Five Questions: Igor Shteyrenberg of Popcorn Frights

“Never lose a holy curiosity,” says the co-director of Popcorn Frights, Miami’s first and only horror film festival.


One of the most prominent figures in the Miami film scene, Igor Shteyrenberg is filled with boundless energy . A graduate of USC’s film school, Igor worked on the Miami International Film Festival  before moving on to becoming the youngest ever director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival. Igor believes, above all, that the films a community is exposed to are powerful tools for bonding.  We had the opportunity to ask him five questions about his latest project: Popcorn Frights, Miami’s first horror film festival.

Well, to start us off, why a genre-specific film festival? And why Horror?

For the longest time, Miami was utterly devoid of a genre scene. The fact there was such a large under-served community inspired us [Igor and his partner, Marc Ferman] to take a leap and create our Popcorn Frights Film Festival. Horror has always been one of my favorite genres, because of how diverse the sub-genres are.

In 2015 you guys started Popcorn Frights with four films. A year later, you closed with 34. Was this growth because of efforts from you and Marc, or was the growth a little more organic?

I’m happy to say that Popcorn Frights has boomed, experiencing unprecedented growth and success that’s largely thanks to the support of our film lovers and partners. It was inevitable that our lineup would blossom and grow due to this increased audience demand and hunger. We have film lovers driving all the way up from Orlando and others near Key West just to attend our events–almost all of which sell out and receive capacity crowds. Again and again, we hear such gratitude and enthusiasm for our events, which only goes to reinforce our commitment to continue to strive to provide the best Festival experience to our city.

This might sound trivial, but I’m curious. Why isn’t the Popcorn Frights horror-themed film festival held in October, closer to Halloween?

Evil loves to party, so why not throw Florida’s biggest horror bash when school’s out and everyone’s on summer vacation?

What’s your biggest takeaway from this project, now that you’ve successfully organized it for two years in a row and have been able to see it grow?

You should never lose a holy curiosity and always be willing to jump into the fire to pursue it.

What do you wish you could do with the festival that you feel you haven’t been able to do yet? (If you feel something like that, at all).

The possibilities for Popcorn Frights are limitless. It is our goal that the Festival will build a reputation for the caliber of films we showcase and the unique experiences we will bring to the forefront each year. As we look ahead, we hope to expand our platform to present industry-centered events that help’s foster aspiring filmmakers, as it’s truly the first time you get to see or hear these emerging voices. They speak with a strength and a passion and a clarity that’s not compromised as they go into the process of making films at a higher level.

Article by: Carlos Paolini

carlos01Carlos is interning for the FIU Film Studies Program, Fall 2016 semester. He majors in English and is also pursuing the FIU Film Studies Certificate.