And the Audience Award Goes to… FREAKS!

The audience has spoken, and they have chosen FREAKS as the winner of the 2019 What The Fest!? Audience Award!

Congratulations to directors Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky. Adam was in attendance at the Sunday, March 24th screening where the audience was treated to ice cream and a post-screening Q&A.

Check out photos from the FREAKS screening & Q&A, and read the full wrap press-release below.

The second annual What The Fest!? came back with a vengeance this year, boasting bigger audiences, bigger premieres, bigger events, and bigger… well, just bigger everything than last year.

This year, the Audience Award went to Zack Lipovsky & Adam B. Stein’s FREAKS, which made its New York Premiere at WTF!?. FREAKS tells the warped tale of Chloe (Lexy Kolker), a young girl sheltered by her father (Emile Hirsch) from the world outside their door… until an ice cream man (Bruce Dern) tries to lure her out of her safe haven.

Due to popular demand following its successful 2018 launch, the festival expanded to five days in its second outing (up from four), opening with a sold-out show of the World Premiere of Larry Fessenden’s DEPRAVED, plus an added encore screening.  Other sold out shows complemented an impressive number of premieres: in addition to the one World Premiere (DEPRAVED), there was one Restoration World Premiere (SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS), two North American Premieres (TO THE NIGHT; WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!), two East Coast Premieres (DARLIN’; GREENER GRASS), and seven New York Premieres (BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK; THE DEAD CENTER; FREAKS; HAIL SATAN?; SHADOW; THE UNTHINKABLE; THE WIND).  

Special events also included a doomsday-in-New York talk with Anna Maria Bounds, a professor and urban sociologist at Queens College of the City, preceding our THE UNTHINKABLE screening; a chat about movie zombie movies after ONE CUT OF THE DEAD with Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD), Glen Baisley (FAIRVIEW FALLS), FX artist Brian Spears (I SELL THE DEAD), as well as “Female Trouble,” a women-in-horror panel with journalist/filmmaker Meredith Alloway, BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK director Roxanne Benjamin, THE WIND director Emma Tammi, and Glass Eye Pix’s Jenn Wexler (moderated by former Perfect Pussy frontwoman and current Kickstarter Music Director Meredith Graves), and a We Sold Our Souls talk and book signing with Grady Hendrix.

“Our second year was such a blast!,” said Creative Director Maria Reinup. “Familiar and new faces filled the cinema for five days, excited for movies and events that offered a seriously entertaining escape from reality– one top example being our Audience Award-winner, FREAKS. We are stoked from all the good vibes from this year and we’re already making plans for our third edition!”

What The Fest!? is made possible by Event Sponsors IFC Midnight and Shudder, and by Friends of the Festival Bloody Disgusting, Essentia, Fangoria, Magnolia Pictures, and Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies.

We’re so glad you spent the 2019 What The Fest!? with us, and hope you’re ready to EXPECT ANYTHING next year too!

Here’s What You Had to Say About What The Fest!? 2019:

TIME OUT NEW YORK / Joshua Rothkopf

We’re crazy about this weird-friendly genre showcase, now in its second year.”

DREAD CENTRAL / Tony Timpone

“[What The Fest!?] has firmly established itself as the city’s go-to madcap movie party.”


This year’s [What The Fest!?] is so damn good it makes me angry.”

FILM PULSE / Adam Patterson

I foresee this becoming NYC’s premiere genre festival.”




Much of the most innovative and exciting cinema on screens today comes out of the universe of genre films – movies that are entertaining, surprising and sometimes shocking. Fantastic films that upend conventional limitations to help us escape reality and harbor deeper ambitions to thrill smart audiences. Launched by IFC Center in 2018, What The Fest!? is for the creative and curious looking for a community in which to share experiences and have a blast together. From cerebral shockers to singular cinematic experiences to unforgettable special events, What The Fest!? is more than just movies, it is an experience.


Press Contact | Caitlin Hughes PR

Caitlin Hughes,