NOLA Horror Film Fest seeks local talent, attracts international crowd


The festival has tried to feature more and more local acts, while attracting international submissions as well.

Parker Greenwood, Contributing Reporter

NOLA Horror Film Fest takes place from Sept. 22-25 at the Castillo Blanco Art Studios. The premise of the festival is pretty straightforward: it “is a horror film festival created by horror filmmakers for horror fans.”

“We’ve got 130 seats this year,” Festival Director Charles Lucia said. “…I expect to sell out every screening.”

The festival began in 2011 and has since had an increase in the number of submissions, going from 300 to 550 submissions in the past three years. Many of the directors will be present for the festival including director of “Monsters Anonymous” Jeremy London and director of “Shortwave” Ryan Phillips. Notable actress Geretta Geretta, known for “Rats: Night of Terror,” will also be one of the special guests present.

The festival set up a dozen events throughout this year. Halfway to Halloween, which occurs during the third week of April, is one of the larger events. This year, there is also a pub crawl on Saturday, Sept. 17 in preparation for the main event the following weekend. All of the events are posted on the social media accounts for the festival.

Recently, both Volunteer Coordinator Laura van Aken and Lucia have been trying to push for a more local focus within the festival. A goal set is to be able to include more local films in the festival, but in order to do so, more local films must be submitted. This year, there were actually more international submissions to the festival than those from the United States.

“We try to specifically highlight some local films, promote the film industry here,” van Aken said. “…We very strongly try to stay in the community and get the money back to the community.”

Horror Film Schedule Infographic

This year a student film block was added. The aim is to draw more from the rising film industry in the south for future events. This includes looking toward schools like University of New Orleans and Tulane for submissions.

Two student films to look out for this year are “Counting to 1000” and “Give Me To The Waves.”

One locally shot film to check out this year is “Abattoir,” the kickoff film. Screening begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22. The film will be accompanied by a short film, “Monsters Anonymous.” Sci-fi fans will enjoy “Virtual Revolution,” on Saturday, a film reminiscent of cult classic “Blade Runner.” Sunday will feature the most controversial movie of the festival, “She Who Must Burn,” a film that inspires strong emotions, which the festival organizers believe to be an essential element of cinema.

“That’s what film is supposed to do,” van Aken said. “It’s supposed to stir something up in you whether it’s enjoyment or anger.”

Tickets can be found on their website or at the door. There are also opportunities to volunteer for those interested. Links to apply as a volunteer are located on the festival’s Facebook page. 

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