Event Coverage - The Shockfest Film Festival of Hollywood
Last weekend at Raleigh Studio's in Los Angeles was the eighth annual Shockfest Film Festival of Hollywood, a celebration of indie-horror films in all of their various mediums (feature length films, short films, music videos, web series, and sneak previews of upcoming films). Over the two days of horror, there were no less than seven feature films, more than twenty-five short films, four music videos, and even a few live performances. I was reminded of exactly what I love about indie-horror, because these film makers are passionate about their work, and it shows in the final product. You are able to witness artists taking risks that they would not be afforded given a big budget studio behind them, and the results are often highly creative and extremely rewarding. I was there for the opening and closing ceremonies, which were hosted by none other than Linda Blair. In between, I took in four feature films, four music videos, and more than fifteen short films. It was a blast. Special thanks to Guil Clarveria for organizing the event (and for the shots of rum). So here are my personal highlights from the festival and a list of the winners. Cheers.
In the feature film department, of the four features that I saw, there were two films that stood out from the pack. First and foremost was Jessica Cameron's directorial debut Truth or Dare. A brutal film about six college students that find online fame through their 'Truth or Dare' videos. But when one obsessed fan decides to re-write the rules of the game, the group is plunged into the sadistic mind of a man unhinged. You can read my full review here.
The other feature that grabbed my attention was Geoff Klein and Melissa Mira's Pinup Dolls on Ice, which played like a cross between a classic slasher movie a la Sleepaway Camp and a drunken evening at Jumbo's Clown Room. And it works like a charm. Read my full review here.
In the short film department, there were a ton films worth recommending, so I decided to only list the best of the best here. My top picks were: Colin Campbell's The Girl at the Door, Patricia Chica's Ceramic Tango, Matthew Rosvally's Moving Day, and lastly Torre Catalano's Seasick Sailor. All of which were innovative and amazing.
Lastly, there were two music videos I wanted to mention. The first was Sara Mayhem's debut video Dominance. Sara is an absolutely phenomenal talent. Notably, she was born without eardrums, which took 13 surgeries to correct. Her music feels like a sort of retro-industrial throwback, reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. You can check out her debut album here. I had the pleasure to sit down and talk to Sara at the festival, and you can read the full interview here.
The other music video I wanted to draw attention to was We Are Ghosts new video for All Alone. If you don't know their music, (which I didn't) it sounds like a cross between the psychedelic lilt of Mogwai with the more subtle tones of Mazzy Star. The music is haunting and the video fits like a glove. It isn't up on Youtube yet, but you can find them on iTunes. On to the winners….
Miss Shockfest 2014 - Tawny Amber Young
Best Director - Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare)
Best Foreign Film - Pelle Plutt
Best Music Video - Sara Mayhem 'Dominance'
Best Sceenplay - Jonathan Weitzel
Best Webseries - Horror Show Theater
Best Writer - David Oman and David Young (House at the End of the Drive)
Best Cinematographer - Sandra Stenzland
Best Student Film - Polterghost
Best Trailer - Dead Sea (Brandon Slagle)
Best Feature - The Gauntlet
Sexiest Shocking Sweeheart - Devanny Pinn (Truth or Dare)
Best Makeup Effects - Adrian Mercado (Horror Show Theater)
Best Editor - Geoff Klein (Pinup Dolls on Ice)
Best Actress - Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare)
Best Actor - Ryan Kiser (Truth or Dare)
Best Short - Realitory: Welcome to the Machine
Shocker of the Year - Ceramic Tango
Thank you to all the lovely people I had the chance to interact with at the festival, especially the cast and crew of Truth or Dare, Sara Mayhem, and the cast and crew of the upcoming film, Dead Sea. I highly recommend attending next years festival for all fans of indie-horror, and hope to see you there. Cheers.