Heavy Hitting Horrorfest Apocalypse 2019

There are a lot of movie parts to HorrorFest, and the day of the event is never chill. Seating, screens, technology, back-up technology, tickets, people who want tickets, art, food, drink, music, madness. (Plus most of the time I am still working on my movie right down to the wire).

It’s hectic bordering on insanity, but then something happens… that moment when Stu Mackay-Smith’s iconic intro hits the screen, when the speakers pulse with that low rumbling bass of his soundtrack as the door creaks open to another year of movies and mayhem… the world slows down, almost stops, and I feel of flood of total calm and that “here we go” acceptance of knowing we’re locked into it now.

And then the drums kick in, and the screams bounce around the theatre… and god damn if it didn’t bring tears to my eyes this year. To see how far this beast has come, to see all the people who believe in it, who work tirelessly and make movies and set their alarms for tickets and do whatever it takes to be a part of this thing Chili and I started so long ago.

HorrorFest is a passion project, and since Chili’s passing I guess it’s also a way for us to keep a piece of him alive and kicking. But our goal from the start has always been to inspire local filmmakers, actors, artists, musicians, whoever to get out and make movies and have fun.

It’s amazing that we are able to give away so much cash and prizes, thanks to a whole slew of generous sponsors (and I will list them all below). As well, back at the start Chili and I could have never dreamed how successful some of the HorrorFest family would go on to become. It’s pretty awesome to think of all the talent that has splattered across our screens over the past decade and a half, and continues to show up year after year.

As mentioned, there will be a whole lot of thanking going on further down, below the awards announcements, but I definitely want to recognize OG HorrorFest co-conspirator Stu MacKay-Smith for his wisdom and talent year after year, Chantal Limoges for handling all the details that make the event happen (everything from toilet paper to insurance to laser beams to the welcome letters in your hotel rooms at check in) and Jon Veder for keeping the stoke high and the web presence on point. None of this happens without that team.

And with that… Here are your 2019 Heavy Hitting HorrorFest Champions:

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Jessica Simpson - Actress

“Dick Hunter”
Director: Liz Creelman (Squamish)

Awarded:
$150 cash courtesy of Local Whistler
Motion Picture Industry Orientation Course courtesy of INFOCUS Film School

BEST DEATH SCENE

Bear trap castration

“Dick Hunter”
Director: Liz Creelman (Squamish)

Awarded:
$100 cash
VIP Prize including a Submission Fee Waiver and 2 VIP Weekend Passes courtesy of the Vancouver Bad Ass Film Festival

BEST MAKE-UP

“Blackface”

Director: Quentin Roy (Belgium)

Awarded:
$250 gift certificate courtesy of Elevation Hair
2 x 90 minute Myofascial Release Healing Sessions courtesy of Whistler Myofascial Release

BEST VISUAL EFFECT

“Dandelion Tea”

Director: Stu Mackay-Smith (Vancouver)

Awarded:
$400 in cash presented by LUX Visual FX
VIP Prize including a Submission Fee Waiver and 2 VIP Weekend Passes courtesy of the Vancouver Bad Ass Film Festival

BEST SOUND DESIGN

“Toe”

Directors: Neal O'Bryan, Chad Thurman (USA)

Awarded:
2 tickets to Bass Coast Music & Arts Festival
Annual Family Membership courtesy of the Audain Art Museum.
2 Four hands on Myofascial Release Healing Sessions (2 x 90 min sessions) courtesy of Whistler Myofascial Release

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Cum On, Charlie Parker”

Director of Photography: Leo Hoorn (Pemberton)

Awarded:
$250 cash courtesy of Canadian Wilderness Adventures
Backcountry snowmobile adventure courtesy of Canadian Wilderness Adventures
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

BEST ACTOR

“Johnny Thrash”

“Dick Hunter”
Director: Liz Creelman (Squamish)

Awarded:
$250 cash courtesy of LUX Visual FX
$225 from Gibbons Après Lager for the winners to party with at any Gibbons establishment
1 Cinematic 6 pack courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

BEST ACTRESS

“Sharai Rewels”

“Dandelion Tea”
Director: Stu Mackay-Smith (Vancouver)

Awarded:
$250 cash courtesy of LUX Visual FX
$225 from Gibbons Après Lager for the winners to party with at any Gibbons establishment
1 Cinematic 6 pack courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

BEST FEMALE FILMMAKER

Director: Angie Nolan (Whistler)

“Bad Dolly"

