Director talks about the purpose of the festival, choosing the films, and his next project.

Courtney Solomon loves horror movies. In effort to share this passion with as many people as possible, the director of An American Haunting has launched the After Dark Horror Fest. In the hopes of giving lesser known horror films a chance to be seen and embraced by the general public, the After Dark Horror Fest will screen eight films simultaneously on 500 screens in 35 markets across the U.S. between November 17-19 exclusively.

How did you come up with this idea for the After Dark Horror Fest?


Courtney Solomon: We were looking at a lot of potential horror films for acquisition and of them were really good so we couldn't figure out why the studios had not released them. Many of the producers told that the content was too harsh and so the studios preferred to stick with video. We thought that was a shame and thought why couldn't we create a weekend dedicated to horror for fans everywhere across America to get to see these films in the best possible venue, a movie theater. So it was with that thought in mind that the idea for Horror Fest was born.


Why did you choose these films in particular? What was it about them that got your attention more than the others?

Courtney Solomon: Well we looked at a lot of films but these were the most interesting, well made and diverse group that we could find in the limited time that we had. We've put all this together in three months which is a very short window for such a vast undertaking. Next year we will have the whole year to program the Horror Fest, and we hope for even better and more diversified films. So many filmmakers have contacted us with trying to get in this year because they love the idea of a commercial release that is actually for the fans and is also fun.


What is the overall goal of the festival?

Courtney Solomon: The goal of the festival is to become the ultimate celebration of horror. To become a yearly event which people and fans can plan plan for months in advance like a San Diego Comic-Con or similar event. We eventually want to go international. Ultimately we want the audience to have a great time, not just with the films, but dressing up, meeting people with like interests, going to parties and just all around having a great time.

Do you plan to take these films out theatrically?

Courtney Solomon: The festival is theatrical. It is the biggest film festival ever produced and released. All eight films will play simultaneously on 500 screens in 35 markets across the U.S. between November 17-19 exclusively. It's an all theatrical release. If some films prove to be well accepted by the audience, we may expand them into their own release beyond this festival.


With all the time it takes pursuing filmmaking, how did you find the the time to put this festival together?

Courtney Solomon: It has not been easy to say the least. I am spending a good portion of my time building After Dark for the next year because I believe that we will be able to create a new domestic studio which is indie friendly for filmmakers like myself, so that really good product and films that would otherwise not be seen by the public gets to be seen in movie theaters. Then, I will go do my next directing film which I am in the process of writing right now.


What are your favorite kind of horror movies?

Courtney Solomon:The Exorcist, The Omen, the original Halloween, and The Shining.


What do you think is the best approach to putting horror across on screen?

Courtney Solomon: It depends on the type of film. I prefer suspense and tension combined with scares. That said I think that gore can be great, but generally something fresh and slightly different is what I like to see.

What are you working on now?

Courtney Solomon: After Dark Horror Fest - 8 Films to Die For. It is consuming my life right now. My directing project is a secret for the moment.

After Dark Horror Fest opens simultaneously on 500 screens in 35 markets across the U.S. between November 17-19 exclusively from Freestyle Releasing.