Festival Profile: Alec Balas, Great Underground Horror Film Festival

Yesterday I was able to interview Alec Balas about his new online festival, the Great Underground Horror Film Festival. This festival is held in your living room, your kitchen, your great room, wherever you have a computer or a tv with wireless access. Alec reminded me both of the great time we are living in and of the phrase, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The deadline for submission is October 22nd. Be sure to check out the festival on Halloween!

What is your name and the name of the festival you organize?
My name is Alec Balas and I organize the Great Underground Horror Film Festival.Can you give a little background about your festival? Why it started, when it started, where it is located, how many days it is and the focus?
I’m a filmmaker and I see all of these festivals you can enter and how costly they are. You don’t even know if you are going to get in. I wanted an outlet for people like me. Starving artists who could just send a link to a festival and all the work is done. Most of these festivals like Sundance and Tribeca are exclusively for Hollywood. Unless your the Duplass brothers or a Swanberg your not going to get in even if you have a really great film. Basically I started GUHFF because its exactly the festival I would want to find and enter. One that was completely indie FOR REAL and one that people have a chance at. I started this festival with a friend of mine Chris Smith in early september. Its completely online but I live in Chicago so thats where its home is. Its a quick entry period because I am so impatient and don’t want anyone waiting six months before they know if they got in to a festival. It started on September 20th and the submission deadline is October 22nd. We will be uploading the winning links on Halloween! Our focus is Horror which is something I chose because its my first festival and I didn’t know what response, if any, I would get so I chose my favorite genre and kept everything else wide open. Luckily, I got a response and without much promotion so its been really cool and has inspired me to maybe do another festival including all genres in a couple of months maybe??

What is it like to attend your festival? Who attends your festival?
Well its all online so attending is as easy as sitting at your computer with some popcorn. Indie filmmakers, horror fans, average joes, everyone and anyone really. I have always felt a little weird because I enjoy sports but I can also have a great conversation with someone about how awesome Evil Dead is so I would hate to tell someone they aren’t invited. Mostly because they are.

What is the submission process? Post or online submission?
The GUHFF submission process is pretty simple. All you do is go to our website and fill out a submission form which is really just your name and then the link to your film which is on Vimeo or youtube. Technology has really allowed this festival to happen. Or just email greathorror@hotmail.com with the link and some info.
http://www.greathorrorfilmfest.weebly.com

Why is the festival free to enter?
I wanted to create a festival that was free in every aspect from the curation of the website to the submissions and awards given. I don’t feel like you can put a price on art or grade a paper that is an opinion yet we do it daily so I want to make a statement that art is really free and its meant to be enjoyed and created by everone. Art isn’t exclusive. DONT leave it to the pros. Its for everyone and everyone isn’t rich.

Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for contacting me and asking about the GUHFF. Freedom for free! Art has no rules, only avenues.
Its my cat Fiona

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