Awarded:
Festival Pass to the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival from March 3rd to 8th, 2020 in Vancouver and a Producer's Workbook courtesy of Women in Film & Television Vancouver
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater
2 x 60 minute Myofascial Release Healing Sessions courtesy of Whistler Myofascial Release

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

“Wild Love”

Directors: Paul Autric
Quentin Camus, Léa Georges, Maryka Laudet, Zoé Sottiaux, Corentin Yvergniaux, (France)

Awarded:
$500 Cash

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Miles Wilkinson

Awarded:
GoPro Hero 7 courtesy of GoPro

ERIN SOLOWEY ‘MANIMAL’ AWARD FOR MOST FEARLESS PERFORMANCE

Conrad Schapansky (Pemberton)

“1 Piece"
Directors: Conrad Schapansky & Kevin Hardiman

Awarded:
$350 cash money
$250 gift certificate courtesy of The Raven Room
2 gift certificate courtesy of Whistler Escape Room
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

CHILI THOM MEMORIAL AWARD FOR BEST NUDE SCENE

Stacey Paradine (Squamish)

“Cum On, Charlie Parker"
Directors: Feet Banks & Leo Hoorn

Awarded:
$666.69 cash presented by a super-secret sponsor
$500 gift certificate courtesy of Hy's Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

PEOPLE’S CHAMPIONSHIP BELT FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

"Bad Dolly"


Director: Angie Nolan (Whistler)

Awarded:
$500 in cash presented by The Dream Team
$2,500 in-kind equipment rental courtesy of William F White International Inc.
$350 from Gibbons Après Lager for the winners to party with at any Gibbons establishment.
1 Industry Pass courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival
2 gift certificate courtesy of Whistler Escape Room
2 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

HEAVY HITTING SILVER SKULL TROPHY FOR BEST IN SHOW

"Bad Dolly"

Director: Angie Nolan (Whistler)

Awarded:
$1,500 in cold hard cash presented by Gibbons Après Lager
$500 from Gibbons Après Lager for the winners to party with at any Gibbons establishment
1 Industry Pass courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival
6 passes courtesy of the Rio Theater

Best in Show: Bad Dolly directed by Angie Nolan
Best in Show: “Bad Dolly” directed by Angie Nolan

The Long list of Gratitude:

the Prison Break Apocalypse Car, created by Scott Johnston and Chris Macleay
The Prison Break Apocalypse Car, created by Scott Johnston and Chris Macleay

Like every year, we need to acknowledge the incredible people who created the HorrorFest trophies. Kyle Bubbs—the silver skull trophy is still the greatest award in the world. Heather Dufty, thank you for creating the incredible Manimal Award (twice). Thank you to Love Jules Leather for the incredible “People’s Champion” belt and Bruce McGregor Woodworks for not only creating the legendary Chili Thom Memorial trophy but also the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bruce was also a judge, alongside Heavy Hitting co-founder Travis Tetreault, Stu Mackay-Smith and super incredible special guest judges Jason Bourque and Tristan Risk, who we can’t thank enough for bringing their wealth of knowledge and industry street cred to our event.

And there would be no event without the support of Gibbons Apres Lager. The crew at Gibbons has been on board with HorrorFest for a number of years now and their expertise and quick eagerness to help us solve last minute problems is much appreciated. As is the cash they put up for the Best in Show award. Thank you Gibbons, always supporting local events and it’s a pleasure to have you on board.

Thank you also to Kristen Dillon, long-time horrorfest actress/designer/powerplayer for her graphic design work this year and Semele Anstis who also chipped in with design, printing, running around and generally being awesome.

Kristen is also part of The Dream Team, a crew of veteran HorrorFest actresses led by Dana Friesen-Smith who also moonlight as the hardest working and best real estate team in the Sea to Sky. Dana’s starred in at least half a dozen HorrorFest submissions over the years and is a perennial favourite of the community so it’s epic to have the Dream Team supporting the People’s Champion award.

As always, Whistler’s favourite DJ and winner of the 2016 Perfect Person Award, Ace MacKay-Smith was on hand to decorate the venue and spin records. Thank you so much Ace. Speaking of records, huge thank you to Monster Energy for hosting the post-screening party, for providing the booming sound system and for bringing in OG Heavy Hitters Mat the Alien and Vinyl Richie to rock the wheels of steel and keep the party hopping.

Monster Energy DJs Mat the Alien and Vynl Richie
MONSTER Energy Djs rocked the after party

Thanks to Nora Clarke for organizing a convoluted seating chart and then setting up 290 chairs by herself. Thanks to Paul Globisch, Nicole Fontaine, and Colin May for volunteering to work the most fun night of the year and for handing out the cheeseburgers at midnight.

