The MAGIC OF HORROR is a festival in Richmond, VA that celebrates everything that puts the “magic” into the horror genre! We hold competitions for films, screenplays, film trailers, and movie posters.

This year we’ve added two new categories for “Microscopic Budget” films because we don’t feel that it is fair to put a good film with lots of resources against a good film that had very little to work with.

SPECIAL NOTE: We also have a fun contest, the "Give Us Your Worst!" that will be part of the Magic of Horror festival. It is listed separately because submissions are judged quite differently for it! You can find it on FilmFreeway here:
https://filmfreeway.com/TheMagicofHorrorSpecialContest

Every submission receives the initial jury scorecard and judge’s notes regardless of if they are selected to be included in the festival or not!

There are no "created by" time frame, debut status, or even publicly released film restrictions for submissions..

OUR MISSION IS TO PROMOTE INDEPENDENT HORROR!
We continue to promote our annual selections for many years on our social media, including making announcements when a film is released to the public and where our followers can find it. We also periodically update the selection archives on our website with links to news on any project that participated in the festival. (Films that have been released, screenplays that went into production, etc...)

We encourage our past Selections to keep us updated so we can help spread the word!

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

Feature Films
Short Films
Microscopic Budget Feature Films
Microscopic Budget Short Films
Virginia Feature Films
Virginia Short Films
Feature Screenplays
Short Screenplays
Film Trailers
Movie Posters

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THE LIVE EVENT

Selected films, trailers, and movie posters will be shown on-screen at our live event. Attending filmmakers will be invited to participate in a Q&A session at the end of their project’s screening block.

Screenplay Finalists will be invited to participate in our “Script Talk” session at the festival to tell the audience about their work.

We also schedule plenty of social time in-between film blocks for attendees to mingle and take some photos on the red carpet.

The event ends with the awards ceremony featuring our skeletal trophies and we also announce the Audience Choice Awards voted on by the festival attendees.

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AWARDS SHOW VIDEO

We will also be premiering our 2023 Awards Show Video online during (or shortly after) the live event in order to share the love with everyone who could not be there in person.

We NEVER show full films in this online show. However, all film finalists will be required to provide a poster and a trailer for their film, otherwise a short teaser clip will be cut to be shown to our virtual audience and used for promotions. (Don’t worry, we don’t give away spoilers.)

You can see our previous awards shows on our YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTb6lU30DTenoQFwpWtivUQ/videos

ALL SUBMISSIONS:
All qualifying submissions receive the initial scorecard and any notes given by the judges regardless of if the project is selected for the festival or not.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS :
Selected films and trailers will be screened at the 2023 Magic of Horror Film Festival and will be offered two complimentary tickets to the festival. (Please see the rules for details on this.) Screenwriters will be invited to talk about their work to our audience at the festival. Official selection films will also have their trailers or teasers featured in the Online Awards Video. Official Selections will also receive digital laurels.

FINALISTS :
Finalists are projects that are nominated for jury awards. Finalists will receive digital laurels that indicate this status before the festival.

JURY AWARD WINNERS :
All of the winners of the jury awards receive trophies during the 2023 Awards Ceremony. Winners who are unable to attend the live event will have their trophies mailed to them free of charge. (And of course, all Winners will receive digital laurels too.)

Our main award categories are as follows.

Best Short Film
Best Feature Film
Best Microscopic Budget Short Film
Best Microscopic Budget Feature Film
Best Virginia Short Film
Best Virginia Feature Film
Best Short Screenplay
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Trailer
Best Movie Poster

We also have superlative film awards that are given out at the discretion of the jury and some may be omitted or additional categories added to this list.

Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Costumes
Best Set Design
Best Special Effects
Best Music Score
Best Editing

AUDIENCE CHOICE FILM AWARD:
At the live event our audiences will be able to vote for their favorite films and the winners are announced at the awards ceremony. Audience Choice winners also receive trophies.

PLEASE READ ALL OF OUR RULES & POLICIES BEFORE SUBMITTING!!!

All qualifying submissions will receive the initial scorecards and any corresponding notes from the jury once the judging period has concluded. These are sent electronically, so please make sure that your email address on FilmFreeway is correct.

NOTE: Any submission that is withdrawn or disqualified will not be eligible for scorecards and judge’s notes. A submission will be disqualified if it violates any of our submission restrictions or rules.

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SUBMISSION RESTRICTIONS:

1. No works-in-progress will be accepted. All entries must be complete and the final cut/copy submitted.

2. Submissions may not include real violence and/or death toward humans or animals.

3. Absolutely no pornography. (Nudity is okay.)

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SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

1. All entries must be in English (or have English subtitles).

2. All entries must be original works, unless the source material is in public domain (examples: Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft), or they have gained legal permission to use the source material from the owner. Questionable entries may be asked to provide this documentation.

3. Filmmakers submitting films that have been released to the public and are under a distribution or similar contract with a third party must have retained all the rights to screen and promote the film.

4. All screenplays must be un-produced and not under option at the time of the festival, unless the writer is planning to self-produce the film.

5. The person submitting a project to this festival affirms that he/she has all the copyrights and/or other legal rights pertaining to the story, audio, video, images and music of the film/script/photographed work and he/she remains responsible before the law.

6. Please make sure that you have entered your submission in the appropriate category. Projects are judged in accordance to the category they have been submitted to. For example, a movie trailer submitted as a short film will be judged as a short film and is not likely to do well.

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SUBMISSION RULES AND FESTIVAL POLICIES:

1. In the spirit of fairness to all, we DO NOT offer student discounts or hardship waivers for the submission fees. We have a compensated jury to ensure that every submission is looked at carefully and provided feedback.

