Pigeon Shrine FrightFest announces 2023 Short Film Programme

James Whittington
August 18, 2023

FrightFest has showcased the best in genre short film from the UK and around the world since 2004, and this year in no exception, with eight countries representing four continents. From brooding rivalries to wicked encounters, from haunted houses to deadly bedtime stories, this year’s selection, screened at the Cineworld, Leicester Square, which includes thirteen world premieres, unleashes the latest from upcoming filmmakers from across the world.

This year the strand is sponsored by CenterFrame, a global community of filmmakers. Hosting  the event will be CenterFrame’s CEO and co-founder, Bernhard Pucher. Center Frame is also presenting The Filmmaker Spotlight, which highlights exciting new talent within the CenterFrame community and will give four filmmakers the opportunity to screen their shorts before main features.

Pucher commentated: “It’s such a thrill to present the Pigeon Shrine FrightFest short film showcases, which highlights some of 2023’s best horror and fantasy shorts. Getting films to the big screen is what CenterFrameis all about, so we are equally proud to be part of FrightFest’s feature programme, where we have the CenterFrame Filmmaker Spotlight, showing four films created and chosen by our community."

The Short Film Showcase kicks off with our international selection, which includes MUDON MY SHOES, a childhood nightmare story narrated by horror legend Doug Bradley. From Malta comes every reviewer's nightmare in THE CRITIC, from the USA knife-wielding elves bring Christmas chaos in THREE HOUSE DOWN and in the New Zealand entry YOU’RE OUT, a closeted young gay man is tormented by a masked assailant. There are also chills from Chile with CAFÉ CICATRIZ, suspense from Spain with SAFE and haunting demons from Canada with OLD FLAMES. Other entries from across the pond include the unforgettable WE FORGOT ABOUT ZOMBIES, the funny BONE, the action packed and inspirational KICKSTART MY HEART, the very big TINY THING, the undead HERE TO STAY and the predatory AFTERHOURS.

The UK and Ireland is represented with two showcases featuring twenty-two entries. There is the wicked allure of THE LURE, starring Johnny Vivash, the overcast horror of RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY, and the culinary, comedic, carnage of CHEF GUSTAV. Vivash also stars in the haunting sparkler FUSE, whilst James Swanton shines in the vengeful THE DEAD OF WINTER. Other highlights in the first showcase include THE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINTS, where sightseeing goes dreadfully wrong, the beastly FEAR INCARNATE, the demonic DEAD SKIN and the monstrous RED LAKE. There’s an encore mad performance in VIRTUOSO and who is at the door in KNOCK, KNOCK,(KNOCK)?

In the second showcase, CULT OF VHS director, Aaron Truss, returns with supernatural mystery chiller PAREIDOLIA, starring 80’s cult actress Diane Franklin and there are more thrills when a knight finds himself fighting his own armour in MY DREAMS HAVE BEEN DARK OF LATE. Home invasion takes on uniquely cruel twists in INHABIT, LEECH and MURDER, while in PABLO, HONEY! unemployed Emma starts dating the poltergeist who haunts her flat. Dinner party etiquette is turned upside down in HACK and a boy’s search for his missing father takes a surreal twist in VESTIGE. Guardian podcaster Savannah Ayoade-Greaves delivers her unique brand of urban horror with THE NEW GIRL and in TRIAL 22 a group people must survive monsters, traps and each other. Last but not least is NOSEPICKER, the snotty’ tale of Georgie, who can’t stop picking his nose…

In addition, there are four shorts preceding feature films in Discovery Screen 1. These are the winning entries from CenterFrame’s Filmmaker Spotlight initiative, which highlights exciting new talent. In Charlie Schwan’s brilliantly bizarre DEATH SNOT, Roberto grapples with a bizarre condition causing excessive mucus. Then there is Dani Guzman’s POSIT,where, during a power outage, a man finds a mysterious post-it note on his wall. And there’s another mysterious discovery in David Yorke’s FORESIGHT,when Tessa discovers a wooden box containing an item that will change her life forever. Lastly, there is JUST US, Alexander Osman’s take on OCD suffering,which takes two flatmates on a sinister, fetishistic journey.