Huge thanks to Scott Johnston and Chris Macleay for creating the Apocalypse Car/stage, a true piece de resistance if ever there was one. Shout out to Al Crawford from Canadian Wilderness Adventures for helping transport and store the car as it came to life and donating cash and prizing to the Best Cinematography contest. (They understand the value of looking good.)

Speaking of looking good, huge huge thank you to 2019’s absolutely stunning Apocalypse models Max and Izzy, who were costumed and created by the geniuses at Paintertainment. Thank you so much: the costumes are literally the best thing ever, every year.

Looking good is as important as staying safe so definitely need to give a huge thanks to VIP Whistler for running the shuttle busses all night to get everyone to and from HorrorFest safely. With no parking at the venue we literally couldn’t have pulled off the event without their help and support.

One of our longest supporters, no questions asked, Lux Visual FX brings a ton of street cred to HorrorFest and are an integral part of the whole operation. We missed you in the judges booth this year Lux.

There is no film festival without a screen, a crapload of technology and a crew that knows how to hang it up, take it down, and keep it working in between. Huge thank you to Dean Feser for hooking us up with his expertise, to Fred Oke for stepping in and bringing his gear to Andy at XL AudioVisual for wiring the show and running things and to Kris Brancho for hard work up the lift. Without these people we are literally sitting around watching my laptop, so thank you all.

HorrorFest is only officially banned from one venue in Whistler but we tend to move around a lot regardless and for the Apocalypse we landed in The Hangar, which ended up being the perfect spot for our brand of kick-assery and we need to send a huge thank you to Jamie, Paul and Olly. Great venue fellas and thank you for providing the Whistler community with such an incredible spot to throw events. That space is helping save Whistler culture.

And of course, pics or it didn’t happen so thank you to Joern Rohde, who once again captured the spirit of our madness with his camera. A good photographer is integral with a crowd as good looking as HorrorFest’s and Joern slays it every year.

Huge thank you to our industry supports: The Directors Guild of Canada and The Whistler Film Festival. Growing up in the shadow of the WFF has been incredible and they’ve supported Horrorfest right from year two and are always down to help no matter how weird we get. Also thanks to William F White the greatest gear providers in the country, it means so much for our winners to be able to make use of your services on their next project.

Another longtime supporter is Landyachtz, who always come through with a kick-ass photo booth, a bunch of good times, and sometimes even a movie to submit. Let’s see what you got next year Landyachtz. You too Bass Coast Festival, long-time supporters and even longer-time friends— maybe we can film a horror at the festival this year??

The party has to end at some point and when it does we are all super, super thankful for the support of our official accommodation, The AAVA Whistler Hotel. Literally the coolest hotel in town (and Brett Tippie’s favourite!)

And while we always focus on growing the local film community first, there is no doubt that Heavy Hitting HorrorFest is getting noticed, we had submissions from 7 countries this year and some of that might be thanks to the media empire of Drunk in a Graveyard, who we couldn’t be more stoked to have on board this year. Thanks crew. Big love also needs to go to INFOCUS Film School, Women in Film & Television Vancouver, and the Vancouver Badass Film Festival. Good lookin’ out.

Finally, thanks to our good friend Bryan R who is more stoked than anyone and who kicks in all the cash for the Chili Thom Memorial Award just because he loves film and believes in supporting Chili’s vision. You fucking rule Bryan. And so does Neil at Hy’s Steakhouse because he knows every Best Nude Scene winner deserves a proper celebration dinner.

There are many other friends and local businesses who provide prizing for the winners of HorrorFest and I can’t thank them enough. This night is all about the films on screen and thanks to your generosity we gave away over $5000 worth of prizing this year on top of the $4800 cash purse. Endless thank yous to The Raven Room, Elevation Hair Studio, Audain Art Museum, Local Whistler, GoPro, Escape Whistler, the Rio Theatre, and Whistler Myofascial Release.

Most important of all: thank you to Horrorfest community—the fans who come out, the filmmakers and their teams who create, and everyone who does what needs to be done to keep this little night of savagery alive. (And thanks to Courtney and her team at Taylor Maid Services for cleaning up after the Apocalypse!)

And, of course, huge love and thanks to Chili Thom for kicking the whole thing off. We miss you Chili!

Heavy Hitting Horrorfest Apocalypse 2019 - Paintertainment
Paintertainment’s apocalypse models with the legendary Green Jesus