After eight nights of their seventh annual event, Popcorn Frights Film Festival is proud to announce its juried and audience awards that were selected from its lineup of 68 films (31 features and 37 short films from 13 countries) in 10 categories.
This year's winner of the Jury Prize for Best Feature Film is Brandon Christensen's "Superhost", chosen by South Florida journalists and notable genre enthusiasts.
The jury said the following about the award:
"We found Superhost to be a highly entertaining film, headlined by one of the best performances of the festival by Gracie Gillam. After terrifying us in years past at Popcorn Frights with Still/Born and Z, Brandon Christensen made the most enjoyable film of this year's festival. We indeed wanted to ‘smash that like button' and ‘click that little bell' while watching Christensen's movie, and as such, this is our pick for the top prize of the best feature film."
While accepting his award, Brandon Christensen said, "In a time where our normal has been stripped away from us, Popcorn Frights gave us a glimpse of the old normal by hosting their festival last week. The Popcorn crew moved heaven and earth to have both virtual and in-person screenings this year, and I was fortunate to have SUPERHOST world premiere with them. The screening was fantastic and felt just like old times, and I'm incredibly honored to be awarded the Jury Prize. With the release of the film coming up, I'm thrilled that I was able to show it off to Popcorn's awesome crowd early and get a taste of what it used to be like to screen at a festival."
This year's Scariest Feature Film Prize was given to Ju-On director Takashi Shimizu's latest horror HOWLING VILLAGE, and receiving the Special Jury Prize was Erik Bloomquist's NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN, which was entirely produced during the COVID-19 health crisis. In its effort to shine a brighter spotlight on first-time filmmakers, Popcorn Frights launched its New Nightmare Prize this year celebrating filmmakers making their feature film debuts. Winning the inaugural New Nightmare Prize was Gia Elliot for her trenchant social critiques and gripping thrill ride TAKE BACK THE NIGHT, which received its world premiere at the Festival to great acclaim. Gia said the following in accepting the award: "Premiering my film in front of such a thoughtful audience at Popcorn Frights and having it recognized with this award is an honor. And to every survivor out there - I believe you."
Below is the full list of the festival's winners:
- Jury Prize for Best Feature Film: Superhost, dir. Brandon Christensen
- Jury Prize for Best Short Film: Le Cri, dirs. Charlotte Chouisnard, Ninon Dodemant, Baptiste Leclerc, Solène Michel, Justine Parasote, Anouk Segura-Diaz
- Scariest Feature Film Prize: Howling Village, dir. Takashi Shimizu
- Scariest Short Film Prize: The Wheel, dir. Nikhil Bhagat
- Special Jury Prize: Night at the Eagle Inn, dir. Erik Bloomquist
- New Nightmare Prize for Best Debut Film: Take Back the Night, dir. Gia Elliot
- Best Florida Feature Film: Offseason, dir. Mickey Keating
- Best Florida Short Film: Tech Savvy, dir. Scott Vasey
- Audience Award for Best Feature Film: Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched, dir. Kier-La Janisse
- Audience Award for Best Short Film: Every Time We Meet for Ice Cream Your Whole F*cking Face Explodes, dir. Anthony Cousins
This year, Popcorn Frights got nearly 10,000 visitors in-person and through hybrid screenings. All visitors were able to vote on their favorites and take place in special events.
Popcorn Frights' virtual program will remain up through the end of day on Thursday, August 19, and several of the winning films, including TAKE BACK THE NIGHT and NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN, will be available to stream nationwide as part of the festival's extended on-demand programming, which will continue through Sunday, August 22, allowing fans to catch up on films they may have missed. To see the complete list of films still available for streaming nationwide, visit popcornfrights.com.