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March 30, 2011

Interview: Denise Gossett of Shriekfest

By James DePaolo

1.What does Shriekfest mean to you?

Shriekfest is my baby... lots of hard work has gone into it to make it was it is today... it's fun, it's hard work, it's a labor of love.

2.This was an awesome interview. You rule, thanks so much and have a great night. I am joking. What kind of kid were you in school?

In high school, I was a punk... only dated guys with mohawks.

3.What was the first horror film you witnessed? What film made you think, "I am a fan"? What will be the first horror film you let the kids watch?


I don't remember the 1st one...perhaps it was The Exorcist...but, I remember really enjoying being scared..The Exorcist is great! I also loved the original Nightmare on Elm Street...Freddie still scares me! My daughter is 2 and she won't be watching anything scary for a while now....but, I'll probably start out tame...hmmm....good question, not sure which one is tame enough.

4.Have you ever personally been offended by one of the films on your fest and refused to show it? If you say yes you have to share, if you want to.

I've never been offended by one that made it into the fest, but I was offended, well more appalled really....the whole film was a woman defecating on the floor....huh...why? (could you please pass this title onto me asap Denise, I have a weird uncle or something that is into this. But, not me personally)

5.Why do so many indie directors think having a woman get nude sells their films more than acting or a script?

Because some distributors lead them to believe that. I go for the good acting and script any day, but I am a woman...

6.Now, I know you dabbled in reality TV, so this question is not about you. Does the stereotype that females seem to be following these days insult you personally? The Paris, Snookie, the fake dumbness that many actresses portray on reality TV?

What reality TV did I dabble in? Do you mean reenactment shows? Done a few of those, only as favors....Reality is a whole different thing. I don't like reality TV. Yes, it's insulting... they give us all a bad name. Now, if it's a character in a scripted show that is dumb, that is one thing.

7.You lived in Florida then went to California, did you have a set job, or did you have to go to auditions to get your break? What if it never happened for you, what would you have done beside acting and hosting a fest?

I did not have a set job, I didn't know anyone either, just moved out here to pursue my dream. I never think in nevers....I KNEW it would happen, so I made it happen. No doubt there... what else would I do? I am an actor and that is it.

8.When you are on a set say like Veronica Mars or a Mel Gibson film are you allowed to talk to the cast, or are you given strict rules or shoot your scenes when they are not there?

Are you kidding....yes, you can talk to the cast, I'm hired just the same way they are (through auditions)...I am part of the cast and they all show respect for guest actors. It's a given in this industry. I've never met anyone who wasn't respectful. I have enjoyed everyone I've worked with on the big sets...

9.Do you think the tabloids have the right to exploit the bad behavior by hollywood? If so, do you think there should be a line as to how far they get to exploit?

 Yes, there should be a line...I understand why they do it, but everyone makes mistakes, we don't see Joe down the streets "mistakes" all over the news. I wouldn't want my mistakes all over the news...would you?

10.If you watched a film, and you hated it..but you liked the director would you still put it out for the fans and push this film even though you know it sucked?

No...there are many directors out there that I love their work and they all know that if I don't truly like something I'll tell them why or I just won't help push it.

11.There are so many horror conventions and fests, what separates yours from the rest? Well beside you being a part of it... thank you!

You are right, there are sooo many....people say we stand out because we truly care about the filmmakers, screenwriters, etc. We try to help everyone....we give referrals all the time, even to people who didn't make it in the festival. If someone is going to go out of their way and submit to our festival, then they deserve us to care.

12.How does someone go from Zoey 101 and Drake and Josh to running Shriekfest?

LOL....I have two sides...one that loves to act and the other that loves horror.

13.Do you think online critics and for this matter the internet fans as well are fair to films, that maybe some of them are full of crap and just want to be hateful or think being cruel makes them look cool? There are a lot of cruel people out there....I've seen reviews on films even before the film was released....they slam them before they are even out...how is that possible?

That is just someone who is jealous. There are tons of wonderful people in this business, but there are also people you should not share your ideas with or give the time of day to. It's sad, but true.

14.Does negative reviews hurt you?

I don't get too many, not me personally....you have to take them with a grain of salt. We can't control what others think or like.

15.Do you think downloading should be punished by someone going to jail? Lets look at the situation, you have ticket prices rising each week, 3D tickets can run you what 20.00 a pop. We are in the worst recession in history and Hollywood assumes cause they can eat at Spago's and throw away thousands by the minute we all can. That is not the case, some people who download are people who just want to watch a film with their kids who cant afford a 100.00 movie trip.

That's tricky....I think jail is probably too harsh, but maybe they need to be harsh to get people to stop doing it. I don't know....if it were your film that people were downloading and you were losing money because of that, how would you feel? It's not just the filmmaker who loses money or the studio...it's the directors, actors, crew, etc.....everyone who might get residuals.

16.Tell us what films are in this year's line up and if you can share with us, some plot into each.

The films won't be picked until Sept. We are getting submissions right now though.

17. Do women get a fair shake in film or the business?

There aren't enough women filmmakers or writers, but more and more they are rising up. Women are getting more and more respect as artists and it's very exciting.

18.On a movie set with a Mel Gibson, is there a lot of gossip or does everyone walk on eggshells and hope he does not leave a message on their phone?

Mel is nothing but professional. He is an amazingly talented person who is so respectful. He was a joy to work with! 4 of my scenes are with him and I had a blast with him..I was never walking on eggshells. All I have to say to that is would you want your worst argument recorded for the world to hear? Probably not, I know I wouldn't....

19. Have you ever been hit on, working on a movie or tv show and they did not get the clue and kept on and on? And if they are famous please share...esp. if they have the initals T.W and loves to golf..it would rule if it was L.K. or K.G. Please do not let it be O.S. or C.S.

Oh, you are funny! Of course I've been hit on...it happens on sets, that's why there are so many affairs...but, I'm just not interested. Not sure who all of those initials belong to, but you made me laugh.

20.This is your chance, put me in my place..beside the pay check..how can you defend a show like, I Did not know I was Pregnant? Seriously, what did they think they had a bad night at Pizza Hut or some Taco Bell?

I can't defend it...I've been pregnant, you KNOW that you are pregnant...it's unlike any way you've ever felt! LOL But, I guess it happens all the time....who knew?

21.Do you still get star struck?

Not star struck, but it's very surreal to be working across from Mel Gibson or Dennis Hopper (RIP sweet man). I love it. It's always nice to work with amazingly talented people.

22.Denise, I hope you are not too mad at me, and this is your time to tell the fans more about this fest.

Thanks so much How could I be mad, this was fun! thank you! Shriekfest is currently in it's 11th year and we are accepting submissions until July 10th. Get your scripts, films, original songs, and webisodes in! And come out to the fest, we'd love to meet you! http://www.shriekfest.com/ http://www.denisegossett.com/

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