Saturday, November 11, 2017

Horrific Film Fest Encourages Newer, Indie Filmmakers

The Horrific Film Fest in San Antonio, Texas held its 10th anniversary screening last October. That's an important milestone. Many horror film festivals arrive with a big promotional splash, only to disappear after their first year. To survive beyond two or three years is noteworthy. To attain a full decade shows admirable staying power.

While the Horrific Film Fest accepts "all kinds of horror films," shorts and features, its emphasis is on indie horror. "Our festival was created to help independent filmmakers show their films, and help them get distribution," said HFF owner George Ortiz. 

He adds that "X rated" films are not welcome.

Ortiz, who is also a filmmaker, offers the following tips to indie horror filmmakers:

* Budget for Marketing

"Many filmmakers only budget for their movies. They don't consider the marketing side and film festivals." Many film festivals charge hefty admissions fees. Make sure you've raised the money to pay for it, because Ortiz advises to "submit to as many festivals as you can" -- with the following two caveats ...

* Some Festivals Are Too Big

"Many filmmakers want to submit to bigger festivals. Nine out of ten times, they don't get in. You need to submit to the smaller festivals. Get your name out there first, before you try the big ones. That's just my personal opinion. No disrespect to anybody."

* Some Festivals Are Too Small

"Be careful with those online festivals. They are not real. They just want your money. You get nothing in return."

* Avoid YouTube

"Don't show all of your movie on YouTube. Only the trailer. You want to take your film to a festival. If it's on YouTube, nobody will come to see it at the festival."

* Meet Other Filmmakers

"Every year, I see filmmakers who just come to see their own film, and then they leave. You should want to see all the films, so you can see who you going against, and to cross promote, make friends, and ask questions of other filmmakers. Ask what kind of camera they used. Bond with actors and filmmakers, often from another country. Filmmakers who have won in past festivals have a greater understanding of film festivals, and how to take advantage of them. They know to bring posters, promotional materials, their cast. Newer filmmakers can learn from them.

Ortiz encourages newer filmmakers, and film students, to submit their works. "The Horrific Film Fest was created to help filmmakers showcase their talent and get distribution. Eight movies have been distributed from my film festival."


For a behind-the-scenes look at horror film festivals and the festival directors who manage them, see Horror Film Festivals and Awards. This book also includes a directory of over 200 horror film festivals, and a list of festival award winners from dozens of festivals over several decades.

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