An article by Leanna Chamish ©2012

On the evening of October 14th, I attended the event of the year for independent horror filmmakers! The Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival hosted a “Local Filmmakers Summit”, which was a panel discussion by prominent local filmmakers. This fascinating talk was at the AFI Silver theater complex in Silver Spring, Maryland, right outside Washington, D.C. and near Virginia. The filmmakers on the panel made their films in those areas.

The panel discussion was followed by the world premiere of two films by some of the panelists, “A Sweet and Vicious Beauty” by Eric Thornett and “Ninjas vs. Monsters” by Justin Timpane.

The “filmmakers summit” discussion was hosted by Eduardo Sanchez, co-director of “The Blair Witch Project” and director of 2011′s “Lovely Molly”.

The panelists were:

Jamie Nash, an ace scriptwriter who worked with Sanchez on “Lovely Molly”, has written many films, and made the horror- comedy Christmas movie “Two Front Teeth”, which screened at the Spooky Movie Festival in 2006

Gary Ugarek, maker of the “Deadlands” trilogy and “All in the Game”

Matt Lockhart, whose film “The Watermen” screened at the Spooky Movie Festival in 2011

Phil Cook, maker of his current project “Malice: The Web Series” and his terrific past films including “Invader”, “Despiser” and “Outerworld”

Justin Timpane, creator of the Ninjas vs. trilogy and whose “Ninjas vs. Monsters” premiered after the discussion

Eric Thornett, maker of films including “Shockheaded”, “Fifth City” and his film that premiered after the discussion, “A Sweet and Vicious Beauty”.

The panel discussion was superb. The directors were funny but also very frank about the difficulties and pitfalls of filmmaking. In addition to the creative and logistical issues of filmmaking, they talked about how to make money off their creations and how important it is to be wary of and understand distribution deals. They discussed the opportunities of new ways to get films out to the public, such as streaming movies and web series.

After the panel discussion were the overwhelmingly successful premieres of “A Sweet and Vicious Beauty” and then “Ninjas vs. Zombies“. The stars of both films were on hand to meet and greet. “Ninjas vs. Monsters” sold out the theater! The evening was a triumph for the filmmakers and a great party atmosphere for attendees.

I am so glad I went to this incredible evening to support my filmmaker and actor friends. I’d worked as an actor with all but two filmmaker panelists and I was so happy to see them recognized as luminaries of their craft. It was fantastic to congratulate friends Eric Thornett and Justin Timpane in person at their big premiere event and share the great vibe of the evening with actor buddies who were lucky enough to be in their films!

If you can, attend the rest of the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival:

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And be sure to watch my festival affiliated TV show, “Spooky Movie Television”!

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