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Interview With Miguel Rodriguez of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

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Horrible Imaginings Film Festival director Miguel Rodriguez discusses his upcoming horror fest.

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival director Miguel Rodriguez discusses his upcoming horror fest that kicks off Sept. 11.

Beth Accomando: Welcome back to the Cinema Junkie podcast, I’m Beth Accomand and today it's going to be all about horror. My guest is Miguel Rodriguez of the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, so Miguel tell me what made you decide to start a horror film festival?

Miguel Rodriguez: Well, that's pretty easy, there wasn't one in San Diego. So I think that having the dearth of a horror film event or a film event dedicated to horror is a bad thing and I decided that if someone else wasn’t going to do it I just had to do it.

Beth Accomando: And when did you start it?

Miguel Rodriguez: This madness began early in the year 2010.

Beth Accomando: And your first venue was down at 10th Avenue theatre which was quite appropriate because it supposedly is haunted.

Miguel Rodriguez: I love that what is now called 10th Avenue Arts Center in East Village because it’s an old building and it is supposedly haunted by three ghosts that has been confirmed by many paranormal investigators that the owner death has -- he stations in there quite often because he loves it, he laps that up that he owns the haunted building. The building is from 1928 so it’s got this great and storied history and it began as a church, a Baptist church I believe for military personnel so it’s got stained glass windows and of course it's in this kind of although it is growing but it's in this weird part in East Village in downtown San Diego that hasn't quite developed like the gaslamp has. So it's not only the atmosphere of that building itself but also that it's on this block that's occupied by a number of interesting characters. In fact you're one, I don’t know [laughing], there was this older gentleman who showed up randomly from across the street, I don’t know if he was homeless or if he lived at that little hotel that’s across the way but he had this like if Lurch grew to be 80 years old, this would be him and he was like “What are you doing, I want to be here” and we made him an usher. We gave him a flashlight and he was perfectly, he had this creepy air about him [laughing] I don’t know what happened to him but I wish I did.

Beth Accomando: And after you were at 10th Avenue for two years you moved over to the Digital Gym Cinema.

Miguel Rodriguez: I was actually at 10th for three years, yeah unbelievable to think that but yeah after my third year at 10th which was the Horrible Imaginings and also I had a number of quarterlies at the 10th avenue theatre we did move to the Digital Gym Cinema for a number of reasons. It was quite a downgrade in terms of the number of seats but it was a drastic upgrade, a major upgrade in terms of film and sound quality and that's nothing—I don’t want to sound like I’m bad mouthing the 10th Avenue Arts Center but they're better for performance art or music or theater. They are not really built – they don’t have the infrastructure in place for cinema. I had to read projectors and the sound wasn't for film per se. So the standards of quality weren’t where I wanted them to be for a film venue. And that led to my new home at the Digital Gym Cinema which I still call my home for monthlies and quarterlies and film geeks and all the other stuff we do.

Beth Accomando: And this year you have yet another new venue and this is probably an upgrade in terms of both number of seats and also you are going to have 35 MM projection. You are moving to the Museum Of Photographic Arts.

Miguel Rodriguez: I’ve thought about moving to MoPA for a long time. It's an interesting place to go, I think for horror it's great because the atmosphere is awesome, Balboa Park is awesome. As beautiful and family friendly as Balboa Park is, Balboa Park at night is kind of creepy and the Prado area has those very old mission style buildings with these long hallways and these iron rod chandeliers, oh it's so perfect for that. Yes, in terms of film and sound quality it's another I’d say double upgrade in film and sound quality, it looks and sounds marvelous. The theatre itself is like a church with the seats as pews on this carpeted floor and the ceiling is dotted with little star lights and it's just a beautiful theater. And yes it is five times the number of seats that the Digital Gym has. So that was important, I knew after the last year as much - I love Ethan, I love the Media Arts Center and the Digital Gym Cinema is a real boon to San Diego. However in 2014 we had to say no to more people than there are seats in that theater and when I realized that I just can't do this here anymore. So, the search was on for a new venue after that.

Beth Accomando: Now in terms of your festival you're not just interested in programming a bunch of horror kind of on a generic level. You have a real mission statement in terms of what you wanna say about horror and how you want to push the genre a bit.

Miguel Rodriguez: I think I'm very lucky somehow, I think it might be because I have an official podcast for the film festival, I think that's helped a lot but the submissions I get it’s a huge number. This year it was the biggest number its ever been, we got 917 submissions from a total of 37 different countries and the reason I bring that up in response to your question is it is a field to mine for something special, for something different, for something unique especially from the international submissions just because I think when you can have stories from a variety of countries then you have different takes on what is scary. And so yeah I'm much more interested in the things people are saying with these movies and how they are using them almost as a therapy to communicate what scares them. The best kind of scary movie comes from someone who is genuinely putting their fears into their work whether that is you know in a funny way or in a truly scary way or maybe a gross out way or the wide variety of ways there is to communicate that, that's what I wanna show is that variety.

And it's the thing about the horror genre particularly when it comes to people who aren't as familiar with it is the definition for it tends to be relegated to this really small box that that can be very dull if that's all that you think of as horror and all that you consume as horror. And part of that is the fault of horror fans I must say but it's also because from a Hollywood standpoint that's what gets made. If a paranormal activity gets made then there are going to be 7000 movies that kind of try to reclaim that formula that made so much money and so that’s why being able to appeal to the more independent artists for that yields a better product.

Beth Accomando: And you’re really determined to make people stretch their notion of what horror is because horror also tends to be dismissed a lot as kind of a low genre or it’s a genre that Hollywood just invests in to make money but there's so much more to it. And also you bring in on you podcast the literary aspects as well.

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, I mean the thing about the horror genre is its even saying the words horror genre that’s really marketing terms and that's one of the reasons even naming the film festival I appealed to something outside the film genre. I went back to Elizabethan Times and took a quote from Shakespeare for the name of the film festival and part of the idea behind that was to show that people have been communicating fear and looking at the darkness for a really, really long time. This is not something that was invented with you know Boris Karloff and [indiscernible][ 0:08:50.] Its part of storytelling basically since humans have communicated stories we've always talked about what we are scared of whether its literature or performance art or film it’s all a way to for a variety of reasons to talk about the darkness whether it's because we want to prepare ourselves for something dark, or it might be because we are looking for a catharsis from it or it might be because we need to exercise our own demons. We have some darkness within us and that helps us to cleanse ourselves of those which I guess is kind of cathartic in its own right.

