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by Thomas M. Sipos, L.A. Bureau Chief [June, 11, 2002]





[]  In a town with seemingly more film festivals and awards than days in the year, here comes one devoted exclusively to horror -- Screamfest L.A. And filmmakers and screenwriters hungering for recognition are already submitting their best.

Now in its second year, Screamfest L.A. was founded by producers Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin.

In an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Investigator, Belofsky explains: "I'm a filmmaker, and understand how hard it is to get your film out there and be seen, so I wanted to help fellow filmmakers. And I started a festival devoted to horror because there aren't any in L.A. I like scary movies and thought this would be fun."

Last year, Belofsky helped select the films to be screened, with the audience voting for winners in various categories. That should also be true for 2002. What appeals to Belofsky? "To me a good horror film isn't blood and guts. It is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat biting your nails. That is just my personal taste. Others prefer blood and guts."

In other words, gore films have a shot. The 2001 selections featured both atmospheric and gory films, including slashers and flesh-eating zombies.

Of Screamfest L.A. 2001, Belofsky says: "The response was fabulous. The filmmakers were pleased and the majority have kept in touch. Fans liked it and are joining our mailing list like crazy.  The industry's response was great. Dimension Films requested to see all of the winning films and screenplays. There is a Canadian television station reviewing the films for possible acquisitions."

A Hollywood Investigator source who attended 2001's Screamfest L.A. estimated several dozen filmgoers in attendance.  Belofsky refuses to release the number of entries, saying such information is "confidential."  But she adds: "The response and submissions have greatly increased this year.  We are receiving a good amount.  We have a couple hundred on the mailing lists."

Last year's final selections, which included both features and shorts, were screened in Hollywood's Vogue Theater. The Vogue is one of those rare old theaters that have escaped modernization and multiplexing. It remains dim, cavernous, and rundown -- and may be described as ratty or atmospheric, according to one's taste. It is reputed to be haunted.



Belofsky's interests extend beyond horror. "I am most proud of Fast Women, my award-winning documentary about women in auto racing. The awards [are from] the Angelciti Chicago Film Festival and the NY Independent Film Festival. We are competing for Emmy nominations in the categories of Non-Fiction Outstanding Special & Outstanding Single Camera Editing."

Belofsky adds that Fast Women was licensed to WE. "The Women's Entertainment network, owned by AMC. Have you seen the billboards driving down Sunset Boulevard? Jay Leno did a little joke on it."

As an actress, Belofsky recently appeared in a film trailer for the horror film Driller. She is currently "developing a few feature films" and is producing Screamfest 2002 without Martin. "My partner decided that he did not like producing at all and wanted to go back to just writing.  Producing is a hard job. So I respect his decision and wait for his next screenplay to become a film."

Whereas the selections for Screamfest 2001 were screened over two days, Screamfest 2002 will extend over four days -- from October 17 through October 20. The entry deadline is August 15 for films and September 15 for screenplays.


Are YOU a horror filmmaker seeking publicity? Be sure to enter the Hollywood Investigator's Tabloid Witch Awards!

Copyright 2002 by



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