Join us later today (Thursday, October 1st) at 6 PM (PST) when “Dissecting Horror” presents a conversation with organizers and filmmakers of Screamfest! The virtual panel will stream on Dread Central’s Facebook page through Facebook Live; it’ll also be made available on our official YouTube channel and Twitch Channel.
Screamfest Horror Film Festival is the largest and longest-running horror film festival in the United States. Paranormal Activity was discovered and premiered at the festival in 2007. Some of the largest horror online publications have called it the “Sundance of Horror”.
The 2020 Festival will be held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on the 3rd floor of the Hollywood & Highland Center in eclectic Hollywood, California.
Screamfest premieres and showcases new work from American and international independent horror filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers have garnered distribution and representation as a result of the festival. Screamfest launches careers.
Film entries are accepted in the categories of Best Feature, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Special Effects and Musical Score. In addition, there are special categories for Best Animation, Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Student Film.
Screamfest was formed in August 2001 by film producers Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin in order to give filmmakers and writers in the horror/sci-fi genres a venue to have their work showcased to people in the industry. We are very proud that the majority of the films showcased now have distribution.
Guests for today’s panel are Rachel Belofsky, Emily Rua, John Berardo, Brian Frager, Lindsay LaVanchy, and Karen Martin; the event will be moderated by Yours Truly.
About the Panelists
Rachel Belofsky, Founder
Rachel Belofsky is one of the most influential decision-makers in the horror landscape today. The founder and director of Screamfest, known as the “Sundance of Horror,” her festival has led to the discovery of several tent-pole films, including Paranormal Activity. Rachel’s sustained involvement in the genre for two decades has helped bring horror to the forefront of respectability. After success in the documentary field, Rachel founded Screamfest in 2001 and the festival quickly became a mainstay on the festival terrain. Screamfest alumni have gone on to pitch to Blumhouse, Wes Craven, and have garnered distribution due to her ineffable efforts. Whether nurturing the careers of young filmmakers or exhibiting the next exciting box office hit, Rachel Belofsky continues to make a lasting impression on the horror genre.
Emily Rua – Volunteer Coordinator
When most young girls wanted to be veterinarians or princesses, Emily wanted to be a vampire slayer and horror movie hostess. Although she continues to hunt vampires in her spare time, she has pursued her interest in horror films, receiving a B.A. in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California, and working as both an actress and crew member on various films and web series. Emily strives to support and encourage filmmakers (especially those in the horror genre) through her role as Volunteer Coordinator for Screamfest Horror Film Festival, and her career in the events industry, where she specializes in cinema, Halloween, and horror events throughout the country.
John Berardo – Director of Initiation (and Screamfest alum)
Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, John received his MFA in Film & TV Production from USC and his BA from UCLA in Theatre Directing and Playwriting. John co-founded production company Shatterproof Films, which specializes in genre-based films with topical social messages. He screened his short film Dembanger at Screamfest in 2013 and The Labyrinth in 2015. Initiation, a remake of Dembanger, is a topical reinvention of the slasher genre for the social media generation. He couldn’t be more excited to come back home to Screamfest for his directorial debut.
Brian Frager – Producer of Initiation (and Screamfest alum)
A specialist in the emerging world of interactive storytelling, Brian bridges the technical and creative elements through a diverse background in film production, coding and game engine development. His projects have appeared in SXSW, Sundance New Frontiers, the Cannes Lions New Directors’ Showcase, Venice Biennale Film Festival, the New York Television Festival, Screamfest, and more. He served as the Lead VR/AR Experience Producer at the Technicolor Experience Center, exploring projects that pushed the limits of interactive Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Experiences with a focus on virtual production. He studied Creative Writing as a Regents Scholar at UCLA before receiving his M.F.A. from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His USC capstone short film Hunger was a NBCU National Short Film Semi-Finalist and won a Wes Craven Horror Award at the Catalina Film Festival. He co-founded Shatterproof Films with director John Berardo and co-wrote and produced Dembanger, which is their debut feature.
Lindsay LaVanchy (Writer/Actor/Producer)
Lindsay grew up in Missouri spending her Summers on the stage with The Muny Opera, and camping under the Ozark stars searching for UFOs. She headed west for a degree from UCLA, and went on to train in Germany and Italy in specialized, multilingual forms of performance. She’s worked as an actor in film, television, and theatre, but also serves as a Special Projects Manager for a non-profit close to her heart. Over the past few years she’s picked up the pen, and begun a journey right back to the wide open, ever imaginative, spaces of her origins- telling tall tales.
Karen Martin – Festival Co-Director
Karen Martin joined Screamfest in 2010. She works directly in programming, implementing the festival activities year-round, liaisoning with accepted filmmakers and maintaining the organization’s website.
Are you excited to tune in to our “Dissecting Horror” Screamfest Panel today, October 1st, at 6 pm (PST)? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.