Gregory Lamberson and Emil Novak, Jr., founders of the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival, have announced the lineup of films competing in the festival’s inaugural edition. Buffalo Screams runs from Thursday, September 21st through Sunday, October 24th at the Screening Room, located in the Northtown Plaza on Sheridan Avenue on Amherst.
“Buffalo has a large community of independent horror filmmakers, so the audience is there for an event like this,” says Lamberson, an independent filmmaker and published author best known for his cult horror film slime city and his award-winning novels Johnny Gruesome and Personal Demons. “We want to bring films and filmmakers from around the world to this festival, we want to spotlight local filmmakers, and we want to put on a festival that visiting filmmakers will speak well of when it’s over, so more filmmakers will want to attend the following year.”
Competition categories for the festival include Best Horror Short, Best Western New York Horror Short, Best Horror Feature, Best WNY Feature, and the “More than Horror” categories, which include other genres like crime dramas, westerns, and science fiction. In addition, awards will be given in the traditional categories: Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Special Make-Up Effects, and Best Special Visual Effects.
“Good film festivals are not about awards though,” Novak explains. “They’re about audiences seeing movies they might not be able to see otherwise; they’re about filmmakers interacting with those audiences, and they’re about filmmakers interacting with other filmmakers. We want to be the most filmmaker friendly festival in the region.”
Buffalo Screams will screen several WNY horror films, including the feature House Of Horrors: The Movie, the shorts The Black Cat and Davis, and the world premieres of What Are They and It’s In Back.
A number of Canadian films will screen, including the feature Werewolf Fever and the shorts Red, Eyes Beyond, The Familiar, and The Gallery. Other international films include the Australian feature El Monstro Del Mar! and the French short Cabine Of The Dead.
Non-horror films include the western Damn Your Eyes!, the local crime dramas Born To Die and No Road Out, the Canadian superhero film Avenging Force: The Scarab, and the psychedelic science fiction feature Triptosane.
Special “Showcase” films not in competition include the documentaries Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather Of Gore and Under The Scares, the nihilistic zombie feature The Defiled, the short film The Facts In The Case Of Mister Hollow, Novak’s short Adrift and Lamberson’s Slime City Massacre. In total, 33 films will be shown over four days, climaxing in a casual awards dinner sponsored by My Tomato Pie.
The festival’s Guest of Honor is Debbie Rochon, the iconic actress who has appeared in over 150 films, many of them in the horror genre. Rochon writes a column, “Dawn of the Deb,” for Fangoria magazine and recently appeared as a judge on VH1’s reality series Scream Queens 2. She helped organize Troma’s Poultrygeist when it filmed in Buffalo and co-starred in Slime City Massacre, which was shot around Buffalo’s Central Terminal Station.
“Debbie was our first choice as Guest of Honor,” says Lamberson. “Not only does she have connections to Buffalo, but she’s beloved by her colleagues and fans in the horror community, and she’s a fierce champion of independent filmmaking. She’s very down to earth, with no ego, and perfectly meets the criteria we want to set for our guests: someone who will watch the films and interact with the filmmakers and audience, fostering a community spirit. We’re lucky to have her.”
Day passes for Buffalo Screams will cost $13.00 per day, and will be available at the Screening Room on a same-day basis only. Four-day passes for the entire festival will cost only $39.00 (one day free), and will be available beginning Thursday, September 23rd at Novak’s Queen City Books on Main Street and at the Screening Room.
For a complete list of films showing at the film festival, and additional information, visit: Buffalo Screams
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