The Laser Blast Film Society began with a simple mission: to introduce brilliant, but obscure movies to film-loving friends with an appetite for the bizarre and bewildering.
The society was first established in 2011, by Toronto filmmaker Justin Decloux, as a private film club. Each week Justin would bring a portable digital projector to a friend's apartment, and share the wildest and weirdest movies he could find. Their lives were forever changed by the communal experience of witnessing Hong Kong black magic phantasmagorias, weirdo regional slashers and the stunt-driven excess of DTV production companies like PM Entertainment.
One of Justin's friends was a local film festival curator named Peter Kuplowsky, and he thought that these discoveries were too incredible to limit to these private screenings. Justin agreed, and in 2014, the two joined forces to inaugurate a public-facing iteration of the society that would hold monthly screenings at THE ROYAL CINEMA, an art-deco single-screen movie palace in the heart of Toronto's Little Italy.
For its first season of programming, they restricted their curation to the direct-to-video era of the late 1980s and early 90s and screened newly dubbed VHS copies of eccentric movies on the big screen (as they were never meant to be seen). A one-of-a-kind VHS clamshell was commissioned for each screening featuring original illustrated tributes to the films from local artists, but by the 2015 -- and in part thanks to some generous funding from the Ontario Arts Council -- the series expanded their purview and began to screen on all mediums (prioritizing rare 35mm prints) and from all eras.
2015 also marked the society's first edition of an annual film festival entitled WHAT THE FILM FESTIVAL, which is dedicated to celebrating contemporary cinematic eccentricities rescued from the rejection bins of more mainstream festivals.