In 1999, I mounted the first CineMuerte Film Festival in Vancouver, an independent horror film festival that ran until 2005, first at microcinema The Blinding Light!! and moving to the Pacific Cinematheque after its first year.
When I started CineMuerte, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d barely even been to a film festival before. I started the festival with my student loan. I still haven’t finished paying back the student loan. But I like to think that people have benefited more culturally from this transgression than if I’d finished that Medieval Studies degree.
Over the years, special guests of the festival included Jean Rollin, Jorg Buttgereit, Udo Kier, Buddy Giovinazzo, John Saxon, Richard Blackburn, Jack Taylor, Jeff Lieberman, Jim Van Bebber, Ed Neal and more.
The festival’s home base was the video store where I worked, Black Dog Video – still going strong as of 2020 – and as much as my boss wanted to kill me every time he tripped over a rusty film canister, I think he forgave me when I brought John Saxon to his house for a barbecue. The festival and my struggles to run it independently were the subject of Ashley Fester’s documentary feature Celluloid Horror (2005).
More archival materials related to the festival forthcoming.