The Dead by Dawn film festival was founded in 1993 by Adele Hartley who has held the position of festival director ever since. Running for over two decades, it is the oldest genre film festival in the United Kingdom. The program of Dead by Dawn is based on independent films (both feature-length films and shorts) that belong to the horror genre. The festival focuses on unusual and experimental films made by emerging filmmakers.
The program of the festival features several sections such as UK Premieres (horror films from around the world that have never been screened in the United Kingdom before), Feature Films (non-premieres), Classics (classical horror films: for instance, the 2014 selection included films such as Friday 13th, Candyman, Mr. Sardonicus, Twilight Zone The Movie, The Howling, and House of Haunted Hill), Shorts, 2D & Deranged Short Animation Program, etc. The list of sections might change slightly from year to year.
Officially, Dead by Dawn is not a competitive festival because it doesn’t have a professional jury. However, it presents an Audience Choice Award in several categories such as Best Short, Best Feature, and Best Animated Short. The festival also used to host the Cutting Edge Short Film Competition for a couple of editions.
The Dead by Dawn film festival is an 18+ event due to its specific selection of films. It is held every year in mid-April in association with Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh. It also hosts Spawn of Dawn, kind of a mini version of the main festival. Spawn of Dawn is a might film marathon featuring the best short and feature-length from the festival program. It’s a great alternative for those who want to save time and/or money.