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Terror Film Festival |

Terror Film Festival
by Juanita Berge, 1 Sep 2010

Terror Film Festival is a bad-azz, blood chilling, alien probing international genre arts film festival, and is a new breed of film festival unlike any other film festival in the world. The festival runs every October in Philadelphia and we offer prizes, a world-class Screenwriting Competition, exposure, fun, some of the best parties on the planet, and the coveted Claw Awards. And it's all presented by the genre diva fashionista herself, Princess Horror. It's Halloween Cinematic! Here 'Claw,' one of the two Festival Directors, answers questions about this unique Philadelphia experience.

Learn more about the Terror Film Festival:

PCG: The Terror Film Festival is based on a competition, correct?

PM: Yes. And all films that are selected for screening are eligible for a Claw Award nomination. We look for the best of the best. However, even though the competition is important, our focus remains on the celebration of the work that these great artists have produced. Without question, these films are sometimes superior to even the most professional industry product. And our audiences seem to agree.

PCG: How did the Festival come into being?

PM: Just passionate filmmakers and screenwriters discussing what they love – filmmaking. And it just snowballed from there.

Terror Film Festival

PCG: When is the Terror Film Festival and what are the prizes?

PM: Terror Film Festival is always in the third week of October at the Ethical Society Building in Philadelphia. This year it's October 19-23, 2010. The prizes range from the coveted Claw Awards to cash prizes to specialty prizes.

PCG: All submissions must have terror as the theme?

PM: Oh, no, not at all. In fact, a lot of our films don't have terror, so much as they have, suspense. Terror is not the commanding factor to being selected for Terror Film Festival. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but we don't look for gore in the projects. We look for moments of brilliance. And when we find it, we must act on it. It's true art wrapped inside a great dose of entertainment and surrounded by fun. And we love it.

PCG: I see you break that theme down into five genres. What are they?

PM: Our genres are varied for many reasons. They are horror, fantasy, science fiction, thriller, and dark drama. And of course, our world class screenplay competition. It's difficult to find just the right balance of great work, great talent, great execution, and great signature. And then to take all of that and place it into a glass of wine that satisfies the palette of as many people as possible, considering how a fan will enjoy the genre they love the most, and without jeopardizing the focus on quality and performance. That's a tightrope to walk sometimes. But, with our fingers crossed, we somehow manage to pull it off each year to the delight of our audiences. Terror Film Festival is very unique in this way.

PCG: Do you award prizes in all these genres?

PM: Absolutely. Everything from cash prizes to Claw Awards. Each genre has a chance at those awards, and it all comes down to the execution of the work. The moments of brilliance.

PCG: How long has Terror Film Festival been around?

PM: 2006 was our very first year, and we've grown exponentially since. We're about to put on our 5th edition and we hope to be doing this well into the next millennium!

PCG: Is the Festival just local to Philadelphia?

PM: Well, it plays out in Philadelphia, but we get offers to play in other cities. It's always in consideration. But Philadelphia is home for us and it's very difficult for us to forget that. However, Terror Film Festival is an international phenomenon. We attract submissions from every corner of the globe. Examples include Great Britain, New Zealand, Africa, Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Brazil, and the good ole US of A. And we get filmmakers and screenwriters from all over the world in attendance at the Festival. It's a very satisfying thing when a filmmaker calls you days before the Festival and tells you they MUST attend because they NEED to be a part of it. And within days, they arrive with smiles, hope and excitement. With response like that, we may eventually be seduced into touring.

PCG: Who are the judges in the Festival?

PM: Unfortunately, our judges must remain one of our most closely guarded secrets. It is the strongest way for us to preserve the sanctity, integrity and honor code of Terror Film Festival. When a filmmaker tells us that our Festival is one of the most honorable events they've ever attended, we feel it our duty to protect that ideal.

PCG: What's been the most famous, or infamous, film/screenplay to come through the Festival?

PM: Well, we're not sure about famous and/or infamous, but we really like that our success rate provides a basis for our Claw Award winners to find distribution for their projects. "Fame" doesn't really play into our mission. We look more for "what can we help acquire fame". And, with that said, we are just tickled pink that a recent winner, "From A Place of Darkness" (directed by Douglas A. Raine, and starring John Savage and Bronson Pinchot), can now be seen heavily on Chiller and Syfy.

Terror Film Festival

PCG: Who is Princess Horror and what is her claim to fame?

PM: Ah yes, Princess Horror. She's really very sweet. And she's the first worldwide film festival icon ever, other than Bob Redford over at Sundance (but he doesn't wear cool makeup!). And she's an acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter in her own rite. I believe to date, she has been awarded 5 filmmaking awards and 2 screenwriting awards domestically. She is also an acutely trained ballerina who has worked with London's Royal Ballet, and a classically trained dual range opera singer who studied at the Bryn Mawr Conservatory, and who is currently recording her first CD. She really is all that and a bag of chips. You go, girl!

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