Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - One ‘horrific’ movie fest to scare them all




One ‘horrific’ movie fest to scare them all

The poster for the festival, which features events all week.
The poster for the festival, which features events all week. Photo supplied

One ‘horrific’ movie fest to scare them all

Phnom Penh’s first horror film festival – a five-day spree celebrating the spooky, haunted and otherworldly – is underway, with a handful of events throughout the weekend, and three days of short films beginning on Tuesday.

The Horrific Film Festival, a collaboration between movie distribution company Westec Media Limited and the marketing company The Idea, officially kicked off last night with a workshop led by Thai horror film director Sopon Sukdapisit. The first edition is modest but the organisers have big hopes for it in the not-so-distant future.

“Our goal down the line is to make it the biggest horror film festival in Asia,” said Maria Sher, the festival director. “That’s something like the five-year goal.”

For its first edition, the festival called for submissions from amateur filmmakers around the world of short horror movies from two to five minutes in length. The guidelines were intentionally vague. In response, they received more than 300 submissions, said Deka Nine, an executive in Westec’s marketing department.

“We were very surprised by the quality we saw because we didn’t expect much because of the short notice [of two weeks],” Nine said.

The organisers are intentionally keeping the filmmakers and the titles of the shorts a secret until the eve of the screenings, but they did say nine are from Cambodia. While there are genres of all types, the jury made sure that the shorts don’t violate social mores and religious beliefs.

The films will screen for free over three mornings beginning on Tuesday, with a new batch playing each day. The audience will also be given a scorecard to rate the movies in a number of categories, including in “Best Death Onscreen” and “Best Jump Scare”.

Also throughout the week will be other events surrounding horror films, such as a cosplay competition on Saturday – in which participants will be graded on their scary costumes – to kick off a street party on Street 174, with DJs, food, drinks and more.

There will also be workshops throughout the weekend, including one with Battambang horror makeup artist “White Rose”, and a haunted tour of Phnom Penh, in which a bus will be taking participants to the sites of some of the city’s spookiest legends. Needless to say, sites related to Khmer Rouge atrocities will not be on the itinerary.

Sher and Nine say that the festival is intended to bridge a gap between foreigners and locals, and to tap into Southeast Asia’s booming horror film industry.

“We see it as an opportunity to blend the culture between expats and locals, because every culture likes horror films,” Nine said. “Why not create a horror festival where everybody can see different sides of horror films?”

For a full schedule and more information, visit the Horrific Film Festival Facebook page. The street party will be on Street 174 from 6pm-2am on Saturday night. Screenings begin on Tuesday morning at 9:15am at Legend Cinema in City Mall.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last