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Horrible Imaginings Podcast #168: Getting In Bed with Film Festivals! A Panel at San Diego Film Week.

Have you ever wanted to take a peek behind the curtain of film festivals? If you are a filmmaker, have you thought about some of the things you should do to increase your chances of acceptance into festivals? Those questions and more are what this episode is all about. This was recorded live on Saturday, February 11th during our panel at the first San Diego Film Week, an event designed to spotlight San Diego-based filmmaking and film festivals. Horrible Imaginings was invited to showcase some of our program during the event, and we were also invited to join a panel. I was joined on stage by Beth Accomando of Cinema Junkie Podcast and my partner in crime in Film Geeks SD, as well as Brian Hu from Pacific Arts Movement's San Diego Asian Film Festival and Moises Esparza from Media Arts Center San Diego's San Diego Latino Film Festival.

Photo by Leirigh Films

I am excited about two things about this panel. One, this is information we can provide not just to panel attendees, but to any aspiring filmmakers or even film lovers in general who are curious about festivals. Making this a podcast was a no brainer. Two, our audience was comprised mostly of film students, many in high school, who genuinely want to learn more about this side of the film industry. I have to thank Jodi Cilley and San Diego Film Week for encouraging young people to attend events like this. They were engaged and, as you will hear in the podcast, asked some excellent questions! As an educator myself, this was pretty damn exciting.

The outline of tips (LOTS of details in the conversation!):

  • 1. Research festivals

  • 2. Make sure your film fits

  • 3. Prepare a press kit

  • 4. Take the time to step away from your film and come back to it with fresh eyes so you can make it the BEST it can be. Show it to a test audience!

  • 5. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the process--how to handle this difficult aspect

I hope you find this podcast informative and helpful! As always with live panels, we probably missed a lot so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments! Also, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is now accepting submissions! We have been on Film Freeway's Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals list for six months running now--don't miss joining the family!

Subscribe to the Horrible Imaginings Podcast right here. You can also listen here on Dread Central or on the Horrible Imaginings website. You can help keep the podcast, the film festival, and our horror community going for only $1 per month! Become a patron at our Patreon for exclusive content and perks! Find out about San Diego horror events on our FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube, and always stay scared!



Panel: Horror Literature & Readings!

horror authors

Horror Literature Panel

5:35 pm on Saturday, September 10! Following the "Viva Mexploitation" Panel!
There is no question that the roots of horror film reside in Gothic horror literature. The written word has long been used to explore terror, dread, and fear--classically for didactic purposes, often to entertain, even to achieve sublimity. This year will mark the first year of a concentrated effort to inject literature into the programming in some way. To kick it off, we will have one panel dedicated to the art of prose-based scares! We will be joined with authors who specialize in terrorizing their readers: Brian Evenson, Laura Lee Bahr, John Skipp, Cody Goodfellow, Lisa Morton, Ross Lockhart, and even some local San Diego scaremasters: David Agranoff, Robert Essig, and Anthony Trevino!

Campfire-Style Night Readings

9:45 pm on Saturday, September 10! Outside on the Botanical Lawn!
Following the horrific performance art of Anna Yanushkevich and her team, we will gather around the (figurative) campfire on the Botanical Lawn outside for a traditional round of campfire-style readings from our esteemed authors! Get ready to have your spine tingled, old school!

Flash Fiction Before Film Blocks

At various points throughout the film festival, an author will read a piece of horror flash fiction just before a film block. Just another way to add some variety to the proceedings!

Panel: "¡Viva Mexploitation!" with Aaron Soto!

Aaron SotoMexican filmmaker Aaron Soto will return to Horrible Imaginings Film Festival again this year, this time to answer a major question after last year's "Latino Horror" panel: where in the world do we find these awesome Mexican genre films? That's right, Aaron will give a presentation on specific films with images and descriptions--all about the wild and incendiary world of underground Mexican cinema--or "Mexploitation," as he calls it. Do not miss this--and bring a notepad!

posterAaron Soto is the award winning filmmaker from Tijuana, director of Mexico’s first Cyberpunk piece, the short film Omega Shell (2000), and one of the directors behind the horror anthology hit México Bárbaro. He is the coordinator of Rue Morgue magazine mexican section: Rue Morgue México, and is ready to storm the planet with his new feature film Ratas del Bordo, a “Punks vs Witches film in the San Diego/Tijuana border in 1989!”

Soto has won many awards around the world, including The Morelia International Film Festival and selections at Fantasia in Canada and Cannes la Marche du Film section, and it has been called by Guillermo del Toro: “one of the baddest filmmakers from Mexico” and by Todd Brown from ScreenAnarchy: “Mexico’s first cult filmmaker”.





Panel: Anthropophagia

Museum of Man Ad In connection with The Museum of Man's exhibit Cannibals: Myth & Reality, we will talk a look at this phenomenon that is both viscerally repugnant and timelessly fascinating. What are its true historical and sociopolitical contexts, and how do those relate to the prevalence of cannibalism in stories both new and old? Join us for this exciting talk, which is opening up the night on Friday, September 9! Followed by the short film Survivor Type, which is based on the Stephen King short of the same name!

