I wanted to sincerely thank our hosts, Emagine Theatres in Lake Geneva, our filmmakers, my staff and my production team for delivering one of our best film festivals ever, our 4th since launching at the Geneva Theater in 2017.

To have even been able to have a film festival at an actual theater with amazing 4k projection (projected from DCPs) with new reclining leather loveseats (for proper social distancing), a full bar, a fire place to warm your bones and some great pizza... wow... Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the American Horrors Film Festival may have been the only live film festival event on Halloween with a full moon (the 2nd in one month) at a movie theater in all of America, maybe even the world.

My mother, who had just had brain surgery at 77 years old, attended, as did the directors of Bad Candy, including Desiree, who also just had brain surgery to remove a tumor this summer... I mean... astounding... to have them both at our event... thank you ladies for your bravery and the pleasure of your company...

I love meeting and talking movies with the film creators, like the directors of The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord... a world premiere event on Sunday November 1st, delayed slightly by the power going out at the theater and our ace Emagine Corporate man reloading the movie into the projector’s computer... TWICE!

We dealt with all kinds of technical hurdles and computer glitches leading into the festival, but the worst thing that happened was losing my right hand man, Groovey Newville... Heading into the festival and into the 2nd season of his show, Groovey was found dead in his apartment on October 3rd, right after we’d moved the festival into it’s new venue... I had been celebrating this fact with Groovey on the phone the night before his death... Groovey was the host of American Horrors hit tv series, Groovey TV, my head of publicity and one of my closest friends to come into my life after losing my wife, Waka to colon cancer in 2018.

Loosing Groovey... Groovey’s death has been crushing... to me and the entire Amerian Horrors family. Groovey TV, the tv series, was a dream come true for Groovey. He pulled every string he could, put everything he had into it... he worked on it’s launch with me for over a year, building up the audience for American Horrors and soon for Groovey TV, launching Thanksgiving Day 2019 on the American Horrors Channel worldwide.

A very funny man, with a large compassionate heart and a love for all things horror, martial arts, gaming and metal... His loss has hurt the most... All of us have been morning him during our month, our Halloween month... Luckily, (thanks Ryan), we were able to screen Groovey’s short film, Shovel, at the festival as part of the Helloween shorts. His niece was able to attend and see the dedication introduction I shot for him... we talked about Groovey and dammit, I was the one to break out in tears... Groovey meant so much to us here and brought an energy to the network I hadn’t felt since my wife was alive and running the channel...

Groovey, I love you man and I can still hear your wild ass laugh somewhere on the other side, laughing with us... We were in the middle of the 2nd season of the show, Groovey TV when he passed... I was scheduled to do new singing on the theme song the following week... it’s going to hurt, but I’m going to finish what we started. I’m going to complete the 2nd season, we’re going to be airing his short on Christmas Day as part of the Groovey TV Christmas Special this Friday December 25th with new material and more of his hilarious interviews.... sharing his work with the world... Hell... this is the kind of thing that got me into doing a tv channel and a film festival to begin with...

Speaking of specials... If you were not able to make it out to this year’s American Horrors Film Festival, we’re airing the TV special version of the festival on Friday, January 8th, 2021- including Shovel, and a ton of gems from the festival, including a few shorts I held onto specifically for the streaming portion of the festival, plus our interviews with the Bad Candy & The Great And Terrible Day of the Lord creators, a very raucous informative conversation about their films and the film making business.

We will have more announcements about the launch of the 5th annual American Horrors Film Festival (entries opening January 1st). I apologize for not announcing the winners sooner, but between all the deer jumping in front of my car and the tornadoes touching down in the neighborhood, several of our key people going into the hospital, one of our players went through emergency Brain Surgery this week... I’ve had plenty to deal with, lol.

Again, thank you one an all for participating. It’s the filmmakers and the films I have a passion for- doing the festival is a ton of work, but one of the highlights of my year and worth every minute of effort.

Be well and stay fed!


