Updated information HERE
A friend of mine who's an author, Ashley Sant, asked me if I wanted to collaborate with her on an idea about launching a festival: an October convergence of vampires, werekin (werewolves, weredeer, weredragons, you get it, part-human/part-animal beings), fairies, and witches. These magical supernaturals come from all corners of the known world and some come from dimensions that we've never even heard of! Victorian insect-people, medieval warlocks, art deco elves, and some glamorous undead who just can't seem to let go of their 18th century finery (hey, everyone can be sentimental sometimes). These spooks originate from a full spectrum of time periods so why should they hide it?
The essentials of the concept:
Outside. Costumes. Vendors and artisans selling amazing gear, products, and original works. Food. Performances. Contests. Characters interacting with guests. Different factions of freaky entities mingling with each other. Fun for the whole family. An interesting place to take friends, boyfriends, girlfriends. Or to go solo and soak it all in. All ages. Autumnal fantasy, not horror.
The truth of the matter is that I love Ashley Sant's concepts. She's a great storyteller with a great creative mind, and a wonderful person, so I was happy to be included in the process of idea-building.
Yes, the name of Ms. Sant's festival is Icari Hollow. "Hollow" rubs beautifully with "Halloween" and it's a nod to haunt-ridden, classic places like Sleepy Hollow. "Icari" is a word relating to the universe of her characters, serving as a reference to the legend of Icarus. Icari are what the legion of animal-people are called. The werecats, werebirds, werelizards, etc. are the Icari and, according to Sant's narrative, they're the ones running the festival, inviting humans to celebrate the season alongside the supernaturals. Pre-written dramas ensue, spectacles take place, delicious food is eaten, costumes worn, and goods exchange hands. I'm 100% for it.
Ashley and I created videos to present a sort of visual and tonal taste of the Icari Festival concept, to give a samples of what kinds of characters guests encounter.
A short film, called "October Sketches", is inspired by Ashley's concept. The film toys with the idea of creativity/fantasy/phantoms of the collective imagination--the vampires, witches, fairies, and werebeasts lurking in all of our heads. "October Sketches" is a series of drawings (and a loose narrative) via film as much as marker on paper. Sketching can be done in all kinds of ways, whether it's poetry, songwriting, or--yes--filmmaking. The "October Sketches" short film, which is right HERE, was created to present visual samples and as a kind of storytelling B-role.
Spooky, enchanting, and intriguing: Yes
Terror and splattering brains: No
Could things be a bit.....unnerving? Chilling? Thrilling? Definitely!
But, no, no chainsaws and dripping viscera. Ashley and I do love that kind of stuff when it comes to slasher films and other people's Halloween events........but gore is off the menu for this concept. Family-friendly. No jump scares, no uncles having heart attacks.
Ashley's slogan, that she whipped up the other day:
"Let Us Enchant You...."
Sounds good to me.