who travels through a vampire-ravaged America with a hunter known only as "Mister" on their way to find the last place of possibly unspoiled humanity. Imagine The Road meets True Grit meets I Am Legend on a very low budget and you're sort of there. (ReadRevolver's interview with Stake Land actor and co-writer Nick Damici here.)



We Are What We Are
Directed by Jorge Michel Grau
An impoverished family of cannibals struggles to find new meat when their patriarch dies. Sound familiar? Although obviously reminiscent of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jorge Michel Grau's We Are What We Are is its own beast. A thoughtful but flawed exploration of the collapse of familial roles amidst a landscape of social decay in Mexico, We Are What We Are is more than the sum of its, er…parts.


Directed by Justin Kurzel
One of the many feel-bad movies of the year, Snowtownis a true crime film that centers on the unusual relationship between sixteen-year-old Jamie and his newfound father figure, John Bunting, who happens to be Australia's most prolific serial killer–bodies in barrels and all. This is his Jamie's harrowing story.



The Dead
Directed by Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford
Following a zombie outbreak in Africa, Lt. Brian Murphy tries to make his way home in this beautifully shot, slow moving road movie. The Dead evokes classic George Romero with its political commentary and pacing, but most importantly, it succeeds at making slow moving zombies scary again. Great visuals.


The Innkeepers
Directed by Ti West
Ti West's lighthearted spookfest about two employees (and amateur ghost hunters) putting in their last shift at a century old haunted inn was a crowd-pleaser on the film festival circuit last year. It isn't actually being released in theatres until February 3, 2012, but it hit VOD on December 30th so I encourage you to order it. Support independent filmmaking. Please don't torrent.




We Need to Talk About Kevin
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
OK, so it's not a horror movie per se, but it's by far the most depressing film of the year. Tilda Swinton stars as a grieving mother who has raised a misanthropic sociopath (played by Ezra Miller) who tortured her and her family before going on a killing spree at his high school. A deeply disturbing dramatic thriller not for the faint of heart.


Honorable Mentions: RubberAbsentia, The Last Circus, Wake Wood, Hobo with a ShotgunBlack DeathInsidious.

*All films were released in North America in the 2011 calendar year.


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Published on January 05, 2012 14:41 • 95 views

September 7, 2011

We've just gotten our beautiful full size (27" x 39") illustrated poster approved and sent off to printer! This teaser is illustrated by Richard Raaphorst (director, Worst Case Scenario, Frankenstein's Army) and graphic and motion designer Sander Brouwer. It's limited to 50, ten of which are going to be signed by the cast and crew and sent out to our awesome Kickstarter backers. The other 40 are going with director Jovanka Vuckovic to ZomBcon 2011, in Seattle October 21-23 and will be on sale at the event. So if you want one, get your rotting corpse to ZomBcon next month, meet Jovanka and have her sign and number one for you in person. She will be hosting a panel on The Captured Bird, giving tips on how to successfully crowdfund your film on Kickstarter and, of course, promoting her new book, Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead (St. Martin's Press). Autographed copies of Zombies! will also be on hand at the filmmaker/author's booth.

Of course if you absolutely cannot make it to Seattle and you are dying to have one of these glossy, full size, limited edition teaser posters, use our CONTACT FORM to email us and we'll arrange payment and shipping options for you. The remaining 40 posters will be signed by the director and mailed to you in a tube for $20 plus shipping - which varies depending on your location. NOTE: Posters signed by cast and crew are limited to 10 and already sold out. They were a special offer to our Kickstarter backers only. ZomBcon attendees will have an opportunity to buy the poster at a discount at the show.

Thanks again for supporting our short film project! We can't wait to send it off to film festivals in the new year!




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Published on September 07, 2011 07:58 • 75 views

August 24, 2011

Greeting backers, supporters and film fans!

It's been almost three months since we wrapped production on The Captured Bird and we figured it was time for an update on the status of the project. You might be wondering, how could a ten minute movie be taking so long to complete? I've been wondering the same thing myself! As I'm learning, independent film production can be a slow process, especially when your budget is limited and you're cashing in favours from professional friends. The Captured Bird is a very ambitious little film, packed full of visual effects movie magic. Now that doesn't mean it's the next Avatar, because a lot of the shots are referred to as "invisible effects" - shots that require treatment but aren't necessarily exploding spaceships or other extravagant effects - but it's nevertheless quite a lot of work. Being a former visual effects artist myself, I know full well how much effort goes into this type of art. Even rotoscoping - rig removal and the like - can take weeks to complete. Our film has 25 shots, some have taken two months or more to create and render. Some amazing work has already been approved, though. The inimitable Deak Ferrand (of Hatch FX) has turned in several staggering shots, which are no surprise given that his film credits include The Lord of the Rings and Hellboy II. I wish I could share those with you but there have to be some surprises for you along this journey, right? In the meantime, we have several visual effects companies and independent visual effects artist from all over the globe diligently working on shots, which are trickling in. As soon they're all approved, we move on to sound design and finally, to the DI. Redeemer has already begun work the score, which will be dark, moody and orchestral. We'll definitely post a sample in the coming months. Our goal is to have the film completed by December, which means a spring 2012 film festival tour. Hopefully we'll meet at a festival near you!



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Published on August 24, 2011 10:49 • 68 views

July 9, 2011

We have just a few t-shirts left from our Kickstarter campaign and are making them available here. Like our Kickstarter campain, $50 gets you a thank you credit in the film, a link to a digital download of the movie and one of these Captured Bird t-shirts (limited to 100, with a swanky metallic gold print). All funds will go to the cost of post-production. Get yours before they're gone! Use the contact page to email us about sizing before you make your donation please. The only sizes remaining are are MEDIUM, LARGE, XL. And there are only a few of each!

T-shirt printed by Killthe8



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Published on July 09, 2011 09:05 • 69 views

June 3, 2011

As many of you already know, the house we shot The Captured Bird in has been uninhabited for over 40 years and is said to be haunted by a woman who died while it was being built. She has been spotted by previous film crews in one particular room near the attic. Our intrepid location manager invited the EPK crew upstairs for a closer look and it appears they weren't alone....


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Published on June 03, 2011 10:51 • 73 views

Jovanka Vuckovic's Blog

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