I'm looking for things that definitely elevates what people think of the genre as being because there is a stigma behind it especially since for the last three decades since the eighties. I mean if you think about prior to 1980 some of our greatest auteur would take [laughing] pun intended take a stab at the genre. I mean you’ll have Polanski doing “Rosemary's Baby”, you’d have Friedkin doing “Exorcist”, you’d have Hitchcock doing “Psycho”, one of my favorite directors of all time Michael Powell doing a “Peeping Tom” and it seems like after the influx of slasher movies in the eighties following Halloween and Friday the 13th that seemed to be a time when more directors would distance themselves from the genre. I don’t think we've seen anything like Stanley Kubrick doing the “Shining” in a long time and I think we're barely now beginning to see that again from maybe not auteur directors who are well known but there's a lot of talent coming from the independent levels doing the genre in a new and smart way like “It Follows” I think is a good example of that. I'm excited to see more of that kind of thoughtful work put into films.

Beth Accomando: But you’re also someone who kind of gets upset when there are these auteur directors like Polanski or Hitchcock and people resist calling some of their work horror like oh maybe let's not call it a horror, let’s call it a thriller or let’s call it a psychological drama to kind of distance them from “horror genre”

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, I just think that’s intellectually inferior [laughing]. It’s a means of trying to mold a label that is in my view ultimately meaningless in order to make oneself seem smarter, in order to make someone okay with the fact that they enjoy this particular film. When ultimately and that’s why it’s like I almost want to keep away from the word horror just because it has so many immediate connotations for people where they want to do that. Like everybody wants to do that even Friedkin’s like the Exorcist was not – I did not make a horror film, yes you did man [laughing]. And that’s why sometimes you don’t listen to the auteur either, you just have to pay attention to well what’s on the screen and the Exorcist is definitely fitting my definition of what I would deem appropriate to be screened at my film festival and that is admittedly more broad than a lot of people would choose because what I am ultimately looking for is quite simple - was the filmmaker or filmmakers writer included were they trying to understand something dark about humanity when they were making the film, that's really broad.

And you know how well were they able to communicate that and that can be done in a variety of ways which I'm sure we'll talk about when we talk about things like comedy it doesn't have to be a film that scares us. It just has to be a film that is willing to look into the abyss and that is for me that is enough to fulfill the criteria of the genre because I watch these films more as a therapy than for entertainment. My entertainment is there but when I talk about the therapeutic nature of these films that has always been with me for my whole life. I will get the same release, the same kinds of benefits psychologically speaking from the Exorcist that I’ll get from [laughing]. “Return Of The Living Dead”, you know they are presented in dramatically different ways or even Peeping Tom. There is some true darkness in Peeping Tom for anyone who hasn't seen it and a lot of that darkness comes from a sympathetic villain who is really sympathetic [laughing]. I almost fall to pieces just relating to Karl Bohm’s killer in that film so and that's a dark thing that a filmmaker makes a person do is go through that with this particular person who should be vile but he's got his own problems anyway.

All that goes back to “M” with Peter Lorre breaking down at the end in front of his jury of criminals, you can't help but feel sorry for him but you saw he is murdering these little girls [laughing]. And yeah it's a really almost dastardly thing that these storytellers are doing to us but at the end when the credits roll you can come back to real life and maybe breathe a little bit fresher because you just left the cave.

Beth Accomando: Well I know one of the films that scared me when I was younger. I don’t think anyone would probably classify as a horror film but “Picnic At Hanging Rock” gave me nightmares and it was all because it was about the unknown. It was the sense that this girl disappears, well this group of girls disappear but one comes back with no memories of what happened and everyone is so unnerved by what happened and by this mystery and I swear that film gave me nightmares because it was this sense of the unknown. [laughing].

Miguel Rodriguez: You bring up a nice point, this is one thing I’ve talked about a lot. There are different types of fear and the way we – I mean it could be its almost like the argument between fast zombies and slow zombies because fast zombies is a different fear than slow zombies. There is a whole different thing that's been communicated with those two things and that's why the argument as to which one is better is just stupid. But what you're talking about is dread, you’re talking about anticipation, you’re talking about not knowing. It's like, I recently talked about this is like when you know you have to go to the dentist. Once you get there and the drills hitting your tooth it's not great but it's not – it doesn't live up to what you were anticipating. That's kind of like what that is and the dread is the hardest thing I think to instill in people. I think that's tricky and it takes some filmmaking chops, it takes some sleight of hand and it takes knowing how to push people's emotional buttons. That's why it follows for me was so successful.

It’s been a long time since I was in a theatre and my eyes are darting to every corner of the screen because of the dread that that was building up. And this thing goes way back I think one of my favorite philosophers or thinkers on this is an author from the romantic period in the 1900s named Ann Radcliffe. And what’s funny about this is she wrote a treaties and it was terror versus horror which is funny because her definitions of those words don't match our definitions of those words. The words themselves have metamorphosed over time but her definition was terror was dread, terror was the thing the anticipation, the build up to the final ordeal. Horror was okay Jack the ripper has slashed the prostitute and now her guts are all over the street. And her feeling on the matter was that terror is far more powerful or how she would put it - it leads us more towards the sublime and I agree with that in a lot of ways.

Beth Accomando: I think it engages your imagination more.

Miguel Rodriguez: It does because it is kind of why I prefer you know seeing Godzilla as a man in a suit versus something like Pacific Rim with the hugely expensive special effects because for me the man in the suit - I have to contribute my imaginative power toward bringing that to life and my participation in that transaction makes it more intense of an experience for me. You know – gosh I feel like such an old man talking about oh CG ID is this. But for me if the effects are too “realistic”, the movements are too realistic then it’s kind of doing that work for me and it's not as entrancing as like “American [inaudible][ 0:18:47] London” was. So in that same kind of notion, the dread pulling your imagination you're not just seeing the guts spilled on the sidewalk but you're being led through the dark alley way and you don't know what's gonna happen and your brain starts playing for you all the possibilities of what is coming. Your participation in that transactions is something that I think is far more powerful and far more I think far more likely to engage me in the kind of cathartic and therapeutic release that I am looking for in the first place when I see these movies. So yeah I agree with that a 100%. We’re getting really philosophical here but --.

Beth Accomando: We are talking horror and we don’t get to talk that all the time.

Miguel Rodriguez: No. [laughing]

Beth Accomando: Now with your festival one of the things that you make a real effort to do is it's not just about new horror films, you have a component of making sure that we look back to see some of the classics. So this year what have you chosen as kind of your old classic titles?

Miguel Rodriguez: The repertoire?

