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Homegrown Horror

Eugene Film Society chills with Third Annual Horror Film Competition

Horror movie fans, listen up: If your idea of a perfect Halloween is watching fright flicks non-stop, you’re in luck. Eugene Film Society (EFS) brings you the Third Annual 72 Hour Horror Film Competition, part of All Hallows’ Eugene — an annual series of Halloween-themed events occurring all over downtown.

This year, the competition’s short films (two to three minutes each) will be screened for the first time in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center. EFS co-founder and Executive Director Joshua Purvis says to expect a “haunted Hult. We’re going to have the lobby all decorated.”

As well as the film competition, EFS has a day chockfull of screenings at a variety of venues. Films include the kid-friendly animated movie ParaNorman, Nosferatu and the perennial Halloween favorite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Purvis says the 72 Hour Horror Film Competition runs Oct. 22-25.

The competition kicks off Oct. 22 at Level Up Arcade, where participating filmmakers and their crews will learn the one line of dialogue and one prop required to appear in each production. 

Each crew will have only three days to take its vision through writing, production and post-production. A jury of media professionals and an audience will screen the films. The work is eligible for a jury prize and audience award both equaling $1,000.

The 2014 “Jury Prize” winner Giggle, by Matt Cornelius and Mychal Sargent, is truly disturbing, with panicky imagery of damp, dank basements, confinement and a shadowy, menacing figure. 

Purvis says previous years’ submissions have reflected trends in filmmaking, “whether it’s found footage, editing or the layout of the narrative.”

He stresses that the screening is definitely not for kids, explaining EFS edits somewhat for content that “crosses the line,” but feels a certain amount of provocation is integral to the horror movie genre.

“It’s about generating community,” Purvis says. “I feel that this spotlights young artists in an art form that’s very current. Filmmaking has a lot of cache.” 

And Purvis says by advocating for filmmaking, you in turn advocate for all the other arts. “Photography, theater, music,” Purvis says. 

But collaboration is essential to any successful film. “That’s what film is. It’s collaborative,” Purvis says. “We’re trying to accomplish art production, art appreciation and the community of collaboration.” ν

Eugene Film Society’s Third Annual 72 Hour Horror Film Competition screening is 7 pm Saturday, Oct. 31, at Bijou Arts Cinemas; $15. 16-plus.