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.

 

 

 

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,

jellywrestler

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",

capturedbird

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!

Rebecca Thomson Wins Aussie Pitch Competition For Lesbian Zombie Musical

Aussie genre director Rebecca Thomson (she made the sci-fi comedy "Slashed") wins a pitch competition for her feature musical horror film idea based on her short film "Cupcake: A Zombie Lesbian Musical."

The competition allowed filmmakers to pitch their ideas to over  700 screen producers at the SPAA Conference, called the Holding Redlich Pitching Competition.  She gets cash and a trip to the film market of her choice (including Cannes).

Another finalist pitch-er was  Kirsty Stark, whose sci-fi epic series "Wastelander Panda" we've written about before and is directed by Victoria Cocks;  the live action tale of the last remaining panda in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Congrats, Rebecca!!

 

Nov 29th – Cal State University Viscera Screenings in Los Angeles

On November 29th, 2012, my alma mater will be hosting a night of films from the Viscera and Etheria Film Festivals for the Gender and Womens Studies Students Association for Feminist Awareness Week.

Check it out.

The lineup?

A feminist horror film can show horror from a woman's point of view, or it can challenge the way we look at "horror" and the genre. These four horror films, selected from the 2012 Viscera Film Festival lineup, challenge the idea that a killer always has to be a masked male figure stalking virginal coeds. These films reverse the trope that men are the killers and women are the killed, and explore what kinds of women might end up being the villains in a horror movie scenario. Horror selections from the 2012 Viscera Film Festival (www.viscerafilmfestival.com):

"Nice Guys Finish Last" directed by Kimberly McCullough (USA)

"The Morning After" directed by Jen Moss (UK)

"Barbie Girls" directed by Vinciane Millereau (France)

"Sylvie" directed by Valerie Khoudari Ratner (Colombia)

The Viscera Organization put on the first Etheria Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival in September 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Many of the science fiction and fantasy films we screened focused on challenging patriarchal ideas of white heterosexual male sexuality and traditional gender roles. These three selections weave fantasy and science fiction into new ways of thinking about our gender and sexuality, which is what feminism is all about. Sci-Fi/Fantasy selections from the 2012 Etheria Film Festival (www.etheriafilmfestival.com):

"Laura Keller-NB" directed by Maureen Perkins (USA)

"Slashed" directed by Rebecca Thomson (Australia)

"The Maiden and the Princess" directed by Ali Scher (USA)

Etheria Film Festival 2012: Science Fiction and Fantasy Directed By Women

It's been on my mind that while programming the Viscera Film Festival, I come accross so many amazing short films directed by women that aren't quite horror-y enough, or not horror at all, but that still have an amazing fantastical element to them. It makes me sad to have to forget about those films. So, in 2012, we decided not to.

The Viscera Organization has decided to put on a new festival: all short sci-fi and fantasy directed by women. I came up with the name Etheria because (duh) it is She-Ra's home planet. And who stands for fantastical women more awesomely than She-Ra herself? Princess of Power?

On September 15th, 2012, in Boston Massachusetts at the Somerville Theater, The Etheria Film Festival will have its world premiere screening. Tickets are only, like, 15 bucks, and we're looking forward to co-hosting the event with the amazing Chris Hallock of All Things Horror.

You can check out the official website, and check out the event page on Facebook. In the meantime, check out the official lineup, which I'm so excited to finally be able to announce! Each and every one of these films is effing amazing.

Fantasy Category

Seamstress  – Gracie Otto (Australia)
An ailing bird watcher becomes obsessed with a seamstress living next door when he observes her luring birds into her home. He discovers that she needs the birds to survive, and that he may hold the key to furthering the species.


Oowie Wanna  – Bridget Palardy (USA)
While doing laundry, a misfit 7-year-old girl tumbles into an alluring other-world, where she must decide the fate of her birthmark.


Prita Noire – Sofia Carrillo (Mexico)
A fantastical animated story of two sisters in a strange place, and their strange relationship.


She Wolf – Francesca Reverdito (Italy)
Little Red Riding Hood turns the table on the wolf.


The Maiden and the Princess  – Ali Scher (USA)
A fairy tale about a young girl who loves the princess instead of the prince.


The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting – Emily Carmichael (USA)
A Brooklyn couple have dinner with a hunter and his girlfriend, a magical swan woman. It doesn't go well.