Beth Accomando: Yes

Miguel Rodriguez: You’re right, the mission statement is also about exploring what the genre has to offer and we can't just get that from new things. We also have to see what has come before, what are our roots, what are our forefathers and this year I went back pretty far for one of them. Oh and we have 35 MM and I'm almost going to like – I’m so excited but I will start with “Bluebeard” because (a) this film is pretty rarely seen, in fact everyone I talk to have you seen “Bluebeard”, have you seen “Bluebeard” and almost universally I get a “No”. But it was directed by Edgar Ulmer. I think about a year ago or maybe a little more I got to meet Edgar Ulmer’s daughter Arian Ulmer and his biographer Noah Eisenberg because they were in town promoting the biography that Noah wrote which is called “Edgar G. Ulmer – A Filmmaker At The Margins” and I got to interview them for my podcast and we ended up like having dinner at Noah’s parents' house in Latoya and it was just a lot of fun.

But I've always been a big fan of Edgar Ulmer mostly because of the ones that everybody knows – “The Black Cap”, his only studio film and “Detour”, his [indiscernible][ 0:21:23] film which is one of the best films ever, that he's got this really insane filmography. I'd seen some of them like “The Man From Planet X” and “Beyond The Time Barrier” some of the kind of more schlocky sci-fi kind of things. But it wasn't until I really I read Noah’s biography and got to really look at you know this crazy life that Edgar Ulmer had lived after moving here from Eastern Europe and the filmography is insane. It has like educational videos and his ethnic films like he made a couple of black films for the black audience like “Moon Over Harlem” and it's like wow, because you're an outsider, because he had been essentially blacklisted from the studio system he started looking for work and was essentially an outsider director but he still had this amazing eastern European flair for his filmmaking.

There's a real art to what he was doing, that he would bring to this crap, you know his poverty row films. [laughing] and in a lot of ways this is back in the forties that we're talking about. So this is like the godfather of what we consider independent cinema back before Ed Wood or anything like that except Ed Wood, sorry guy, he genuinely didn’t have any talent and Edgar Ulmer did. And so it's great and when I – I knew when I talked to his daughter that I'm going to do not only an Ulmer film but a panel about his life, about this insane director and so we did and I flying Noah in and Arian is coming to have a panel about – we are calling the panel “Edgar G. Ulmer – A Filmmaker At The Margins”. And we will have clips from some of the films and I am really excited about that before showing Bluebeard which stars John Carradine, classic horror icon played Dracula, even was remembered by Joe Dante years later and played an old drunk in “The Howling”. In this he is like a debonair puppeteer and he does these great puppet shows. He performs opera with puppets and he sings and – oh it’s so awesome. But he’s also a serial killer and it's a really good film and dark. It came out in 44 which is 10 years after the enforcement of the haze code but it still manages to get pretty dark. So I can’t wait to show that.

Beth Accomando: Let's hear a little bit from Bluebeard, the sound quality may not be grate on this but what cuts through everything is John Carradine’s voice.

[film clipping][0:24:18] to [0:24:42]

Miguel Rodriguez: I almost need to play that clip because it feels almost like a spoiler because you know something bad is about to happen. Even just hearing it John Carradine gives you the chills, you can tell why he became such a popular horror icon not to mention when you see him on screen he's got that great Carradine gaunt’s face, it's almost like there is no skin on his skull, it’s [crosstalk][ 0:25:09].

Beth Accomando: It catches the light in marvelous ways.

Miguel Rodriguez: He has also got this great 19th century hairdo, it's a lot of fun, the costumes are also really good. Oh and Ulmer’s use of music, the opera stuff is just wild, it’s awesome.

Beth Accomando: And for your second classic film, you went a little more recent and Italian, so what did you choose?

Miguel Rodriguez: I'm always going back to the Italians. I started you know if you recall Fulci’s “The Beyond” was one of my repertoire for year one. I don’t know if I’ve done another Italian one since then but I wanted to show that again. The Italian horror of the late seventies to the eighties is probably some of my favorite stuff. It is - someone described it once as hallucinatory horror and I think that’s very apt. Fulci’s says “I'm just making nightmares for the screen, there is no plot” and while that's sort of not totally true it's also, it is indicative in that it doesn't try too much. The reason I’m talking about this is there is a very real kind of pattern that one gets from this type of era of Italian horror, this kind of films nightmare, these hallucinations, these weird happenings and it was a definition, it was like an era with these greats like Dario Argento and Fulci and the like.

And the era kind of died in the nineties, they came almost to a spluttering halt, But one of the last great ones and truly superb is this film from Michele Soavi called “Dellamorte Dellamore” or in the U.S. it was released as The Cemetery Man” with a very young Rupert Everett who of course went onto Hollywood and did some other films but this one it’s exactly what one looks for when someone is obsessed with Italian horror which is this art house feel almost. The colors are just out there very Mario Bava and the camera work is excellent but the story is totally outlandish and then this one I think is based on comics. It's a zombie film, it takes place in a fictional town called Buffalora and Rupert is a cemetery man, the titular cemetery man and he knows that after a certain number of days or after a week that the people who are buried come back and it’s part of his job to lay waste to them. But it's much more than that, that is like nothing at all, that's just a tiny little shred of what the movie is about.

It's this wild character going through these really weird psychoses and falling in love and seeing his love dissipate in grizzly ways and having this assistant who only speaks one word, he says his name over and over -- its just such a strange movie. But very beautiful, very artistic and exactly what I want to show on 35 MM no less.

Beth Accomando: And let’s hear a little bit from Cemetery Man

[film clipping][0:28:45]

Miguel Rodriguez: That clip just kind of sets the very basic scene for what becomes a really wild ride.

Beth Accomando: But you know you mentioned the colors and the kind of the landscape of these films and I remember watching one of the django films where they have kind of their version of the Ku Klux Klan.

Miguel Rodriguez: It’s the first django film, yeah.

Beth Accomando: Yes and they're wearing red hoods instead of white and it just seemed to me that that kind of summed up the Italian operatic tone which is white, so boring [laughing]. We have to play it our more, it has to be bigger, it has to be bolder, it has to be more audacious.

Miguel Rodriguez: Operatic is the right word yeah.

Beth Accomando: Yes and those films, all of those Italian horror, Italian spaghetti horror however you want to define them I think do have this larger than life operatic quality to them.

Miguel Rodriguez: I think like that those elements are part of what draw the same type of viewer to them like the people who loved Dario Argento love The Good, the Bad and The Ugly and also love Fillmore for the same reason. It’s not that Fillmore is hugely operatic, it's actually quite concise but the dialog and the things that happen are not real, like the way people talk people don't talk like that and in all those cases it’s this thing of hyper reality, it's better than reality. And that's why we’re drawn to it. The Italians have it with the horror and I see that in films like Detour too to go back to Edgar Ulmer where man this guy he just can't make a good choice [laughing] but his reactions to his horrendous choices are brilliant and what a contrast.

