Jury 2023

Fright Nights Jury 2023

In 2023, the Fright Nights jury will be made up of four experts, each of whom will contribute a special note to our festival. They include horror podcaster and film journalist Steffen Buchmann aka “Trashtaucher”, screenwriter, director and screenwriter Markus Wimberger, also director, screenwriter, film lecturer and acting coach Dominik Balkow and last but not least our long-time and much-loved companion of the dark paths, horror author and general horror fanatic Faye Hell.
What you can expect here and what is expected of you, you can read here.

Steffen Buchmann

Appreciates nasty CGI beasts, nonsense dialogue and revels in the banal

Steffen has been exploring the shoals of the film world as a “trash diver” since 2020 – always on the lookout for undiscovered trash film gems. Whether it’s nasty CGI creatures, nonsensical dialogue from script hell or the most banal delight in exploitative show values such as breasts, explosions or splatter: The Trashtaucher drowns out even the worst video store trash with a self-destructive mixture of childish euphoria and the flattest wordplay.

Steffen lives out his love of the moving image by working for various film publications, such as filmdienst.de or Deadline magazine. He has a particular fondness for the monochrome worlds of the early horror films of the 20th century.

To compensate for this almost fine-spiritual-esoteric cineastism, Steffen celebrates every splatter junk that is out of its mind.
So for Fright Nights 2023, Steffen brings along plenty of enthusiasm for horror games of all kinds. The main thing is to have that “certain something”?

Der Trashtaucher

Markus Wimberger

Loves pushing boundaries, new paths and special horror atmospheres

Markus Wimberger (born 1973) saw his first horror film at the end of the 1970s in his parents’ living room: “Frankenstein-as he really was”. He was particularly taken with the Hammer films and the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations by Roger Corman. Later, films like “Hell-raiser” or “The Princes of Darkness” inspired him.

The desire to make his own films arose early on. In 2006, he directed the trash horror comedy “Flesh for the King”. The following project “BLOODY MONSTER” (2013) was much bigger – with numerous action scenes and a lot of film blood. With the episodic film “Portae Infernales”, Markus Wimberger then directed his biggest film to date together with two other directors (Herbert Gantner, Philip Lilienschwarz): “Portae Infernales – Three Gates to Hell” (2019). For the first time, internationally known actors such as Helmut Berger and Erwin Leder could also be won for the cast. “Portae Infernales” screened at numerous festivals and was awarded best film at Fright Nights 2019.

In the horror genre, Markus likes best films that push boundaries or try to break new ground. However, he also very much appreciates old-school horror. Markus pays special attention to atmosphere. For the 2023 Fright Nights, Markus is already very much looking forward to your submissions and hopes for eerily beautiful film experiences.


Dominik Balkow

Likes surrealities, the nightmarish and the disreputably forbidden.

Filmmaker Dominik Balkow was influenced at an early age by two demanding (not to say “traumatising”) films: “Eyes Wide Shut” and “The Cell”. This resulting passion for the surreal, the nightmarish, the occult and the disreputably forbidden runs through most of his film work to this day.

After graduating in film directing in his hometown of Berlin, he worked independently as a music video director on over 60 music videos (Anti-Flag, Billy Talent, Haudegen, Nina Hagen, Kontra K and many more). His third short film “O” won numerous renowned short film awards worldwide in 2022 (“Méliès d’Argent” as best European short film or the audience award of the Toronto After Dark Festival). His feature film debut “Aphasia”, an occult mystery drama, celebrated its world premiere at the Hofer Filmtage in 2022 and is looking forward to a German theatrical release in 2023.

Balkow’s “O” won two prizes at the FRIGHT NIGHTS, winning the silver hands for best short film and best actress in 2022. All the more reason for him to look forward to presenting the awards himself this year.

Dominik Balkow

Faye Hell

Rhapsodises about deeply tragic goosebump moments and excessive blood orgies

Near Vienna, Faye Hell (writer, film historian and freelance journalist) lives in a house between a forest and a cemetery. A cat fanatic, she prefers to explore the darker realms of art, culture and society and is always on the lookout for works that challenge her. She wrote her diploma thesis in Cultural Studies (focus on film) on the topic of “Serial killers in film and their historical role models”. In her writing she combines subtle horror with explicit violence and obscenity.

In her current novel THE LAST DREAM she takes a look into a dystopian future.
A life without horror is unthinkable for Faye. Her intemperate love of horror was probably born in her cradle, but her unbridled passion was really ignited by Stephen King. The first horror film of her sweet nightmares was John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982).

Faye is looking forward like hell to your submissions and will enjoy profound goosebump moments and excessive blood orgies in equal measure. Horror is often extreme, but above all it should always be uncomfortable and challenge social conventions.

Faye Hell