"Synonymous With"

The main character Syn, from the short film ‘Synonymous With.’

The Friday night screening of “Plan 9 from Outer Space” at the Astoria International Film Festival will be followed by three short films, including a project with local ties.

“Synonymous With,” released in 2021, was directed by Thom Hilton. The filmmaker is the son of Astoria City Councilor Tom Hilton.

The 12-minute mockumentary-style short stars Remy Germinario as Syn, a former host of a horror movie show on a defunct public access channel, who is interviewed by a film student, played by Hilton.

“Basically it’s about a gay Vampira,” Hilton said. “The guy realizes he’s spent his entire twenties doing just this show and now he’s having to find out what to do with his time and who he is as a person. It takes place around Halloween.”

Syn channels Vampira in his presentations. Hilton also drew inspiration from the horror movie show “Sinister Cinema,” which ran on KATU, the ABC affiliate in Portland in the 1970s. Although typically hosts in the genre are spooky men or buxom, vampiric women, the character Syn is an awkward, mellow fellow with an old fashioned look.

Hilton is a long-time Portland and New York resident, and found out about the festival when his father sent him the poster of the upcoming film festival. The filmmaker submitted his film the next day.

“Turned out to be kismet, I guess, because a lot of the focus of the festival (is) about Vampira,” Hilton reflected.

The Hiltons are currently working on a tight-lipped nonfiction film project.

“Many people who live in Astoria have already been a part of it,” said Hilton. “It’s really gorgeous.”

“Synonymous With” is available for viewing on Vimeo.

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