Beth Accomando: Let's talk about your opening night film, you have a special program of Mexican horror. I mean we’re right across the border from Mexico so this is a great thing to highlight and there are some amazing filmmakers down there.

Miguel Rodriguez: As a Mexican myself even though 1 am quite Americanized, I did grow up in a -- I grew up my youngest childhood is in South Texas up until I was about eight years old and I got my love of horror from my grandmother who spoke mostly Spanish, English was very much a second language but we could relate by watching creepy movies. In fact my youngest memories are her telling me these awful, awful murder stories and horror stories sitting on her lap and stuff. This is my maternal grandmother, my maternal family, my paternal family not so much but maternal definitely. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are part of the culture of Mexico and there's definitely a kind of sitting around the campfire telling scary stories aspect to that culture, that a lot of families I’ve talked to have. It seems to be big and I see that kind of almost communal elements to the scary films that have come out of Mexico in the past and certainly the ones that are coming out now.

And in fact the film I’m showing like you mentioned is called “Mexico Barbaro”. It’s an anthology film, which horror fans tend to like anthology films and I think for a good reason because horror works really well in small spurts but in their definition they talk about showing the dark side of their culture through some of their works. And you get to see a variety of films in that one and we have a filmmaker one of the directors is from Tijuana and as you mentioned we are in San Diego. Tijuana really is our sister city and there's a lot of cultural cross breeding between our two cities and Erin Soto [phonetic][ 0:32:54] who has been in the festival before with some of his earlier work, he is one of eight directors in that particular film. So yeah I wanted to look at what makes Mexican horror different and I wanted to look at Mexican horror film past and what is coming because there seems to be a rise of what's going on. And of course you have directors who have dabbled in the genre, who have gotten really big now like [name indiscernible][ 0:33:25] I think goes without saying.

So I wanted to explore that a little bit, that will be part of a panel before we see the film. And we have three very different filmmakers, two of them were directors on Mexico Barbero, Aran and Gigi Sel Garero, who is another one. She is from Mexico City originally and is experiencing this kind of big, I think she's going to get very big and I’ve another short that she made in the festival as well. But I want to get her take on it and also another filmmaker who I’ve showcased before, [name indiscernible][0:34:00] who has got kind of a mishmash of cultures in him but also from Mexico City and I showed his feature film “Stereo” in the past. We’re showing a short film he made called [name indiscernible][0:34:14] right before the panel to kind of get started. And we’re going to talk about the parts of Mexican culture and how horror is unique from Mexico.

Beth Accomando: Well we mentioned Italy and now we‘re mentioning Mexico and one thing both these countries have in common is Catholicism.

Miguel Rodriguez: You're going to bring it up.

Beth Accomando: If you grow up with anything from the old testament or you go into any church in Mexico or in Italy there is some pretty graphic horror elements on hand for you to witness from a very young age and kind of presented to you in a very normal kind of context. I mean if you go to church some of the crucifixions that you'll see in the church can be really horrific and scary to a small child.

Miguel Rodriguez: And little white ladies wear all black. [laughing]

Beth Accomando: I mean I think it can definitely lead someone towards horror elements and I mean a lot of our best horror directors had some sort of catholic upbringing. I mean we have George Romero, Dario Argento, even Roman Polanski, these are all people who somewhere in their background had some sort of Catholicism which I think and it's not a criticism of Catholicism or anything like that, but I think that those horror elements exist in there and kind of color your perceptions and can lead you in a direction to become a good horror director.

Miguel Rodriguez: I think so too and especially in Mexico and in Italy the imagery is far more gothic than here. It's not rosy cheeks Jesus stroking a lamb, it’s very [indiscernible][0:35:57] man pierced by spears nailed to a cross in a much more realistic and graphic depiction. And you my father was a roman catholic priest before he met my mom and we did a lot of traveling because my dad likes to travel, when I was younger and to save money a lot of places that we stayed were in churches and with the dioceses and the ones that were like in Southern California and South Texas were terrifying. I hated these little bare rooms with these awful pictures and [laughing] that was really scary. I think some of my scariest -- I saw a ghost moments were staying in places like that, yeah so I think it's the perfect atmosphere and you’re right.

I mean there's another director [name indiscernible][ 0:36:56] who did this great film called [foreign language][ 0:37:02] which is -- it's part of this sub genre that people tend to call nunsploitation but it takes place in a convent where the devil has taken over and these nuns and mother superior are praying. The set design is just terrifying, this crazy ghoulish depictions on the walls, just it looks like it's carved into the stone, such strange imagery that comes from – and that’s from Mexico. And I believe his daughter works at Mesa college, so it's kind of interesting.

Beth Accomando: Okay, we talked about some films from across the border. You also have a showcase of local San Diego filmmakers?

Miguel Rodriguez: Yes, every year. Every year I do a local showcase partly because as a film festival that has roots in this community I started it here because there wasn't one here. The fact that San Diego is the place for this film festival it makes me feel like I want to reach out to anyone who is making films here and give them a venue for their work. I do have a number, I think I’ve eight or nine local spotlights are what they are called. And I don't do a block of local spotlights, what I do with the locals is I spread them out over the festival according to thematically which block they fit in, that makes more sense to me. But yeah, we always have some interesting things and what is doubly interesting is the number of genre films or what could be considered horror films to me that are being made in San Diego, the number is growing and I don’t want to take direct responsibility for that but I'll take it [laughing].

Beth Accomando: One of the films in this collection of local horror films is Hatred, so let’s hear a very quick scene from that.

[Film clipping][ 0:39:07]

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, so that one was from this film Hatred, a short film by a local filmmaker Bryan Butler. it is another one of those films that takes a unique approach to the genre because you know it's not what's a lot of people expect. It’s not a scantily clad woman running though the woods with the hatchet man chasing after her, its two guys brothers I believe living in isolation and feeling the psychological effects of that. And it’s shot really well and it makes full use of our East County here of really dry empty land and I thought that that one fit really nicely. I also really liked the title “Hatred” I mean that is really evocative.

But yeah lots of local staff including one from someone who has been a attendee at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival since the beginning, our mutual friend David Reins, our lovable curmudgeon who made a film – now David and I both have a love of Shakespeare and as I said the film festival itself is named from a Shakespeare quote. David made a short film that just kind of -- it's interesting, it’s a confessional but it is King Claudius’s soliloquy in Hamlet where he basically lays his soul bare about the terrible things he's done. And David turned it into a thriller short film. And I think that that's really clever, I thought it was really well dime and he directed it and acts in it, so David is giving us his best Claudius.

