Film fest features freaky fright flicks

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter | Photos courtesy of Ashley Heffron8.5 8.4 8.3 8.1
Something wicked this way comes — straight to the South Broadway Cultural Center.
The first annual New Mexico Fright Fest will be taking over the SBCC at 1025 Broadway Blvd. SE from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26 to showcase and present awards to horror films from around the world, Ashley Heffron, Biology major, said.
Heffron is one of the co-founders of the film festival, which will also feature workshops where budding film makers can learn how to make special effects makeup using latex, how to properly use three point lighting, and will even include an acting workshop, Heffron said.
“It’s going to be super, super fun. Especially if you like films in general because for 65 bucks you’re getting 19 films, plus workshops,” she said.
Tickets can be purchased at and prices vary, starting at $7 to view a single film and going up to $65 for the all access pass, which includes all the films being featured, entry to the awards ceremony, costume contest and the after parties on Friday and Saturday night, Heffron said.
Fright Fest has also partnered with Jacko’con, a four day comic, anime, horror, steampunk and Halloween convention, by offering a $110 all access pass to both events, she said.
“If you get the combo, that’s two weeks’ worth of Halloween fun,” she said
After receiving entries from all over the world, Fright Fest staff picked the top 19 films to show, which all have the chance to win one of their “Skully” awards, she said.
The films chosen come from a huge range within the horror genre, some being suspenseful thrillers, others slasher flicks or 80’s throwback horror films, Heffron said.
“A lot of them have a fantastic production value despite their small budgets. We have films of different lengths, from a few minutes to full feature length, and they’re all awesome, awesome films,” Heffron said.
Trailers and showtimes for all the films being featured are available at, Heffron said.
These are horror films, which means some of them feature violence, scenes of gore and some brief nudity, so Heffron urges parents to check out the movies online before bringing children to the festival, she said.
“It’s up to the parents’ discretion.
A lot of these movies have typical horror stuff, but it’s not too bad,” she said.
The festival winners will be chosen by a selection committee, but the top films in each category, such as best creature feature or best slasher, will be chosen by two celebrity judges, actress Amanda Wyss, from “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, and writer, director and native New Mexican Thom Eberhadt, Heffron said.
Wyss will also be helping with the acting workshop, which will be led by LeAnn Powers, one of New Mexico’s leading acting coaches, Heffron said.
“It’s going to be amazing. The acting session will be especially fun,” Heffron said
Heffron has been putting work into Fright Fest since January, when she and Founder Carlos Montoya decided to start the event, which Montoya had been talking about starting for over 10 years, she said.
Montoya has worked as an assistant director and production assistant on over 40 films in New Mexico, but this is Heffron’s first move into the film industry, she said.
She and Montoya have been friends for years, and being a horror fan, when she first heard Montoya’s idea she signed up immediately, she said.
“I’m a huge horror fanatic in everyday life, so when I heard about it I was like ‘Let’s do it!’” she said.
Because of Montoya’s busy schedule, Heffron has had to handle much of the planning herself, she said.
The event is sponsored by several local businesses, including the Rio Grande Media Group, Free Radicals clothing, Del Sol Aviation and even the city of Albuquerque, she said.
“The Albuquerque Film Office has been awesome. They actually sponsored our venue this year. I can’t thank them enough,” Heffron said.
Most of the sponsorship has been through donated items or prizes; Del Sol for example, is giving the winner of best in show flying lessons, she said.
Beside one generous donor who provided funds to secure the website where film entries were made, Heffron and Montoya have largely had to pay for the festival on their own, she said.
“That was a huge help, but as far as anything beyond that, most of this has been privately funded by us,” she said.
Still, Heffron and Montoya plan to host the event again next year, she said.
“Now that I’ve done this I think it will be a lot easier for me next year. A lot of what I have done this year has been very new and foreign to me,” she said.

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