The Overlook Film Festival

Overlook Film Festival Awards Highlights

AUDIENCE AND JURY AWARDS ANNOUNCED FOR RECORD-SETTING 2024 OVERLOOK FILM FESTIVAL

OddityThe LoomingSome Day All This Will Be Yours and Dream Creep Among the Awarded Films

Festival Highlights, Including World Premiere of Abigail, Expanded Immersive Program and Special Guests Including Mike Flanagan, David Dastmalchian, Paul Williams and Radio Silence, Lead to Largest Festival Yet

April 11, 2024 | New Orleans, LA – The Overlook Film Festival announced today the winners of the audience and juried prizes, as well as festival highlights, from the most heavily-attended edition yet of the annual celebration of all things horror. 

The feature film Audience Award, voted on by festival attendees, went to Damian Mc Carthy’s Oddity, a terrifying creepfest in which a blind medium resorts to desperate measures in an effort to find out the truth behind what happened to her sister. The runner-up for the award was director Ariane Louis-Seize’s Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person. For the short films, the Audience Award went to Masha Ko’s beautiful and emotional film about aging and mental illness, The Looming. The runner-up in the shorts category was MLM by Brea Grant.

In the juried prizes, Grand Jury Prize for Short Film was awarded to Some Day All This Will Be Yours by Cricket Arrison, a film the jury describes as “an original and fearless new voice that explores the relationship between gender and horror in playful and profound ways.” A Honorable Mention for Cinematography was also given to Dream Factory by director Alex Matraxia for “transporting the viewer into the queer past through striking, tactile photography.”

The award for Scariest Short went to Carlos A.F. Lopez’s Dream Creep, which the jury calls “a film exploring the profound horror of intimacy that immediately hooks the viewer with an unexpected and shocking premise.” Additionally, the jury announced an Honorable Mention for Performance was awarded to Joseph Lopez of The Looming from director Masha Ko, stating that “Lopez’s vulnerable performance is key to conveying both the horror and the empathy of this powerful short.”

In awarding these films, the jury stated: “It was a delight to serve on the jury for a slate of films that expand the definition of horror with breadth and dynamic range that exceeded our already high expectations.”

The 2024 Overlook Film Festival Short Film Jury was composed of film journalist Carlos Aguilar, NEON’s Sara Cushman and filmmaker Laura Moss.

The 2024 festival welcomed 90 filmmaker guests to America’s most haunted city, New Orleans, LA, from April 4-7, for the eighth annual horror celebration. The record-breaking edition included 36 sold out screeningsand approximately six thousand audience members in attendance — the festival’s highest number of attendees to date.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival was the world premiere of Abigail, the new film from the celebrated filmmaking collective Radio Silence, which played at the historic Prytania Uptown theater on April 6 as the festival’s Closing Night film. 

“Screening Abigail with such an incredible audience at the Overlook Film Festival was an amazing experience,” said Radio Silence. “The dedication and love that Overlook fans have for the horror and vampire genres is unmatched and it was a thrill to be in a theater with people that love this genre as much as we do. Especially in a city as special as New Orleans.”

Horror auteur Mike Flanagan was on hand for the festival to present a special 10th anniversary screening of his breakout film Oculus, while also receiving the festival’s prestigious Master of Horror Award. Previous recipients of the award include Roger Corman, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon and Joe Dante. 

“I had an absolute blast at the Overlook Film Festival,” said Mike Flanagan. “The audience, the festival staff and the fantastic New Orleans locations are just brimming with spirit, and I loved being so swept away. The anniversary screening of Oculus will remain one of the most surreal and satisfying screenings of my career, and I just can’t wait to find my way back for more. I left New Orleans with a smile on my face and swing in my step.”

Legendary composer/singer/actor Paul Williams was the guest of honor at an exciting, one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary screening of Brian de Palma’s cult classic rock musical Phantom of the Paradise, complete with a presentation by Swan Archives archivist and noted Phantomscholar Ari Kahan and a Q&A moderated by John Cameron Mitchell(Hedwig and the Angry Inch) that audience members will not soon forget.

“Consider these words my standing ovation,” said Paul Williams. “A salute to the kind hearts and creative wizardry of all at the Overlook Film Festival. You didn’t overlook a single detail. Didn’t miss a beat. A weekend in New Orleans is always special but this was one for the record books. With my friend Ari Kahan providing a print, the enthusiasm and knowledge of the Overlook staff and my pal John Cameron Mitchell serving as ringmaster of the Q&A…it was the sweetest celebration. Much love to the audience. You were the best. I miss you already!”

Also in attendance was returning guest David Dastmalchian, who last year joined the festival with his new film Late Night With the Devil and this year came to introduce a 75th anniversary screening of the horror classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, in character as his tv host persona Dr. Fearless.

“Being back at Overlook to feel the incredible, one-of-a-kind energy of the genre fans and to interact with all of the Late Night with the Devil fans was an unforgettable experience,” said David Dastmalchian. “Helping present Creature From the Black Lagoon (in 3D no less!!!) was the spooky cherry on top of one of the best film fests around.”

