Five Australian Women Directors, One Horror Anthology

So delighted that, following on the heels of XX, there's a new all-female-horror anthology in the works from the gals down-under in OZ. The anthology will be set in a small Tasmanian town and will be produced by Lizzette Atkins under Unicorn Films’ ‘Horror from Down Under’ brand.

Isabel Peppard (BUTTERFLIES),  Donna McRae (JOHNNY GHOST),  Ursula Dabrowsky (the DEMON Trilogy), Briony Kidd (THE ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS) and Rebecca Thomson (ZOMBIE LESBIAN MUSICAL) are the five Australian women directors, and this is the film's synopsis:

Australia`s hottest female directors grab horror by the balls and deliver tales of terror and mayhem. Apocalyptic visions, bloodthirsty curses, creatures gone mad, a voodoo granny, a rape revenge reversal and a sadomasochistic sugar daddy make up one gory and gruesome horror flick that will change the cinematic landscape forever. In a small Tasmanian town, haunted by its past and terrified by its future, five stories play out…

In a recent interview in ScreenHub, project helmer Briony Kidd said,

“First of all we have to have another ‘horror camp’ – like we did earlier this year – where we get together and have a road trip and look at spooky locations and discuss and develop our ideas. We all have pretty solid stories, but what we’re working on now is how to twine them all together in the most interesting way. Standard anthologies can often seem a bit slapped together, but we are very concerned that they fit together and have an overall story arc. We have very different styles but we have a lot in common, and we can each play to our strengths. The idea is to create quite a sophisticated story world that’s quite realistic, but within that realist world outrageous stuff starts occurring – as you’d guess from the project description!”

You can read the entire Screen Hub article by Rochelle Siemienowicz right here.




Jennifer Lynch Mentors Isabel Peppard

Just got word that Aussie director and animator Isabel Peppard will be working closely with director Jennifer Lynch in Los Angeles through the Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator program. This mentorship is specifically designed for Peppard to be horror-related, so they'll be working on Peppard's new horror feature script.  Peppard's short animated dark fantasy BUTTERFLIES won the Dendy Yoram Gross Award for Best Short Animation at the Sydney Film Festival. Peppard says:

I'm very excited to announce that I have received support from Screen Australia to undertake an industry mentorship in Los Angeles with Jennifer Lynch (Chained, Surveillance). Together we will work on developing the first draft of my debut horror/stopmotion feature as well as developing my directorial skills with on set experience and workshops. I'm so thrilled to be able to work on my first horror feature as I have literally dedicated my whole life to horror be it in SPFX, performance, visual art, burlesque, music and stopmotion animation.

For someone like me, who is always bitching about how women don't get mentored by established horror directors, this is fucking awesome. I can't wait to see how that feature horror script comes along and what Peppard will do with it.

By the way, how amazing is Australia? That shit just doesn't happen in the USA.


Stranger With My Face Short Film Lineup

The Stranger With My Face Film Festival in Hobart, Tasmania is screening a bevvy of awesome new short genre films directed by women March 7-10, 2013, some of which I have had the pleasure to see and some which I have not.

From Australia, there's Isabel Peppard's fantastic animated story "Butterflies", about an artist who must decide between making a living and fulfilling her dreams,

Also Aussie is Rebecca Thomson's "The Jelly Wrestler", a stylized flick about an 80s gelatin wrestler who makes a comeback,


Megan Riakos's "The Shed", a horror flick based on a short story by Chris Womersley,

Lynn Vincent McCarthy's "Strange Face", a disturbing thriller with some really violent imagery, (no trailer, but here's the original pitch video)

and "Tritch" by Natalie James, an Aussie/Hong Kong short about a wealthy woman haunted by a ghost from her past.

Unfortunately, Heidi Lee Douglas's short horror "Little Lamb" will not be playing, but the trailer will!

The lineup also includes two Canadian entries from Jovanka Vuckovic, "Self-Portrait" and "The Captured Bird",


and one from Karen Lam, "The Stolen".

The US entry, "Nightville", is directed by Kate Kaminski and Betsy Carson,


There are a few more, but they're not genre or are directed by men. There's also a great feature film lineup which we'll be writing about shortly!

New Teaser And Behind-The-Scenes For Isabel Peppard's Animated Horror Fantasy 'Butterflies'

Isabel Peppard's amazing new animated fantastical horror short "Butterflies" finally has a teaser. The level of awesome in this will stun you. Seriously. Peppard refers to the short as her "autobiographical 2 year stopmotion labour of love." Everything in each frame is handmade and hand-animated. Scarily amazing:

Also, check out this neat time-lapse video showing Peppard and one of her animators,  Nick Hilligoss, at work:


News: Jennifer Lynch, 'Butterflies', 'The Silent Thief', Blair Richardson, 'Inner Demon' and Shannon Lark

