Cat Fly Halloween Film Festival kickstarts spooky season

Sarah Shadburne 

Assistant A&F Editor

sshadbur@unca.edu 

It is time to don this year’s most iconic cultural characters, fake blood and of course, a pair of cat ears for Cat Fly’s Halloween Film Festival: an event showcasing the spooky, the strange and the psychologically chilling for an eerie evening of indie film.

The Halloween installment of the Cat Fly Film Festival boasts the ominous short films of indie filmmakers from across the Southeast. During the event, costume-clad audience members will be able to sip on a custom Cat Fly brew courtesy of UpCountry Brewery, and will later vote for their favorite freaky flick at the end of the night.

Cat Fly Co-Founder and UNC Asheville graduate Cat Wityk said the festival came about from a collective desire to highlight the horror genre.  

“This is just one night solely of horror, spooky, creepy, weird, dark experimental films,” Wityk said. “Anything that’s gonna creep you out for the rest of the night.”

Wityk herself said she does not generally like horror films, but she loves creating and acting in them. As a student at UNCA, she acted in a psychological thriller called Eleanor, about a young actress driven mad by her desire to play Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.

“It’s so much fun to make horror movies,” Wityk said. “It’s so easy to bond over horror films, especially as filmmakers. All the blood and the gore and the special effects makeup — it’s just a really cool genre.”

Laura Davenport is the marketing director for UpCountry Brewing. Photo by Sarah Shadburne.

Wityk said she wants the event to serve the filmmaking community in Asheville at large, acting as a network for collaboration with other creatives in attendance.

“We want it to be as democratic as possible,” Wityk said. “We’re trying to create a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers, that’s why we go with an audience choice award, because it’s not really our place — us three — to be the judges.”

Richard L. Bergh submitted three of his films for Cat Fly Halloween, the most recent being Greta & The Devil. Bergh represents himself as an actor, writer and filmmaker whose work is often drenched in magical realism.

“It’s a world that is a little bit fantastic, but it’s kind of timeless and has a real grounded practicalness to it,” Bergh said of his film. “However, magical creatures such as the Devil spontaneously appear, and this is taken as something that happens in the world.”

Bergh based his film on the fable of Loki, citing fables as a pure and essential form of storytelling that he wanted to return to.

“The archetype of the Devil is a fascinating one to me,” Bergh said. “But honestly of all the archetypes the Herald comes up the most. I see signs and symbols and ways that the universe is speaking to me all the time all around me.”

Though Bergh will not be appearing in costume for the event, he praises Cat Fly Halloween for being one of the most quintessential Asheville gatherings.

“It’s cultivating the opportunity for things like this to pop up, mostly just in the spirit and ingenuity: the feeling that people have of, ‘I can just do this,’” Bergh said. “It’s such a perfect example of what Asheville is doing right.”

Laura Davenport, marketing director for UpCountry Brewery, became involved with Cat Fly Halloween through her business relationship with Asheville Screen Printing, where she met Cat Fly Co-Founder Brittany Jackson.

“She initially reached out to me asking about our huge projector here,” Davenport said. “She brought the two other co-founders and asked if we were interested and we said ‘sure,’ so it was pretty cool, one business relationship led to another.”

UpCountry will be making a special randall for the event. A randall, Davenport explains, is a beer accessory that allows the infusion of a solid flavor into an already brewed keg of beer. The addition of a flavor can be anything and takes as little time as ten minutes.

“We’re probably going to set that up day-of,” Davenport said. “You just let it sit, and when you pour the beer it goes through the randall and it gives it the flavor.”

This will be the brewery’s first film series event. Davenport, a self-described huge fan of horror movies and viewer of the classic Psycho at age 10, said this is exactly the reason why she jumped on the opportunity to host the festival at UpCountry.

“I love it, I am super pumped to be able to support Asheville film,” Davenport said. “I am ready to go. I will be here, front and center with my cat ears on.”

Cat Fly Halloween will take place Oct. 13 at UpCountry Brewing from 8 p.m. to midnight.

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