It was an absolute honor to serve on the Features Jury alongside Film Comment’s Laura Kern and Shudder’s Sam Zimmerman. There were some easy decisions (Best Actress/Best Cinematography), but many hard conversations. A film like Nathan Ambrosioni’s Therapy might not have taken home any awards, but his generic-sounding found footage slasher is anything but expected, and remains my biggest happy surprise of the festival. Congratulations to all the winners from this year’s Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (especially Jackson Stewart’s Audience Award Winner, Beyond The Gates), listed in completion below:
Best Feature: Without Name (dir. Lorcan Finnegan)
Best Director: Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name)
Best Actor: Noé Hernández (We Are The Flesh)
Best Actress: Angela Trimbur (Trash Fire)
Best Cinematography: Piers McGrail (Without Name)
Best Editing : Tony Cranstoun (Without Name)
Best Effects: The Master Cleanse (dir Bobby Miller)
Audience Choice Award: Beyond The Gates (dir Jackson Stewart)
This wasn’t just a super start for the festival’s features program, but also a strong beginning for their shorts offerings as well. Films like Pigskin and Disco Inferno were the talk of Brooklyn’s micro-filmmaker community, while others like Gwilliam made crowds ponder “what in the actual f*#@ did I just watch.” JoBlo’s Eric Walkuski, Director Erlingur Thoroddsen and Producer Jenn Wexler had their work cut out for them on the Shorts Jury, but here are the final results based on their awards decision:
Best Short: Pigskin (dir Jake Hammond)
Best Director: Alice Waddington (Disco Inferno)
Best Actor: Richard Glover (The Monster)
Best Actress: Trieste Kelly Dunn (The Push)
Best Cinematography: Zoë White (The Push)
Best Editing: Aleksandra Hansen (Pigskin)
Best Effects: Gwilliam (dir Brian Lonano)
Best Score: John Carpenter (The Puppet Man)
Audience Choice Award: Tilly (dir Robert Kotecki)
Special Jury Award: Sound Of Blue, Green And Red (dir Joshua Erkman)
John Carpenter winning an award for scoring a short film – does it get any more horror than that? What about drinking a smokey “Master Cleanse” cocktail (made of sponsor products El Buho Mezcal and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale) while watching The Master Cleanse? Or getting a free Flatliners Blu-ray courtesy of the good people at Horror Pack? The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival attracted enthusiastic sponsors who were just as involved in crafting a complete experience for attendees, ensuring that the smallest, most devilish details were more than just generic components. Timms’ team sports quite the creative streak, and with more exposure/budget, I can’t wait to see what wild tie-ins they’re able to produce as the festival gains steam.
Brooklyn is a special, tight-knit community that deserves a loving, passionate horror festival such as this one. Days of screenings blended into nights of jovial partying, all in the name of bringing horror lovers together in a very Fantastic Fest kind of way. Typically, festivals do one or the other. Stuffy, pretentious events that program quality titles, but are only interested in showing movies. Or you have the wild, renegade festivals that care more about partying until wee hours, because you’re only there to see one or two worthwhile screenings.
Justin Timms and his entire team hit that infectious balance right out of the gate, because these are people who care about the genre, and want that excitement to exist in every facet of their unique festival. Just in its first year, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival has already asserted itself as a must-attend genre gathering for horror lovers everywhere, especially for those NYC ghouls who see any trip to Manhattan as a regrettable inconvenience.
The streets of Brooklyn ran red with blood this weekend, and the people rejoiced. Congratulations to a tremendous opening year, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. You just gave New York City horror fans one more reason to love October. One more damn fine reason.