June 13, 2024

Popcorn Frights Jury Prize and Audience Award Winners!

Popcorn Frights Film Festival Announces Jury Prize and Audience Award Winners

As its fifth edition comes to a close, Popcorn Frights Film Festival is proud to announce its juried and audience awards that were selected from its lineup of 74 films (24 features and 50 short films from 16 countries). Over the nine-night event, Popcorn Frights welcomed more than 5,000 attendees, over 30 filmmakers/industry guests from around the world, and presented multiple sold-out screenings, including the opening night world premiere of Haunt, the one-of-a-kind Homegrown: 100% Pure Fresh Squeezed Florida Horror program celebrating Florida’s emerging genre filmmakers, and the world premiere of The Gravedigger which highlighted Popcorn Frights’ Spotlight on Women Filmmakers.

The jury consisted of Dread Central’s Jonathan Barkan, Shudder’s Ariel Fisher, Daily Dead’s Derek Anderson, TrueHorror’s Jason Sheppard, and Promote Horror’s Omar Usman. The jurors chose to honor director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real with the Feature Film Jury Prize and awarded Scott Beck & Bryan Wood’s Haunt with an Honorable Mention.

Bryan Woods & Scott Beck, Lauryn Alisa McClain, 08-08-19

In announcing the Feature Film Prize for the film, the jury said the following: “The jury is pleased to award Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real the Best Feature of Popcorn Frights 2019. A wonderfully constructed nightmare, the film won us over with its excellent acting, beautiful presentation, and exhilarating creativity. As an exceptionally strong sophomore feature, we are excited to see what Mortimer will do next.”

Accepting his award, Adam Egypt Mortimer said, “This is such an honor. Man, the festival had so many of this year’s amazing horror films playing, it’s such a thrill to have played with all of them and be given an award. And this is a major triumphant return for me, as I am in fact originally a Florida Man — or Florida baby, since I lived in Tampa for the first three years of my life. Thanks for having me and Daniel at your top-notch festival!”

This year’s Scariest Feature Film Award was given to Brandon Christensen’s Z with an Honorable Mention also being awarded to Haunt. The Short Film Jury Prize went to Carlos Baena’s stop-motion animated film La Noria with an Honorable Mention going to Wild Love, and the Scariest Short Film Award was given to Other Side of the Box. The inaugural Best Florida Film Award went to Alexandria Perez’s The Final Girl Returns.

For the first time in the Festival’s history, the Popcorn Frights Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film was a tie between Dan Berk & Robert Olsen’s Villains and Giles Alderson’s The Dare, which received its world premiere at this year’s Festival. The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Neal O’Bryan & Chad Thurman’s Toe.

Director Giles Alderson, Writer Jonny Grant, Actor Bart Edwards, The Dare World Premiere, 08-09-19

“For us, this award is the highest possible praise. The film resonating with theatrical audiences is the greatest success we could hope for, and we couldn’t be more thankful to Popcorn Frights for giving us the platform to achieve it,” said Dan Berk & Robert Olsen.

“To have any audience like your film feels like a miracle, to win the audience award for my debut film at the first ever screening of The Dare from a festival as amazing as Popcorn Frights is beyond incredible! I had the time of my life at Popcorn Frights and couldn’t be happier right now! Thank you to all that made the film with me and to all who voted. You guys have literally made a little miracle happen,” said Giles Alderson.

Runners-up for the Audience Awards include Haunt for Feature Film and Go Back for Short Film.

New this year, Popcorn Frights partnered with the horror brand ALTER which provided selected short films premiering at the Festival eligibility for review for distribution on the platform. The Popcorn Frights short films that have been selected for distribution on ALTER are Andrew Hunt’s Frost Bite, Marten Carlson’s Starlets, and Anthony Dones’ made in South Florida film A Doll for Edgar.

