published Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Horror film contest benefits Chatt State film program — enter Sept. 5-Oct.16; event Oct. 26

When Chattanooga film club Mise En Scenesters began showing independent, international, classic and cult films more than two years ago, one of its goals was to introduce local film fans to the work of unfamiliar filmmakers.

That goal includes local filmmakers as well, leading to the first Mise En Scenesters Frightening Ass Filmmaking Competition. The contest is open to anyone, and the $20 entry fee will be donated to the film program at Chattanooga State Community College.

The competition is just part of the festivities MES is planning for the third annual Frightening Ass Film Fest on Oct. 26 at Barking Legs Theater. The day also includes screenings of the horror features "Spider Baby," "Maniac" and "Bad Milo," as well as musical performances by Pujol, Colleen Green, White Fang, The Memories and SharkWeek. There also will be stand-up comedy, local food trucks, door prizes and a costume contest.

MES founder Chris Dortch says that creating a strong sense of suspense and atmosphere "requires an inherent understanding of how audiences tick and a firm grasp on the visual language of filmmaking."

For the contest, he says, "we're hoping not just for blood and gore but also some heart and some brains (preferably not in the mouth of a zombie at the time)."

Once the entry fee is paid, participants may craft their films solo or team up with other contest participants. Filmmakers will have all of September to craft a five- to 10-minute horror film. The FAFF's official contest judges are from the Horrorbull Podcast. They will select five favorites to be screened at the festival.

Awards and prize packages will be handed out for Best Film, Best Visuals and Best Story. The crowd will decide on the winner of the FAFF audience award.

"The vibe of MES is a perfect match for students at Chatt State," says Chattanooga State film instructor Chris Willis. "Being a part of this contest gives us a chance to prove to the local film community what we can do. Chattanooga is on the cusp of becoming the Austin, Texas, of the Southeast for filmmaking, and we want to be at the heart of all of it."

For more information on the filmmaking contest or to buy advance tickets ($15) for the festival, visit Those with additional questions may email Mise En Scenesters directly at

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