I can't wait to show that because it is so different, when you say I'm a horror film festival, I want to get submissions that's not what you are expecting to get. So I thought that was kind of fun and it's from someone we know and it's local.

Beth Accomando: So talking about things that are not expected, let us move to another category you have, which is horror for humanity. So, this is again stretching the notion of how we define horror by going to a collection of films where the horror is less about the bogey man and demons and witches and whatever kind of super natural or other worldly horror you can think of and it is finding horror in the real world.

Miguel Rodriguez: This one is important to me and I get personal with this one, but horror for humanity I want to just give a mention to Philorenza who came up with that name by the way. I think it is really a clever play on habitat for humanity, but when you direct a horror film festival, and I am sure you will get this sometimes, giving Danes to give a good review to a horror film. Sometimes you will get something like I can’t watch any horror movies, if I want horror, I will just watch the news or you will get someone saying, there is already so much horror in the world, why would you want someone to make more of that in these movies?

First of all the second one is really kind of crazy to me because that’s like saying, you know what I laugh every day, things are funny in the real world. Why would someone make a comedy? You know it does not make any sense. Why does that logic apply to horror when it won’t apply to comedy? because there is horror in the world, because horror happens on the news. That is why people should make these movies. That is the whole point, it reflects the world around us. So the horror for humanity in a way for me personally is a response to both of those kinds of claims. The reason for that is yes, there are horrific things on the news, but the news is not emotive expression or it shouldn’t be in lot of ways it is becoming that, but it really shouldn’t be. At its core that’s an informational venue. It should be for disseminating information ideally. That is not a way for someone to get their personal, more personal kind of expression, creative expressions off their chest through the news. That does not serve the purpose and in fact, myself included, I don’t think any of us get cathartic release from watching someone shoot down a bunch people in a church in South Carolina. You know, that is not something we enjoy and it is not something that we get a release from. That is something horrible that happened. That is completely different than if it was in a film where this is an expression, then it is cathartic release, it is not real, we experience the darkness and we come back to real life where there is more light around us. The news is showing us dark things in the real world. That is not okay.

So, I am interested in horror for humanity, taking real world things like may be what happened in South Carolina or in the cases of the films I am showing what are happening in various parts of the world in war torn countries or countries where terrible things happen, and expressing that through narrative fiction. So these are not documentaries, but they are filmmakers who have experienced terrible things, who have seen terrible things and have used that to fuel their creative expression and perhaps get some catharsis for themselves, exercise demons for themselves and hopefully through that have an audience be able to get same kind of thing. Narrative expression, narrative fiction, serve a different purpose than documentaries. They serve a different purpose than the news and that is what I want horror for humanity to be about is a look at socio economic ills, or some of the terrible things that happen in the world. But through a narrative fiction lens, so we can have a different experience than we would have from a documentary. Now I have got a film called ‘My Mother’s Songs’ from Tanzania and actually the director went to school here in San Diego but the film is in Swahili and it is about trauma through the generation, it is really beautiful film.

Beth Accomando: So I am really glad you’re including ‘My Mother’s Songs’, I had a chance to see that at the up and coming film festival that Rebecca Webb curates at ECST and it was a film that kind of made you rethink how you watch movies too. It is a very slow burn shots last for five minutes, and you don’t get the horror of it right off the bat. Like I said, it is a very slow burn that you kind of have to get sucked into and you are not sure where it is going, but by the end the impact is enormous.

Miguel Rodriguez: That is something I think that has been a common thread in films in that particular block - the horror for humanity block. Maybe not so much with “Forgiving Sky” which is a film from Myanmar and the horror of it again it is not typically horror. It is more about the relationships with these people living in hostile environment and in hostile situation. The horror of that is pretty apparent, however My Mother’s Songs, you have got that slow burn you don’t realize exactly what the theme is, what is happening until it punches you in the face. Then there is a film called Ann’s apartment from Iran, which is another one, it is almost perplexing and you watch it for a while and it isn’t until the end where you say ‘my gosh’ that was something really powerful, I can’t believe that, it almost leads you astray until it yanks you back and it was that film actually that really started this whole thing.

We saw that and then My Mother’s Songs came up and it fits so well. I am happy to say there is another one that was filmed in Tiguana, so it is kind of our local one. It is just like that too where it is almost like these little [indiscernible][ 0:47:12] of things happening in Tiguana, beautifully shot. The locales are very interesting it is almost like a, what do you call like a begger’s sheek. You know there is this one shot of just a wall of tyres, old car tyres and its where this person works. The way it is shot, it lands a beauty to it, but then by the time you get to the end you realize what this film is actually about and that one will be especially meaningful for people here because, I am just going to say it is about human trafficking and that is something about well, KPBSS talked about a lot. It is something that we have a problem with in San Diego. It is a powerful little short too, so.

Beth Accomando: And I think this is a good block for people who feel that they don’t want to go to a horror film festival, horror is not really the genre for them. I think this is a group of film where you could say that the subject matter and themes are much more, I don’t want to say artistic, but they are much more of the real world. Therefore people might be able to relate to them in a way that going to see a serial killer film or you know a zombie film might not connect for some audiences.

Miguel Rodriguez: That’s true, I think that there is one thing that is said usually an insult of [indiscernible][0:48:36] that I actually don’t think is necessarily insulting which is, that lot of tends to be base and these films will be much more intellectually challenging than the kind of basic release or the base emotional release that say a ghost film will yield where you know in a lot of ways to really be captured by ghost film, you have to access the child part of your brain or the lizard part of your brain, and go back to primal little bit. These films I think, if someone is unwilling to do that these might be more of intellectual exercise. I am curious to see how people react, it’s definitely be very different and not light hearted. You know in every other block there is some kind of little piece I throw in there to lighten the mood. In this one happily I will say not turn people away. It is a short block entire thing is about 75 minutes plus the talk. There aren’t real like, okay, release parts of this particular block. It is all pretty intense.

Beth Accomando: And it requires I think all the films requires certain amount of patience because they don’t announce what they are right up front and people come in expecting you know lot these horror films you will get a quick teaser at the head hooks you and gives you some sort of action to find the tone of the film. These ones are very slow builds very satisfying and rewarding at the end and very emotionally traumatic on certain levels, but just remarkable amount of talent in those films.

