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Interview: Adam Roberts (Panic Fest 2021)

Panic Fest Co-Founder Adam Roberts talked to Horrornews.net about Panic Fest 2021 in-person and virtual fest. What you can expect and all the incredible films premiering this year.

“Panic Fest kicks off two weeks of genre packed programming as the ninth annual festival begins April 8, 2021, virtually and in person at Screenland Armour in Kansas City, MO. “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer Panic Fest as both in-person and virtual experiences. It’s important that we allow for all comfort levels and situations. The prospect of bringing Panic Fest to the entire country is unbelievably exciting for us,” says Panic Fest Co-Founder Adam Roberts.

This year’s lineup includes over 25 feature films and 40+ short films from around the world in addition to signature podcasts, special events, and virtual meet-ups via the Gather platform.”

Panic Fest 2021 starts on April 8-April 18, 2021.

Hi Adam, how are you? I am so excited for Panic Fest 2021. Tell us how you started Panic Fest?

Adam- I’ve been a filmmaker for about twelve years so, I knew the in and outs of the filmmaker side of things. Then I took over a movie theater and that gave me the opportunity to further with my dreams. I met Tim Canton, the owner of Downright Creepy and I think within a few months, I said, do you want to start a film festival? He said, sure, and that was it. Our original idea was to make our version of a genre fest and mirror it after what the original Fantastic Fest was. It was filmmakers and film lovers coming together and we wanted it to feel like a community. The first year of the festival was a learning experience. It’s Tim and myself that do all the programming and everything. It’s a little different than a festival with board directors. We do have volunteers during the weekend to help out. Tim is a marketing director for an ad agency, he does all the design work, and I own the theater, and build out the fest. We’re uniquely suited for this type of world.

It is amazing that it’s the two of you doing all of this work. Some of the festival is virtual and some of it, is in-person.

Adam- We we’re one of the last film festivals of 2020. We did the fest and then we had four weeks of downtime, and then co-vid happened. Tim and I were planning to go to SXSW and all of this stuff. Then everything shut down. I did lose a business during the pandemic; it had a movie theater and an arcade attached. We did have to close that down in September of 2020. We did learn all of these things and we made sacrifices. We thought, could we realistically be open for 2021? The cost of running a movie theater is enormous. It was night and day work just to pay the bills. The first thing was learning all the safety protocols for in-person capabilities. Then as fall approached and we learned the realities that this (co-vid) would be here for a while. We started looking into the virtual options and we already have our virtual online rentals from the movie theater. We knew a little bit, but that’s not the same vibe as going to a festival. We wanted to have the aesthetic of Panic Fest, but also the community enhancement which is all the networking, the additional shenanigans that go along with the fest. We wanted to do a trial run and we knew Halloween was going to be devastated [due to co-vid] so we did a mini-festival, that actually became kind of a bigger festival. It was Panic Fest presents Tricks and Treats. That fest was totally virtual. We got to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. We are only doing a few in-person screenings.

Tell us a little but about the virtual Hybrid Pass?

Adam- We created the Hybrid ticket and we are the first to do so, as far as I know. The hybrid ticket is cool because it gives you full access to everything virtual, and then if you want to come to the festival in-person, you can do that. Online, the world is kind of whatever you want to make it. This is a huge opportunity for so many people. We’re really excited about it. The prospect of anybody being able to attend Panic Fest is great. We’re following the model that we do in-person which is, there’s full festival tickets and then the week of, there will be individual tickets available.

It sounds like you and Tim have everything covered. I’m so sorry about the business and everything.

Adam- Thanks

What do you want to say to those who will be attending Panic Fest?

Adam- For us, in general we’re optimistic. We’re excited to find out what the independent filmmakers have done in their time during co-vid? We are proud of the virtual fest and we want everyone to feel like they are part of the community. We’re really excited and we hope people want to participate. Everybody has had this weird year and we are all excited to just back to life. The line-up of films is so good. I think if you haven’t ever been to a festival, the virtual festival is the way to go.

Thank you so much Adam. It was so great to talk to you. I’m so excited for Panic Fest 2021.

Adam- Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

PANIC FEST 2021 panicfilmfest.com/

downrightcreepy.com/

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