Grimmfest 2020 – Online Edition

In a similar vain to Frightfest this years Grimmfest went online, I mentioned in my round up of Frightfest that this is the responsible thing to do in a Pandemic and also enabled people like myself and my Wife to be involved. It would be extremely unlikely we would ever be able to attend their physical events so we have been incredibly excited to be involved with the online editions. I do really hope that even when the physical events return that the online versions remain in some form. It would be a shame that such a positive step for involvement and inclusion was lost.

So what is Grimmfest? I’ll let the festival tell you in their own words

GRIMMFEST is a truly independent genre film festival, committed and dedicated to sharing great movies from both new and established filmmakers from the world of genre cinema. We pride ourselves on premiering the very best in new horror, cult, extreme fantasy and sci-fi movies. Now entering its 12th year, GRIMMFEST continues to draw a huge community of genre film fans, press and guests to Manchester (UK) and was recently named as one of the ’30 Best Bloody Genre Festivals in the World’ by MovieMaker magazine.

Grimmfest this year was shortly after my Birthday, as a late birthday present after looking at the line up we decided to go for a full pass. It’s good value for money considering the amount of films and exclusives, and if you are disabled or unemployed they offer a concession rate which made it within reach for us. I said in my Frightfest round up that anyone organising an online festival at such short notice should be commended, I stick by this as it’s a great undertaking that both festivals have done well. Grimmfest like Frightfest back in August was using the Eventive platform to broadcast the festival. We managed to get a Roku stick beforehand that included the option to add the Eventive channel (app) so it made it a dream to use compared to accessing the way we did in Frightfest. If anyone is interested I’m going to soon do a short review/comparison of the Roku and the Amazon Fire stick, keep an eye out for that if you’re interested. I think in my Frightfest roundup I was a little harsh on Eventive so I would like to say how user friendly it was now we were able to use the proper app. What did help was Grimmfest had some great information on their Eventive Platform which made it far easier to understand what was needed so it just goes to show that the combination of better access and how the organisers use the platform makes a huge difference. 

So how was it set up? Unlike Frightfest you did not have to watch at the specific broadcast time. Once the original premier time had passed you had 48 hours to watch the content, however this did sometimes vary depending on the film, but generally you had some wiggle room. This made scheduling a lot easier as you didn’t have clashes which meant you could watch all the films you wanted to. All content was shown on one channel compared to Frightfest so you were never forced to choose one over the other. I loved this feature as it’s nice to have options, our general plan was to watch films at their release time but it was nice to be able to pause to go to the toilet or refresh our beer/popcorn supplies. I also at one point had a migraine that luckily I managed to get under control but the leeway on watching meant that I didn’t miss a film I really wanted to see. It also meant on the final night of the festival when we were trying to fit in some shorts we hadn’t seen yet, that when it took more time than we thought we didn’t end up having to compromise. We were both exhausted at the point and knew wouldn’t fit it all in that night, as there was a film premiere that evening we wanted to watch and we still hadn’t finished the shorts. Thanks to this feature it meant we could have an earlier night, rest up and come back tomorrow to do the final film and finish off the shorts. 

Over the 5 days we watched 19 films, numerous short films and a clutch of post film Q&A’s. To get my full feelings on the films please pop across to my Letterboxd account where I’ve reviewed all that we watched over the festival. The specific link to the Hashtag #Grimmfest2020 will show you all the reviews. We went into the festival with the idea to watch everything we could in a wide range, this worked well for us as there was several films we may not have watched given the information available. Some of these ended up being our favourites so this approach worked really well for us.

Let’s now talk about the line up, the selection of films was excellent and varied with everything from Black Comedy, Body Horror, Science Fiction and everything in-between. Some of the highlights of the Film program for me were Unearth a Lovecraftian type eco-horror, The Oak Room a tight psycholocical Twilight Zone feel of film. There was also some great Dark Comedy in the form of An Ideal Host. The final film of the festival was the wonderful 80’s feel of 10 Minutes to Midnight, the one film that made me wince and turn away from the screen.

Another film I’d like to champion for it’s inclusiveness was Ropes (Known as Prey in the U.S.) which was a Spanish film about a Quadriplegic trapped with a Rabid dog. Not only was this a great film with a stunning performance from the lead actor, but my Wife as a wheelchair user was so excited to at last see someone like her involved in one of these films. I cannot express how much that can mean to someone who rarely sees other wheelchair users in mainstream films let alone genre ones.

There was also a great shorts program with the like’s of Blue and Malone: Impossible cases about a Dog and Cat who are imaginary detectives and Fear of the Woods a story of two hunters and son/environmentalist trying to hunt down a bear that was responsible for cattle deaths that ends up far more than they thought. My favourite Frank and Mary the darkly comic but heartbreaking story of a man trying to bring his wife back to life in his Garden shed. There are some other notable shorts but I can’t possibly mention them all as I’d be here all day!

Now my overall thoughts on Grimmfest, it was well organised and had some great content and considering the situation very few problems. I loved the extra Q&A’s with people involved in the films, there was also some great interaction with the organisers on Instagram which made us feel involved. I sincerely hope that even when things go back to ‘normal’ that they consider doing an online edition in conjunction with the physical event. It gives those who cant attend due to location, disability or other reasons a chance to be involved in a great event and see some content that they might otherwise miss.

I’d like to thank the organisers of Grimmfest for putting on a great event under difficult circumstances and I’m looking forward to the next one….hopefully!

Keep an eye out for a future post sharing some of the highlights from this film festival.

Click here to see the full line up of Grimmfest 7th-11th October 2020 Online Edition – This takes you directly to Grimmfest’s website and includes full details of the festival.

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