Comic-Con: Twixt Panel

Francis Ford Coppola gets experimental

This year’s Comic-Con seems destined to be The One Where Famous Filmmakers Invade Hall H. Today it was the turn of a certain Francis Ford Coppola, who brought his new indie horror thriller, Twixt to the cavernous space.

In truth, we’re not really sure it was the right environment, but Coppola was greeted with a roar from the crowd and proceeded to show us all a long series of clips from the film, which finds Val Kilmer as a “bargain basement Stephen King” on a book tour in the distinctly odd small town of Swann Valley, where he discovers diabolical goings on, vampire executions and murders. Plus Super 8's Elle Fanning as the mysterious V.

But the real reason for Coppola invading Comic-Con was to get a little experimental. See, the director has crafted Twixt in such a way that he can take the film out to audiences and change things around live in front of them, including switching out scenes and including a shifting score.

“When we made Twixt, I knew it was kind of a Halloween story and I thought, ‘Gee, what I’d like do is go on tour and actually perform the film, a different version for each audience.’ In the old days, when the audience was loving what was happening, the conductor would signal the orchestra and they would do it again,” the director said. “Because cinema is now digital, no longer a long strip, they’re digital files. So if the director were there, they could essentially change what was happening. I could give you more of something you like. In a ten minute promo there’s not that much to work with, but in a whole movie…”

While the “dress rehearsal” as he referred to it didn’t exactly go as smoothly as he might have liked, it was certainly interesting to watch the venerable director attempt to recapture his experimental youth with an iPad and some flashy software.

And there was room for him to decry the current state of film exhibition, with the trend towards sticking 3D as a plaster over every problem.

“Movies are so young, how dare anyone think all it’s got is…Cinema is at the beginning in many ways. Theatre is thousands of years old,” said the director. “I was a little taken aback when studios said they would make all their films in 3D as if it was a magic fix. No, cinema has many surprises up its sleeve.

Talking of surprises, Coppola also revealed that he's working on something new, which may represent a return to bigger scale filmmaking, though he has no idea right now how to fund it.

Given that the Twixt doesn’t yet have a distributor locked in, there’s no release date set right now.