Monday, September 22, 2008

Interview with Paranoia Fest Director Shane Russeck

Paranoia Fest is an exciting horror convention that will be taking place on the Queen Mary, the legendary and reportedly haunted ship, on the weekend of March 13th, 2009.

That date might be a long way off, but we are already so excited about the event that we had to get the goods directly from the festival organizer, Shane Russeck. A horror fan all his life, Shane is excited to bring a new horror event to Southern California.

From showcasing independent filmmakers to paying homage to George A. Romero, Paranoia Fest promises to be an exciting new destination for horror fans! Read all about Shane’s background and what spooky surprises he has in store for fans below!

Fatally Yours: What is your background in the horror genre and/or in planning festivals?

Shane Russeck: I have been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. It all started when I was five years old and I asked my mother to put the movie Buck Rogers in the VCR. Not paying attention to what she was doing, she put Halloween (which my older brother had rented), and I have been hooked ever since.

As far as planning events, we have the Gridlock Group, which puts on the biggest and coolest events in Hollywood, including Gridlock LA, LA’s biggest New Years event, which takes place on Paramount Studios lot.

Fatally Yours: Where did you get inspiration from to start a brand new horror festival? 

Shane Russeck: I was at Fangoria, and saw all the new filmmakers trying to get distribution for their films. I realized that there needed to be a horror “event,” more then just a film festival, where these people can get their films seen, by industry insiders.

Fatally Yours: What are your hopes and goals with Paranoia Fest?

Shane Russeck: We hope to be the horror industries answer to Comic Con.

Fatally Yours: The Queen Mary is a pretty spooky place and an absolutely perfect location for a horror fest. How did you get arrange to have a horror fest on the supposedly haunted ship?

Shane Russeck: My partner Mathew Gavin, is CEO of Hardball Productions, and was recently hired by the Queen Mary to bring his events to the ship. Once the Queen Mary was onboard, this just became the perfect storm.

Fatally Yours: Do you think festival-goers will spook up any ghosts while they’re there?

Shane Russeck: Absolutely! We will be planning the event around the Queen Mary Ghost Tours, and will be doing midnight movie screening in some of the most haunted rooms on the Queen Mary.

Fatally Yours: That definitely sounds spooky! Speaking of midnight “screamings,” what kind of film submissions are you considering for the festival?

Shane Russeck: Anything and Everything horror related. From full length features to music videos.

Fatally Yours: Have you decided any films that will be screened yet?

Shane Russeck: Not yet. We will be accepting submissions, starting Oct 1st.

Fatally Yours: Besides films being screened, what other kinds of events will attendees be treated to at Paranoia?

Shane Russeck: We will have midnight screening, of the classic horrors, that inspired us all. I am very big on paying homage to where we all came from, and why we are here.

If not for guys like Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and many more, we would not be having this conversation right now.

Our goal is to create an all out horror “event”, not just a film festival. There will be a vendors area, with everything from DVD’s, horror makeup, posters , etc. Every night, there will be post screening parties, hosted by Hardball Production. If you have never been to a Hardball event, you’ll be in for a party like you’ve never seen!

Fatally Yours: Do you have any guests that have confirmed for the event? Can you tell us who you are hoping to get? 

Shane Russeck: We do have exciting surprise guests, but you will have to check out the site closer to the event to find out.

Sat the 15th, will have the first annual “Dinner of the Dead,” in honor of George Romero, in which we do hope he will be attending.

Fatally Yours: Are you currently looking for sponsors for the event? 

Shane Russeck: Yes. We are looking for as many cross promotional opportunities as possible. When creating any “brand,” it is very important to do all you can, to get your name out there.

Fatally Yours: What are some of your favorite horror films? 

Shane Russeck: That is a very hard question to answer. Halloween, The Exorcist, The Omen, The original Nightmare on Elm Street, and all the classic Universal Horrors were my introduction to horror.
As my taste evolved, I became a HUGE Romero fan. I also love a lot of the B, creature-double feature Corman style movies.

I am also a big Dario Argento fan. I have not yet seen  La Terza Madre (Mother of Tears), and am really looking forward to it.

I like everything Rob Zombie does, I think he has a really unique cool style.

The last horror movie I saw that I really enjoyed was El Orfanato (The Orphanage).

Fatally Yours: How do you feel about the current horror climate?

Shane Russeck: I have a very open mind when it comes to horror movies. If it’s horror related, I’ll give it a chance.

Fatally Yours: If you could have anyone (horror celebrity, actor/actress, author, director, band, etc.) attend Paranoia Fest, who would you pick and why? 

Shane Russeck: Alfred Hitchock, that would be insane….huh??? You never know, on the Queen Mary, it could happen!

Visit Paranoia Fest’s Official Website for updates!

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