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Horror fest scares up local fans

'11:14,' 'Freddy vs. Jason,' 'Ants' among pix to unspool

BERLIN — Laughing in the face of Germany’s twin whammy of falling admissions and a sizzling summer, Rosebud Entertainment’s Fantasy Filmfest wrapped its 17th annual outing — a six-city tour Aug. 20 — with attendance up 10%.

“The genre’s booming and we have no worries about finding good films,” says managing director Frederike Dellert.

This year, Nuremburg was added to stops in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Hamburg. “For a first time,” says director of programming Rudi Furstberger about the Nuremburg debut, “it was a very good start. We’ve had great feedback and not just from the hardcore fans.”

Among the highlights of the fest, which kicked off July 23, were the world premiere of Greg Marcks’ RTA fatality drama “11:14” and the international premieres of “Freddy vs. Jason” and horrormeister Stuart Gordon’s, “King of the Ants.”

Horror helmer Brian Yuzna was among those raising the issue of the German predilection for censorship.

In his post-German premiere Q&A for “Beyond Re-Animator,” he asked, “does anything make it into Germany uncut?”

The answer, evidently, is “yes.” Teens vs. deformed cannibals pic “Wrong Turn,” which also had its local premiere at the fest, has been granted a 16 certificate, with no cuts.

“Our slasher fans were very surprised,” Furstberger says. “Germany is still censor-happy, but we’ve had no problems with the festival.”

As proof the fest wasn’t all blood and guts — although gorehounds and splatter freaks were well served — organizers stretched the definition of fantasy to its limit, taking in caper flicks such as Wayne Kramer’s “The Cooler” and James Foley’s “Confidence,” while this year’s Fokus Asia sidebar was the largest yet, with 20 films.

Furstberger is especially pleased to have bagged DreamWorks’ anime pic “Millennium Actress.”

Now firmly established, fest serves as a launchpad for local releases, with this year’s fest opener being Sony Pictures’ horror-mystery-thriller, “Identity.”

“Distributors come to us afterwards, and ask how films went and if they’re still available,” Furstberger says. “I’d be very happy if more sales agents would take notice how a festival like this can help a film sell, especially to the TV and video markets.”

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