The Paper Heart Gallery,
750 NW Grand Ave, Phoenix
Friday, December 29th, 2006
Thanks to everyone who made our first film festival such a rewarding success. We had a blast and hope you did too, whether attending as a guest, exhibitor, merchant or fan. We’ll definitely be back, so stay tuned for that…
“Let’s do another one!” “Yeah, but next year…” That kinda sums up our feelings following the first Phoenix Fear Festival, as we slumped into bed more than 20 hours after having got up on Friday morning. Believe me, we have a new respect for anyone who runs any of these events. [Lesson #1: plan well in advance. And, no, three months is not enough. ] Still, that said, we had a brilliant time, and we’re already eagerly anticipating next year’s event, which will be bigger, better and ickier than this one.
Left to right: Malediction cinematographer Sam Tolsen, Brain Damage, Malediction director Kevin Phipps, Caregiver director Dennis Devine and Caregiver cast/crew member Jason Stephens [Click to enlarge, in new window]
Thanks to everyone who came out to the event, in particular the great crew from Brain Damage Films, who did everything from helping hang tarps to cover the window [it's an art gallery, so seemed designed to let in as much light as possible - not really what we needed for showing horror films!] to provoking a small stampede before Hardwire took the stage, by announcing an “all you can carry” videotape giveaway. Darren, Dustin, Charity, Michael and Matt: you rock. We also want to thank the other guests, especially Scooter Harris of Studio Hadra, and the Monsters of Extinction crew (Jay, Nina and Erica), who are our first confirmed guests for 2007! Mind you, we’re still wondering what happened to Jeff Dylan Graham…
But it was also great to see so many film-makers present: of the six features, we had four directors in attendance, and three of the eight shorts were also represented. Particularly well-supported were the two features made in Phoenix, Malediction and Dark Places, and the screenings of both films were followed by lively question and answer sessions with the makers. [Lesson #2: build more time into the program for these and general slack. We were guilty of cramming too much into the day.]
If you weren’t there for the awards, the prize for Best Feature went to Caregiver, where the judges were particularly impressed by Osa Wallender’s performance in the central role. Best Short was awarded to Flesh-Eating Ghouls From Outer Space, with an honorable mention to Serial Cleaners, which did a great job of telling an entire story in less than five minutes. The ballot for Audience Favorite proved very close, but Malediction just pipped Into the Flesh, both films getting strong local support.
Speaking of props…kinda… Special props to Hardwire, featuring the makers of The Great American Snuff Movie, who were among the first to arrive, setting up their equipment before the show, and the last to leave after performing at the end of the night. Their set rocked the house, a fittingly in-your-face way to finish the event, and the film remains as creepy to view as ever – it was hard to look Mike Marsh in the eye afterwards and not think of William Allen Grone. But even after they had finished, people seemed loathe to leave…
Thanks also to The Paper Heart, whom we hope will survive into 2007 along with the PFFF, all our sponsors, and every fan who came through the door, proving that the spirit of independent horror is alive and kicking, despite the best efforts of Hollywood to kill it off with lame sequels and remakes. Imagination is clearly alive and well, as all the film shown proved, and we look forward to doing the same again next year. We should probably have recovered by then!
[See also Trash City's review of the films]