#147: Halloween Super Special with SoCal Horror Authors!

halloween sdplAmazingly, it has been one month since my episode reflecting on Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. I have several episodes awaiting post production, but it's the Halloween Season and this one needed to move to the front of the line! I was invited to a live panel Halloween event at the San Diego Public Library on Saturday to discuss horror in both literature and film! It was like a live version of my podcast, so of course I had to record it for as many of you to enjoy as possible! Thank you to Anthony Trevino for the invitation! Joining me on stage to offer their horror insights were:

David Agranoff, author of Amazing Punk Stories. Follow him on Twitter at @DAgranoffAuthor

Scott Sigler, author of the Infected Trilogy. Follow him on Twitter at @scottsigler

Bryan Killian, author of Welcome to Necropolis. Follow him on Twitter at @bkillian13

Ryan C. Thomas, author of The Summer I Died. Follow him on Twitter at @ryancthomas

Robert Essig, author of In Black. Follow him on Twitter at @Robert_Essig

We talk about our favorite authors and stories before going into our experiences with horror in film. This is a pretty great discussion with lots of people who have had their lives changed by scary stories. Truly, a celebration of Halloween!



#145: Mexican Horror Panel at Horrible Imaginings with Gigi Saul Guerrero, Aaron Soto, and Mauricio Chernovetzky

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2015 has come to an end, but people around the world can re-live one of our best moments in this podcast! We got Mexican filmmakers Gigi Saul Guerrero, Aaron Soto, and Mauricio Chernovetzky to join me on the stage to talk about the unique place that horror and fear have in Mexican life, our personal ghost stories, and more. It was a lot of fun, and I'm very glad that we can share it with you!


Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, Gigi Saul Guerrero moved to Vancouver B.C., where she graduated with honors her B.A. in Motion Picture Production at Capilano University's "Bosa Centre for Film and Animation". Now in her early 20's, her recent successes include the short film Dia De Los Muertos, which has received awards internationally, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Canada. Now her short film is being part of something much bigger "México Bárbaro", a Mexican horror anthology. She also directed M is for Matator, which is officially a part of the ABC's of Death 2.5, and has been screened in festivals from USA to Mexico to Japan! Now Guerrero is working with horror novelist Shane McKenzie on a new Mexican Horror film "El Gigante". Guerrero made a stamp in the horror community by recreating the original Evil Dead into 60 Seconds for a local contest, and was featured on sites such as Bloody Disgusting, Buzzfeed, and Gigi also had a hand at redefining the horror genre by co-creating the audience-interactive Web Series Choose Your Victim. The past year has been a busy one for Gigi, as she co-founded the production company Luchagore Productions with fellow filmmakers Luke Bramley and Raynor Shima. Along with their many projects, they also received some air-time on television by shooting a commercial spot for Fright Nights, a local horror attraction in partnership with Playland/PNE.

Aaron Soto is a very talented filmmaker from right across the border in Tijuana. He is a connoisseur of all things cult genre, and has a special knowledge of rare Mexican exploitation films. His impressive short Omega Shell, screened at the 2011 Horrible Imaginings, and is a special example of what can be done with a little ingenuity. Amazingly, that futuristic steampunk scifi-horror short was completely for an astounding 200 dollars! He is the Coordinator of Rue Morgue magazine, Mexican section and has programmed the FERATUM FILM FEST and the San Diego Latino Film Festival Un Mundo Extrano Showcase. His films have been praised by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Romance and have won more than 30 awards including The Morelia International Film Festival. Aaron is the only Mexican director to had a retrospective at Fantasia International Film Festival in Canada and a very well known producer and supporter of new directors from both sides of the border. He directed the "Drena" segment of the anthology film "México Bárbaro," which screened Friday after the panel.

Mauricio Chernovetzky is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual film director who has worked with internationally recognized talent, such as Academy Award Nominated Stephen Rea and up-and-coming British ingénue Eleanor Tomlinson (The Illusionist, Alice in Wonderland). His supernatural feature, Styria, shot on location in Hungary, received the Industry Choice Award at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. It was also selected to be the opening film at both, The Macabro Film Festival in Mexico City and The Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin. After screening in international festivals all over the world, Styria was picked up for North American distribution by Revolver Entertainment in 2015 and has been playing regularly on Showtime under the title Angels of Darkness. Mauricio was recently honored by Mexico’s Lower House of Congress, where he was asked to present his work. His thesis film, Cassandra was nominated for a National Student Academy Award. He is a graduate of Reed College, where he focused on Spanish Literature and the History of Religion and he studied directing at Roman Polanski’s alma mater, the National Polish Film School in Lodz. Mauricio directed the short film DOS GATOS, which screened just before the panel.

In the panel we discuss:
1. our personal Mexico-centric scary stories
2. the role of Catholic iconography in Mexican horror
3. older Mexican folklore as influences
4. Gigi's mixing of Lucha Libre and horror
5. Mexican cinema in the 80s and 90s

Also listen to Beth Accomando's CINEMA JUNKIE PODCAST for our Edgar G. Ulmer Panel!

When you listen, the last person who gets to ask a question is a local 19-year-old filmmaker named Alfredo Morales, whose film SLEEP WALKER played on Sunday. He has made the film available to the public on YouTube. It is an impressive effort with some naturalistic dialogue and an interesting story. Check it out here: