2013 Knoxville Horror Film Fest

Well, SofaCouch MovieFilms will certainly be representing at this year’s Knoxville Horror Film Festival.

A little backstory …

The film we did for the 7-day shootout as part of the Knoxville Film Festival was short #7 on the year. My personal goal at the beginning of the year was to make one short film per month. The seventh – “The Harbinger” – was completed at the end of August, so I was running a bit behind. I’d had a couple of ideas for some horror shorts scripted for a while. Since the timed competition “season” was done for the year, I decided to go ahead and do these two stories on my own time, on my own terms (no required elements or time limits – just the script and some actors ready to go.) This made 9 in September, putting me on track to average out one per month. Three more to go!

The first, “Bel Damme,” was shot on Saturday September 14 over the course of about 12 hours. It features Randy and Carrie Thompson as your average suburban couple, one of whom is plagued by night terrors and sleep paralysis. Heather Marie Lind plays the unwelcome presence in their home. With some excellent makeup by Ash Mac and some fancy After Effects work, this presence is rather terrifying.

The second, “Against the Grain,” was shot the following Saturday evening. With a very simple story and a single location, and only one actor with any dialog, the whole shoot took barely 3 hours! If it weren’t for a few fumbles on my part with some equipment issues, it may only have taken half the time. This one also features Randy and Carrie. This time, Randy is a demented woodworker with a creepy and unhealthy obsession with his tool. Carrie is the helpless victim who is forced to listen to him pontificate about the finer nuances of his death implement of choice. I have to say, Randy’s performance in this one is remarkable in its intensity, creepiness, brutality, and … gleefulness?

My original intention was to have Bel Damme, the far more ambitious of the two, be the SofaCouch entry into the Knoxville Horror Film Festival, with Against the Grain being more of an exercise in minimalist filmmaking (one character with dialog, one location, one setup, no music …). Since it turned out so much better than I’d even hoped,  I decided it needed to be in the festival, too. So I submitted it along with Bel Damme. I was informed yesterday that BOTH of them were accepted into the festival. Excellent news! (Also, Against the Grain has been submitted to the IndieHorrorFest in Chicago, IL. Still waiting to hear back re: acceptance. Fingers crossed).

That’s two … The third SCMF representation will be yet another collaboration with Ryan Waller and Forthright Entertainment for the Third-Annual Grindhouse Grindout. This is where we have 6 days, 6 hours and 6 minutes to write, shoot, and edit a fake grindhouse trailer. The possible genres of exploitative films we will select from include:

Clownsploitaion
Bumsploitation
Pupptsploitation
Eco-Terror
Mockbuster
Rocksploitation
Nazisploitation

and many more.

Last year we got Nazisploitation. From that, we created, “Black Furor,” the story of a black Nazi and his Jewish best friend. As you can imagine, it received the inauspicious award of “Most likely to incite protests.” (But shooting it was a blast and the final result was pretty hilarious, and the crowd loved it).

Thursday the 10th, we get our genre, and then it’s hit the ground running for the next 6 days to make something hopefully a lot of fun. Maybe this year we can incite even more protests!

The Knoxville Horror Film Festival was the first festival I entered that wasn’t part of a timed competition. That film – “The Next,” written and directed by me and Kevin Antoine – took home the “Audience Favorite” award that year (surprisingly, because it was made when I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing. There were some good shots, and the story was good, but the sound was atrocious and nearly inaudible in some sections, and a few scenes were so dark you couldn’t tell what was going on). In 2012, “Why So Serial” was selected to open the festival along with three other shorts from around the US, and Crystal Braeuner took home the Best Actress award for the festival. Then, of course, our “protest” award. So far, SofaCaouch and its various iterations have had good luck, awards-wise and audience appreciation-wise at the KHFF, so here’s hoping the trend continues in 2013!

~Sam

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