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Assignment: My Festival Prospectus

As I stated earlier, I’ll be doing research on the Silver Scream Festival which will be happening at the Roxy 14 Theatre in downtown Santa Rosa on March 4-6. I’ve made contact with some very accommodating people who are willing to arrange interviews and possible volunteer positions that will allow me and a partner to actually be part of the crew. My next step is to get together the interview questions and find the appropriate individuals to interview.

I would like to interview someone who knows in depth the history of the festival, and can tell me how the event actually morphed into one. From the website, I see that the festival originated from a magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was established in 1958 “as a way to celebrate genre films and unite fans around the world.” This magazine was established by editor Forrest J. Ackerman and publisher James Warren. The aim for this magazine was to “celebrate the classic films o54f70385a4ca50cae750b669846d0e53f Universal’s golden horror age.” I want to find out what brought this festival out of Hollywood and into Sonoma. I know that the Roxy has its own Cult Film Series  that occurs every Thursday, and so it seems to be a perfect place to host this kind of gathering. Seems there’s already an audience in place.

The aim of this festival is to “find the next generation of storytellers,” according to their mission statement. This festival aims to blend genres and invite storytellers and artists from all over to submit short and feature films, graphic novels, comic books and animation, and awards prizes and screening to the winners.

Some questions I’d like to answer:

  1. What types of people attend this sort of specialized film festival?
  2. How many people typically attend?
  3. How do they gather? Do they stick to their own groups, or do they openly socialize with others outside of their groups?
  4. How do the attendees dress? Do people dress up in costume? If so, why? What exactly are they celebrating?
  5. What is the general mood of the festival? How does this mood influence how people act and react to stimulus?
  6. What is the festival’s background? How did it start? What factors caused it to migrate to Sonoma County?
  7. What exactly fuels the festival and keeps people coming back year after year?
  8. What kind of groups offer financial support to the festival and make it possible in the first place?
  9. What is the festival’s future? What challenges/obstacles might prevent future festivals from occurring?
  10. How does this festival contribute to cultural norms, if at all?

I’m excited about attending the festival itself. I’m hoping to capture some of it on video and possibly interview some of the attendees. I’d like to ask them what the appeal is, and what they like best about the festival. I’m also hoping to meet some of the special guests who are slated to appear: David Naughton, Rob Prior, Bela Lugosi, Jr, and the original Freddy, Robert Englund. It would be a dream come true to interview one of these special guests! We will see what the festival brings.

I’m hoping to build a website that’s a tribute not only to this film festival, but also to cult film festivals all over. I’m hoping my research will yield rich results and help connect our little town with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

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