Latin horror abounds at HFF2014 and we follow the blood trail...

The inaugural year of the Hollywood HorrorFest (2014), which showcased at New Beverly Cinemas in LA, proved a resounding success coming out of Pandora's box, with an eclectic and diversified mix of horror fair and one-of-a-kind reunions. And Latin filmmakers were out in force.
Hollywood HorrorFest 2014

The Premiere year of the Hollywood HorrorFest took place from March 28-29, 2014 in Los Angeles. While not purpose-built as a Latino-themed festival, it was a veritable showcase of emerging and established Latino filmmakers working with the genre of horror. Kicking off the fest was the short film ‘The TALISMAN’ by director Edwin Pagán from a story by Drew Daywalt. On hand to represent the film were producers Leo Rod and Ydaiber Orozco. According to Rod, “it’s a film with universal appeal, it just happens to have Latino characters.”

Leo Rod, Ydaiber Orozco, Jonée Shady , and Anotnio 'Tyger' Olivas
Pictured: Leo Rod, Ydaiber Orozco,
Jonée Shady, and Antonio 'Tyger' Olivas

Bright Eyes,’ a super short film at four minutes, had it’s L.A. Premiere. While it’s a spoof, poking fun of the genre, writer-producer-director-editor Jaime Rivera was inspired by the works of John Carpenter, and he wanted to make something “cheap but effective.” Next up for him is a sci-fi drama.

Santiago C. Tapia’s home invasion thriller, ‘Territorial’, done with co-director Jessica Cutright and producer-actor Efren Ramirez (‘Napoleon Dynamite’) came out of their meeting at a NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) director’s lab. They would like to develop the short, finishing up its festival run, into a feature. Also making an appearance in the film was ‘Feast’ director John Gulager.

Day of the Girl’ featured fifteen-year old Morgan Ashley Oviedo as a teen who turns the tables on a kidnapper in a vicious way.  Director Lucy Rodríguez, the helmer of two previous shorts, had her first foray into horror here, the idea coming from her fear of kidnapping for her and her family.  She met the newcomer with her mother at a Vagina Monologues show, liked her presence and cast her on the spot.  The biggest challenge for the production was “doing it for a small budget, over a day and half, with a lot of favors.” For Oviedo, her plans for the future are to finish school, study drama in college, and pursue an acting career.

Pictured: Actress Morgan Ashley Oviedo, Tyger, and director Lucy Rodriguez.
Pictured: Actress Morgan Ashley Oviedo, Tyger, and director Lucy Rodríguez.

'Luna’, funded on Kickstarter, about a little girl who witnesses her family murdered, won Best Short at Screamfest in 2013, played on Friday (winner, ‘Best Cinematography’) as well as at the Monsterpalooza horror con Saturday. Said director Antonio Pérez, “I’m a huge horror fan, and to have my film recognized is amazing.”

'Luna' director Antonio Pérez

Also part of the festival was a Distribution-Financing-Filmmaking Panel. On hand, outspoken filmmaker Joseph Guzmán (‘Run Bitch Run’ / ‘Nude Nuns with Big Guns’) who likened getting film distribution with “making a deal with the devil”. While he ultimately got his money back, but not at a profit, he continues to self-finance and make his grindhouse thrillers- films which were, and continue to be, a staple of the programming at the festival’s venue, the New Beverly Cinema which was saved from going under by uber fan-filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.

Also screened were ‘Billy Club’ (winner, ‘Best Feature Film’) by co-directors Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer, ‘Identify Theft’ (winner, ‘Best Musical Score’) by Bryan Baca, ‘El Matador’ (winner, ‘Best Production Design’) by Gigi Saul Guerrero, and ‘Gone in the Dark’ (winner, ‘Best Editing’) by Steven Moreno.

Stated Hollywood Horrorfest Founder Miles Flanagan (from the official commemorative program): “We’ll be screening some of the best indie horror films from across the globe. A big ‘thank you’ to all our amazing judges, volunteers, sponsors, and friends.”

'Joseph Guzmán - 'A Panel To Die For' 'Territorial' director Santiago Tapia

LATIN HORROR was honored to have participated as a media sponsor of the festival's inaugural year. We hope to continue the horrifically wonderful partnership in the years to follow. "There will be SANGRE!"

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Antonio "Tyger' Olivas, LH




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LATIN HORROR (LH) is the first English-language website dedicated to the genre of Latin horror and features the leading Latin/Spanish/International "dark creative expressionists" working in film, theater, music, photography, illustration, graphic novels, "dark art" novelas, comic books, literature, and games—from the seasoned masters—to the up-and-coming Latin horrorphile whose work is grounded in horror, the macabre, and Gothic arts.

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