The Overlook Film Festival Moves To New Orleans

America's most haunted city, meet America's most haunted festival.

Last year was the inaugural year of The Overlook Film Festival, held in Oregon's Timberline Lodge. It was, quite simply, one of the greatest weeks of my life. The Overlook has incredible programming and brilliant immersive and interactive horror elements that make it unlike any other horror festival out there. You can follow all of BMD's coverage here, and see some of the amazing titles I was introduced to thanks to this fest: Hounds of Love, Boys in the TreesThe Untamed. Not to mention unusual storytelling experiences like The ChaletThe Pumpkin Pie Show and Tales from Beyond the Pale, and of course The Overlook Film Festival's legendary immersive game. 

It's a very special festival, and today the creators of the fest (Michael Lerman and Landon Zakheim) announced that they're moving to one of the most haunted (and beautiful, and historic, and culturally fascinating) cities in America: New Orleans! 

From the press release: 

The Overlook Film Festival, a four-day celebration of horror film and immersive experiences, travels to the most haunted city in America for its second year, taking place April 19 through April 22, 2018. The festival will showcase exciting work in new and classic horror cinema, live events, and its trademark interactive activities where attendees can become immersed in the diverse world of the genre space. The four days of events and screenings will be located in and around the French Quarter, New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood and home to some of America’s most legendary encounters with ghosts, vampires and the undead.

The bulk of the screenings will be centered at the Regal Cinemas Cinebarre Canal Place 9 Movie Theater and Festival Headquarters will be set up at the historic Bourbon Orleans Hotel, one of the city's most notoriously haunted spaces. The 200 year old-hotel is home to many reported apparitions, including a ghost child rumored to be the inspiration for the Grady Twins from THE SHINING.

"We’re incredibly excited about the possibilities that New Orleans presents to the festival, given its seemingly endless history of haunts, ghosts, vampires, zombies, killers and supernatural affairs that will bolster the spirit of everything we set out to achieve in creating a site specific festival. " said festival co-director Michael Lerman.

Added festival co-director Landon Zakheim “It really is the perfect playground to expand our fully immersive program of events and experiences in a gratifying way that fits the needs of our growing audience. Our summer camp for horror fans now has a whole haunted city to explore!”

Overlook’s inaugural festival in 2017 saw horror fans, press, and industry alike descend upon snowy Mount Hood, Oregon, for four days of games, screenings, and discussions. Highlights included the world premieres of A24’s It Comes At Night and Rodney Ascher's Primal Screen, West Coast Premieres of acclaimed flicks The Untamed, Lady Macbeth, Hounds of Love, and Mayhem, a retrospective screening of Paranorman for tiny horror-fans-to-be, the presentation of the Visionary Award to Blumhouse Founder & CEO Jason Blum, pop ups of top immersive and VR experiences from across the country, a live radio play from Glass Eye Pix, panels on current horror trends, a tribute to the one and only Roger Corman, presented by Mick Garris, and Overlook’s signature festival encompassing immersive game.

This is really great news for a number of reasons (not least that New Orleans is my favorite city on earth), and key among them is that The Overlook's programming deserves the real theater treatment, and this move will allow that. When I asked about their reasoning behind the new location, Zakheim and Lerman replied, 

We had a one-year agreement with our last venue - and while we we’re forever grateful they gave us the freedom to take over their entire space last year, ultimately they wanted to keep their brand family-oriented and away from horror, and frankly we needed a lot more room to grow the festival, add events and meet the demands of our audience.  So once the decision was made to move, we knew it had to be somewhere with a plethora of resources and possibilities.

Obviously, we would keep with the iconic theme of a haunted hotel but, given its history and cornucopia of legends, New Orleans is also quite a haunted city, with lots of dark corners to hide and play in. We’ll be able to do more things on the streets, partner with local organizations in a really big way and, last but not least, use real movie theaters, all while expanding the capacity of attendees. Our brand has always been a site-specific horror festival and this much bigger immersive environment will make this the best one yet!

I'm an Overlook lifer, so I will definitely be there, and many other members of the BMD staff are in, as well. So join us! Early bird passes are now on sale while quantities last. General passes will be available starting December 1. Don't miss out on what is sure to be an incredible few days in the Big Easy (and even Bigger Spooky).