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Take 5 with “The Ghost Pepper Eating Contest of Jefferson County”

We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Sam Frazier, director of The Ghost Pepper Eating Contest of Jefferson County.” This film will be screening Friday, February 7 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.

#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

Once a year, the Sidewalk Film Festival hosts its fundraising event, the Salsa Showdown. It is a combination food festival (with salsa/ guacamole/ queso taste tests) and family affair (including pinata smashes and a children’s play area). But the real highlight is the freak show that is hot pepper eating contest. Here contestants eat increasing spicy peppers up to and including the ‘ghost pepper’—the hottest pepper known to mankind. There is no real reward, except bragging rights, yet it holds host to many university researchers, doctors, and other successful people from different walks of life.

#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

You NEVER want to be in the last two of a hot pepper eating contest. Never.

#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

Born to a moviemaking lay family, I began my film “career” as a submission screener and venue manager for the Sidewalk Film Festival as well as a reviewer for Then there was the early 2000’s which, let’s face it, were a bit of a wet blur. Fun though. Anyway, now I make short documentaries of smart people doing stupid things for no apparent reason. It was the next logical step if you think about it.

#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?

This hot pepper eating contest does take place every year and is a benefit for the Sidewalk Film Festival. That much is true. Does it take place exactly the way I portray it? Well, no. But as the old Scottish saying goes, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

Our next stop on the festival tour is Cinequest in San Jose. It’s an Oscar qualifier, so we’re all pretty psyched!

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