Heavy Hitting Horror returns 

Film festival goes through metamorphosis, changes venue

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIK BECKSTEAD FOR HEAVY HITTING HORRORFEST - FACING THE HORROR A judge at last year's Heavy Hitting Horrorfest shows his emotional range. There are changes to this year's competition and festival.
  • Photo by Erik Beckstead for Heavy Hitting Horrorfest
  • FACING THE HORROR A judge at last year's Heavy Hitting Horrorfest shows his emotional range. There are changes to this year's competition and festival.

Feet Banks, irreverent Pique film reviewer and all-round horror-loving guy, is happy to be contributing a short film to Heavy Hitting Horrorfest 2015, the scary movie festival he co-founded over a decade ago.

"It was the excuse for the festival in the first place, to make films and show them. A few times I haven't had time to make one because I was too busy with the festival," he says.

His contribution this year is Lingerie Trampoline Massacre.

"It's very short. Maybe a minute-and-a-half. There's not a ton of character arc in it, but there's a little bit," Banks says.

The festival's offseason had thrown up more than a few roadblocks this year, Banks says, so in what he calls a "failed attempt" to make it easier on himself and less stressful, he downsized the event.

"We figured we'd just make it small this year," he says.

It has been moved from the Fairmont Hotel, which last year saw 1,100 partiers and filmgoers, to the Rainbow Theatre on Friday, Oct. 30.

"It's a small cast, crew and alumni event this year," he says.

"It's an invite-only thing which never had tickets available, just 250 people. Most are involved in the films showing, one way or another, or longtime horrorfesters who have been on the ride for 13 years."

But fear not! There is an alternative way to see the festival on Friday, Banks says.

"We came up with the idea to livestream it — we will show it at Garfinkel's (nightclub). It's a cheaper ticket and there will be a big screen playing the movies that we're playing," he says.

Banks will still emcee and there will be door prizes.

Tickets for Garf's are $20, doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m.

"It felt like a lot of people were going to be left out, so at least people who really want to see the movies can go see them. And there will be more of a party atmosphere and hopefully that satisfies the best of both worlds," Banks says.

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is one of the sponsors, with Heavy Hitting Horrorfest making use of the WFF's digital system and screen.

Over the years, Heavy Hitting Horrorfest has launched a few careers.

"That's the thing I like the most about it. Someone like Angie Nolan has been involved in it for years, and our friend Sharai (Rewels) comes to a Heavy Hitting Horrorfest script-to-screen seminar and then a few months later they are on their way to Cannes," Banks says.

"It's been great to be able to connect the dots, not just locally but as we grew more with the Vancouver scene. Whistler guy Pete Harvey, who now works in film in Toronto, his first three or four films were Horrorfest films.

"That part of it has worked out better than we could have ever planned. It gives people a forum to work from. When you're having fun, you can't help but get better."

Banks says he hasn't decided whether the festival's new setup will be permanent.


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