Ft. Lauderdale’s Popcorn Frights has wrapped up its fifth annual horror festival and is celebrating a lineup that boasts 24 feature films and 50 short films from across 16 countries. The nine-day event saw over 5,000 attendees that sold out multiple screenings and brought directors, producers, writers, actors, and more to the oceanside extravaganza.
Out of the festival, of course, come awards! I was honored to be a part of the jury this year alongside Ariel Fisher, editor of Shudder’s weekly newsletter The Bite, Daily Dead’s Derek Anderson, TrueHorror’s Jason Sheppard, and Promote Horror’s Omar Usman. Together, we chose Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real as the Best Feature of the festival with Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ upcoming horror feature Haunt as the honorable mention.
We wrote, “The jury is pleased to award Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real the Best Feature of Popcorn Frights 2019. A wonderfully constructed nightmare, the film won us over with its excellent acting, beautiful presentation, and exhilarating creativity. As an exceptionally strong sophomore feature, we are excited to see what Mortimer will do next.”
Mortimer responded, saying, “This is such an honor. Man, the festival had so many of this year’s amazing horror films playing, it’s such a thrill to have played with all of them and be given an award. And this is a major triumphant return for me, as I am in fact originally a Florida Man — or Florida baby, since I lived in Tampa for the first three years of my life. Thanks for having me and Daniel at your top-notch festival!”
The award for Scariest Feature went to Brandon Christensen and his stellar title Z. Once again, the honorable mention went to Beck and Woods’ Haunt, which suggests that you should absolutely see this movie when it comes to theaters.
For the Best Short, we are incredibly proud to give this award to Carlos Baena’s animated title La Noria, which I promise you will be hearing more about in the future. The Scariest Short went to The Other Side of the Box while the inaugural award for Best Florida Film went to Alexandria Perez’s The Final Girl Returns.
The audience award for Best Feature was a tie, a split between Dan Berk & Robert Olsen’s Villains and Giles Anderson’s The Dare, the latter of which celebrated its world premiere at the festival. And the audience award for Best Short went to Neal O’Bryan & Chad Thurman’s Toe, a stop-motion animated retelling of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark folklore tale.
“For us, this award is the highest possible praise. The film resonating with theatrical audiences is the greatest success we could hope for, and we couldn’t be more thankful to Popcorn Frights for giving us the platform to achieve it,” said Dan Berk & Robert Olsen.
“To have any audience like your film feels like a miracle, to win the audience award for my debut film at the first-ever screening of The Dare from a festival as amazing as Popcorn Frights is beyond incredible! I had the time of my life at Popcorn Frights and couldn’t be happier right now! Thank you to all that made the film with me and to all who voted. You guys have literally made a little miracle happen,” said Giles Alderson.