2. Submission fees must be in U.S. dollars. These fees are non-refundable, even in the case of disqualification or withdrawal of an entry. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Submissions that do not follow the rules will be disqualified, so please ask any questions before submitting.

3. Multiple submissions are accepted, but each must be submitted with a separate fee. There are no discounts for multiple submissions. If you send multiple projects on one submission, only the first of the series will be considered.

4. Understand that the submission fee does not guarantee your project a place in the festival. Entries are judged by a panel who make the decisions of Official Selections, Finalists, and Jury Prize winners. The judges decisions are final and may not be disputed.

5. All entries must be sent via FilmFreeway. Please do not send DVDs, BluRays, images, photographs, or any downloadable files to us directly. We will not look at them.

6. You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from any claim made by you or any third party due to or arising out of project(s) you submit to this contest. You understand that there are thousands of film-makers, writers and other artists and the similarities in story, characters, design, etc... of two or more submissions are certainly a possibility.

7. The contest directors and judges will not knowingly share your submission with any third party (unless your film, trailer, or poster submission is accepted into the festival to be screened or shown.)

8. In the event that there are less than five submissions into any one category, a submission may be moved into another category at the discretion of the festival directors.

9. By submitting your work to the Magic of Horror, you consent to receiving notices, newsletters, announcements, and advertisements from the Magic of Horror festival and its parent company (Rogue Chimera Films).

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IF SELECTED FOR THE FESTIVAL:

1. All Official Selections understand and accept that if their submission is accepted for presentation and/or screening in the festival, they grant full and unrestricted permission for Rogue Chimera Films LLC / Magic of Horror (MOH). to screen or show their entry project at times of the festival’s choice and understand that the festival will charge an admission fee for the general public at any live events.

2. The Submitter understands and accepts that they do not participate in receiving any funds from the ticket sales to the festival or any other revenue, which are fully retained by the event organizers to help cover the overall cost of the festival presentation.

3. Official Selection Films and Trailers will be required to send a screening copy of their submission, along with any other promotional materials, to the festival by October 10, 2023. Any film or trailer that is not received by this deadline will be dropped from the program. (We have to be firm about this since we not only have to test screen at the theatre but also put together the Awards Video where we promote all of the selections.)

4. Official Selections will be offered two free passes to the festival. These complementary tickets must be reserved no later than October 15, 2023 to be guaranteed a seat at the live event.

IMPORTANT: Because the venue has limited seating capacity, those who do not RSVP by 10/15/2023 will not be guaranteed tickets if the theatre has reached its seating capacity. We have come very close to selling out in the past, so we very strongly encourage those who are planning to attend to RSVP!

5. If attending the live event, all attendees agree to follow any house rules set down by the Firehouse Theatre or any other physical venue that a MOH event is being held.

6. Winners will be announced both at the awards ceremony at the end of the festival and on the Awards Video online. (And on our website and social media a day or so later.) Award-winners who are unable to attend the live festival will have their trophies mailed to them free of charge.

7. All Official Selections will be asked to submit promotional materials they have available such as film poster, trailer, still photos, website or social media links, etc... Film entries that do not have suitable trailers prepared consent to allowing MOH to use a clip from their film for both promotional purposes and for the Awards Video that will be shown online to the general public. The Official Selection grants MOH the right to use any and all promotional materials in any manner they see fit for publicity purposes related to the festival. MOH may revisit selected projects from time to time on social media to continue promoting them.

8. Submissions for the Trailer and Poster categories understand that their work may be shown in its entirety online for both the Awards Show and general publicity on the MOH website and social media.

9. We keep all film and screenplay entries as secure as possible prior to and during the festival. However, with the popularity of camera devices and advanced cyber threats, we cannot promise the security of content submitted to the festival. The Submitter releases MOH and its organizers from any and all liability whatsoever for theft, copyright violations, or piracy of the entry.

10. The Submitter accepts and understands that the festival, in conjunction with the Firehouse Theatre, will do everything it can to present the films and still images in the best possible manner but the festival is not responsible for any and all malfunctions or technical difficulties during the presentation of any film or photograph at its festival screening.

11. The Magic of Horror festival reserves the right to make changes in the screening date and times and to possibly not screen a film regardless of its Official Selection status.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • So thankful that my short script GUISE was selected as a Finalist. Looking forward to submitting in the future!

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you! We look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • Phillip Trow

    It always helps when your short wins, 'Best Film', but beyond that, it's clear that The Magic of Horror is a fantastic festival run expertly by Shiva & Lowrie who obviously love the genre as much as I do. I only hope that a future project is selected so I can attend the festival in person. Thank you to Magic if Horror and for all the love you've given to, 'Upstairs'.

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing UPSTAIRS with us! We really do look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • This festival was fantastic and extremely humbled to have even been nominated for a short put together just for fun with a few friends. Absolutely fantastic and supportive staff, charming venue, and overally lovely and welcoming experience meeting other horror filmmakers in Virginia and around the country!

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for sharing your project with us! Yours is a perfect example of how films made "just for fun" can have an awful lot of talent and creativity behind them!

  • It was an honor for my screenplay “Eggs In The Attic” to be selected as a finalist and to be surrounded by so much talent. The festival was top notch. Everything from beginning to end. Great people run this festival, you can see the passion in them!

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words. We are very glad that you had a good time! (Good luck with the book!)

  • Jude Bertrand

    Had an amazing time attending this festival and having my film ‘Tiny Shaman’ screen. Met a lot of great filmmakers and writers. This has been one of my favorite festival experiences yet.

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    We are so glad that you enjoyed it! Hope to see you next year!