Now Streaming In Austin: "Black Metal"

Kat Candler's meditation on art and guilt

Jonny Mars in "Black Metal"

Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining.
We've had comedy metal shorts. We've got satanic metal coming up with this week's live tweet of The Devil's Candy. But there are few more powerful tales than Kat Candler's touching and emotional "Black Metal."

An open-ended question about the relationship between art and artists, it was seen as a radical shift for Candler, whose work was often regarded as smaller, more intimate than a story about super-dark rock. Instead, it was Candler (who would later become show runner for OWN's Queen Sugar) bringing exactly those sensibilities and sensitivities to the kind of story that doesn't always get that treatment, and the kinds of characters that are often written off with headbanging caricatures.

Instead, the story looks at the guilt felt by Ian (Jonny Mars), the vocalist with black metal ensemble Crown of Horns, when one of their fans commits a horrible crime. He's accused of being the inspiration, which is bad enough, but there is a small voice within him that shrieks that guilt at him. Was he really to blame, or are people missing the point that metal is a catharsis, not a trigger?

Tackling the divide between metal and how it is perceived, the short will always play a special role in Austin film history. Not only is it filled with local talent (Candler, Mars, Heather Kafka as Ian's partner, Rose, plus a transitional turn begin the camera by mumblegore lensmaster and future David Lowery collaborator Andrew Droz Palermo) but it's also a reminder of the loss of one of Austin film and music's most understated friends. Corey Mitchell, true crime novelist, music journalist, and founder of the Housecore Horror festival, was a consultant on this short, and played a key role in grounding it in the scene without ever feeling exploitative.

"Black Metal"

• Vimeo (Link)

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Now Streaming in Austin, Black Metal, Kat Candler, Jonny Mars, Heather Kafka

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