The Rue Morgue Podcast interviewed Jennifer Lynch about her new horror film, Chained! Listen to the recording here.
Cadaverous Jake wrote a review of Isabel Peppard's short animated horror film "Butterflies" saying,
Everything including the visuals the monologues and the orchestral score come together and the film unfolds like some sort of Gothic fairytale with horror elements which manifest themselves in both the decaying butterflies of the film's title and also upon Claire's co-workers as she begins to understand what their loss of creativity has done to them and threatens to do to her. BUTTERFLIES is easily one of the more unique and satisfying films I have seen in quite some time.
 Jennifer Clary's feature thriller "The Silent Thief" was reviewed on We Are Movie Geeks, which said,
Director Jennifer Clary keeps things moving nicely along, stopping only to ratchet up the creepiness factor.  As Brennan starts feeding off the emotional vulnerabilities of the family—mom’s natural protectiveness, Elise’s attraction, Mike’s secrets—his actions become more and more odd and threatening.  Scenes of Brennan mimicking a video of Mike are downright disturbing.  A running gag involving the placement of toy cars in Mike’s bedroom starts off as amusing, then becomes a symbol of how unhinged Brennan actually is.
Blair Richardson was interviewed on about her new horror film "Kitty Kitty":
“I haven’t been to college to study film,” she said. “This is a chance at telling a story with lighting and working with actors.”
Kelly Stewart, director of the upcoming  Blood in the Snow Toronto Horror Film Festival, was interviewed by The Jay Stoyan Show. Listen to Kelly talk about the amazing lineup, which includes some Viscera Film Festival horror films directed by women!
You can also listen to director Ursula Dabrowsky talking about crowd funding her new feature horror film "Inner Demon" and other things on Aussie podcast Sci-Fi & Squeam.
And Shannon Lark, my co-director of the Viscera Organization, which puts on the Viscera Film Festival, and director and filmmaker in her own right, was interviewed by Diabolique Magazine writer Michele Galgana (also Viscera's new marketing director) about the festival, horror films, and everything else!  She says,
Before, it’d be, “You’re not a man, so you’re probably not going to be able to handle it. You don’t look like a director.” All of these different excuses. Women didn’t really get access to film, because film was so expensive. But with digital equipment, everything is changing. I think that’s one of the reasons why Viscera is so successful.

In The News: Aussie Mags, American Maries, and Terror Scribes

Arguably, I have been slacking on posting "the news" – do you have any idea how many reviews of "American Mary" there are out there? I'd kill myself trying to post them all here. So, instead of dying, I'm going to take a minute to let you know about  new effing cool things you can read for free right now:

Director Lori Bowen ("Stella Buio") wrote a piece called, "What do horror fans want?" for TerrorScribe, in which she says things like,

 Let’s be honest, did you see Night of the Living Dead in a theater in 1968? Halloween in 1978? Elm Street in 1984? Chances are that when you saw the classics, they were on video and while you won’t get the same pleasure of sneaking some forbidden horror behind your parents’ backs by following this suggestion, you will help a struggling filmmaker and you will support the market for indie horror: check out something you’ve never heard of on Netflix or blind buy something from a filmmaker who is self-distributing or even a direct-to-DVD title that catches your fancy. iTunes/xBox/PS3 have indie horror. How is regretting that purchase different from regretting a shitty mainstream movie that you paid for?

Aussie Online Mag ArtsHub interviewed Briony Kidd ("The Room at the Top of the Stairs"), Ursula Dabrowsky ("Inner Demons"), Heidi Lee Douglas ("Little Lamb") and Isabel Peppard ("Butterflies") (alongside Cassandra Peterson) about being women creating horror. They say stuff like,

 ‘As I have been wrapping up the edit on Little Lamb, misogyny has become a mainstream issue again since Julia Gillard’s dynamite speech on the subject. It is a relief to me that we are talking about these subjects openly as a society… Women making horror films about strong female characters is a way we can challenge these problems in a way that both genders can enjoy because horror films can be sexy, playful, entertaining and profound,’ says Douglas.

Not to be outdone, the managing editor of my other site, Planey Fury, Theron Neel, interviewed Jen and Sylvia Soska (alongside their cast) about "American Mary" and observations such as this are made:

Katie continues. "That's the thing, to see a woman in a film— it's usually 'the bitch, 'the slut' or 'the girl next door.' And there is no room for these complicated, dark women." Motioning to the Soskas and Tristan, she says, "All of us, we're a little bit dark. You know? We're smart or we're dark, we're funny, we're eccentric, we're weird. And we don't see that reflected back to us all that often in films."

Also on my site, and also by Neel, is an interview with Maude Michaud ("Red") about Halloween memories:

 One year, I decided to dress up as the Bride of Frankenstein. So, as usual, my grandma made the costume ahead of time, and it fit perfectly. Then, two weeks before Halloween, my parents' house got robbed and I'm guessing the robbers were looking for something to carry the VCR, radio, etc., because they ended up grabbing this thing that looked like a folded white bed sheet to wrap what they stole — this was my costume! However, we didn't find out about it until the night of October 30th when I got home from school and started looking for my costume to try it on for the next day.