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, I think these are really powerful and I think you nailed it. Even it follows how that beach scene at the beginning where I say throw you a kill, yeah, he has dug - definitely not like that. I have some faith in my audience. I think we know intelligent people, we have been having the same audience year and year after for the most part, we definitely have new people. But I think that a programmer and film festival director can trust their audience but they have to be given some kind of introduction, like they have to know, at the beginning of this block I am going to have to say, this is what, this is about. It is in the program too, of course. But I think as long as you give them what to expect, they kind of know little bit what they are getting into. Then they won’t that like being thrown off guard by what kind of film it is, it won’t be as limiting. I hope. We will see.

Beth Accomando: Let us move from the very serious end of horror to the lighter hearted end of it, which is the horror comedy section. There were for full disclosure, I was one of the judges for the festival so I have got to see lot of the films almost all of them and there were quite a few horror comedies. I think some of the best films were probably some of the horror comedies. Talk a little bit about horror in comedy.

Miguel Rodriguez: Horror in comedy, especially when it comes to films, always, even if you go back to like [indiscernible][ 0:51:41] of the French 1900s 20th century and 1800s. There is always been a element of kind of a ribbing to them. Like it is always kind of nasty but there is always a clown aspect to them. There is something about horror and comedy that go together. I say like peanut butter and jelly that will be cliché. We just showed Abbot and Costello Meet The Mummy and Abbot and Costello film is for a while they are with the monsters really struck a chord because the two go together so well. Even Brighter Frankenstein probably one of the best examples of comedy used together in a horror film to such great effects and then some of the memorable horror films like ‘Return Of The Living Dead’, ‘Send More Paramedics’ you know. Comedy has always been a thing and so.

Beth Accomando: Laughter is always great release for tension.

Miguel Rodriguez: It is.

Beth Accomando: So when you get groove into that extreme by a horror film. If you give in to the fear, you go one direction and you try to disperse that fear and tension, you tend to release it through laughter.

Miguel Rodriguez: And it has been rough programming this because there are comedic films in other blocks, because of that whole tension release thing. But I did want to give a particular block to the horror comedy. I think especially since some of the horror comedies are very much more comedic with dark elements rather than a horror film with comedic elements. It is completely different thing. There is something else I noticed, really noticed it this year when putting together the horror comedy block and it seems to me that the same kind of animal brain in us, like if we want to get rid of all politeness, the same kind of primal evil animal lizard brain in us that wants to see the horror film with the crazy mean things also gets a real laugh out of seeing terrible things happen to other people. Like there is something funny about that.

Beth Accomando: Well, Samuel Beckett said there is nothing funnier than someone else’s unhappiness.

Miguel Rodriguez: Exactly, or Mel Brooks, the master of comedy, tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is someone falling in an sewer hole and dying. You know, there is a part of us that laughs at other people’s misfortune. It’s really not polite, but it is there we can’t deny it and I think there is that same kind of thing that horror film will evoke. It pulls at the beast part of you, comedy does that too. The other thing that horror and comedy that they have common is timing is everything. With comedy and horror timing is everything. So, we are talking about the dread earlier it is all about the beats that you place to pull someone in for that dread and that is really hard to do and same with a good joke. You know there is nothing worse than an unfunny comedy, nothing is worse than that.

Beth Accomando: Nothing more horrific, totally different nature.

Miguel Rodriguez: Totally different yeah.

Beth Accomando: Well you know its funny talking about this because Wes Craven just passed away and I went on a marathon on watching a bunch of his films and I saw Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which ends with reading of a script of the new nightmare film and there is a point in the description where it says something and a group of people are watching and they don’t know if they should scream in terror or burst out into laughter. Something like that. So, you know I think very obviously horror directors understand there is sometimes a fine line between what is terrifying and what’s hilarious.

Miguel Rodriguez: I think that is so true. Especially a good one like Wes Craven for as varied as his filmography is in terms of how brilliant it is. I do think as a man as a story teller he really understood people and he would understand that fine line. That’s why you get movie like ‘People Under The Stairs’ and another movie like the Original Nightmare On Elm Street’ or ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow” very different things, but ‘People Under The Stairs’ is hilarious or Shocker.

Beth Accomando: Well it is funny, I was just writing a review for Day Live which is a satire on regonomics in part and ‘People Under The Stairs’ you could also say that the two lead characters are Ronny and Nancy on a certain level. That film is as much as satire on the Regan era as they live and it was odd watching both of these films back to back.

Miguel Rodriguez: That would be a great double feature actually. What a great shot at the end of ‘People Under The Stairs’. Spoiler alert, where the house finally goes up in flames and the money comes raining down neighborhood.

Beth Accomando: Trickledown theory.

Miguel Rodriguez: Exactly, you just have to pull it with, that is good stuff.

Beth Accomando: Would you want to mention any particular highlights or shots that are favorites of yours, maybe we can sing aloud for someone.

Miguel Rodriguez: Gosh, there are so many. It is really awesome year for programming and lot of great quality. There is a film from the UK called ‘Bunny’ which is a psychological thriller for those people who like those tags and there is just something about ‘Bunny’ where it is two actors and a house. So it is as concise as story telling formula you can get and claustrophobic. But the entire story is reliant upon the power of the performances and performers are very good and also about, I don’t want to give anything away other than the source of the psychosis of the villain and the antagonist in it. It is something really original, and it is really original form of crazy that I haven’t really seen before, both because of the actor and because of source of the crazy leads to the idea, the notion of the sympathetic villain. You can’t help but feel for this person even though she is doing some terrible things, so, and she pulls it off so well, just making you kind of relate to her a little bit, but I really like that film.

Beth Accomando: Let us hear little bit from ‘Bunny’

[audio clip from the movie] [0:58:24] till [0:59:32]

Beth Accomando: Now one of the interesting thing about Bunny as a submission is the filmmaker actually submitted two versions of this film. The full length version which is still short 30 minutes and a shorter version and seeing both of those, obviously for me the longer one was far more interesting and unique, but it is interesting that the shorter version kind of conveyed a different sort of story and it felt like the filmmaker might not have had enough confidence in their full vision.

Miguel Rodriguez: When I got the two things that is something a feeling you kind of get its like hmm, on the other hand I can see why I mean there's a certain I would say ill informed level of astuteness to that because a lot of film festivals when they see a 30 minute running time on a short they will say no right away, and I understand that. But I'm also really fascinated because if you ask me without seeing the film, like okay I’m a filmmaker who made a 15 minute version or a 30 minute version which one do you think is going to be better I would almost universally say the 15 minute version, you know cut that crap out, cut it down. And even you and I have this conversation, it’s like guys if you would just chop your movies running time.

Beth Accomando: Most of the ones that did not get in are films that had good elements but did not know their limitations.

