A Very Halloween Thursday Spotlight: Meet the Founder of FEARnyc

New York City’s scariest film festival, FEARnyc, will conclude its 2019 festival tonight at Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole Ave) with a tingly, sensational, and sneakily immersive screening. But who’s the man behind the madness? Get to know festival founder, advocate, and horror film fanatic John Capo in this week’s Thursday Spotlight. And remember, if you’re looking to join the spooky fun, Greenpointers get a 20% discount on tonight’s Halloween Night Tingler Event with code GREENPOINTERS20. 

Greenpointers: I see that this is your third FEARnyc; how long have you been affiliated with Film Noir Cinema?
John Capo: I founded the festival in 2016 but we took 2018 off to reassess our model. This is our first year at Film Noir Cinema! We were previously in Manhattan but we moved to Greenpoint this year because I love the neighborhood’s vibrant community. We love Greenpoint.
Are all of the film entries original ones? I love that you are spotlighting underrepresented groups in your programming.
We’ve had over 60 films, events, and other activities over the past eight days. Most of them are premieres although we did show some retrospectives including the 35th anniversary screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Fritz Lang’s M, a program of surreal short films by David Lynch, and the premiere of the new 4K restoration of George A.Romero and Dario Argento’s Two Evil Eyes. We always spotlight underrepresented groups in our programming. That’s a big part of our mission. This year we focused on queer horror with a discussion on queer themes and characters in horror films curated by The New York Times‘ Erik Piepenburg and the world premiere of the LGBT thriller Hurricane Aaron. We also had films centering on the Native American and Latinx communities.
Now in its fourth year, how do you think FEARnyc has evolved?
We’ve matured just as horror filmmaking has matured. Almost all of our films this year focused on the horrors of real life, whether that’s the dark underbelly of Instagram culture, beauty obsession, conversion therapy, Grindr hookups gone deadly. We even had a film about a mass shooting. I know these topics sound dark, but they really show that horror filmmakers are focusing on relevant issues and moving away from the stereotypical “let’s kill a bunch of pretty girls” tropes that have defined the genre.
Tonight’s the Tingler event! What can audiences expect?
It’s going to be insane. So when The Tingler came out in 1959 its producer William Castle knew that even thought it was a Vincent Price movie it wasn’t the greatest film so he marketed it by staging all these gimmicks in the theater. Buzzers on seats to jolt people, fainting audience members being carried out on stretchers, a monster jumping off the screen and into the theater. We’re recreating that experience at Film Noir Cinema just like it happened in the ’50s. We have showings tonight at 7pm and 9pm. People can get tickets in advance at FEARnyc.com or at the door.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Just a big thank you to the people of Greenpoint for embracing our festival and to all our filmmakers who’ve come from everywhere from Brooklyn to LA to Germany who’ve made this experience incredible.

About Billy McEntee

Billy McEntee has been fortunate to work for arts non-profits in Boston, Denver, Berkeley, and now New York. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Vanity Fair, American Theatre, HowlRound, Observer, and others. He's usually getting wine at Dandelion or eating cookies at Archestratus.

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