Card image cap


(Application Deadline Aug 15-2021)

Blood in the Snow Film Festival was created to push the envelope with Canadian genre film, specifically, and has dedicated the last ten years promoting our independent genre cinema. This niche film festival also strives to be the leader in supporting diversity in genre films. We have showcased films representing diverse folklore and culture, including Indigenous and French-language films and actors with disabilities. It's our goal to represent as many communities as possible in the already underrepresented genre film arena. The programming team makes a concerted effort to select based on content, representation, and quality of films so that our diverse audiences feel represented.

Blood in the Snow has also made diversity a priority by hosting panels with esteemed guests from the Black, Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx communities during the Deadly Exposure Industry Market, a well-received and sought-after industry event connecting filmmakers to industry professionals and opportunities to promote their work. They have become areas where frank discussions with filmmakers and industry insiders take place to incite change. Topics at past panels included: 'Kickass Women in Canadian Horror," "Diversity in Genre Film," and "Undoing Tropes with Cultural Sensitivity." These discussions are essential to expanding Canadian filmmakers' views to become more inclusive with their stories and casting and encourage those who may not have felt there was a space for them.

We have also partnered with other festivals in the community to boost the visibility of diverse genre films to different audiences. Recent collaborations include partnering with the Toronto Black Film Festival to present the South African horror The Tokoloshe and the ImagiNATIVE Film Festival midnight horror shorts program, which we have co-presented for several years.

As much as we advocate for diverse genre films in Canada, there is always a need for more representation within the Canadian genre film spectrum. As a part of the 2021 Deadly Exposure Industry Market, Blood in the Snow will start a new initiative by creating a development lab to boost BIPOC, LGTBQ+, women and other underrepresented creators in genre film across Canada. With this program, the festival will facilitate the advancement of filmmakers from these communities in the filmmaking process to ensure their projects are taken from script to screen with the help of industry professionals.

Card image cap Card image cap


The BITS Horror Lab is designed to be a development program focused on facilitating business and production opportunities for genre (horror, sci-fi, action, thriller) scripted projects and shorts films by traditionally underrepresented BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ Canadian filmmakers and content creators. This project will support up to 12 to 15 projects with short-form film concepts or web series in development into a feature film or digital web/TV series project.

This program is less aimed at mentorship and more about access to business development. Accepted participants will meet with top industry professionals during the Blood in the Snow Film Festival from November 18 to 23, 2021. Participants and industry professionals will follow up on projects and initiatives in early 2022. Horror Lab participants will have scheduled workshops with established industry professionals focusing on the development of their projects. All participants will also have access to the Deadly Exposure Industry Market during the last four days of the festival. The cost to apply is FREE.

The Horror Lab participants will receive the following:

Card image cap


April 26, 2021
Applications open

August 15, 2021
Application deadline.

September 1, 2021
Proposal deadline.
(We will send you the proposal documentation if selected)

September-October 2021
Phase 1 Project Orientation.
Feedback from BITS team to strengthen your pitch and your proposal for November.

November 18-23, 2021
Horror Development Lab.
Two days of development and four days of intensive Deadly Exposure events (including panels and round tables)

January-March 2022
Phase 2 Project Implementation.
Minimum three one-on-one meetings (online) with your assigned Industry Lead for followup.


Accessibility at Blood in the Snow + Deadly Exposure

We will be doing everything we can to be as fully accessible and meet everyone's needs to be inclusive as possible. We have hired an Accessibility Advisor as a consultant for the festival this year (who will also be helping on selection jury). If selected to the program we will be asking what needs you might have in the acceptance form and we'll do our best to accommodate. Our full accessibility strategy document will be available on our website later this year.

Possible changes due to COVID-19

As we write this (in April 2021), we are still in the middle of the Pandemic but we are optimistic that this will be behind us by November 2021. However, if it is deemed still unsafe to have events in person then we will move the festival and Deadly Exposure online again this year and have the horror development lab done virtually. We expect to have a better idea of the situation before final acceptances are sent out for this program.

Schedule of Horror Development Lab

Full schedule to be announced.