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, it’s the editing booth that kills it, almost all the time for a movie that’s almost there. But this is the exact opposite, this is an outlier [laughing] because the 15 minute version - again great performances great cinematography, I love the score but the 15 minute version loses some of the unconventional qualities of the 30 minute version. And some of the really powerful aspects of the third act that we get in the 30 minute version are absent from the shorter version. So yeah I mean the 30 minute version, it is rare that I’ll say okay I have a film festival, I’ve 20 hours of time, I've gotten 4000 hours of content, my first gut instinct is to take shorter films that way I can give more variety, more filmmakers a voice. If you give me a 30 minute version you're taking the voice away from what like five people may be potentially two people three people depending on the length and so it better be pretty darn good, it better be pretty exceptional and this one fit the bill. I kind of almost would tell the directors Adam Ony, I want to say man have faith in your product and let that -- I also don’t want to accidentally give him that advice if someone will take the 15--. But I want audiences to see the 30 minute, that’s the thing.

Beth Accomando: It will be a shame if someone saw the shorter one.

Miguel Rodriguez: Yeah, because they would get the same experience.

Beth Accomando: And I think they wouldn't appreciate the filmmaking skill as much.

Miguel Rodriguez: You’re right, I mean because not just the filmmaking skill but the storytelling skill because the complete version of that is a really fulfilling story and you’re right, Adam people need to see the 30 minutes version.

Beth Accomando: Take that one off of there. As soon as I saw the two because I think we watched – I think I watched the short one first and then watched the longer one.

Miguel Rodriguez: Immediately after I did because I emailed you, I was like look at these two. [laughing]

Beth Accomando: And I was angry because I felt like he -- it's a male filmmaker. I felt that he should not have even put that shorter one out there because it was not -- it had nothing special about it. It was well made but it was not special and the long one was and I'm really glad that the long one got in and I hope that he does not submit the short one to other festivals because people will be cheated. So I am just saying that.

Miguel Rodriguez: I’m going to make you listen to this Adam, I love you man but it’s true.

Beth Accomando: It’s true, have confidence in your filmmaking skills.

Miguel Rodriguez: It’s an awesome film. I think and this is my personal feeling, I think Bunny in terms of a short film it is kind of essential viewing the 30 minute version is a really unique film. And it’s interesting that you ask me if he was a male filmmaker or female filmmaker. I have several from both but he gives a real solid voice to his female lead and that's awesome, and smart and deft.

Beth Accomando: You give out awards at your festival, and talk a little bit about the award itself this year.

Miguel Rodriguez: The award sculpted by Tyler Ham who has sculpted all my awards, he is a VFX artist and sculptor in San Francisco. We love you Tyler. Well first of all the award has been different in the past years and I wanted to make it consistent, I wanted to make every year - I wanted the award to have kind of brand for it to be recognized well that’s the Horrible Imaginings Award and that was hard. I actually talked to Tyler months ago, I say look this is what I want and it needs to be something that really makes sense and we got to talking and we talked about you know the Macbeth quote for the title and we are both like oh witch, it should be a witch. And my first -- I wanted it to be three witches, it ended up being just one just because of sculpting logistics and how much money three witch trophy was going to cost me. [laughing]

It is a witch at a cauldron of course you know, double, double toil and trouble. I like calling it my toil and trouble award because making movies is a lot of toil and trouble. It’s a witch stirring the cauldron and I love it and it works because I love those three witches darn it.

Beth Accomando: Now in terms of your categories, one category that I’d like you to define a little bit is you have a best monster show. So what would make a film fit into the best monster show category?

Miguel Rodriguez: Well this is one that took some thought, so for the short films and the reason I didn't do this for the feature films as well is simply there are just more short films. There aren’t enough features to justify that split you know one category would have just one movie. So the short film for best short award I decided to split into the monster show one and dramatic short and the reason for that is you know even as you as a film critic I’m sure an relate to this - you have to access a different part of your brain and think about a movie differently depending on the type of movie especially when you are trying to like put it in a category of best, like how can you take a movie like the “Smiling Man” which we’re showing, which is in the child's nightmares block and it's a little girl facing this kind of demon pure evil and compare it to something like Bunny or My Mother’s Song or The Huckster you know. It almost feels like it's unfair to the judges and it's unfair to compare, it’s like apples and oranges what those two types of films are trying to do.

Beth Accomando: Will it be like having somebody vote between Rosemary's Baby and Shaun of the Dead.

Miguel Rodriguez: Exactly it’s not the same thing.

Beth Accomando: It’s very hard to place one above other when the filmmaking skills are both--.

Miguel Rodriguez: On the level.

Beth Accomando: Both very high yet the tones and the impact and everything about them are going in such completely different directions.

Miguel Rodriguez: Almost against your wishes you want to say well of course Rosemary's Baby right, they have to be judged on different merits. That's the way I really need to say this. The type of film that would go in the monster show the more traditional what people think of horror actually in a lot of ways it needs to be judged on a different set of criteria and merits than the more dramatic ones or the ones that are little more realistic or the ones that have a different tone. And so that's why I split those because of that particular – just that nature of them. I don’t think you’d be fair to the Smiling Man or to Ellie Ganter’s [phonetic][1:07:59] any of the other monster ones to put them up against My Mother’s Songs or like The Huckster or the Bunny, it’s just a different type of film.

Beth Accomando: Yeah and I think they require different filmmaking skills.

Miguel Rodriguez: I completely agree.

Beth Accomando: You have some other categories that are kind of more expected you’ve best make up effect and music, let’s hear a little bit from one of the film's that's nominated for music and this is Ghost Train.

Miguel Rodriguez: So Ghost Train was directed by an Irish director named Lee Kronin, this is one that actually didn't get immediately submitted to me. I saw the poster for it and I thought the poster was outstanding and I emailed him like I have a film festival, can you submit it [laughing] and he did. He submitted I shouldn’t admit that but I am going to admit it anyway. It's a really great ghost film and actually ghost film might be even a misnomer but another one with a solid acting in it, Steve Wald in fact is one of the actors in it, I believe he is in History’s Vikings show and he is one of the nominated for best actor in a short for the film festival. But that's another film that it pulls you with the music and it polls you in a kind of not very overt way, it’s not this bombastic kind of music. In the clip we just heard you just get the classic horror tropo most of “Who’s that do you hear something?”

I think using sound and music as part of the story like that is really cool. It's like Godzilla, the roar for Godzilla was done by the music composer Akira Ifukube when those two things merge it really is nice.

Beth Accomando: Well and I think in a lot of good horror films the music and the sound effects are not always readily separated and they work very well together and in the recent film it follows which we have mentioned a few times because of recent horror this is one of the better ones. And the sound effects and the music just comingle in ways that go to build that sense of dread in a Marcus way.

