As well as being an award
winning filmmaker and running his own production company Simeon Halligan
somehow finds time to curate one of the UK's leading film festivals
Grimmfest which runs from 2 October to 6 October up in
Good afternoon Simeon, how are
Hi there, good, thank you.
Grimmfest celebrates its 5th
anniversary this year. What can we expect from this yearís
I guess weíd like to think this is the biggest and best year yet in terms
of the movies weíre screening. We have a wide range from mainstream films
through to more obscure ones and as horror has such a wide fanbase we get
a massive amount of interest in these obscure ones which is great. Against
something like Curse Of Chucky which everyone has heard of we have films
like House Of A Hundred Eyes which is a little like a found footage film
but it centres around people wanting to make snuff movies in their house
and is shot on surveillance cameras. Itís quite an interesting film and
one of those that uses the sub-genre really well. We also have The Wicker
Man with the director Robin Hardy coming along which is great.
Simeon: "Considering we started out just wanting to show our own film itís all gone a bit mental".
How did Grimmfest come
We never meant to have a festival. It was all a mistake and I keep
wondering how weíve ended up in this crazy situation. Iíd made this film
Splintered and weíd not had a screening so we decided to hold one in
Manchester and invite the cast and crew, and some friends along. We were
talking with Steve Balshaw, one of the Grimmfest organisers who was
working on the Salford film festival, and he suggested putting on a few
more films and making a Halloween event out of it. Everything then just
expanded and grew from there. Considering we started out just wanting to
show our own film itís all gone a bit mental.
It must become almost like an
Yes, I think youíre right. Itís a bit of an obsession. We donít do it for
the money so it must be! Itís just great to put something like this one.
This year weíre involved with BFI Gothic season and a film festival over
in Liverpool so itís a busy time.
How do you decide what films
to show at festival?
Itís really, really difficult. We canít show everything, I wish we could,
but we canít. Between myself, Steve and Ben Ross we watch many films and
then sometimes we agree and sometimes we donít. Sometimes we vote and
sometimes Steve just hits us until we comply! We do go to some film
markets which are fantastic as it enables you to find new movies before
theyíve been heard of in the UK. For example I saw John Dies At The End
about 12 months ago and Iíve been trying to get it ever since and now we
finally have. We get lots of submissions through and somehow we reach
Are there any of the films you
are particularly looking forward to or that you would recommend people
keep an eye out for?
Every member of the team has different favourites which is great because
it gives the festival a broad range. For me Iím looking forward to seeing
On Air which I havenít actually seen and we have the European premier of
it on Thursday (3rd October) night. Chucky and Wicker Man will get the
audience but itís these films that no-oneís heard of that are exciting. Jug Face is a very interesting film being shown on Sunday (October 6th) which is a new take on familiar themes. The
Machine is also very interesting and one well worth checking out. We have
a joint UK premiere with Raindance that night and itís being compared in
style to Blade Runner which is really something.
Simeon: "The studios are always going to make certain types of films".
There are so many horror films
being released now. Do you feel that that with the amount of studio
franchises being made it is stifling the independents or do you think it
draws a greater audience to the genre?
I kind of think the latter really. I donít necessarily have an issue with
it as I think you can apply it to any genre. The studios are always going
to make certain types of films and theyíll look to attract a big multiplex
audience. The thing that is changing a lot is the way people watch films
these days. Horror is really healthy at the moment. Most of the recent
studio releases have done very well and made a lot of money, certainly in
comparison to some of the big pictures that are doing badly. Films like
The Purge and The Conjuring are where Iíd be putting my money.
To conclude then what are your
favourite horror films?
The Haunting, the original black and white one I think is really scary. It
relies purely on its visual style. My other favourite would be Donít Look
Now which really influenced me. I guess theyíre not your usual horror
movies but Iím really drawn to psychological stuff which is what scares
Thank you for taking the time
to talk with me today.
No problem at all, thank you very much.