It's been a while since we've actually had a legit interview on this site, but we have a good one for all you horror fans out there. This October 1st through the 4th, the Wynwood District of Miami will be dripping with horror as the 1st Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival takes over O Cinema. One the men behind the madness, Marc Ferman, was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule and answer some questions.
Q: What was your first experience with the horror genre? What made you a fan?
A: When I was young, I was actually terrified by horror films (which is probably normal for little kids). I would watch them on TV and then proceed to have nightmares. I can't recall exactly when my feelings towards horror had shifted but I believe one of the first films in the genre that I truly fell in love with was John Carpenter's "Christine". After that, I wanted to watch any film based on a Stephen King novel and any film directed by Carpenter.
Q: Being the first, and only, horror festival in Miami, what pressure did you feel on the need to make it special? What are your expectations?
A: There are successful horror film festivals all over the world and I have always wished one would pop up in Miami. For the past five years I have been attending the SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas and the midnight films have been some of my favorites. The film community in South Florida has been slowly maturing and I felt (as well as Popcorn Frights co-founder Igor Shteyrenberg), that South Florida is ready for a festival like this. Our expectations are realistic. We didn't want to book a large amount of films for our first year. We are treating this first year of the festival as an introduction of things to come. We want to show horror/genre fans that we can bring them films that they will love. We also want to show the filmmakers that there is a market for their films here in South Florida. It just hasn't be successfully tapped into yet. We plan to help change that.
Q: What was your criteria for the films that you chose to be in the festival?
A: We want films that stand out and we also wanted films that are very different from each other. Yes, our four nights of films are horror, but they couldn't be more different.
Q: What has the reception been like around the horror community in Miami? How have genre fans embraced this festival since it’s inception?
A: Based just on social networking, the response has been fantastic. We feel like we have impressed a great deal of people with the films we were able to secure for the first year of the festival. The word has also spread worldwide about the festival due to us having the North American premiere of "Howl".
Q: The state of horror as it stands today….thoughts on if you think the genre is becoming stagnant or do you still think that are still fresh ideas out there to be had?
A: I feel the horror films that get wide theatrical releases from major studios have become stagnant. They all feel like remakes of Poltergeist (including the actual "Poltergeist" remake), just with different titles. However, I believe there is some great horror out there. Films like "It Follows", "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" (remake), "You're Next" are terrific. There is also a film coming out this fall called "The Final Girls" which I fell in love with at SXSW back in March. I feel that people who grew up loving films like "The Howling" will get a kick out of "Howl" which we are thrilled to be showing this year.
Q: Films like “The Babadook” “Housebound” and films by directors like Ti West and Adam Wingard are bringing back an old-school 70s and 80s feeling back to the horror genre, is this something you feel helps horror or are films like this keeping old fans happy while forgetting about creating new fans of the genre?
A: I feel bringing back the old school style of horror works if the movie you are making is actually good. Anything can become stagnant if the same thing gets churned out over and over again. The trick is to try and reinvent an idea that has already existed. BTW, Ti West and Adam Wingard are both fantastic filmmakers. I would also like to see more from Fede Alvarez (his remake of "Evil Dead" impressed me).
Q: What films would you put on you “Horror Mount Rushmore?”
A: A Nightmare on Elm Street, An American Werewolf in London, Halloween, and
Superman IV" The Quest for Peace. Friday the 13th Part II
Q: What are your thoughts on “found footage?”
A: Remember that stagnant question you asked me earlier?
Q: What are your goals for future edition of “Popcorn Frights” and do you see this as a jumping off point for more film festivals in the Wynwood and Miami area?
A: We have some big ideas in regards to following up this festival. This will be an annual event but we will also have special film events taking place throughout the year.
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