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Throggs Neck film wins festival’s horror prize

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The Krackoon from Throggs Neck invaded New York City, and it conquered.

“Krackoon”, the grindhouse-style movie created strictly using Bronx talent, recently won best horror prize at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. About 200 movies were screened during the three-day July festival.

“We’re so glad that we won the best horror feature. That’s a big one for us,” said writer and director Jerry Landi, of Locust Point. “Everybody’s excited because there were a fair amount of horror films for consideration, and we really wanted to get a genre award. It pinpoints what we were trying to get at, so it’s a big feather in our hat.”

The film was shown on July 27, and the winners were announced last week. The awards will be handed out soon at a special ceremony in November in California, which Landi and the film’s producer Anthony de Bellis will not be able to attend.

In “Krackoon,” amid buckets of fake blood, a crack-addicted raccoon terrorizes a seemingly peaceful neighborhood that looks a lot like Locust Point, and inadvertently brings to light a corrupt mayor and some shady land deals.

The film is an homage to the low-budget, exploitation horror films of the 1970s, which Landi said were his favorite movies growing up.

Landi began working on the script in 2008 and filming the movie in November that year. Production wrapped in 2009, and soon after, the film, which is the second creation of the Bronx-based group of actors and filmmakers called Amuck Duck Productions, was admitted into the New York Festival.

At the festival, after each film is screened, audience members fill out questionnaires about the movies. However, the winning films are ultimately chosen by a panel of judges that watch the movies rated best by audiences.

Landi admitted that, judging by the buzz surrounding the film before and after the screening, he was expecting some recognition.

“When we were promoting the movie, we handed out flyers and one woman said she had already seen it because she was a judge. I asked what she thought about it and she said she loved it,” Landi said. “For the past two weeks I was checking my emails like every two minutes.”

Getting recognition as the best horror film has helped Landi get interest from other film festivals around the country. He hopes that with Halloween only a month away, the film will be a big hit on the festival circuit.

“After the festival some people told us they wanted to distribute the film, others wanted to know when we were showing it again. It was great to see that kind of interest,” he said. “We’re hoping that the buzz is going to get us into some of the bigger festivals.”

“We love showing it to people in other areas and seeing their reactions.”

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