We don’t often get the time to run news at DG, but occasionally it’s time to make time. As if Salem Horror Fest wasn’t already doing enough important work, here comes the news of this partnership with the George A. Romero Foundation to support the development of indy filmmakers. In the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about KNIGHTRIDERS even more than usual, due to the fortieth anniversary of its theatrical release being this year and this month.
Over the past couple weeks, honestly nothing has brought joy to my heart anything close to the George A. Romero Foundation’s celebration of KNIGHTRIDERS; the first event with Christine Romero (who played Angie), Randy Kovitz (Punch), and Warner Shook (Pip), and the second with Tom Savini (Morgan), Marty Schiff (Sir Ban), and Taso Stavrakis (Sir Ewain). I just revere this movie and its obvious but still-underdiscussed importance to the ethos of one of our greatest of American filmmakers. It’s a major inspiration to the spirit guiding us at DG, if I may be so bold. Even more than the DEAD films for which he’s best known, KNIGHTRIDERS feels central to the worldview of its maker, an inkling which Savini confirmed overtly this past Saturday. To truly begin to understand George A. Romero and his independent spirit, one cannot overlook KNIGHTRIDERS.
This Saturday, be sure to tune in for their talk with KNIGHTRIDERS star Ed Harris (Billy) and composer (and Lead Minstrel) Donald Rubinstein.
And in the meantime, read this wonderful announcement from Salem about their exciting work with the GARF.
Salem, MA: April 20, 2021: Salem Horror Fest has announced a new partnership with The George A. Romero Foundation to support independent genre filmmakers in honor of the Master of Horror’s work and legacy.
“We are excited to partner with the Salem Horror Fest as part of our commitment to support a new generation of filmmakers and artists inspired by George’s legacy. Salem’s history and reputation as a Halloween town is the perfect backdrop to tell new scary stories with a social thread,” said Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, founder and president of the George A. Romero Foundation.
The George A. Romero Film Fellowship will pair industry experts with emerging filmmakers to help guide next steps in their careers whether it’s seeking distribution, developing their skills or strategic planning to fund their next project. Inaugural mentors include Mynette Louie (SWALLOW, BLACK BOX), Travis Stevens (JAKOB’S WIFE, GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR), and Jenn Wexler (THE RANGER, DEPRAVED).
“In a time when truth is truly stranger than fiction, horror feels like the most appropriate genre. Its thrills and hyperbole make us feel and think with an intensity that few other genres do. So I’m excited for us to be sharing our own filmmaking experiences with the next generation of horror filmmakers. Not only is making a movie scary, but so is wading through our current industry landscape,” Mynette Louie said.
Participants will be selected from the 2021 feature film submissions and will be considered for a $1,000 Jury Award cash prize. Eligible submissions must be received by July 31 and have a premiere status. Winners will be notified in September.
Salem Horror Fest will return for its fifth year October 1 — October 11, 2021. For more information, please visit salemhorror.com.
About Salem Horror Fest 2021
Salem Horror Fest is a celebration of diverse voices and innovative filmmaking within a genre that best reflects our cultural demons and anxieties.
The GARF is dedicated to honoring the life work and cultural influence of George A. Romero, and supporting a new generation of filmmakers and artists inspired by his legacy.
MEET THE MENTORS
Mynette Louie is an Emmy-nominated, multiple Spirit Award-winning producer. Credits include Heidi Ewing’s double Spirit Award-nominated I Carry You With Me (Sony Pictures Classics, Sundance 2020 NEXT Innovator & Audience Awards), Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ Gotham, Critics’ Choice & ASC Award-nominated Swallow (Tribeca 2019, IFC Films, 23 festival awards), Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour’s Black Box (Amazon Studios/Blumhouse), Jennifer Fox’s Emmy, Golden Globe & Spirit Award-nominated The Tale (Sundance 2018, HBO), Christina Choe’s Spirit Award-nominated Nancy (Sundance 2018, Goldwyn), Aaron Katz’s Gemini (SXSW 2017, NEON/Sony), Sarah Adina Smith’s Buster’s Mal Heart (Toronto 2016, Well Go/Netflix), So Yong Kim’s Spirit Award-nominated Lovesong (Sundance 2016, Strand), Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation (SXSW 2015, Drafthouse/Netflix), and Martha Stephens’ & Aaron Katz’s Spirit Award-winning Land Ho! (Sundance 2014, Sony Pictures Classics).
Mynette is on Film Independent’s Board of Directors and is a member of the executive and diversity committees in the Producers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was named one of Business Insider’s “12 Movie Producers at the Top of Their Game to Watch in 2020 and Beyond,” Ted Hope’s “21 Brave Thinkers of Truly Free Film,” and Indiewire’s “100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter.” She won the 2013 Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award.
A prolific producer since 2010, Travis Stevens’ wide range of award-winning genre films have played the Toronto International Film Festival, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, AFI and BiFan.
In 2019, his writing and directing debut GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR premiered at SXSW to great reviews (“The best of the (Midnighters) program” RogerEbert.Com) and then traveled the world. Acclaimed for its visual design, practical effects and wicked sense of humor, it won both a Fangoria Chainsaw Award (“Best First Feature”) and Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Award (“Best Gooey Effects”) before terrifying audiences on Netflix (becoming the #2 most watched film on the streaming service and remaining in the top 10 for over a week).
His writing and directing follow-up JAKOB’S WIFE stars genre legends Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden and Bonnie Aarons and premiered at SXSW 2021.
Jenn Wexler is a writer and director, whose directorial debut, THE RANGER, world premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was released by AMC’s Shudder. In television, she’s directed for the CW’s PANDORA and for TruTV’s LATE NIGHT SNACK. She’s also produced acclaimed and award-winning genre films including Larry Fessenden’s DEPRAVED (IFC Films), Mickey Keating’s DARLING (Fantastic Fest 2015, Screen Media) and PSYCHOPATHS (Tribeca Film Festival 2017, Samuel Goldwyn), Robert Mockler’s LIKE ME (SXSW 2017, Kino Lorber), and Ana Asensio’s MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND (SXSW 2017, Samuel Goldwyn), which was nominated for the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award and won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature.
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