Film fest an outlet for those looking to disturb

Kamloops’ very own short horror film festival provides an outlet for filmmakers

Daryl John on stage with best costume competitors below at CJs on Oct. 29. (Peter Navratil/The Omega)

Daryl John on stage with best costume competitors below at CJs on Oct. 29. (Peter Navratil/The Omega)

The fourth-annual Fake Flesh Film Festival took place this past Thursday at Cactus Jack’s Nightclub. More than 28 short horror films were shown to a costumed audience happy to be getting a head start on Halloween celebrations.

Daryl John, event organizer, said he started the festival after attending something similar in Whistler.

“I quickly realized we don’t have anything here, so I just did it myself,” John said.

He wanted to create a venue where people can show their own horror movies, no matter how bad they might be.

“This is a showcase of films. This is just kind of a prebuilding of a showcase that I will always have for my shitty movies. Worst case scenario: play it at my film fest.”

The event drew a large crowd and even more short film interest online. John received 1,611 film submissions from all over the world. The festival accepted submissions almost all year long, but near the beginning of summer after word got out and it really took off.

“It built momentum on its own,” John said. “I got some really good movies.”

The evening started with a stand-up comedy performance by Dan Jakes. Jakes tailored most of his material to the event and the connection the festival has with John. It showed how inclusive this film community is and how much this event means to people.

Shortly after, the films started. Some stand-outs include “No Pets Allowed,” whose creators drove all the way up from Vancouver to be at the festival, and Kamloops’ very own “Live Scream,” which featured TRU student Joel Feenstra.

Although admitting horror is not his particular niche of a genre, Feenstra said “not everyone likes to make short films that are nice, not everyone likes making pretty art. Some people like to disturb other people, some people like to get reactions from other people. And Daryl has given an outlet for all those others who want to do that.”

After the last film rolled across the giant screen set up in CJ’s, the evening was concluded with a costume contest. People came with some particularly complex costumes, and for good reason: the winner of the contest walked away with $500 in cash. The costumes were crowd-judged and the winner received the prize right from the hand of a smiling Daryl John.

“It’s easy to do, it’s fun, I like doing it, that’s pretty much all it really comes down to. I make fuck-all money off it. That’s not really the point. People are dressing up, they are having fun,” John said.

The event continued on Saturday with more film showings that were more kid-friendly taking place at Pizza Pie. Daryl John is happy to continue this event and it will be exciting to see what he continues to come up with in the coming years.