Festival Director's Statement
When Lisa Mitchell, Grant Bertram and I founded A Night of Horror over seven years ago, I don't think we ever thought that the festival would be still be operating today, and certainly not at the size that it has become. The festival's name - “A Night of Horror” - is a constant reminder of our original intent: a one night, one session, showcase of locally produced short films. It soon spun well beyond our initial plan. Even the first year became three nights and several sessions of horror, after we found ourselves inundated with hundreds of short film submissions from all around the planet. We realised that a single short film session would be unfair to the hundreds of filmmakers who had submitted. Besides, as horror fans ourselves, we loved far too many of the films not to screen as many of them as we could. I am proud that we have retained our commitment to short films, screening more than any other horror festival of our size anywhere in the world. One short Australian filmmaker (who we first met when his film screened at the first year fest), Shane Kavanagh, soon became an integral part of the festival. He is now the programmer of the short film component of A Night of Horror.
By our second year, we were accepting and screening feature films. We remain committed to a programming policy that reserves around half of the festival's feature film slots for films that are submitted by independent filmmakers themselves. It is very tempting to fill a festival's program with sourced movies that already have “buzz” and are eagerly anticipated by audiences. Half of A Night of Horror's program is indeed made up of such films. We have hosted premiere screenings of Hollywood horror blockbusters from Zombieland and The Haunting in Connecticut, through festival circuit hits like The Revenant and Father's Day, to break out Australian genre flicks like The Horseman and The Tunnel. But we have also presented world and international premieres of dozens of independent films, most of which were all but unknown when they first screened with A Night of Horror, but then went on to be festival hits and receive wide distribution: films like Skew, Family Demons, Midnight Son, and Finale.
So on behalf of the entire festival team, I welcome you to the 7th annual A Night of Horror International Film Festival. I look forward to seeing those loyal faces that have become familiar over the years, many of whom have also become close friends, as well as welcoming those of you who will experience the blood-dripping cornucopia of the festival's program for the very first time. So prepare yourself for not one night, but eleven nights of the best and bloodiest horror from Australia and the world!
We'll see you at the grindhouse!
Dean Bertram PhD
At A Night of Horror's special Halloween DYING BREED screening.
(L to R: Nathan Phillips, Dean Betram, Lisa Mitchell, Jody Dwyer, Leigh Whannell and Melanie Vallejo)