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Meet Dread Central’s “2021 Best Horror Festivals” Panel

By Max Weinstein

Our first-ever guide to the horror festival circuit was made possible with the participation of 15 industry experts. Some are filmmakers, others festival directors, others journalists. Many wear multiple hats, and all are seasoned and spirited figures in the horror scene. Panelists who work with festivals did not vote for their own.

From left to right, here they are:

My Post 1 - Meet Dread Central's "2021 Best Horror Festivals" Panel

Juan Diego Escobar Alzate is a Colombian writer and director. His debut horror feature, Luz: The Flower of Evil, premiered at Sitges Film Festival in 2019 and was nominated for the award for Best Latin Fantasic Feature Film by the Meliés Federation that same year. His sophomore feature, Searching for the Black Rainbow, is currently in development. 

Tim KC Canton is the founder of the genre site Downright Creepy. In 2013, he helped co-found Panic Fest, one of the top genre festivals in the world as voted by MovieMaker in 2018, 2019, and 2020. His next endeavor will be launching //crickets—a podcast network for the strange and unusual. He loves the visionary storytelling of Carpenter and Kubrick, and some of his earliest childhood memories involve going to the video store to pick out a horror film or a video game based strictly on the cover.

Deirdre Crimmins has been a professional film critic for 11 years and has written mainly about horror film during that time. A lifelong monster kid, she wrote her Master’s thesis on George Romero. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she contributes regularly to ThatShelf.com and Rue Morgue. She lives with two black cats in Chicago. 

Ted Geoghegan is a filmmaker based out of New York City whose recent works as a director include We Are Still Here and Mohawk.

Gigi Saul Guerrero is a Mexican filmmaker and actor born and raised in Mexico City—also known as “La Muñeca Del Terror” in Latin America—and now living in Vancouver, Canada.  Described by Variety as part of the new wave of Latino talent, she is the co-founder of Luchagore Productions, and director of Blumhouse Productions’ Culture Shock, which holds a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As a voice-over actor, she has voiced Vida on Netflix’s Super Monsters and Spider-Girl on Marvel Superhero Adventures, and recently booked leading roles in two new anticipated animated series. 

Named as one of A.V. Club‘s “10 female filmmakers Blumhouse should hire,” Izzy Lee is a two-time Rondo Award-nominated director, and the writer and producer of several award-winning shorts. Growing her loyal following of under-represented fans with every release, Lee’s socio-political tales have screened at such major international genre festivals as FrightFest, Fantasia, Overlook, and more. She is also an editor for ScreenAnarchy, and her short stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines.

Cursed at birth by her Hitchcock-obsessed matriarch, Celia Pouzet grew up to be an omnivorous cinephagous. She embarked on her film curation path at the Cinémathèque Française 10 years ago, and her expertise now ranges from programming international festivals such as Fantasia and Courts Mais Trash, to consulting for self-produced oddities on their strategies around the festival circuit. She currently resides in Brussels with her cat, Tara. In her spare time, she enjoys horses, macramé, and bleeding.

Jongsuk Thomas Nam has been in the film industry for over 25 years, including his stint as an assistant director, a curator at Busan International Film Festival, and a general secretariat at Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) before joining Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in 2007. Thomas is currently the managing director of Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), BIFAN’s industry arm, and programmer of English-language films. He is also the curator of After Dark at India’s Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival, and an advisor to several film programs including Sitges Pitchbox, Focus Asia-FEFF Udine, and Blood Window/Ventana Sur. He is known as an avid karaoke fan. 

Ian Rattray is the co-founder, co-director and programmer of London’s Arrow Video Frightfest. A film booker, film distributor, filmmaker, and designer with over 30 years experience in the U.K. film industry, his career started in film exhibition in his native Scotland with the innovative Moving Picture Show. He now runs his own film booking and distribution company and makes transport films that sell around the world. 

Jennifer Reeder makes personal films about relationships, trauma, and coping. Her award-winning narratives borrow from a range of forms including after-school specials, amateur music videos, and magical realism, and have played around the world at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, and more. Her latest film, Knives and Skin, was released theatrically in France in November 2019 through UFO, and in the U.S. in December 2019 through IFC Midnight. She is currently in pre-production for her next feature, Perpetrator, which is being produced by WTFilms, 30West, and Divide&Conquer.

Edna Campos Tenorio is the founder and director of the Macabro International Horror Film Festival. She co-wrote and co-produced the documentary Alucardos Portrait of a Vampire, and has published books including Femmes Fatales: 13 Women Talk About Horror Movies, Terror del Rudo (Horror in Wrestling Movies) and 40 Years of Alucarda. She also teaches horror cinema at various schools and institutions.

Tony Timpone served as the Editor-in-Chief of Fangoria from 1987-2010 and helped guide the first three Fangoria films to production for Sony. In 2004, he associate produced Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments and was a producer on the syndicated The Horror Hall of Fame. For the 2018 AMC documentary series Eli Roth’s History of Horror, Timpone worked as a writer, researcher, and commentator. He currently serves as Co-Director of International Programming at Fantasia International Film Festival. Follow him on Twitter @tonytimpone1, and on Instagram @Timponetony.

Adrian Tofei is an acclaimed Romanian filmmaker and actor and the director, producer, writer, and star of the found footage cult horror movie “Be My Cat: A Film for Anne.” Adrian is also the author of “Top 100 International Film Festivals + Submission Tips,” both appreciated and used by numerous filmmakers worldwide, and the author of “Found Footage Manifesto.” He is currently working on an apocalyptic feature film called “We Put the World to Sleep” and a Trumpsploitation horror short called “Source of Evil,” among other projects in development.

Jason Tostevin is filmmaker, screenwriter, and the co-founder of Nightmares Film Festival, a celebration of “Better Horror.” A leader in independent film, he speaks at festivals and presents film circuit insight in his “#BetterFesting” live broadcasts. In 2017, film site Cinema Runner named him independent horror’s “most influential short filmmaker” for “changing the face of indie horror shorts and elevating horror expectations.”

Alice Waddington is a Spanish film director, writer, photographer and costume designer. Her 2015 short film, “Disco Inferno,” won the award for Best Director award at both Fantastic Fest and Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. Her dark fantasy feature debut, Paradise Hills, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films.