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The 2008 Fright Night Film Festival:

Scary Fun Comes to Kentucky

-By Nic Brown, all photos courtesy of Bill Spangler-

 

As I walked into the Holiday Inn I-64 East in Louisville, KY, I knew I was in the

The dress code was come as you are... even if it was from the grave.

right place. Everywhere I looked I saw people dressed in black. No it wasn’t a funeral or a morticians’ convention. These people were dressed in what has become the traditional attire for events like this. The black t-shirts, dark dress, and outrageously detailed costumes worn by many of the attendees are the banners that horror fans carry when they attend something like the 2008 Fright Night Film Festival.


The men behind the masks panel discussion

The festival is a celebration of horror films. It was created to give independent filmmakers a chance to show their work to the world. This festival has also grown into a celebration of the horror film industry in general, as was evidenced by the number of horror celebrities in attendance. Nobel statesman among the horror guests was Angus Scrimm, “The Tall Man” from the PHANTASM film series. He was joined by a host of others, including many of the “men behind the masks:”

 

Dick Warlock, Tommy Lee Wallace, Kane Hodder and Steve Dash, who have portrayed Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees in many of their on screen outings.


Actor/Stuntman Dick Warlock with some of the special guests from the Make-A-Wish Foundation the event's charity partner.

Of course, the horror celebrities and events that went with them were exciting for the fans, but the real stars of the festival were the movies themselves. Many filmmakers, not just from around the country, but around the world, sent their films to Louisville for this event. There were over forty feature length films and at least as many shorts screened during the two and a half days of the event. Many of the filmmakers behind these productions came as well, to have the chance to see first hand what audiences thought of their work. Tim and Jennifer Friend of Big Atom films were especially excited to show their newest production: BONNIE & CLYDE VS DRACULA starring scream queen Tiffany Shepis and horror favorite Trent Haaga. In fact, their film walked away with the “Best of the Fest” award and Haaga scooped up the “Best Actor” award for his part in the film. Although her film UNDER THE RAVEN’S WING did not win an award at this festival, filmmaker Susan Adriensen was happy with the audience’s reaction to her movie. “It’s not a traditional horror film,” Adriensen noted before the screening. Her film and others like Christopher Ward’s FOG WARNING gave audiences the opportunity to see that you didn’t need a guy in a hockey mask, blood and guts or tons of special effects to make a quality film.

Some people didn’t come to the Fright Night Film Festival just to see the movies though. Many came to learn the tricks of the trade from the filmmakers who’d “been there and done that.” Festival organizer Ken Daniels arranged for a number of workshops and question and answer sessions with many of the directors, producers and writers of these films. Writer, director and founder of ZP

People were dying to go to the

Fright Night Film Festival

International Pictures, George Bonilla, led a panel discussion about how to make a film without a Hollywood budget. Charles Edward Pogue, the screen writer of the 1986 film THE FLY as well as many others, hosted a workshop on screenwriting where he gave advice to novice screenwriters and shared his experiences working with Hollywood over the past thirty years. Veteran actress Catherine Parks of FRIDAY THE 13th fame discussed how to be a great actor and Louisville’s own Mark Poole, founder of Anubis Digital Productions, was on hand to “let the cat out of the bag” on how he got a big budget look for his modestly priced film DEAD MOON RISING.

 

The 2008 Fright Night Film Festival had something for everyone who is a fan of horror. An eclectic collection of vendors peddled memorabilia that ranged from hard to find videos and DVD’s to tattoos done right there at the festival. Celebrities signed collectables and photographs, and posed for innumerable pictures with fans. Most of all thoug,h a lot of independent filmmakers had the chance to say to the world “Look at what I’ve done.” For many of these filmmakers, the straight to DVD world of today’s film distribution means that they don’t often have the opportunity to sit in the back of the crowd and watch how people react to their work. This kind of feedback is something special. Susan Adriensen may have put it best when she said, “Seeing people watch my film and knowing that some of them ‘get it’, that is what makes the whole thing worthwhile.” If you were lucky enough to make it to the 2008 Fright Night Film Festival, you had the chance to be a part of something special. If you didn’t make it this year, then dig out your black t-shirt and mark your calendar because 2009 isn’t that far off and the world is full of filmmakers just waiting for their chance to shine.

 

Here’s a list of the winners from this year’s festival:

 

FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FESTIVAL’S KENTUCKY FILMMAKER OF THE YEAR – GEORGE BONILLA, ZP INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

 

BEST ACTION -- RAZOR SHARP

George Bonilla Fright Night's Filmmaker of the year!


BEST ACTOR -- TRENT HAAGA (BONNIE AND CLYDE VS DRACULA)

BEST ACTRESS -- MONICA KNIGHT (WINDCROFT)

BEST OF THE FEST -- BONNIE AND CLYDE VS DRACULA, DIRECTOR TIM FRIEND

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY LILLY, DIRECTOR DANIEL BONEVILLE

BEST FEATURE – WINDCROFT, DIRECTOR EVAN MESZAROS

BEST COMEDY -- SHH! IT'S ALIVE , DIRECTOR RYAN CADIMA

MOST ORIGINAL FILM -- GUNTHER TOODYS HAPPY TIME FUN SHOW, JIMMY HUMPHREY

BEST SCI FI -- O2

BEST DIRECTOR -- EVAN MEDIOROS

BEST SHORT -- OF DARKNESS, DIRECTOR GARY IRWIN

BEST ONE LINER -- ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (TOMMY HUESLMAN ACTOR) TIM MILLER

BEST ZOMBIE FILM -- ZOMBTHOLOGY DIRECTORS ALIAS DANCY, CHRIS KIROS, ROBERT ELKINS

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
-PAPER DOLLS
-LIARS PENDULAM
-ALONE
-TASTE OF THE FLESH
-THE CONJURER

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