It’s a glorious time to be a horror fan and a horror moviemaker.
As proof continues to come in that writer-directors working in horror can break the box office and the rules of “safe” cinema simultaneously (examples are John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place and Ari Aster’s Hereditary, both of which were critical and commercial successes) the insane number of film festivals devoted to connecting genre moviemakers with audiences only increases. There seems to be at least one every weekend somewhere in the U.S. or abroad, offering the chance to see the latest frightening features and shorts on the big screen where they belong—in the company of enthusiastic, like-minded attendees—and putting the work of emerging auteurs in front of hungry buyers ready to distribute the art to its dark-hearted demographic.
Since MovieMaker launched the inaugural edition of The Bloody Best Genre Fests last year, we’ve thought a lot about the untold amount of hubs that do their part in keeping indie film’s bleeding heart beating. And we’ve heard from impassioned readers about the events, panels, screening series, workshops, markets, and of course, parties on the circuit that truly make the art and business of genre moviemaking the undead entity that it is.
That’s why this year, in partnership with HorrorHound and alongside seven expert industry panelists, we’ve doubled our list from 15 festivals to 30, representing large, medium-sized, and niche genre fests alike from a combined 12 countries. Says HorrorHound’s Jason Hignite: “HorrorHound is excited to partner with MovieMaker in our shared commitment to spotlighting the leading genre film festivals. Indie horror is making a strong comeback, and it’s due in large part to the fests that bring exposure to deserving movies and their makers.”
So, to make your submission strategy a little less scary and your screening schedule a lot less stale, turn to these fantastic festivals that are programming, networking, and out and out raging against a literal world’s worth of stiff competition.—MM Editors
Children of the Night: Our 2019 Panelists
Thomas Aske Berg is a trained actor and self-taught moviemaker from Stavanger, Norway. He has written, produced, directed, and starred in Kaizers Orchestra’s music video for “Hjerteknuser,” short film “BELIEVEtheDANCE,” and award-winning horror-comedy feature Vidar the Vampire.
Ted Geoghegan grew up in rural Montana, savoring a love of genre cinema from a very young age. Studying screenwriting under the late Carroll O’Connor, he was handpicked to pen German moviemaker Andreas Schnaas’ 2001 English-language debut feature Demonium and, from that point on, has been a tirelessly active part of the genre film industry—having directed two critically acclaimed features (2015’s We Are Still Here and 2018’s Mohawk), written and produced 13 others, and served as publicist on over 200 films.
Gigi Saul Guerrero is a Mexican-Canadian director known for her “Tex-Mex” style of moviemaking, the co-founder of award-winning production company Luchagore Productions, and a Directing Instructor at Vancouver Film School. Her works include La Quinceañera with Stage13/Warner Bros., short film “El Gigante,” viral sensations “Evil Dead in 60 Seconds” and “A Luchagore Christmas,” and the Mexican anthology México Bárbaro.
Jason Hignite is the director of the HorrorHound Film Fest* and a staff writer for HorrorHound, which was recognized as the “Most Influential Horror Brand” by Cinema Runner in 2016. He has been involved in genre writing, horror moviemaking and theater for more than 15 years.
Edna Campos Tenorio is the founder and director of Macabro International Horror Film Festival* in Mexico City. She produced and wrote the documentary Alucardos: Portrait of a Vampire, and wrote and compiled the book Alucarda, published by Samsara in 2018.
Katrina Wan is the founder of a Los Angeles-based boutique agency that specializes in public relations and marketing for independent and entertainment studios. Her agency spearheaded campaigns for such genre films as Bone Tomahawk, Mandy, Killing Ground, Turbo Kid, American Mary, The Monster, Clown, and Mom and Dad.
Jenn Wexler is a writer-director and producer for Glass Eye Pix. She directed The Ranger and produced Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island, Robert Mocker’s Like Me, and Mickey Keating’s Psychopaths and Darling.
* To avoid biased participation, Jason Hignite and Edna Campos Tenorio refrained from voting for their own festivals.