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Slaying the Horror Festival Circuit: How To Navigate the Deep, Dark Maze of North American Horror Film Festivals

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Film Festivals & Awards 17th Oct 2016 Moviemaker


No continent in the world hosts as many horror film festivals as North America, so the task of selecting a handful to submit to can be a little frightening.

Incredibly, almost every major (and many minor) city in the United States and Canada have their own dedicated horror film festivals: There’s a Chicago Horror Film Festival, New York City Horror Film Festival, Atlanta Horror Film Festival, New Orleans Horror Film Festival, Sacramento Horror Film Festival, Montreal Horror Film Festival, Tucson Terror Fest… even the small towns of Erie in Pennsylvania, Big Bear in California and Fargo in North Dakota host annual horror film festivals. How does a moviemaker make sense of it all?

The Upper Crust

One place to start should be quite familiar to any filmmaker: a top-tier North American film festival. The South by Southwest, Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals have specially curated midnight horror showcases—South by Southwest Midnight, Sundance Midnight and Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness respectively—that share both a prestige uncommon to most dedicated horror festivals and an uncommonly high standard for acceptances.

Colin Geddes, TIFF’s international programmer, selects cutting-edge films for the festival’s Midnight Madness program. The Midnight Madness section was started in 1988 to show horror and genre films the respect they weren’t getting on the international film festival circuit—“to celebrate the fun spirit that the films were made in and also treat them as art,” says Geddes. Since then, the selection has grown in popularity, bumping up from 800 seats to one of TIFF’s largest venues, the 1,200-seat Ryerson Theatre. 

Read the full article at Moviemaker

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