This year, GRIMMFEST, Manchester's Festival of Horror, Cult and Fantastic Film celebrated its thirteenth anniversary with the launch of Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights, conceived as an annual event to complement the long-established October festival. Sadly, the ongoing Pandemic situation necessitated that, like Grimmfest 2020, the first Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights festival was hosted online. But the show must go on, and the festival staged a successful five day “virtual” event across the Easter Holiday period.
Like the established October Festival, this was a competitive event, with a jury of genre experts:
Josh Millican, Editor in Chief at DREAD CENTRAL, acquisitions at Epic Pictures / DREAD Presents Distribution and host and creator of CHRONIC HORROR web series.
Anton Bitel, Film Critic for Sight and Sound, Little White Lies and Scifi Now amongst other publications and a member of the Online Film Critics Society since 2007, and of the London Film Critics'; Circle since 2009.
Mariam Draeger, Presenter / Producer. Founder of Headcinema Productions. Cross-media spokesperson for horror within the festival circuit, radio and podcast scene.
The task cannot have been an easy one, but the votes now all in, and the Grimmfest team are
delighted to announce the Award-Winners for the inaugural Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.
Best Feature: KEEPING COMPANY.
Josh Wallace and Devin Das's bloody and blackhearted satire of the American Dream, which
received its European Premiere at Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.
Honourable mention for Kourosh Ahari's surreal and disorientating THE NIGHT, which received its UK premiere and a special preview screening at the festival.
Best Director: JUSTIN MCMILLAN.
for the supernatural crime drama, SWEET RIVER, a tale of grief, guilty secrets, and ghosts, which received its UK Premiere at the festival.
Honourable mention going to JUSTIN MCCONNELL, for his unflinchingly honest and personal exploration of the business of independent filmmaking, CLAPBOARD JUNGLE).
Best Performance(s): HELENA PUIG & ANTONIO ALCANTARA.
for their extraordinary double act, in Pablo Olmos Arrayales' dazzling feature film debut, the single-take psychological thriller, RENDEZ-VOUS, which received its Northern Premiere at Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.
Best SFX/VFX: THE BARCELONA VAMPIRESS.
Lluis Danés' visually sumptuous reimagining of an infamous real-life murder, which draws on a
century's worth of cinematic visual trickery, from silent-movie shadow play to the latest CGI, to evoke a palpable sense of place and time. The film received its UK Premiere at Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.
Honourable mention, too, for Alexey Kazakov's psychedelic tale of witchcraft, possession and male egotism, MARA, which also received its UK premiere.
Best Scare: THE OTHER SIDE.
Tord Danielsson and Oskar Mellander's bone-chillingly effective relocation of the classic haunted house scenario to a drab Swedish suburb, received its UK Premiere at the festival.
Best Short: YOU'RE DEAD, HELEN.
Michiel Blanchart's deft juggling of romantic comedy nerve-jangling horror and gut-punching
heartbreak received its UK premiere at Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights.
Honourable mentions, too, for Ashlea Wessel, for the unsettling WEIRDO, which received its UK premiere at the festival, and for a couple of Grimmfest Alumni: Natasha Halevi for her stark Super-8 solo project DON'T GO OUTSIDE, and FRIED BARRY director Ryan Kruger for his
characteristically confrontational take on the sex war, #MEOWTOO, both of which received their
world premieres at the festival.
Grimmfest Easter Horror Nights screened fourteen feature film premieres, sixteen short film
premieres and twelve exclusive Q&As with filmmakers and stars. With movies from the US, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Korea and more, this was truly an international line up of exceptional new work that featured performances from stars as diverse as Donald Sutherland (Don’t Look Now), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), Mena Suvari (American Beauty), Sergi Lopez (Pan’s
Labyrinth) Shahab Hosseini (The Salesman), Lyrica Okano (Marvel’s Runaways), and Margaret Cho (All-American Girl).
In total, Grimmfest Easter edition hosted 3 World premieres, 2 International Premieres, 5 European premieres, 14 UK premieres and 6 Northern UK premieres. Not bad for their first Easter outing!
“All 14 of the genre features programmed for Grimmfest’s inaugural Easter Edition had their
merits, which made choosing between them a difficult, if rewarding, experience.” Anton Bitel, Jury member.
“It's always exciting to see the diverse and captivating works of independent horror filmmakers
from around the world, we had several films that are likely to explode once they hit the market,
which made choosing winners incredibly hard but ultimately, we're very happy with our choices.”
Mariam Draeger, Jury member.
"The folks at Grimmfest put together a bloody delightful slate for their Easter Edition; a diverse,
sometimes challenging, but always entertainment program. It was an honour to be on the Jury!" Josh Millican, Jury member.