Popcorn Frights Opening Night, Haunt World Premiere, 08-08-19

“Popcorn Frights’ fifth edition was an extraordinary success that exceeded our wildest expectations, breaking our attendance record for a fifth consecutive year and thrilling our die hard fans with great film discoveries and experiences. On behalf of the Popcorn Frights team, we congratulate all the winning films and hope horror lovers worldwide get to enjoy their bold and daring frights.” said Igor Shteyrenberg & Marc Ferman, Co-Founders & Co-Directors of the Popcorn Frights Film Festival.

Popcorn Frights Film Festival was exclusively hosted at the Savor Cinema theater, a historic South Florida landmark that in the 1940s was a Methodist Church. Notable sponsors of the Festival included ALTER, Bloody Disgusting, Daily Dead, Dread Central, Florida Supercon, and The Villas boutique hotel.

The sixth annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival will take place on August 6-14, 2020.

This year’s winners are below:


Feature Film Jury Prize – Daniel Isn’t Real

Jury Prize - Daniel Isn't Real

Jury Prize Honorable Mention – Haunt

Jury Prize (Honorable Mention) - Haunt

 Scariest Feature Film – Z

Scariest Film - Z

Scariest Feature Film Honorable Mention – Haunt

Scariest Film (Honorable Mention) - Haunt

Short Film Jury Prize – La Noria

Jury Prize (Short Film) - La Noria

Honorable Mention – Wild Love

Jury Prize (Short Film, Honorable Mention) - Wild Love

Scariest Short Film – Other Side of the Box

Scariest Short Film - Other Side of the Box

Best Florida Film – The Final Girl Returns

Best Florida Film - The Final Girl Returns


Audience Award for Best Feature Film (Tie) – The Dare

Audience Award (Tie) - The Dare

Audience Award for Best Feature Film (Tie) – Villains

Audience Award (Tie) - Villains

Audience Award for Best Short Film – Toe

Audience Award (Short Film) - Toe

Audience Award Runners-Up – Haunt (Feature Film)

Audience Award Runner Up - Haunt

Audience Award Runners-Up – Go Back (Short Film)

Audience Award Runner Up - Go Back


Follow the Popcorn Frights Film Festival on Facebook (www.facebook.com/popcornfrights), Twitter (@popcornfrights), or Instagram (www.instagram.com/popcornfrights) for updates with the latest information about the Festival. Join the conversation using the hashtag #popcornfrights on social media.

Popcorn Frights has been named “One of the Best Film Festival’s in Florida” by The Sun-Sentinel and is the largest genre film festival in Southeast United States. Popcorn Frights special focus on discovering new talent and recognizing established filmmakers has made it a natural gateway for the best in genre films from around the world.

ALTER is a new horror brand for novel and grounded stories exploring the human condition through warped and uncanny perspectives.

Giving voice to emerging, diverse and established filmmakers, ALTER’s owned and operated channel is distributed across YouTube and Facebook where three short films or series are released each week. In addition to curating and distributing award-winning content, ALTER develops unique stories with some of the most innovative minds in the genre through its ALTER Studio projects – which are not bound to a particular platform or format.

Recent releases include the official 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection, Summer of 84, the thriller directed by RKSS (Turbo Kid); CAM (in partnership with Blumhouse), winner of Best Screenplay at last year’s Fantasia Festival, which was acquired by Netflix; and Goodnight, Gracie from Stellan Kendrick, one of ALTER’s first exclusive premieres. Later this year, ALTER will release the SXSW selection Villains — starring Bill Skarsgard (It) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) — in theaters.

Projects currently in development include 50 States of Terror, in partnership with Executive Producer Sam Raimi (Evil DeadSpider-Man) and DIGA Studios (MTV’s Scream). The anthology is the first announced series for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile video startup, Quibi.


I've been a fan of horror and slasher movies for as long as I can remember. I consider the original Halloween to be the best horror movie of all time and my guilty pleasure horror flick would be The Exorcist III. You can find me on Twitter at @406Northlane or TikTok @406Northlane where I'm sure I'll offend you at least once a day.

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