After three years at O Cinema Wynwood, Popcorn Frights Film Festival, the Southeast's largest horror film festival, is relocating to Fort Lauderdale's Savor Cinema. There are plenty of reasons for the move, explains festival cofounder and codirector Igor Shteyrenberg.
"We viewed all the data and saw that a large population of our festivalgoers live in Broward. We'll have 150 more seats here, so we won't have to turn as many people away. Right next to Savor Cinema there's a garage with free parking, so people won't have to spend as much money going to our screenings," Shteyrenberg says. "Plus, this theater used to be a Methodist church. It still has stained-glass windows. We liked the idea of having a festival at a house of worship and raising holy hell there."
Leading up to the weeklong Popcorn Frights Film Festival, set to take place August 10 through 16, the horror film group will begin its partnership with Savor Cinema with a few Friday-night screenings of classic horror films. Beginning Friday, May 11, they will show Return of the Living Dead, featuring an introduction and Q&A with the film's star, Linnea Quigley. During the summer, expect a Friday-night screening of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which will include a Texas-style barbecue, and a showing of Nightmare on Elm Street 4 with a Freddy Kruger meatball pizza party.
The move to Fort Lauderdale isn't a complete break with the Magic City, says Shteyrenberg, who lives in Miami-Dade. The fest is still working on planning screenings at Miami theaters. "We didn't have a falling-out with O Cinema. We couldn't be more thankful to them for being wonderful partners, and we won't forget it."
Shteyrenberg says the fest will make two waves of announcements for its August lineup. He's quick to defend not only the films but also the quality of the horror genre.
"These aren't just movies glorifying blood and guts. These movies allow filmmakers to embrace topical events within our society," he says, adding that Popcorn Frights places a focus on local filmmakers. "We always look for homegrown Florida horror. You never know who the next John Carpenter or Wes Craven might be."
The Return of the Living Dead, hosted by Linnea Quigley. 10 p.m. Friday, May 11, at 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-3456; popcornfrights.com. Tickets cost $10 via ticketing.us.veezi.com.