The Killer Valley Horror Film Festival was founded in 2007 by filmmaker Randy Granstrom. For 10 years we’ve been showcasing the best in indie horror and sci-fi.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Fes(val succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
Ross Williams: We really focus on our local filmmakers. If you live in Southern
Oregon or Northern California, we give you a free entry and a higher chance on getting accepted if you can come to the festival. We also keep the entry fees really low, it only $10 this year. The festival really began as a way for us to show our horror films to our friends and family in the area. It opened up to other local filmmakers in Southern Oregon and began to grow from there. Since we’re still so small, we can’t offer much. But we always let them and their friends in for free. We give out awards and give filmmakers a chance to see
their film on a big screen with an audience.
What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival
this year (2017)?
We really aim at horror fans. You can expect a killer lineup of short horror films. Some are funny. Some are gross. Some are seriously scary. The best films are all three. We try to mix it up and make it a fun night of horror. We usually have a special guest, the past two years it’s been Adrienne King of Friday the 13th fame, since she lives in our area and loves to interact with horror fans. We have fun horror props and decorations and you can get your picture taken
with Jason Voorhees or some of the other props we have around.
What are the qualifications for the selected films?
We don’t care about premiere status. We don’t even care if the film is a few years old. Really we just want to showcase cool horror films. We’ve rejected really top-notch films because they didn’t have enough horror in them. And we’ve accepted “poorly” made films because they were entertaining on some other level. We’re really just trying to keep our audience and ourselves entertained.
Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from
film festivals? And if so, why?
I think horror in general is looked down on in the “serious” film festival circuit. Besides the few rare exceptions, you really only see horror films at horror festivals. So we’re trying to do our part in helping the genre. There’s no other horror festival that we know of in our area. You have to drive 5 hours north to Portland or 5 hours south to the Bay Area to see independent horror on the big screen.
What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
Everybody involved in the festival is a filmmaker. We really want to make it a fun experience for filmmakers when they come. A chance for them to interact with horror fans and get true feedback on their films. For horror fans, we want to present a night of awesome horror films that they probably won’t see anywhere else.
How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
Year one was a bit rough, it was our fault though. Because we really wanted to focus on filmmakers, we made it a free entry to the festival. We were absolutely bombarded by films. We had around 750 entries. A good 25% of those weren’t anywhere close to the right genre. It took forever for us to weed through all the films. This year we made it a $10 fee, just so filmmakers would pay attention when they were entering and not just see “free” and enter without reading our guidelines. It cut down our entries a lot, but the quality of films is a lot higher this year. Other than that, the process has been really smooth, we really like FilmFreeway.
Where do you see the festival by 2020?
Hopefully we can expand it to at least two nights by 2020. We’d like to eventually expand it into a horror-con of sorts, with horror actors, booths, cosplay, etc. But that’s just a dream at this point, we really need to put a lot more time and money into it if we’re going to get there.
What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Probably Star Wars, but as for the horror film I’ve seen the most it’s gotta be: Return of the Living Dead. In my opinion it’s the best zombie movie and the best horror-comedy ever made.
In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A film that’s fun to watch, has a compelling story and characters, is well made in all aspects and keeps you thinking about it afterwards.
How is the film scene in your city?
For a small town Ashland has a great film scene. We have a ton of filmmakers in the area, you can find somebody making a short film somewhere in the area almost every weekend. We’re all very supportive of each other’s work, we tend to pitch in a lot on each others projects. We have a great filmmaker organization in Southern Oregon Film and Media, that binds us all together. And we have a great film festival in the Ashland Independent Film Festival, in my opinion it’s one of the best I’ve ever attended as a goer and as a filmmaker. We at Killer Valley strive to be half as good someday.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.
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