Horror is like a drug with no side effects

This year at PAFF festival, we are welcoming Morbido Merida, a Mexican festival of horror and fantasy film, as our cooperating partner. On Friday 17 March we will show the best picks from Morbido Merida, starting 5:50pm in the Screening Hall. On top of that, one of the organisers – Jana Jantova – will stop by to talk about the festival with us. Don’t miss out on this special exotic horror experience! If you wonder about what this Mexican zombie event is like and who is behind it, here is one of its producers Sergio Aguilar Alcala answering our questions.

Is there enough new entries every year within the genres of horror and fantasy?

We have a short film contest every year. For the contest we receive between 4-8 short films every edition, which is a good number considering how big the city is.

What are the specifics of Mexican horror films?

Mexican horror films tend to focus on Mexican folklore and traditions, but basically every country does that. Mexican films have a very low budget (an expensive Mexican film costs 2 million dollars in average), so we have to be clever in how to invest money. We also tend to produce many films about city violence, drug cartel violence, corruption and poor classes struggling. Even in a ghost story, those themes tend to be present.

Why do you think people are fascinated by horror films?

People are fascinated by cinema because it captures many senses to be perceived. The paradox with horror film is that it captures your senses to upset you. Maybe we like horror films because there is an adrenaline feeling that we can feel for a  while, and be sure that it will disappear once the film is over. It’s like being addicted to a drug that has no side effects.

How old is the festival and how easy or difficult is it to make it run?
The festival is 7 years old. Every year we figured out things but new problems and challenges come by. It is not easy because government funding is lower every year, but we have a very special audience that help us pay for the festival. We have done crowdfunding once with success, and every year there is an entrance fee, though very low, that helps us pay for the event.

What’s your personal background in film industry and a driving force behind running the whole thing?

We, the two producers, started the festival when we were very young. We were 18 and 19 in the first edition (so one of us couldn’t have seen the R rated movies one year before that!). One of us studied communication and is doing an M.A. in Communication now, with a dissertation on cinema. The other one studied psychology, and has held conferences on cinema and psychology. The festival opened many doors to us for new cinema projects, besides horror. When we started, the city had no film festival, and now it has two and many cinema activities all year. We like to think that we contributed to that.


(copywriting: Katka, photo: Morbido Merida)