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Film Festival for SFF and Horror

19/09/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Move over Sundance, here comes a film festival dedicated solely to science fiction, fantasy and cult movies.

Mania Entertainment, the publisher of Cinescape Magazine, has announced the launch of ManiaFest, a new film festival showcasing the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror filmmaking while bringing together luminaries in the field to honor the imaginative spirit of the genre through panels and other platforms.

The four-day celebration (to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica), will take place in Santa Monica from September 18th-21st, 2003 ... with festival headquarters at the Laemmle Theatre on 2nd Street.

Panelists will include Clive Barker, Stan Lee, George Romero & Guillermo del Toro; while special effects legend Stan Winston will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Presented in association with Cinescape, the festival will offer daily screenings of genre favorites, film premieres, and short and feature-length films from up-and-coming filmmakers.

Each day will be sculpted around a theme, such as "Masters of Horror" day and CrossGen Comic's "Comic Books to Film" day.

Industry panelists confirmed to take part include Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, Hellraiser director Clive Barker, Blade II director Guillermo del Toro, "X-Men screenwriter David Hayter, The Scorpion King director Chuck Russell, Night of the Living Dead writer/director George Romero, Batman executive producer Michael Uslan and Cabin Fever director Eli Roth, to name a few.

The festival will officially kick off on September 18th. ManiaFest 2003 will be opened and closed, respectively, by the west coast premiere of Beyond Re-Animator and the world premiere of Monster Man, both distributed by Lions Gate Films.

In-between are a slate of festival films including Junkers Come Here, Cowboy Bebop, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Predator, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, Night of the Living Dead, Pumpkinhead, Batman, Blade, The Mask, Superman, Flash Gordon and Terminator.

"The goal of ManiaFest is not only to honor the great science fiction, fantasy and horror filmmakers of the past and present, but to discover the next generation of talent who exemplify the creative spirit of the genre," said Chip Meyers, CEO of Mania Entertainment.

A talent competition will showcase the year's best amateur-produced short films, screenplays and feature-length films. The top finalists will earn $12,000 in cash and prizes, their films will be screened throughout the festival, and winning amateur filmmakers will be honored at ManiaFest's closing ceremony.

Judges include such industry luminaries as writer/director Mick Garris, CAA agent Jonathan Levin, Vice Chairman of Paxson Communications Jeff Sagansky, Lions Gate president of home entertainment, acquisitions and new media Peter Block and VP of Phoenix Pictures Brad Fischer, just to name a few.

"We believe that ManiaFest will soon become the 'Sundance Film Festival' of the science fiction, fantasy and horror genre," said Chase Masterson, Festival Chairwoman. "ManiaFest has been developed to unite the limitless creativity of genre filmmaking and the spirit of our dedicated audience."

ManiaFest will conclude Sunday, September 21st with an event at Schatzi on Main Street in Santa Monica. In addition to the bestowal of the first annual Maniac Awards to the winners of the filmmaker's talent competition, the evening will honor special effects icon Stan Winston, creator of the animatronic wonders in Jurassic Park and The Terminator, who will be given the first annual ManiaFest Lifetime Achievement Award.

Winston's films, including Terminator, Predator and his directorial endeavor Pumpkinhead, will be featured throughout the weekend.

For more details, visit them at


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