As much as I might not be a huge fan of the multitude of film festivals and awards shows where awards are seemingly given away for almost anything these days, some festivals do provide a valuable service to the filmmaking community. I'm specifically referring more to the ones that showcase independent and lower budget films or genres that traditionally don't fit easily into the mandate of the major awards shows or festivals. One of these gatherings is the Toronto After Dark Film Festival -- which is now gearing up for its 2nd go-around.

At this particular event, which bills itself as "Canada's premier showcase of thrilling international cinema," you'll be exposed to and have the chance to experience a diverse slate of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and thrilling films not just from Canada, but from around the world. Part of the mandate of the fest is to expose people to innovative and independent cinema they might not otherwise get to experience in a theater setting. The fest also helps to foster homegrown talent by offering a program featuring Canadian filmmakers who might not otherwise have their films exposed to a large audience (or, in some cases, any audience at all).

Of course, according to the fest's official site, even though they have a large selection of features, shorts and other film-related programming, its not all about the movies. During the event there will also be several parties hosted by the fest as well as, according to the site, a "hugely popular zombie walk" in downtown Toronto. Screenings of great films from undiscovered talent that helps promote independent filmmaking and zombies? What could be better than that? The fest runs from October 19-25.