Miguel Rodriguez: Sometimes you don’t know what is the sound of actually what’s happening to this person or what is just the musical cue and you can’t separate them because the musical cue once you get to know what the musical cue is like it kind of diminishes the impact because you learn to expect. And expectation is not something you really want with horror but you’re right the melding of the two is really nice and Ghost Train is really nice too and the set of course is excellent but the music they did a very nice job.

Beth Accomando: To wrap this all up let’s talk a little bit about Horrible Imaginings and the horror community here because as you mentioned there are a lot of the same people coming to the festival each year and that group has been growing. These are some of the same people who come out to events that you sponsor at the Digital Gym and other venues. So do you feel that part of your goal is to help nurture and build this horror community?

Miguel Rodriguez: That was my goal from the beginning with the podcast even was -- I had just moved here, I’ve only lived in San Diego since 2009 which after all we have been through together it’s just really weird to think about and so I started this because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this stuff and this is part of my therapy so I needed -- the podcast was that. And it was me by myself, so I am just chatting to the ether [laughing] and so the film festival was a way to introduce a horror film festival to the city which didn't have one at the time and get to know people and to build a community. One thing I discovered early is that the horror community in San Diego in my experience here especially at the beginning was a little nebulous. It almost seemed like it didn't exist and more I feel like we are like a magnet that occasionally is bringing some more people in. One thing that I've noticed with the community we have fostered both with Horrible Imaginings and with film geeks and some of the other stuff is not only a level of passion but a level of intelligence. Like when we have a film, even if the film – you know The Digital Gym forces us to start at 10 and we’re done at midnight, we're standing out [laughing] in the sidewalk of Al-cahone boulevard at two in the morning and we can’t go home because we're talking about these movies in exciting ways.

It's funny, there is this one woman named Glow who I think you know and she just gave me a call today because she wanted to make sure she could get into the Friday, you get a Friday pass. And I was at work, I had to teach a class but we couldn't get off the phone because we were talking about movies and she might be someone who an outsider would say oh, she would never like these movies but she is totally willing to experience different things, and that's what I love. I love the fact that you know I got an interview with San Diego Downtown News and another one with a newspaper on La Hoya and both of them ask me about the demographic expecting me to say teen. But our demographics very much are like late thirties to late fifties like most of us are not teens, most of my audience are not teens, but that's what Hollywood caters to for horror, that's what everybody thinks of with horror.

I do think it’s the quality of the programming, I think it's the thoughtfulness of how it’s put together and how it is disseminated, how it is presented. It makes people think a little more, I mean I’ve people who still think that horror well it has merit just might not be for them but still support me both financially and by talking to me about this stuff. There's a local writer who works at UCSD and does her own literary journal named Valerie and she is someone who's easily disturbed by a lot of horror. She likes some o the more goofy stuff we show but she's so supportive like in huge amount of ways. So I think it is something that even for someone who's not used to this kind of thing the way that we have built and fostered the community and the way that we have expressed the terror has made people who would normally turn their back on it curious and come toward us instead and I love that, that's my whole goal.

Beth Accomando: And this year you’ve kind of partnered with some local filmmakers.

Miguel Rodriguez: I did, so there is a gentleman named [indiscernible[[1:15:04] who is a postproduction wizard as well as a filmmaker himself and he has a company called Bangzoompal, his own green scream, I should say green set where he could basically do anything he wants, its pretty wild. He could have you go and stand on wood planks painted green and turned into whatever you want. But anyway we partnered up early on, I met with him he had six fully fleshed out written scripts that he had done because and here's what I was really impressed with at the beginning is he said “I went on your website and I read your mission statement and I read the about page and I wrote these scripts based upon what you said that you wanted to do as far as showing different types of horror” and he interpreted that as making a movie for a serial killer, making a movie for monsters, making a movie for witches, making a movie for -- like these different types of movies and I thought that was really cool. And he had like storyboards everything, man alright you go for it. [laughing[ He made a really awesome trailer for us and two of the movies are out and available, one’s called serial killer, one’s called monsters on his Vimeo page and they are also going to play in the interested shows and some of the intermissions and Witches is out this week I believe which I’m really excited for. There are two more on the horizon, we have some interesting actors in Witches.

Beth Accomando: Double, double, toil and trouble, I was casting a few spells in that one, yes. Think I contributed to your demise possibly.

Miguel Rodriguez: Yes indeed, I think I die a lot in all these monies, but that was one stipulation. And he works with a lot of great local cinematographers too, Blester Entertainment is this great duo who do all kinds of videos and videography work and Regal Arto of course is another one we’ve worked with, Oscar Velasquez is another one. Yeah, building a film community and what I'm really proud of is people who have talent and drive, who have volunteered their time and talents to making things for Horrible Imaginings, I don’t want to say for me but for the mission and that has been awesome, that’s been like one of the best parts of this year is being able to work collaboratively with people on that and see something grow and give them creative freedom to do what they want to do because the one question I get as a film festival director is are you a filmmaker, do you make movies and I’m not, I’m more like an academic. So I'm able to sit back and watch something happen. And I know that the festival that I created is the genesis of those things happening, I like that.

Beth Accomando: Alright so when can people see this festival?

Miguel Rodriguez: Alright September 11th through 13th which is in one week and three hours from when we are recording this or something, which is giving me a little bit of heart palpitations but honestly I feel more prepared this year than I have kinds of ever before so I am really happy about that. September 11th starts at 5:00 PM, get there like 4 and I'm giving people the endurance test for Saturday and Sunday, both of those start at noon. I say get there at 11 and get coffee because they are long awesome days and we’re just going to have a great time together. I can’t wait.

Beth Accomando: And where can people purchase tickets?

Miguel Rodriguez: Tickets are still available on which is my main website. You can also on, if you go to the Facebook page, there is a buy tickets link right on my Facebook page, so that is probably one of the easier ways to do that. When you click on buy tickets it actually gives you a whole lot of options because you can get the whole festival or if you are just interested in the comedy section you can get a comedy block ticket for 10 bucks and that's really easier to do too.

Beth Accomando: Well I've been speaking with Miguel Rodriguez, the director of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival and the Horrible Imaginings podcast and as always it's always great to talk about horror. I never seem to be able to talk about it enough, so thank you very much for joining me.

Miguel Rodriguez: Thank you. We can do this for like hours more I am sure. [laughing]

Beth Accomando: You’ve been listening to the Cinema Junkie podcast. Please go to iTunes to subscribe and give us a rating. You can also contact me on Twitter at Cinebeth and visit the Facebook page for Cinema Junkie, thanks very much for listening.

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Cinema Junkie

Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando. So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place