Festival director John Pata emphasizes the important of the “story” in the selection process.
What sets your festival apart from other festivals?
We're very much about the filmmakers and the fans. Seeing that many of us behind the scene are filmmakers who happen to be huge horror fans, we make sure it's an event we'd want to attend. Also, all proceeds from the festival benefits the non-profit Time Community Theater, so it's not a question about us making money. Everyone involved donates their time, so it's an absolute labor of love and passion.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
Selecting films is the hardest part. There's so many good films that are sent our way, but we can only show a handful. When narrowing down the list, we look for an even balance of everything horror has to offer. Budgets don't necessarily make good films; stories make good films, and that's what we look for.
What is your goal for your festival?
To showcase independent horror. Period. That's been the goal since day one (five years ago). This isn't about awards or egos (we don't give any awards out), this is about bringing together passionate filmmakers and fans, and especially our favorite genre together.
Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
in 2010, our first year, a bunch of Wisconsin-based filmmakers met each other for the first time at the fest. They hit it off really well, and serious friendships were formed. Two years ago, those filmmakers came together to make HOLE IN THE WALL, an entirely Wisconsin-made anthology film, which is being released this month. That's a pretty damn great feeling knowing we brought this group together.
How is your festival received locally?
Oshkosh is a very supportive community. I've been putting together horror events here for over seven years now, and they've always had our back. People are stoked that we bring films from all over the world to our downtown.
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
Five years from now will be our tenth year (crazy to think about), and I'd love to see it have the same focus and integrity it had the first year. Again, this isn't about making money or becoming the next huge festival. It's about horror, and those who love it. I don't see that changing, so I just hope to keep bringing people together in the name of horror.