What sets your festival apart from other festivals?
Horror Hotel stands out for a few reasons. There are a lot of horror conventions that exist for the horror fans, but there aren’t many that exist specifically for the horror filmmakers. There is a great community of indie horror filmmakers, especially here in the Midwest, who don’t have as many opportunities to screen at genre festivals. We love highlighting indie artists.
Aside from that, not only do we have a film competition, but script and film scoring competitions as well. At the event, there are also live Scream Queen and FX Makeup competitions, which are always a lot of fun! The event features two screenings rooms, film lectures/panel discussions and a convention too.
We also have a TV show that is tied in with the festival, called “Horror Hotel”. It features myself as Lamia, Queen of the Dark, and highlights classic horror movies, but we also hope to start including more independent horror films on the show.
Do you have a favorite film that has showcased at your Festival?
We get so many fantastic films every year! They’re not all your typical slashers, and a lot of them really make you think. I especially enjoy seeing all of our foreign submissions, because every country seems to have different ideas of what horror is, and they all explore different subjects.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
Of course, the films have to fit one of our five sub-genres (horror, horror-comedy, sci-fi, slasher or suspense-thriller), but aside from that, judges score the films on a number of factors. You have your technical aspects like cinematography, sound/scoring, etc. Then you have things like story and characters/acting. You can’t just focus on one side or the other (technical vs creative).
What is your goal for your festival?
Horror Hotel is still a fairly new festival, with submissions having just opened for 2015, our 4th year. We definitely hope to grow the festival, feature more great films, and bring in more guests. Overall, our biggest focus is the networking aspect of the festival. Since most of the crowds are involved in the film community, we really try to get people connected. The more people we can attract to the event, the greater the networking opportunities.
Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
Probably the most interesting story would be from when Rober Z’Dar (Maniac Cop) was a guest in 2012. Robert was at the festival for an induction into the Indie Filmmakers Hall of Fame, and during his acceptance, he decided that would be a good time to propose to his girlfriend. She said yes!
How is your festival received locally?
We attract a good crowd of filmmakers and audiences from throughout the Cleveland area, but we have also had people come in from much further. We’ve had vendors come in from as far as Oregon, and at our most recent festival, we had filmmakers from as far as India and Taiwan.
Locally, because this festival branched off from The Indie Gathering (now in its 20th year), more people know about the festival because of that association. We get a lot of the same crowds at both events, but this festival attracts more of those who specialize in horror.
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
I’d like to see the festival grow to the size of our partner festival, The Indie Gathering, or even surpass that. So many people love horror. It’s just a matter of bringing the festival to their attention. Bringing in more audience members, more films, expanding to more screening rooms. We also currently have a few award sponsors for the fest (Sony, InkTip and Nuvotech), but we’d like to grow to have even more sponsors, offering our winners bigger and better prizes each year. It takes time to grow a fest, but we’ve been doing well so far with keeping people interested.
Horror Hotel Film Festival
June 5-7, 2015