Now, I have stated how hard working the FrightFest team are so, after 5 days they are probably ready to relax a little. But I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a little bit cruel and insisted on a few more minutes of their time. So here we are with a few closing comments from Alan Jones, Greg Day, Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray – the true heroes of FrightFest.
5 days later. How tired are you?
Erm, I’m really exhausted. It’s been a really full on experience this one. I mean it’s gone really smoothly but every two hours it’s another major event we are putting on. I mean we have stars and directors attached to every one of our 39 movies. So they come and they expect full attention. So you literally are coming off one of the movies and then you’re suddenly faced by another three people “What am I supposed to do? Where’s the front of the screen? What do you want me to say?”. And I’m going “Just say what you want. I can only introduce you and facilitate that” So I’m pretty shattered. A good shattered though. There’s been a couple of years when I’ve been pissed off shattered but at the moment I’m feeling quite good.
What was the nicest surprise for you this year?
Well we all have our particular favourites. My one was Detention. I was delighted to see so many people stay for it at midnight on Sunday night. I was absolutely thrilled. Joseph Kahn cancelled the MTV awards he was supposed to be at to be here to see it and the audience reaction. The audience reaction was phenomenal. Him on stage was just brilliant. Sometimes people on stage make your life so much easier by being intelligent, knowing what they are talking about and answering the questions. He did that in spades. He was absolutely brilliant and I vote him as my absolute favourite director of the entire five days.
Any last minute issues on site?
We’ve had no real problems this year. The one that was slightly annoying was not our fault. That was Urban Explorers. The print didn’t have a few subtitles on. A few scenes weren’t translated. Annoying. But on the actual film itself it said with subtitles, it wasn’t. So that’s just one of those annoying things that happens.
But you know people put up with it and, in actual fact, some people thought it actually added an extra dimension of weirdness to it. I didn’t explain to people that it was actually a mistake.
So what then was your favourite film this year?
It’s Detention. I mean it’s the one I’ve been championing. It’s the one I wanted everyone to see. I very rarely watch the films again ‘cause it’s just too busy. But in this case I watched it all the way through again ‘cause I just loved it.
And so yes it has to be that. Of course I’m thrilled that Inbred played well and Saint went down well. And people were coming up and saying they weren’t expecting them to be that good. Detention was the one that was a bit of a gamble.
So you all did a bit of acting in Ben Wheatley’s Carpenter segment. If a film was being made about you, who would play you?
Oh my god. Let’s be honest you can hardly see me in Ben Wheatley’s Assault on Precinct 13, which is a good thing. I think Greg got the best deal with Jake West’s Escape From London. Who would play in the story of my life? Tom Hardy! Cause I like him and in Bronson he sort of looks like a fantasy version of me.
So after 5 days, How tired are you?
Five days and five nights! I’m actually OK. I think I’m sort of surviving on a second wind. We have managed once again to pull it off, getting through what is essentially like 5 days of hosting a party. Making sure that everyone is pleased and having a good time. So yes we got to the end. The last guest is going; we just have the washing up to do.
The final film is screening now – and they will have a Q&A afterwards. Once that is over, what last things do you have to do onsite?
Well I don’t care what the other three do, I just go to The Phoenix. Because my job is really to do with the talent and press, so there isn’t anything really for me to do after that point. I don’t have to worry about technical things or cleaning up.
What was the nicest surprise for you this year?
Well two actually. One was the response to My Sucky Teen Romance, because I must admit I didn’t like that at all. Not that much. But Emily obviously pulled it off. An 18 year old girl. A lot of heavyweight journalists came up to me and thought it was really good and I stand humbled. That was one. The other was more predictable. The response to Rabies. The fact that we had to, for the first time at FrightFest, put on a third screening of a film on the Discovery Screen. So that was great.
And of course, I don’t know if Alan mentioned this, there was the guy who proposed to his girlfriend in the aisle of screen one.
And this was the chap that won the Quiz From Hell 2?
Yes he’s a lucky bastard really isn’t he?
So what was your favourite film?
The Woman, closely followed by Tucker and Dale v.s Evil. The Woman delivered on that deeper more terrifying adrenaline fear fix you need when you need to be challenged by some horror films. And Tucker and Dale because it was such a wonderful escapist film.
Now you all did some acting this year.
Oh darling I am an actor.
If a film was made about you, who would play you?
Well you know I think it’s going to sound weird, Hugh Grant. I would love Hugh Grant to play Greg Day.
So 5 days, How tired are you?
Tired. Elated. Exhausted and not pleased… ‘Cause I kept saying to people in the last couple of hours that I thought it was actually going to be on tomorrow. ‘Cause I’m so here. I’ve been here since last Tuesday every day working on this thing. So it’s like our home now. But until we are actually finished, you can never relax. Until the final movie has played and the final Q & A starts, we can’t kick back.
In amongst all the chaos, what was the nicest surprise for you?
The most tense movie I did the introduction for was Lucky McKee’s The Woman, because it was potentially our most controversial movie but one of the absolutely best. It looked and sounded just terrific in that auditorium. The movie is very strong but it was an odd one, as I was expecting some major controversy in the Q & A. But Lucky said to me A) that he was ready and waiting for anyone to criticise it. And B) he said it was the best Q & A he had ever had as the audience are so intelligent here. So it was an amazing event.
Any last minute emergencies?
Yes. There always is. We have essentially 37 UK world premieres running. Pretty much back to back and that is a huge undertaking. Along with the extras and surprises and previews. So you can imagine from a technical view point that’s a lot of stuff the cinema has to actually do. Movies are coming in on so many different formats so to run all of those it’s a huge undertaking.
I don’t know actually. I can’t really pick one. There are so many highlights. Each day had its massive peaks and I knew that was going to happen, as a programmer, when we programme the festival, myself and Alan, we try and do it evenly paced. So that we follow a lighter movie with a very dark movie. So it’s very difficult to pick out one highlight for you.
So after acting in a couple of the Carpenter shorts, who would play you in a film of your life?
Oh my god. Erm! Hmmm. Somebody very handsome with very dark hair. I don’t even compare myself to anyone. Haha. I don’t know… (long pause) Warwick Davies.
So 5 days in? How tired are you?
I’m fine, but my feet are objecting a little bit.
Amidst all the chaos, what was the nicest surprise for you?
Well I was championing 2 films this year. My Sucky Teen Romance and Inbred. And particularly in the former it’s just generated a reaction that was completely unexpected. Emily Hagins the director, I’ve known her since she was fourteen. It made me quite nervous about inviting the film over. ‘Cause you know, if you have personal favourites and they all go wrong. But the reaction to the film has been fabulous. The film, she made it when she was 16,and it’s aimed at that audience. But I’m delighted with the reaction. And the other one I championed was Inbred. Which was full on. That’s the two highlights for me.
Any last minute emergencies?
Not really. Technically, this year after last year’s ups and downs we really worked hard for nothing to go wrong. We had a couple of sound issues. Somebody sent us a wrong version of a film. But generally it’s run well.
I think it’s Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps ’cause it’s something different. They did wonderful things with the timeline of the film. You are never quite sure where you are. It was really quite refreshing.
Finally – you all did some acting this year in the John Carpenter shorts.
Haha. In some cases better than others.
If someone were to make a film on you, who would play you?
Oh well, if he was still around Charlton Heston.
What about someone alive?
Yeah, Ewan McGregor.