Card image cap


Kelly Michael Stewart, Festival Director and Founder

Kelly Michael Stewart (he/him) began his career as a contributing film writer to Fangoria Magazine and has more than 250 reviews, interviews and articles published online and in print for various websites and publications. As a filmmaker, he wrote and produced the short film "One More For the Road" and co-wrote and produced the horror anthology feature film "Late Night Double Feature". Kelly founded both Blood in the Snow Film Festival in 2012 and the Deadly Exposure Industry Conference in 2018.

Carolyn Mauricette, Development Coordinator and Programmer

Carolyn Mauricette (she/her) is a Toronto-based film writer and programmer for the Blood in the Snow Film Festival. She has written pieces on diversity, women in sci-fi, and film reviews for Graveyard Shift Sisters and Cinema Axis; both online and print editions of Rue Morgue Magazine and Grim Magazine, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.

Mariam Bastani, Development Advisor

Mariam Bastani (she/her) is a writer/producer based in Toronto. She is the operations coordinator of Rue Morgue Magazine and co-founder of QTIBIPOC focused multimedia horror creators Audre's Revenge Film. Mariam has curated Canadian, US and International horror screenings and was the Editor-in-Chief of Maximum Rocknroll Magazine. She has been on a number of academic speaking tours regarding PoC in punk culture and several Women in Horror panels.

Alison Lang, Development Advisor

Alison Lang is a writer/editor based in Toronto. She has written for Rue Morgue, and Art of the Title, among others. Her book Women with Guts, a collection of essays and interviews with women working in horror, is available via the Rue Morgue Library and she has also contributed to Satanic Panic: Pop Culture Paranoia in the 1980s (Spectacular Optical) with a chapter on Geraldo Rivera's Devil Worship special. She has presented on topics related to horror and gender for the Ax Wound Film Festival (Vermont), Final Girls Film Festival (Berlin) and the DePaul University Pop Culture Conference (Chicago).


Ophira Calof

Ophira Calof (she/they) is an award winning Disabled artist with credits including Generally Hospital and Literally Titanium. Ophira also works as a curator, educator, and consultant with projects including COVID-19 through a Disability Lens: Storytelling and Filmmaking Project, and Making Space: Stories of Disabled Youth in the GTA.

Thirza Jean Cuthand

Thirza Jean Cuthand (she/her)(b. 1978 Regina SK) makes short videos and films about Indigiqueer issues. She completed her BFA at ECUAD in 2005, and her MA at Ryerson University in 2015. She is Plains Cree/Scots, and a member of Little Pine First Nation.

Katherine Connell

Katherine Connell (Katie) is a critic, programmer, and educator. She is a staff writer for the London-based feminist film journal Another Gaze and her writing has appeared in various publications including Bitch Media, Canadian Art, Cinema Scope, Hyperallergic, MUBI Notebook, Reverse Shot,, and POV Magazine. Katie has participated in film programming for both Pleasure Dome and Inside Out. She writes most frequently about queerness and spectatorship, literary adaptation, horror, and the subversive pleasures of fandom.

Alex Hall

Alex Hall is a writer based in Toronto, Ontario. She is the creator of, Lezzie Borden, an Instagram account that examines and archives depictions of queer women in horror. Her work specializes in the interplay of hauntings, queerness and theory. You can read her work in Room, Feels Zine, Gayly Dreadful, Anatomy of a Scream and Neon Horror. Most recently, she has contributed a chapter to a forthcoming book of essays on Queer Horror.

Petula Neale

In the beforetime, Petula hosted her podcast at In a TIFF about films and the Toronto International Film Festival.Now she is the co-host for Back Issue Bloodbath, a podcast about comic books. You can enjoy those alone at home.

Victor Stiff

Victor Stiff is a Toronto-based film critic who has written for POV Magazine, The Playlist, Film School Rejects, Screen Rant, and the Canadian Academy and hosts and produces the YouTube series Dope Black Movies. Victor is the current news editor and senior critic at That Shelf, where he has covered TIFF, Sundance, Hot Docs and the Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma. In 2020, Victor received the Toronto Film Critics Association's Emerging Critic award.