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The Wolf House

Volunteer of the Month Isa Bulnes-Shaw on The Wolf House

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April is shaping up to be an exciting month at The Frida Cinema, packed with great movies both old and new. Our first run titles include highly anticipated foreign films, such as high concept sci-fi romance The Beast, starring Léa Seydoux, and Femme, a queer erotic thriller finally making its way stateside from Great Britain. Pair the two for a double dose of the increasingly prolific George MacKay, who co-leads in both. A24’s highly anticipated Civil War also comes to The Frida later this month. Later, come on out for Never Let Me Go, which features a heart-wrenching screenplay adapted from the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Our Party Like It’s 1999 series also continues, packed to the brim with space-themed comedy thanks to iconic classics like Galaxy Quest and Muppets from Space. The Frida’s Arthouse 101 series also kicks into high gear this month, with masterpieces like Pather Panchali, Harakiri, Branded to Kill, and more. All screenings are completely free, thanks to the generous support of the city of Santa Ana. George Romero’s rarely screened Dawn of the Dead, the second part in his landmark zombie trilogy, is also headed to our screens for three nights only. But if you’ve a horror fix that can’t wait until then, might I recommend the fiercely original The Wolf House, handpicked by The Frida Cinema’s Volunteer of the Month for April, Isa Bulnes-Shaw?

The Wolf House combines horror and stop-motion animation to dazzling effect that rivals the famously childhood-ruining Coraline. The film’s story is deeply rooted in real Chilean history, following María, a girl from Colonia Dignidad. This isolated religious community was tyrannically ruled by Paul Schäfer, an abusive fanatic who would end up turning Colonia into a torture center at the service of the military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet. María decides to run away, taking refuge in an abandoned house in the woods. But before long, hungry wolves are at her door.

How did you find out about The Frida Cinema?

So, I actually started coming to The Frida Cinema in 2014. I found it through the screenings of The Babadook. I’ve lived in Orange my whole life, and I frequent downtown Santa Ana, so I started coming as a guest. When I found The Babadook, I was like “This place is amazing,” so I visited for a few years, and then I started volunteering in 2019.

What made you want to volunteer here?

I wanted to volunteer here because it’s just such a unique place. It’s the only arthouse in Orange County. It’s the only independent theater in Orange County. I just loved how event-driven the screenings were. I loved that there were all these old movies that I’d always heard of and wanted to see that finally were being shown on a big screen that I could experience. I really believe in the importance of watching movies on the big screen. It’s just really important, and I’m glad to have had it in my life for so long.

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Tell us a little bit about The Wolf House.

The Wolf House is a really incredible animated film that follows a girl in a cult. It’s a dark fairy tale, which is what I really enjoy about it. It’s also a kind of live-action sculpting, which I find really interesting. I’m super interested in animation, which is another reason why I love The Frida, seeing all those international indie films. During COVID in 2020, when we had our digital cinemas, this film was showing, and it was a release that would have been shown in theaters if we were open. Since I was still volunteering, digitally at that point, I got to watch it. I picked it because I really wanted to see it on a big screen for the first time. It’s very eerie and creepy, and I can’t wait to see it and for other people to see it.

What were your other choices for Volunteer Pick of the Month?

Being big on animation, I picked Yellow Submarine, which is one of my favorite movies, period, which would be fun. I also considered Mind Game, the anime movie, which I haven’t seen, but I know it’s supposed to be very good, so I wanted to get it on the big screen. I also considered Alice, the really weird, offbeat, Russian stop-motion film. Also, Son of the White Mare, which is a Hungarian animated movie that’s about mythology, and it’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The actual animation, like the transition of characters and how everything moves and flows, is just really incredible, so that would’ve been really cool to see on a big screen as well. I’m always for getting more international and obscure animation in theaters.

What is your favorite Frida memory?

If you could program any movie here, what would you pick?

The Wolf House screens starting Monday, April 1st.
Monday, Apr 1 – 5:45pm, 7:45pm
Tuesday, Apr 2 – 5:45pm, 7:45pm



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