Hart D. Fisher/Festival Director

The 2020 American Horrors Film Festival Winners:

Best Feature Film
Bad Candy
Directed by Scott Hansen & Desiree Connell
Honorable mention Happy Times

Best Short Film:
Bitch, Popcorn & Blood
Directed by Fabio Soars
Honorable mention The Perfect Chef

Best Music Video:
The Pump Directed by Jakov Burov
Honorable mention Melissa is Dead

The 5th Annual American Horrors Film Festival is a horror film fest screening original shorts, features, music videos & documentaries the weekend of October 30th through November 1st in historic downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at the historic Geneva Theater with 4K project, new screens, over 200 leather seats triangulated in one of the hottest media markets in the nation, between Chicago, Rockford & Milwaukee.

The American Horrors Film Festival is supported with a worldwide advertising & social media awareness campaign supported by television commercials (featured on the fastest growing horror channel in the world, American Horrors), posters, postcards, t-shirt give-aways and online streaming radio.

All of the film festival panels, red carpet events & opening night party will be filmed for a television special streaming on the American Horrors network January 1st, 2021 (all participation is voluntary, if you do not wish for your film or short to be screened online, your wishes will be honored. Any airing of a film, short or music video is completely at the filmmakers discretion).

"What a great festival! Great organization, communication and presentation. The Geneva theater is a beautiful venue. Filmmakers enjoyed first-class treatment. We were stars for a day! Friendly, helpful staff, great promotion. We will be submitting again next year FOR SURE." -Michael Ricci/Director/The Darkening Hollows

"Hart was incredibly helpful and supportive. He took the time to reach out personally before the festival to discuss the film and afterwards to congratulate us on its reception. This is a great up-and-coming festival, and I encourage everyone to submit!"
-John Burr/Director/Muse

The American Horrors Film Festival is hosted every year by Horror King, Hart D. Fisher, who's work has been written about in Time Magazine, The A to Z Guide to Serial Killers, Psychology Today, Rue Morgue & in such films as Serial Killer Culture, The National Geographic Channel's special mini-series event The 90s: The Last Great Decade?, Larry King Live, Jerry Springer, CNN Headline News and more.

The original American Horrors Film Festival screened on Oct. 26th & 27th 2017, then was aired as a one day event on the American Horrors Roku channel worldwide, resulting in the highest rated event on the network's Roku history, giving filmmakers exposure unlike any other film festival of it's kind in the horror world.

With the loss of American Horrors co-founder, Wakako Kawagoshi-Fisher, this year's film festival will be dedicated to our lost Queen and will include a special "Spirit of Horror" award, details TBA, and an original new trophy design has been commissioned for this years awards ceremony.

BEST FEATURE FILM: Oscar Winning Industry Veteran judge, Dieter (Fargo, Shameless) Sturm will be the sole deciding vote on the fate of what short will be the winner of the American Horrors Best Feature film. All entries are personally selected by festival director Hart D. Fisher with the award winner being selected solely by his main industry veteran Judge, Mr. Sturm.

Besides being covered in the American Horrors Film Festival tv special (to be streamed worldwide on the American Horrors Roku channel), the American Horrors Film Festival Best Feature winner will win an optional contract with American Horrors to air their film on the worldwide 24/7 linear streaming network's fast growing Roku channel (with over 8.3 million viewers tuning in over the last 2 years), a cash prize of $350 and further prizes TBA.

BEST SHORT FILM: Oscar Winning Industry Veteran judge, Daniel (Corporate executive at the Emagine Theater Group of luxury theater chain out of Detroit Michigan) Colwell will be the sole deciding vote on the fate of what short will be the winner of American Horrors Best Short film.

Besides being covered in the American Horrors Film Festival tv special (to be streamed worldwide on the American Horrors Roku channel), the American Horrors Film Festival Best Feature winner will win an optional contract with American Horrors to air their film on the worldwide 24/7 linear streaming network's new Roku channel (with over 181,925 cumulative installations on Roku alone),a cash prize of $250 and further prizes TBA.

BEST MUSIC VIDEO: Industry Veteran judge is still as of yet unannounced but we are working on a special surprise guest judge from the music industry who will decide the fate of the American Horrors Best Music Video.

Besides being covered in the American Horrors Film Festival tv special (to be streamed worldwide on the American Horrors Roku channel), the American Horrors Film Festival Best Feature winner will win an optional contract with American Horrors to air their film on the worldwide 24/7 linear streaming network's new Roku channel (with over 181,925 cumulative installations on Roku alone), a cash prize of $100 and further prizes TBA.

