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Horror Film Festival deadline shockingly soon

Zombies, blood, token nudity and, most importantly, creativity encouraged




What: Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horror Film Fest

Where: MY Millennium Place

When: Sunday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $15

There is still time to pull out the ketchup and chocolate sauce to produce a horror flick for the fourth annual Heaving Hitting B-Grade Horror Film Festival, with the submission deadline Thursday, Oct. 20. However, your chance to score tickets to the pre-Halloween event may be as horrific as the entries by this Sunday.

Last year, the popular local film festival sold out in a day and a half. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. at MY Millennium Place, with zombies and mass murderers hitting the screen Sunday, Oct. 30 at the local theatre.

"It sells out in a ridiculous amount of time," co-founder Feet Banks said, chuckling. "It’s been well received. Last year’s festival was the best ever with 17-18 films.... There are lots of guys out there filming skiing and snowboarding and mountain biking. This time of year, in the off-season, it gives these people a venue to try something different with plot and dialogue. Or maybe they want to make a film about a guy who kills his whole house with a fork. Whatever. We love zombies, entrails, token nudity and blood – and the more blood the better."

Zombies, aliens, monsters, murderers and guts are just what organizers are looking for in the 15-minute entries, along with and especially screams and goose bumps: not from on screen, but from audiences.

"It’s a lot easier to make a funny horror film than a scary one," Banks said. "We are defiantly perpetrators of this crime, but I hope this year we get some more serious creepy entries that make your hair stand up on the back of your neck."

B-grade horror films are a tradition of the filmmaking world since the 1950s and ’60s with film interpretations of Frankenstein and Dracula leading the way to classics such as Devil Girls from Mars and Door to Door Maniac . Banks noted the resurgence of horror in mainstream filmmaking over the past few years with remakes of flicks such as House of Wax and Texas Chainsaw Massacre .

Glossy, high-end productions aren’t what the festival is about, Banks added – although Stu MacKay-Smith’s top-notch productions have garnered the top award each of the last two years.

MacKay-Smith will opt for the judging chair, as opposed to the director’s one, for this year’s festival.

More important than fake blood by the litres or professional latex make-up applications imported from Vancouver is creativity, organizers stressed.

"There are only two ways to solve a filmmaking problem: you either throw money at it or start getting creative," Banks said.

The results speak for themselves, with the festival selling out all three years and organizers expect this year will be no different.

Professional filmmaker Lauren Graham’s first public showing was at the 2002 horror fest. She won, moving on to win the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Filmmaker Showdown the following year. The former Whistlerite has since moved to Vancouver and is in the middle of producing a feature documentary. She has produced a director’s cut of her winning horror entry as a special edition for this year’s event.

Founders Banks and Chili Thom are no strangers to the filmmaking world as well. Their films were short listed three years running at the Filmmaker Showdown and the two are currently busy producing a short film after being awarded a $5,000 grant from the Whistler Film Festival.

"It’s a lot different than covering your friends in blood," Banks said.

For submission guidelines, contact Banks at feet@heavyhitting.com . The Best in Show is awarded with $500 cash along with the massive chrome skull-with-flashing-eyes trophy. A second showing of festival films will screen the first week in November at the Garibaldi Lift Company.

The festival is supported by Base Energy Drink and El Kartel Clothing.

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