What, you think just because the festival is over, I’m gonna stop talking about it? Uh-uh. I still have the awards ceremony that closed the event to talk about!
Dinner was catered by My Tomato Pie, a local restaurant; chicken parmesan, salad, breadsticks, et cetera. All delicious. Once we were all settled and fed, the lights dimmed, the spotlights turned on Greg and Emil, and the awards kicked off.
BEST ACTRESS – Marianne Porter, TRUE NATURE
BEST ACTOR – Daniel Reininghaus, EYES BEYOND
LOCAL HERO — this award was limited to the Western New York region, and honored an individual whose dedication to the local cinema scene had gone above and beyond the call of duty time and again, and this year it was awarded to a very surprised, though very grateful, Michael O’Hear.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY — Marco Fargnoli and Evan A. Nesbitt, TRUE NATURE
BEST EDITING — Aaron Doolittle, DAVIS
BEST MAKE-UP EFFECTS — Emma Julia Jacobs, M
BEST SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS — Carl Cabrino, THE BLACK CAT
BEST WNY SPECIAL MAKE-UP EFFECTS AWARD — Andrew Lavin
Then an interlude, as the short film, the 37th and truly final film of the festival, DESPERATELY SEEKING DEBBIE, was shown, interspersing testimonials from friends and colleagues regarding Debbie Rochon’s dedication to her craft and to the independent cinema industry with footage of local filmmaker and “Mayor of Slime City,” John Renna, looking for Debbie in the buildings where SLIME CITY MASSACRE was filmed, the McDonalds where POULTRYGEIST was filmed, and many other locations around Buffalo she has frequented on past visits, before concluding that she wasn’t to be found in Buffalo, as her incredible work ethic takes her across the country.
Once the film concluded, a pleasantly surprised and damp-eyed Debbie Rochon rose to accept her DEDICATION TO EXCELLENCE IN INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING award. She was choked up but thanked us all for helping her reach the position she stands at today, as the hardest working individual in independent genre cinema.
BEST SCREENPLAY — Cody Zimmerman, THE FAMILIAR
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY CONTEST — DESERT DOGS (I don’t know much about this, there was a separate contest where people could submit unfilmed screenplays, DESERT DOGS won)
FILMMAKER TO WATCH — Sam Qualiana, NO ROAD OUT, and Kash Costner, WHAT ARE THEY
LOCAL GRINDHOUSE AWARD — Jay Mager and John Renna, for IN THE BACK and BORN TO DIE
BEST DIRECTOR — Stuart Simpson, EL MONSTRO DEL MAR
GENRE SPIRIT AWARD — Brett Kelly, AVENGING FORCE: THE SCARAB
BEST “MORE THAN HORROR” SHORT — DAMN YOUR EYES
BEST “MORE THAN HORROR” FEATURE — TRIPTOSANE
BEST HORROR SHORT — THE FAMILIAR
BEST WNY HORROR SHORT — DAVIS
BEST HORROR FEATURE — EL MONSTRO DEL MAR
BEST WNY HORROR FEATURE — HOUSE OF HORRORS: THE MOVIE
With that (his daughter starting to act out in the back), Greg officially closed the festival, thanking everyone who attended, and all the filmmakers who submitted their work, and gave us the promise of a Second Annual Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival next year.
Myself, I’d like to thank Greg and Emil for taking on the monumental task of organizing this absolutely fantastic festival; genuinely the best consecutive four days I’ve experienced in recent memory. I’d like to thank all the filmmakers who submitted their work; I recognize what a huge amount of chutzpah it calls for to show something you’ve worked so hard on to an audience. I’d like to thank Debbie Rochon, for both her contributions to the genre and her personal kindness, generosity and good humor. And finally I’d like to thank Mackenzie Lambert, who covered the festival for Buffalo Rising and Wil from Horror Yearbook for humoring me as I bounced ideas and reflections on the films off them.
And one last special thank you to Greg Lamberson, for taking the time to introduce me to some amazing filmmakers, both local and visiting, and for saying “The Blood Sprayer dot com” into the microphone for all to hear.
It was an honor and a pleasure covering the First Annual Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival, and I’m excited for the Second. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a screenplay I need to write and get filmed within the next year.
Tags: Blood Sprayer, Buffalo NY, Buffalo Screams, Debbie Rochon, Emil J. Novak, Events, exploitation, Film Festival, Gore, Gregory Lamberson, Grindhouse, H.G. Lewis, Horror, Horror Movie, Indie, Short Films, Slime City Massacre, The Blood Sprayer, Zombies