The American Horrors Film Festival is looking to break in the new blood, to give the bleeding edge creators a platform to build their careers & give them exposure to a worldwide audience of hungry horror fanatics. The American Horrors Film Festival is looking for the best in new horror from around the world in any of the following main genre groups:

- Horror in all it's forms, whether it's a horror thriller, animated horror film, a horror suspense film, a horror documentary, a supernatural or sci-fi horror film, if it has to do with the horror genre, then you should enter it because we LOVE all things even remotely associated with horror & so do our fans.

The American Horrors Film Festival accepts online film screeners and physically mailed DVD & BluRay screeners. Any applicable submission fees must also be paid online at the time of your entry.

Our Standard Festival Participation Agreement (Terms and Conditions), which all submitted films are also expected to follow is as follows:


I have read and accept the terms and regulations of The American Horrors Film Festival. I will provide the festival with any additional information required pursuant to these rules and regulations. I authorize the The American Horrors Film Festival to exhibit my film, and if selected, I confirm that an exhibition copy will be available in a required format for screening during the 2019 festival (October 26-27, 2019).

I certify that I hold all necessary rights for the submission of this film/video to the The American Horrors Film Festival and that all rights and clearances have been made. This film is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. I hold The American Horrors Film Festival harmless from damage to, or loss of any or all materials en route to, from or otherwise at the festival. I assume all legal responsibilities therein. By Agreeing to these terms, I transfer to The American Horrors Film Festival the right to use excerpts of the submitted film, its stills, and trailers, for the purposes of publicity and marketing of the film at the 2019 festival, and for other non-commercial uses related to the promotion of the 2019 festival. I hereby agree to indemnify The American Horrors Film Festival, in the event that such rights have not been properly transferred.


Overall Rating
  • Sunny Mabrey

    Had a great experience with this fest! Honored to be selected and would love to submit our next project.

    August 2022

    We appreciate that our film was selected for and screened at The American Horrors Film Festival. That being said, the festival organizer has not lived up to what he promised the event would have to offer and provided little to virtually no communication since the event ended.
    The festival was described as an awards event, with categories for Best Feature and Best Short. Each category would have its winner selected by a single, guest judge. However, award winners were never announced or posted. After many unanswered e-mails and Facebook PMs, we were finally told that the awards ceremony would be streamed as part of the American Horrors Roku channel in January. Although we felt that the winners should already have been notified, we accepted this answer.
    Almost two weeks into January, with zero updates from the festival, multiple attempts to clarify when in January the ceremony would be streamed went unanswered. Finally, we were informed that not only had plans not been finalized for the ceremony, but that all the winners hadn't been chosen, as one judge hadn't watched all selections due to illness. This is hard to take seriously, as the event only has two judges and it has been four months since the fest ended. We were also told that "several deaths amongst the festival staff" had also caused delays. What was left out was the fact that these deaths occurred a year or more before the most recent festival even occurred and, while tragic, played no part in any problems encountered with this past year's festival...and definitely didn't prevent the festival organizer from taking our submission fee. As weeks have now dragged into months, and no progress been shown, new and incredulous excuses have been put forward by Hart Fisher, the event organizer, ranging from new deaths among the team to issues with his living situation.
    Our film was a labor of love by a group of people who had to juggle our filmmaking schedule around home and work responsibilities. The money we paid to submit our film to the American Horrors Film Festival was hard-earned, and we did not feel entitled to being selected or awarded. BUT, when selected, we did expect to at least be made aware of who did win awards, to know that awards had even been given, and to be kept in consistent and clear communication about any developments or delays. This was not the case.
    Our film was, at least, screened at the fest. So, if you are content with the possibility of having that for your movie, submit. Otherwise, I recommend following my lead and avoiding this festival in the future.

    January 2022
  • Prateek SenGupta

    Got selected but never received any further communication.

    December 2021
  • I'm honoured my music video (It's My halloween Party) was selected into the festival! I hope all who saw it liked it....

    November 2021
  • Scott Slone

    Great Festival! Hart is amazing! He actually watches every submission that comes in and that is incredible for a Festival Director to do. He is extremely passionate and I would highly recommend you submit to his festival! The theater where the festival took place was also really amazing so that is a huge plus if you are able to get selected.

    November 2021