Other highlights also included the Opening Night screening of Tilman Singer’s Cuckoo; the festival premiere of Don Hertzfeldt’s new animated musical MeLooking Over the Garden Wall, a 10th anniversary celebration panel celebration of the beloved horror-tinged animated series featuring Patrick McHale and Nick Cross; and a live recording of the podcast Scream Dreams, co-hosted by Catherine Corcoran and horror legend Barbara Crampton and featuring special guest David Dastmalchian.

The Overlook Film Festival’s one-of-a-kind immersive program, featuring interactive projects and experiences, was expanded this year, including three world premieres and anchored by the secret and mysterious appointments created through the festival’s continuing partnership with the Academy of Magical Arts, the organization that resides in the world famous Magic Castle®. 

The festival is programmed by Executive Director & Co-Founder Landon Zakheim, Director of Film Programming & Co-Founder Michael Lerman, Associate Director of Programming Sheryl Santacruz, Programming Manager Keith Garcia, Short Film Programmer Katie Rife and former Artistic Director Doug Jones (1970-2023) to whom the 2024 edition is lovingly dedicated.

More information about this year’s award-winning films and the 2024 Overlook Film Festival Jury is available below.

Audience Awards

Winner — Feature Film

Director: Damian Mc Carthy

Cast: Gwilym Lee, Carolyn Bracken, Tadhg Murphy, Caroline Menton, Steve Wall, Johnny French, Joe Rooney, Shane Whisker, Ivan de Wergifosse

Ireland, 2023

A blind medium resorts to desperate measures in an effort to find out the truth behind what happened to her sister in this mystical, terrifying creepfest that will burn its lasting, nightmarish imagery into your brain.

Runner-Up — Feature Film

Director: Ariane Louis-Seize

Cast: Sara Montpetit, Félix-Antoine Bénard, Steve Laplante, Sophie Cadieux, Noémie O’Farrell, Marie Brassard, Patrick Hivon, Marc Beaupré

Canada, 2023

Struggling with her own personal ethics, a teenage vampire makes a pact with a suicidal boy after her family cuts off her blood supply in this sweet and touching tale of friendship and loyalty.

Winner — Short Film

A beautiful and emotional film that touches upon the difficulties that come with aging, mental illness, and the fear of being forgotten by those we love.

Runner-Up — Short Film

When Sarah joins a multi-level marketing company called La La Leggings, she isn’t ready for the horrific consequences of not selling.

Juried Awards

Grand Jury Prize for Short Film

A queer autofiction comedy/horror short shot entirely in the filmmaker’s childhood home. Amidst a riot of crumbling 1970s interior design, Some Day uncannily twists the tropes of motherhood, home, and family legacy.

Honorable Mention for Cinematography 

An experimental short that explores the historical role of cinemas as cruising sites, as well as the relations between nostalgia and fetish when navigating queer history, cultural memory, and the tactility of the past.

Scariest Short 

A couple awakens in the night to sounds emanating from an unlikely orifice.

Honorable Mention for Performance

The Looming, Dir. Masha Ko, United States, 2023

A beautiful and emotional film that touches upon the difficulties that come with aging, mental illness, and the fear of being forgotten by those we love.

Short Film Jury

Carlos Aguilar 

Originally from Mexico City, Carlos Aguilar is a Los Angeles-based film critic and journalist who focuses on animation and international cinema. Aguilar’s work has appeared in prestigious publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety and IndieWire. He is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics.

Sara Cushman

Sara Cushman started her film journey as a surly teenager, projecting 35mm film prints at a dusty old indie theater in Reno. After attending film school at University California Santa Barbara, she moved to Austin and joined distribution startup Drafthouse Films, while concurrently managing the technical team of Fantastic Fest. She is now with NEON, distributor of this year’s horror smashes Immaculate, Cuckoo and Longlegs. Sara resides in Austin with her family and her tailless cat.

Laura Moss 

Laura Moss is a filmmaker from NYC whose movies  have screened at Tribeca, SXSW, Fantasia and Overlook 2023. Their feature film, birth/rebirth, premiered in the Midnight section of the Sundance Film Festival, was distributed theatrically by IFC and is currently streaming on SHUDDER. Their work has been written about in Rolling Stone, The London Review of Books, and The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.

WHO

2024 Overlook Film Festival partners include PREMIERE SPONSORS Academy of Magical Arts, Louisiana Entertainment, MUBI; SIGNATURE SPONSORS Dark Sky Films, Drafthouse Films, Film New Orleans, Giant Pictures, IFC Films, Shudder, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; PATRON SPONSORS Boutique du Vampyre, Magnet, The New Orleans Vampire Cafe, SAGIndie, School of Communications & Design at Loyola University New Orleans, Vinegar Syndrome, XYZ Films; EVENT SPONSORS AMP, Daily Dead, FANGORIA, Kodak, The Murder Mystery Company, Museum of Home Video, NOVAC,Time Will Tell, WildKat Sports; VENUE SPONSOR Prytania Theatres, SIGNATURE HOTEL SPONSOR International Hotel House. Additional sponsors can be found on our website.

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