Friday, October 12, 2018

Upstate New York Horror to Screen in Rochester

Founded in 2014, the Upstate NY Horror Film Festival will hold its 5th screening this October 12 and 13 at The Cinema Theater, in Rochester N.Y.

Festival director Joseph Kelly is himself a 15-year filmmaking veteran. Based on his experience, he advises filmmakers to do diligent pre-production. "If your film is five minutes, 30 minutes, or a feature, plan it out. When you first start making films, you are so eager to get out there. But know your budget. Do your research.

"Great video and sound is a good start, but there are so many other factors that go into a film. I prefer good acting over boobies any day. It's good to see a nice rack, yes, but in the long run, you want the best picture possible."

After the first edit, Kelly advises filmmakers to get audience feedback before submitting to festivals. "Have a few friends watch the film when complete. Take their notes. Some films drag too much. I saw a 30 minute film that was shot great, sounds great, with great effects, but that film could have easily been edited into 15 minutes.

"Get your point across to your audience before they fall asleep in their popcorn. I personally had this problem until I realized, it's not what you want, it's what your audience wants."

Post-production is not only about editing. After you review your first edit, your film might require additional production. "If you need ADR, go get it," says Kelly. "If you need to take a week and do pickup shots, do them. You will always have mistakes. Even the greats have mistakes, which they might not realize until the 50th time they watch their films. It's going to happen. Just do the best you can."

While Upstate NY Horror welcomes all subgenres, Kelly says that "we are starting to pull in more sci-fi films as well. No Sharknados. Just some good alien films."

This year Kelly will be screening his own film -- Clown Motel: Spirit's Arise -- at his festival:

"Each year submissions pile in more and more, and we are still giving everyone an equal chance. We had films play in our theater that were on a shoestring budget to multi-million dollars." A theater that, Kelly adds, "is considered one of the five oldest movie theaters in the United States."


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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