The Screamfest Film Festival was created by film producers Ross Martin and Rachel Belofsky in 2001. Belofsky and Martin wanted to give filmmakers and screenwriters in the horror and science fiction genres a venue where they can showcase their work to people in the industry. As of 2016, Belofsky is the festival director. From 2004 until his death in 2008, renowned television and film special make-up effects creator Stan Winston was the festival’s partner. He brought the knowledge and experience that helped Screamfest become one of the top horror film festivals.
Screamfest’s program features new work from American and independent horror/sci-fi filmmakers. Over the years, the festival has helped launch the careers of many filmmakers. For example, Paranormal Activity premiered at Screamfest in 2007. The film was such a success that it was acquired by Paramount Pictures and was given a nationwide release two years later. Other films that have premiered at Screamfest include Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, The Grudge, The Human Centipede, 30 Days of Night, and Let the Right One In.
Screamfest is a competitive film festival. Its prize is called the Screamfest Skull Award. The statuette that indeed portrays a skull was designed by Academy Award winner Stan Winston. The award is given in several categories, which can include the following: Best Feature, Best Student Film, Best Animated Film, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Special Effects, Musical Score, Future Icon Award, Trailblazer Award.
The festival lasts ten days. Its screenings take place in several theaters across Hollywood. In addition to showcasing horror films from around the world, the Screamfest Horror Film Festival features Q&A sessions with special guests, networking events, and other activities for horror film fans and industry professionals.