A Letter from Festival Director Denise Gossett

As I write this, I’m sitting in my office, surrounded by past Shriekfest posters. I founded Shriekfest in 2001, a long time ago, and yet at times it feels like yesterday… However, in reality it isn’t. It is indeed a long time ago. We held the first Shriekfest in 2001 at the infamous Raleigh Studios and have held it there every year since! The first year we received a whopping 45 submissions. My how we’ve grown! Thank you all for that!

The past few years have been trying on everyone! Having to postpone Shriekfest in 2020 was so hard on me. Despite the frustration of 2020, getting to hold the festival in 2021 was utterly amazing. But because of the continued uncertainty in the world, I have decided to put Shriekfest on hiatus. I know you are now asking why? And how long? There are still too many restrictions on events right now and many other events have either been postponed or canceled, I just can’t go through that emotional rollercoaster again. Also, as many of you know I am an actor, a Mom, and a wife. Shriekfest has grown to a point where it is really tough to balance an acting career and a film festival. At this point, I feel that my acting career really needs more of my attention. For these reasons I will not be hosting Shriekfest in 2022. I’m currently planning for Shriekfest to be back in 2023. But right now, I have to listen to what my heart wants and needs. I have worked and served for so many hours of my life it is impossible to calculate. I am someone who believes I can do anything with almost nothing. And with that spirit an organization was built, applauded and awarded. I’m extremely proud of Shriekfest and its alumni! The number of successes that have come out of this festival is mind boggling. I am so honored to have met you all! Thank you for the past 21 years!

My desire from day one was to help, inspire, motivate, encourage, guide, and be a friend to filmmakers and screenwriters alike. I will continue being your cheerleaders! I will still continue with Shriekfest Radio and the monthly newsletter, and perhaps a few other exciting Shriekfesty things. I love being able to give you guys extra publicity. Feel free to post on our Facebook page and keep tweeting things to us and we will retweet them for you. It pains me to have to take a hiatus, but I just have to. Many of you know I am a very creative person and for the past few years my heart has been telling me that I need more time to pursue my acting. It is my first love after all.

Shriekfest is my baby and always will be. I work very hard to make it a loving and warm environment. If you have ever submitted to Shriekfest, you will always be a part of this family. I am so grateful for all of you. Please continue to keep in touch and like I said I am here to cheer you on!

I am in NO WAY saying Shriekfest is done, I am just saying I need a break and now is the perfect time to take it.

With that being said, YOU must also keep following your dreams. The Time goes by way too fast to do nothing and wait. Start that script, edit that project. DO IT NOW. Have no regrets please. I look forward to seeing you in the future.

With my utmost respect,
Denise Gossett
Festival Founder and Director