The Magic of Horror festival takes place every year in the fall at the historical Firehouse Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. We are hoping to spread the magic around with other events in locations around the USA in the future.
The event is designed for the enjoyment of both film-makers and film-watchers with a selection of short films from creators of all experience levels. Short films and movie trailers screen in blocks throughout the day along with Q&A sessions with the attending film-makers.
In our "Script Talk" session, Screenwriting Finalists tell the audience about their stories.
We also hold Special Contests every year where the finalists are showcased at the festival. These are fun competitions that are a little out of the ordinary, (like our "Give Us Your Worst" film contest in 2019). This year the theme is SCARY EVIL PETS!
make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for the film-makers to
interact with the audience to promote their projects and do some
networking as well. We also have concessions available and vendors who display their creepy creations!
We never make an entire film available to the public online! Finalists for our online events send in their film trailer, a short clip of their film, or even just a video message to be shown in the Awards Show video and to be used to promote their films.
In the weeks leading up to the premiere of
the Awards Show video, we really push our promotions in order to get as
many eyeballs on it as as possible. Press releases are also sent out to
special interest groups and media outlets that focus on independent
films and the horror genre.
During the video premiere, Finalists are invited to join in for live chats and to interact with one another (and the other viewing audience!) The video is then left online indefinitely to continue to help promote the films.
The Finalists and Winners of the online events also continue to be promoted after the event for years to come through our social media.
Everyone seems to love our skeleton trophies that we give out to the winners of our competitions. These are awarded at the end of the live festival or mailed to the winners if they are unable to attend the event.
The only exception to this is that sometimes we find trophies befitting of the theme for our Special Contests.
But we also believe in giving that all-important feedback to everyone who submits their work to our competitions (regardless of if they are selected or not!) So everyone who enters receives the scorecards that were used in the initial evaluation of their work along with some notes from the judges.
Official Selections, Finalists, and Winners are also promoted on our social media. We don't just limit this to the year they were selected, but we keep up the promotions for years! For this reason, we encourage our selections to keep us updated with any updates about films being released or screenplays being produced so that we can share the news with our followers.
All submitted projects are evaluated on their own merit by members of a rotating jury pool, so a micro-budget film has just as much chance of being nominated for an award as a film with a six-figure budget. Finalists and Award Winners are determined by committee with each project being further evaluated solely on its nomination aspect.
Judges for The Magic of Horror competitions remain anonymous since many of them are active in the independent film industry. (We know that sounds a little shady, but we really don't want someone
not getting a job just because they once judged a film by a producer
who wasn't happy with the score!)
Our jury panel is a mix of industry professionals who work in film and movie lovers who have little or no experience in film-making. This allows each submission to be rated both on technical points and the reactions from a potential audience pool.
Because our judges are anonymous, it is possible (and has actually happened) that one has worked on a submitted film as an actor or crew person. When this happens, we simply don't allow that judge on the jury for that particular film.