Badass welcomes Badsville at film fest this weekend

Director April Mullen’s feature Badsville screens at the Rio Theatre as part of this year’s BadAss Film Festival.

The Fourth Annual International Vancouver Badass Film Festival is the biggest edition of the annual festival in its four-year history.

Running Feb. 23-25 at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway), the event includes six feature-length films (including four premieres), shorts, special guests and a circus performance. Visit for details.

One of those feature-length films is April Mullen’s violent gang film Badsville (screening at 10 p.m. Feb. 24). We talked to the director, who splits her time between Toronto, L.A. and other locales, about Badsville, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and being part of a festival like Badass.

Q: You shot an episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in Vancouver recently. What was that like?

A: The studios were fantastic. And the crews were top-notch. I had a great time in Vancouver. I bought two umbrellas, one small portable one and a large one. I did a lot of hiking on the weekends. Even in the rain. Because it’s so god**** beautiful over there.

Q: Was Legends your first superhero-type production?

A: Well, Killjoys and Wynonna Earp (both TV series) both have lead characters with superpowers. But that definitely my first traditional DC traditional comic book superhero episode. I’ve just finished editing my episode down here in Los Angeles.

Q: Do you see all the superhero features that come out? Have you seen Black Panther?

A: Yes, I see all the superhero features that come out. I’m a big fan of anything that is Fan Expo-y. I’ve always been into comics. I absolutely loved Black Panther. It had so many refreshing things to add. I loved the female characters. I was literally fist-pumping the whole time: ‘Yes! They got it right on so many levels!”

Q: Do you have a dream comic-book or graphic-novel project?

A: I’ve been hunting down Batgirl. It’s in development. I just want to get in the room and pitch my concept because I think it’s so new.

Q: How did you make the transition from actor to director?

A: After graduating from theatre school, I wanted to start making original content. A friend from theatre school and I started a production company the year we graduated and started making micro-budget feature films. He writes, I direct, and we produce together. We’ve made five features together. Then I started doing work-for-hire in the TV world and film world in the last three years and it’s kind of exploded.

Q: Why follow-up Below Her Mouth, which is essentially a drama (now airing on The Movie Network—every. day.) with a genre movie?

A: I actually shot Badsville before Below Her Mouth. For Badsville, when I first read the script, I loved the gangster angle. It was set in this rockabilly town, which was non-specific in its time era. So there were a lot of creative decisions to make there.

And I loved how raw and brutal and frenetic the violence was. I couldn’t stop thinking of how I wanted that to look. And I thought the idea of these really masculine characters showing these beautiful, vulnerable sides was a refreshing take on what you would expect from a gang film. That, opposite the over-the-top violence and brutality, was intriguing.

Ian McLaren in Badsville.

Q: How important are independent film festivals like Badass to your work?

A: This is truly an indie film. We shot it in 18 days, it was really run-and-gun. It brought me back to my younger days.

With smaller film festivals, the passionate people who keep the fresh voices coming to the screen are crucial. I’m always going to be an indie filmmaker at heart and spirit. I champion them all.

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