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Molly Deckart

The woman behind Idaho's newest film festival and 'spud and guts'

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Molly Deckart is, perhaps, the least scary person in town; the young mother of three greets you with a huge smile and lovely demeanor. But be prepared to be taken aback when she hands you her business card: It features a blood-splattered silhouette of the Gem State—the logo of the inaugural Idaho Horror Film Festival.

Deckart has spent the past few months screening hundreds of frightening films for the festival, which will run Thursday, Oct. 16-Saturday, Oct. 18. On more than one occasion she had to caution her little ones—ages 8, 5 and 3—not to come into her room as she was watching the terrifying entries.

"I would be screening the movies on my computer; and I had to say 'Stop! Don't come in mommy's room,'" she said with a laugh. "Yes, many of these films are very adult."

Deckart has also insisted that the festival include a family element—a free Saturday morning screening of the animated hit Hotel Transylvania, complete with face painting, photo booths and music from Boise Rock School.

"I'm very proud of our schedule—great classic and premiere films, live music, celebrities and events all over Boise's downtown," she said.

With just a few days until the launch of the festival, Boise Weekly quizzed Deckart about her packed schedule—which also includes this year's h48 competition, with an impressive list of submissions from filmmakers across the globe.

I've lost count of how many people I've met over the years who want to start a film festival in Boise, or revive an old one. But they've all fallen by the roadside.

We're not going to do that. Partly because I'm a pit bull; I don't take no for an answer.

I'm guessing that it was important for you to find a niche.

That's right. Horror films are a great conversation-starter. Plus, when you talk to any filmmaker, the one thing that all of them have in common is that they have worked on a horror film.

When did this idea start brewing?

January.

What a minute. I was expecting to hear you say two years ago. Something of this scope usually takes a fair amount of cajoling and planning.

Nope. My neighbor Susan Becker and I started all of this over brunch at Berryhill.

We're also surprised at the fact that your inaugural festival is three days instead of one.

If we were going to build a lineup worthy of buying a ticket, one day just wasn't enough.

It's interesting that you're kicking off the festival not with a film, but with events that are spread across Boise's downtown.

Jim Beam [whiskey] is one of our big sponsors and we'll be holding cocktail competitions at 16 bars and restaurants. Boise's best bartenders will be making special signature cocktails. That same evening Angell's will screen classic horror films while live musicians perform some interpretive scores; Ming Studios will host a horror story happy hour; and Bittercreek and Red Feather will be showing short horror movies outside on their patio.

How did you wrangle Tim Conway to come to town with the premiere of his new film?

What a coup! Pasquale Murena is the director of Tim's film, Chip and Bernie's Zomance; and Pasquale actually reached out to us, wanting to be part of our festival. We'll have the world premiere at The Flicks and Tim and Pasquale will be here to say hi to everyone.

I'm presuming that almost all of your programming is for adults.

Yes, but we're pretty excited that Hotel Transylvania will be screened for free at the Egyptian Theatre, Saturday morning, Oct. 18. Plus, Boise Rock School will be performing for the kids. What a blast.

But back to the scary stuff: Quite coincidentally, you've folded this year's h48 competition [local filmmakers will have 48 hours to produce short horror films] into this year's festival.

There should be 24 teams competing; and we'll showcase all of their films from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday. And all of that happens before we screen Halloween V Saturday night, where we'll have Don Shanks here; he played Michael Meyers. He also played the serial killer in I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer and is one of the best-known stuntmen in Hollywood.

Talk to me about how many short films you'll be screening, in addition to the h48 shorts.

We had over 300 submissions. Our festival will have a total of 44 films; 38 of them shorts, including some pretty great animated movies. We'll be showing films from Australia, the U.K. and Portugal. But we really wanted to encourage Idaho entries. That's why we waived submission fees for any Idaho filmmakers. We'll have at least one Idaho film attached to every program that we're running over the three days. So, we're pretty excited at how many of the movies are from Idaho We're calling their films "spud and guts."