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Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Streams Through Monday

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Horrible Imaginings Film Festival kicks off its online event tonight with the double feature of "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" from 1962 as well as its remake from this year. The festival is dedicated to horror, sci-fi and fantasy genre films.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Horrible imaginings film festival kicks off its online event. Tonight it's dedicated to horror. So I find and fantasy genre films, KPBS arts reporter, Beth Huck. Amando speaks with the festival, founder and director Miguel Rodriguez about showcasing horror in the midst of a pandemic and social unrest

Speaker 2: 00:20 For full disclosure. I've been working with horrible imagining since it began a decade ago here in San Diego, the cost of venues here in town forced you to move the festival to orange County. And now with COVID, you're taking it online. So Miguel, how does it feel to be launching this festival this year online in the midst of a pandemic?

Speaker 1: 00:40 That's a loaded question right off the top. You know, what, what I'm most excited about is I've started. I've been able to use the skillset from the, from the education world, because for the last several months I've been working at UC San Diego, helping instructors to teach remotely and what, you know, some of the best practices of that are. And I've been using that to think about how we want to do a remote festival. So that has been interesting.

Speaker 2: 01:09 And what can people specifically expect from the online experience from horrible imaginings this year?

Speaker 1: 01:15 This has always been a community event for me. So how do I maintain the community aspect? When you know, we're sitting in our homes and, you know, also full disclosure, I was able to practice by having a mini event back in June called campfire tales. And we did that remotely. So I was able to get data from that and apply it to how I do this, including this is going to cost a lot more than I was expecting it to, but also what are audiences expecting? What do they want? And also what can we offer filmmakers if we can't offer them, like in person networking opportunities or chances to connect with the audience in the same room. So I've been trying to build opportunities for community building in the virtual environment. And also I've had to let some things go. There is a group of people out there, a segment of the audience who are fine, just watching things at home and, and like the flexibility of being able to watch it whenever they want.

Speaker 1: 02:23 And then there are also a segment of the audience who want this to kind of mirror the festival experience and watch it the same time as their friends and be able to talk about it at the same time. So I've combined the two, um, I have a schedule that has suggested what we're calling CoWatch periods, where, where for the festival audience only a special zoom meeting that we're calling the lobby, where they can come and get tech support and hang out and talk about what they saw. Um, and it's all just about building opportunities to connect over what we saw and building opportunities in where people can on their own collaborate and coordinate and watch at the same time and live, tweet it and write reviews on letterbox. And you know, one of the nice things about the virtual space is a person can with one click of a button now say, say, I really liked this short film lenses. I want to share it with Twitter and they can just click the Twitter button and push it out. And that's not really something you can do very easily in person don't really want your phone out in the middle of the movie. So you could definitely do that now. And I'm, I'm encouraging that

Speaker 2: 03:37 You are running shorts and features, but talk about how you do your programming blocks for the shorts. Cause it's not going to be just like animated films or together or foreign films or in one place it's more thematically divided.

Speaker 1: 03:51 You know, this year I was wondering what we were going to start seeing thematically from the pandemic. And certainly that started to rear its head, but we stopped taking submissions around may. So there wasn't really enough time to get a lot of submissions that were all about people being isolated in indoors with a, an illness going around. But the thing about genre in particular horror, fat, dark fantasy science fiction is first. It works really well in the short film format because it's, that's why I call the quarterly series campfire tales. It really is like these kind of campfire tales or urban legends, where we are talking about the things that scare us or, or our anxieties airing our anxieties. And also we're afraid of something for reasons. So you start to see these really cool, you know, shared themes start to pop up. And so for example, one of our themes is called twisted in a sense where you have these characters who are either children or cute fuzzy animals or things like that. And they show a very dark side. It's really interesting to see when different voices can share a same thread, even though their films might be radically different. It might be scary. It might be funny. It might be animated like you said, but they are expressing the same kinds of things.

Speaker 2: 05:37 As the name implies horrible imaginings is about horror and you've mentioned genre films, but what role can horror play at this moment in time when we're quarantining at home, we're facing a pandemic there's social unrest. There's a lot of just general anxiety. And Ken horror us through this.

Speaker 1: 05:58 I I've found myself recently kind of questioning my role as a film festival director and why I'm doing this and how I can keep it up. When I still see people being shot by the police and protests happening and counter protesters arriving with automatic weapons. And, you know, the world seems just awful right now. You know, why would you want to watch you hear this all the time? Why would you want to watch this? The world is scary enough. And to some degree, I understand why they're asking that, but my answer has always been, I want to watch it because the world is scary enough. Like the purpose is, is to express these feelings, get them out there and also share them and let it be like a way to have conversations with people about things that are uncomfortable. You know, for me, it serves the purpose of exercising, dark feelings and providing that moment where it's an opportunity to have conversations about things that are not comfortable. And you know, it shouldn't be comfortable. This is not a comfortable genre.

Speaker 2: 07:07 One of the features you have is actually a documentary and it's your closing night film. If, if we can call things closing night anymore online. Um, but it's hail to the deadites

Speaker 1: 07:17 Documentary talks about the subculture of evil dead fans, which has included not only, you know, people who dress up as the characters or buy the toys, but also things like evil, dead, the musical, and some of the other just wild pop culture stuff around it. So I do think that for people who like that series and more specifically, the people who like it to such a degree that they'll, I don't know, make a pizza NAMEC on, um, might be something that they can relate to. That was Beth Huck. Amando speaking with Miguel Rodriguez of horrible imaginings film festival, the festival streams. Tonight through Monday, you can hear more about the festival on Beth's cinema junkie podcast tomorrow.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.