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The organizer of an independent horror film festival believes he’s found just the right place, Lebanon’s Capitol Theatre.

The Macabre Faire Film Festival starts Thursday and runs through the weekend. It will feature 100 films, seminars, meet-and-greets, a red carpet and awards for the different horror categories.

Festival founder and director Adam Ginsberg started Twitch Twitch Productions with his wife Elsie Martinez-Ginsberg when the couple lived in New York. Over the years what began as a haunted house in the backyard grew into an official, judged film festival by 2012.

Called the “Sundance with Fangs,” by Newsday Long Island, the festival now welcomes contestants in categories spanning horror, science fiction and fantasy. The only real requirement is that it has some scary elements.

Martinez-Ginsberg once told her husband, “I don’t mind a love story, so long as there is a monster under the bed.”

The last time the event was held was in 2018 in New York, so this will be the first time it’s held in Lebanon. The reason for Ginsberg’s relocation to Middle Tennessee was originally for a different reason. His son, Addison, wanted to attend film school in Nashville. It was when they found Lebanon and the Capitol Theatre that they knew they’d found their venue.

“I just loved the noir feel, the first time I saw it,” Ginsberg said of the Lebanon theater. While this may be the first time it’s held in Lebanon, Ginsberg is certain it won’t be the last. In fact, the festival is already booked again for the Capitol Theatre next year.

Ginsberg now runs the festival with Addison. His wife passed away last year. He said that he sees the festival as an homage to his late wife, noting that none of it would have been possible without her.

Furthermore, he hopes to put Lebanon on the film festival map such as other iconic festivals like Cannes, Sundance or Telluride, only with the specialization of horror. In a few years, he sees no reason why it couldn’t achieve that scale. He said he can see no better way to honor his late wife than to make her vision a reality.

Who can enter

Contestants make submissions via FilmFreeway, an organization that brands itself as “the number one way to enter film festivals and screenplay contests.”

FilmFreeway gives applicants the choice of which festivals they would like to enter their movies, creating a more accessible reach for producers of narrow means.

Ginsberg said FilmFreeway makes it straightforward to “run and judge your festival,” and that it’s a great way for festivals to support themselves, because filmmakers pay to have their submissions entered.

All submitted films are pre-screened by select judges. Then the films are passed onto another set of judges consisting of more filmmakers, film critics, genre film fans and or seasoned actors to choose the official selections.

Narrowing down to 100 films wasn’t easy for Ginsberg and his son, but they were able to do it eventually. “We’ve got a lot of great movies. Several hundred came in. It’s not easy to get it down to our number, but we really liked the ring of 100 movies in four days.”

A day at Macabre Faire

The festival will have a pretty open format, according to Ginsberg, who said each day there will be multiple seminars going on. Guests are welcome to come and go. The seminars will be held in the upstairs event space at the theater. Meanwhile, the films will be screened downstairs in the theater’s main room.

Each day around 3 p.m. there will be a break from the film screenings, for a question and answer session with some of the filmmakers.

Ginsberg said in an ideal situation without COVID, they’d have the place packed with a representative from each film. While he expects numbers to be down, he’s excited about those who will be there and the opportunities it will present.

There will be food trucks set up in the theater’s parking lot as well as a mobile bar for drinks. Ginsberg said that there would be vendors inside but that they are limited as to maintain the atmosphere of the festival.

Ginsberg encourages guests to dress up in their favorite monster costumes. “We love our monsters at Macabre Faire,” he said.

Awards

Ginsberg said there will be 34 different categories ranging from best screenplays to costume design to acting and editing awards.

What ought to be a lot of fun is the red carpet event on set for Saturday night. Arriving filmmakers will be ushered into the theatre in true Hollywood style, with a red carpet and flash photography.

Ginsberg wants this festival to be inclusive, so if a guest wishes to participate in the red carpet experience they can for a slight admission upgrade.

Tickets can be purchased at macabrefairefilmfestival.com. Four-day all-access passes start are $95. Single, double and triple day passes are available as well. If purchased online bring proof of purchase, and a wristband will be provided at the door.

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