Start brainstorming costumes and more importantly ideas for your short films, as the Kimberley Horror Fest is back, for its fifth year, and planning for an in-person, reduced capacity event on Nov. 6, 2021 at Centre64.
Organizers Natalie Skokan and Chantel Delaney did not think they were going to be able to have an in-person event this year, and were once again planning to do everything virtually, as they did in 2020.
“It’s very, very exciting because, well we’re watching the restrictions, we don’t know what’s going to happen with COVID, but we’re feeling hopeful that we’re going to be able to have an event,” Skokan said. “Centre64 accepted our reservation to book the weekend, which they weren’t doing, so we got that confirmation a few weeks ago. So that was super exciting.”
At this time, COVID-19 related restrictions are subject to change, so the amount of tickets that will be available is not yet determined.
If current restrictions change and they can only host 50 people, the plan is to make it a smaller, but more VIP experience.
The other big news for the festival this year is that in addition to the $1000 grand prize for best film they’ve created a separate “Local Love” category.
To enter this category your film must include distinguishable scenes of Kimberley, with the intent of “keeping Kimberley in Horror Fest,” Skokan explained. There is a separate $500 prize for this category.
Another big announcement for 2021 is that this year there will be a panel of judges brought in, all of whom have a background in either film or film festivals.
“We’re working right now on having a relatively professional panel of judges to grade this year’s films and they will pick the winners of both categories,” Skokan said.
Because it’s the fifth year of the Kimberley Horror Fest, its organizers want to make it as special as possible.
“From our perspective with our event, it’s year five so we always planned to have year five to be this big wonderful thing and just the uncertainty of it all has been kind of difficult as event coordinators and as the founders of the event — wondering can it keep going,” Skokan said.
“We survived last year from money out of our pocket to make it attainable and then this year not having the capacity, so it’s like trying to keep this event afloat is one thing, but we have enough love for it that getting that message was really overwhelming and really exciting.”
Delaney added that as they were preparing to have another purely virtual event, a lot of the big ideas they were coming up with they intended to save for 2022. Now that they’ve been given the green light for this year to host it in-person, they’ve realized some will actually be too big for this year.
“I think next year we’ll see a significant period of growth for the project, just because this year was a little bit of a surprise,” Delaney said. “And there is still that outside chance that it will all fall apart and we will have to just do it online again, but right now we’re just staying hopeful and planning as if we can go ahead with some form of in-person event. So it was a surprise and really exciting and very motivating.”
In addition to growing the event in years to come, the organizers both agree that the vision of the Kimberley of the Horror Fest to grow into perhaps a weekend or even a week-long event, to cement it as a staple of the community and have the community get more on board with the Halloween spirit.
“It would be really cool if storefronts got involved and we hope to have Kimberley Horror Fest be really a part of the community and hopefully bring in tourists and bring in dollars from elsewhere during that shoulder season, to draw people to our town for that reason,” Skokan explained.
With that in mind, this year they are actively seeking to commission a local artist to create a small piece of art that will get lit up in the Platzl for the month of October to get the buzz for the festival going. The theme for the event this year is “After the Apocalypse” so the artist could keep that in mind as well.
If all goes well and the event is able to be held in person, it will still also have a virtual component as well, so people can enjoy it from home free of charge.
More information on the event and ticket sales will be made available as it develops.