Jul 22, 2020

Hexploitation Film Festival 2021 Indefinitely Postponed

Dear HXFF Fans, Filmmakers, and Supporters,

Due to COVID-19 and related circumstances that are beyond our control, and with the health and safety of all our supporters as top priority, the Hexploitation Film Festival has made the decision to postpone its February 2021 festival indefinitely.

Rest assured; we are working hard to make arrangements to return Hexploitation's unique brand of thrills, chills, and cinematic kills to the big screen at a later date in 2021 and in an alternative format. More news will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Click "Read More" to scroll down for our full statement and rationale behind this regrettable postponement.


In March, the Staircase Theatre, our venue for the last 11 years, shut down operations much like other theatres and public venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we assumed this closure would be temporary, we could not in confidence secure confirmation that the Staircase would be available in February 2021 in order for us to open our first wave of film submissions in June. As the shut down continued into the summer, it became clear that the closure would be indefinite. The Staircase's most recent public statement of their intentions via their website is that they "expect to remain closed after the pandemic." Moving forward, the Hexploitation Film Festival will be seeking an alternative venue for future screenings and festivals.

The Staircase has been our home since we debuted under the name "Fright Night Theatre" with a double feature of Stuart Gordon's From Beyond and Dagon on June 24, 2009. We are deeply saddened by the news that the Staircase has no concrete plans for reopening. It has been a vital arts incubator in our community for over a decade. On the other hand, we understand the financial strain that the COVID-19 situation has put on theaters, arts spaces, and commercial arts community across Canada. We would like to take this time to give special thanks to Colette Kendall who acted as the Staircase's Executive Director during our tenure at the venue. Colette is an absolute treasure and her investment in Hamilton's arts and entertainment community both in her role as the Staircase's Executive Director and as a talented performer in her own right cannot be overstated. We wish her nothing but the best. Keep up to date on her future projects at colettekendall.com


While many film festivals are moving to digital or online formats, the Hexploitation Film Festival is committed to creating a live and in-person horror and cult film experience for fans and filmmakers. In an entertainment landscape dominated by media conglomerates gobbling up theater screens with corporate-approved blockbusters while the ever-present lure of streaming services shrinks the theatrical window for low or mid-budget indie genre films, the Hexploitation Film Festival was born out of a desire to give these films a theatrical showcase and to rekindle the magic that comes from congregating in a theatre of like-minded friends and strangers who are all committed to taking a chance on fringe films that are strange, weird, bizarre, and transgressive. While we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict the safety of in-person public events, we are determined to keep Hexploitation a communal event, even if that means postponing our festival until it is safe to return to theatres. 


In the meantime, please follow us on our Instagram and Facebook social media channels and sign up for our direct newsletter for breaking festival news, news about our alumni films and filmmakers, and giveaways or contests.

From all of us at the HXFF, please mask up and stay safe and healthy.

Aaron Allen
Director: Hexploitation Film Festival