When the Hollywood Investigator reported that its horror film contest resulted in a distribution deal for Rick Lavon, entries for the 2005 contest increased significantly, especially from film students. We're guessing the news had "gone viral" across blogs and listservs frequented by them.
Nevertheless, the original name -- Hollywood Investigator Halloween Horror Film Awards -- had promotional problems. People were mistakenly calling it the Hollywood Investigator Film Awards, or whatever else. The contest needed a simpler name for a stronger identity.
It was renamed the Tabloid Witch Awards. "Tabloid," referring to its historical tabloid roots. And "Witch" to imply horror. It could have been the Tabloid Vampire, or Tabloid Monster, or Tabloid Ghost. But who doesn't like a cute witch?
The Tabloid Witch Award logo was drawn by British artist Stuart Smith as a work-for-hire. It is protected by copyright and trademark laws.
The Tabloid Witch "character" has a backstory. She's not sinister or unusual. She's an ordinary housewife, living in an alternate world where everyone is a fantastical being. She's waiting on a grocery checkout line, reading crazy tabloid stories like "I Gave Birth to a Mortal!" and "Gray's Shocking Claim: I Was Abducted by Earthlings!" Her vampire hubby gripes about her bringing trash like that into the house.
The 2005 contest introduced a trophy: the Tabloid Witch. A six-inch lucite star-burst, bearing the Tabloid Witch logo.
New award categories were introduced for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Visuals, Best Sound.
In 2005 (as in 2004), Best Film trophies were awarded to the director. (The Tabloid Witch supported the auteur theory of cinema.) This would change in 2007, when Best Film trophies would be shared by writers and directors.
While a promotional article and a trophy might be nice, winners were most of all excited about a screening for their films.
We'd hoped to screen the 2005 winners at the upcoming World Horror Convention, set for San Francisco in May of 2006. But each year's WHC is managed by a different group of people, and those running the 2006 WHC planned to program their own film festival. So there was no room for the Tabloid Witch.
This was good in the long term, because Tabloid Witch Award winners are announced in October, and the WHC runs in spring -- five to seven months later. (Serendipitously, the 2006 WHC film festival was run by the capable Shannon Lark, who has since become a friend to the Tabloid Witch.)
The 2005 winners were screened at Loscon 32, a science fiction convention that runs in Los Angeles every Thanksgiving Day weekend. Though not primarily a horror event, Loscon did offer advantages over WHC. Loscon convenes in the Tabloid Witch's home town (the Hollywood Investigator is based in Santa Monica, but hey, it's all "L.A."), and it runs the month after our winners are announced.
Loscon does screen other films, mostly science fiction, both professional and amateur. They scheduled the Tabloid Witch films for Saturday evening, opposite the Masquerade Ball, a costume contest. It was a form of counter-programming, as the Tabloid Witch was the only horror event of the night. Hardcore horror fans opted for our Loscon screening, and participated in the audience Q&A.
Loscon provided the Tabloid Witch with an impressive venue. A large ballroom, with projection TV and film screen, and a sound system to match.
The Tabloid Witch honored more films in 2005 than in 2004 (seven, up from five). It awarded more trophies (thirteen, up from five -- and that's not counting "shared trophies").
Four winners participated in the audience Q&A. Robert Sexton and Sabrina Bertaccini (right) from Legion: The Word Made Flesh, and Christopher Alan Broadstone and Tony Simmons from Human No More. Marshall Plante was also in attendance.
Lessons that other filmmakers might learn from the 2005 Tabloid Witch Award winners would appear in an article in Indie Slate magazine the following year.
2005 Tabloid Witch Award Winners
* Best Horror Feature Film ......... Rich Mauro and Anthony Savini (Mole)
* Best Horror Short Film ............ Robert Sexton (Legion: The Word Made Flesh)
* Best Actress ............................ Sam Tsao (Mole)
* Best Actor ................................ Tony Simmons (Human No More)
* Best Supporting Actress .......... Sabrina Bertaccini (Legion: The Word Made Flesh)
* Best Supporting Actor ............. James Cox (Mole)
* Best Visuals ............................ Bobby Eras & Marshall Plante (Legion: The Word Made Flesh)
Robert Sexton has re-edited his short film, Legion: The Word Made Flesh, into a five part webisode, available on YouTube. See Part One below. The rest can be seen by following the links after Part One.
Check out one of 200r's Honorable Mention winners, Human No More:
Gallery of Winners
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