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Get spooked at the Upstate NY Horror Film Fest

by Tori Martinez - Managing Editor
Tue, Oct 10th 2017 12:00 pm
Photo taken from The Upstate NY Horror Film Festival's Facebook page
Got spook? The Upstate NY Horror Film Festival is a horror fanatic's dream. This year, the festival includes screenings of classic and indie horror movies, workshops where fans can learn how practical effects are made and an awards ceremony for indie horror creators.
Photo taken from The Upstate NY Horror Film Festival's Facebook page Got spook? The Upstate NY Horror Film Festival is a horror fanatic's dream. This year, the festival includes screenings of classic and indie horror movies, workshops where fans can learn how practical effects are made and an awards ceremony for indie horror creators.
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Friday the 13th comes but once or twice a year, and luckily for 2017, it will happen during arguably the spookiest month of the year, October; the 13th lands on a Friday, which won’t happen again for another six years. Creators of the Upstate NY Horror Film Festival in Rochester, Robert Wichman and Joseph Kelly, thought there would be no better way to celebrate the occasion than with a horror film festival. 

Appropriately and officially kicking off the event is the world premiere of “Friday the 13th Part 3 Documentary”, with never before seen footage of the original 1980 “Friday the 13th”, followed by a special screening of the movie. The event goes from 9:45 p.m. to midnight at the Villages Screening Rooms, 1471 Long Pond Road, in Rochester. 

Over the four years of the festival’s existence, this was the first that Wichman and Kelly decided would span over three days. With anywhere between 300 and 500 film submissions, Wichman and Kelly helped narrow the festival down to about 150 screenings, on only two screens. 

The first time block begins Friday, Oct. 13, at 6:30 p.m. There are three time blocks on Saturday, Oct. 14, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Each time block is three hours long, with two 25-minute bonus time blocks, one a NYS classic horror film lecture and the other a demonstration of the making of a bloody corpse. Saturday night ends with a DVD release party for feature horror film “Bloody Island” and short horror film “Clown Motel”. The festivities on Sunday, Oct. 15 begin at 10:45 a.m., with a Ghost Reading from 1:20 to 2 p.m., with Rochester Paranormal Investigator Johnny Perotti. Sunday afternoon has two more time blocks, ending the festival with an awards dinner from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., with awards ranging from best costume to best actor to best short film. Wichman and Kelly noticed a lack of appreciation for horror films, which spurred the idea of the first festival back in 2014. 

Wichman noted that in the Hollywood film industry, it is extremely difficult for independent filmmakers to be noticed. This is one of the biggest reasons he continues to help produce The Upstate NY Horror Film Fest. He knows he has done his job when he watches filmmakers accept their awards at the end of the festival. 

“I like to see the people who have actually submitted their films, seeing them show up and win, seeing the excitement in their faces. They’re very thankful for the opportunity,” Wichman said. “It’s not about us making money on the festival, because we don’t. The first few years we lost money, and last year we broke even. We’re fine with that though, because we just want these filmmakers to be able to show their films.” 

Students with college IDs can get tickets at the door for 25 percent off; if they’re dressed in costume, students can get 50 percent off. For more information, visit the festival’s event page on Facebook at Upstate NY Horror Film Festival.

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