Film festivals are phenomenal events with terrible reputations. The average moviegoer hears the words “film festival" and thinks of the stodgy, industry mainstays with their high concept, low appeal films and A list celebrity vanity projects. Events like Sundance which, in recent years has become increasingly hostile to independent filmmakers (i.e., the ongoing Sundance/Troma feud) have left a bad taste in fans’ mouths. So what the cure for the film festival problem? How do you take an artistic event that has always seemed so exclusive and make it not only accessible but inviting to filmmakers and fans alike? Simple. Just break all the rules.
Defy Film Festival
Defy is unlike anything you've ever seen. The 2 day event in Nashville, Tennessee is a breath of fresh air in the film making community and a monument to the ever changing face of Music City. Directed by Dycee Wildman of Daisy Dukes Films, the festival is in its third year and welcomes an array of titles, short form and feature length from around the region and the world.To Tokyo is a feature film about a young woman struggling with her own demons, metaphorical and literal alike and is followed again by a Q&A session. The day ends with an event opening party where fans and filmmakers will have a chance to mingle, meet, and enjoy a celebration of cinema.The first evening of the event kicks off with staggered blocks of Horror, Sci-fi, and Experimental films before moving in to the feature events.
For horror fans, this means eight original works of fiction designed to defy expectations while creating a dialogue into that most taboo and terrifying aspect of human nature: mortality. This is followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers before moving into the main horror event, To Tokyo.
Defy Film Festival is August 24th and 25th at Studio 615 in Nashville. Tickets are still available but I'd hurry if I were you.
Women in Horror Film Festival
And while we're talking about exceptional, original events spearheaded by women in film, Peachtree City, Georgia is welcoming back the Women in Horror Film Festival this October. Founded and organized by Vanessa Wright and Samantha Kolesnik, WiHFF celebrates the work of women in all aspects of filmmaking, not just directors and writers. If you've been following along you'll remember the coverage from last year as well as our recent report on the fundraising event held at Grindhouse Killer Burgers in Decatur this past June.
Women in Horror Film Festival is everything right about modern cinema. Recognizing the collaborative creative efforts of everyone involved in the process of making a horror movie, they program four days of films and events that cover the wide and growing breadth of movies in the genre. They also encourage the attendees and filmmakers to interact personally, to question and learn giving a whole new aspect to the film festival scene. They also invite vendors and artists to participate in the event ensuring that as many elements of the creative, horror community are represented.
Film festivals used to be a thing for a select few, industry insiders and filmmakers who would otherwise likely never be able to share their vision outside of those narrow circles. Unless a film was optioned and produced, many would simply be put aside never to be shared with the world. Defy and WiHFF are changing all of that, opening their doors to welcome in anyone who wants to share in the experience. Movies are made for us all. Come share in the new reality being created by these and other festivals around the world.
Dan is an author, editorialist, podcaster, and horror culture & lifestyle correspondent from the Southeast. You can find Dan's stories at dannoofthedeadblog.wordpress.com/books and through PDI Press.