The Stolen – Karen Lam (Canada)
A dark fairytale about an imaginative little girl who saves a bullied boy and is granted a secret wish.


The Red Hood  – Danishka Esterhazy (Canada)
A dark re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood set in the Canadian prairies during the Great Depression.

Sci-Fi Category

The Provider – Brianne Nord-Stewart (Canada)
In an alternate-history 1940s small town America, after Japan retaliates over Hiroshima with biological warfare, the local doctor’s home is the safest place to seek refuge. Or is it?


Undetected – Kristen Anderson (USA)
A blown engine on a remote road forces two sisters to look for help in a ghost-town from a couple that closely resembles the living dead.


Laura Keller – Maureen Perkins (USA)
With global population at an extreme high, federal fertility lotteries now determine who can and can’t reproduce. When one woman learns that she will be permanently sterilized, her faith in the system is shaken.


Imminent Danger – Alana McNair (USA)
Whoops! After an unintentional button pressing incident alerting Earth of its impending demise, Gail must find a way to reverse this misunderstanding and save the world!


Kaboomtown – Jakqui Schuler (USA)
As the human race keeps on exploding around her, Jane struggles to fill out a stack of application forms to stay alive.


Slashed  – Rebecca Thomson (Australia)
Worlds will collide when Renata and Frieda's erotic fantasies cross the digital frontier.


Volcano Girl – Ashley Maria (USA)
Fighting super villains is easy. Losing your superhero job, moving back home and sharing a bathroom with your little sister? Now that’s hard.


Feature Program

We Are All Cylons – Ilana Rein (USA)
We Are All Cylons investigates our very human enthusiasm for technology and myth by examining the metaphysical resonances of the television series “Battlestar Galactica.”


Special Guest Judges:

Rachel Talalay (director, Nightmare on Elm Street 6, Tank Girl)
Suzi Yoonessi (director, Dear Lemon Lima)

Stacie Ponder (artist/writer “Womanthology”, “RPG”)

Andre Dumas (journalist, TheHorrorDigest)

Chris Hallock (AllThingsHorrorOnline.net)

Mike Snoonian (AllThingsHorrorOnline.net)

Lynn Hershman Leeson (director, Teknolust”)

Christopher Golden (author, The Ferryman)

Jennifer M. Kroot (director, It Came From Kuchar)

Nicole McConvery (Program Director, Boston Underground Film Festival)

Richard Griffin (director, Exhumed, Disco Exorcist, Nun of That)

Liz Coffey (Film Preserver, Harvard Film Archive)

Lisa Hammer (director, Pox, The Invisible Life of Thomas Lynch)


2012 Viscera Film Festival Official Selections!

It's so nice to be able to announce this publicly.

After a grueling judging competition that involved hair-pulling-out, myself, Shannon Lark, Stacy Hammon, Kayley Viteo,  our judges, and all of the rest of the staff of the Viscera Film Festival were finally able to narrow down our amazing submissions to one final lineup of 13 short films. Competition was unbelievable. Unbelievable. We had to turn away so many good films because we just simply didn't have room to screen them all. Do you know how hard it is to turn away a really good movie from your festival for no reason other than that you just don't have space for them all? It's kind of cool, but heartbreaking, too.

We've come a long way from the first festival. Last year we had 80 submissions for roughly 13 spots. This year we had over 150. While this means that we will inevitably have to reject amazing films, it also means that more women are making horror shorts, and more women are submitting those shorts to festivals. Those are very good things.

Not only that, but this year we have decided to screen a feature film as well; a special sneak peek of Danielle Harris's amazing new feature horror film "Among Friends!"

Without further ado, here are the 2012 Viscera Film festival Official Selections, which will screen at The Egyptian Theater on July 7th, 2012, and the Tour Selections, which will not screen at the July 7th event but will be a part of our World Tour along with the Official Selections:

Shorts Program:
Baby Face – Kate Shenton
Barbie Girls – Vinciane Millereau
Bloodtraffick – Jen Thym
Escape From Hellview – Hadas Brandes
How to Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused By You – Nadia Litz
Jump – Louisa Fielden
Nice Guys Finish Last – Kimberly McCollough
Sibling Rivalry (Under 18) – Tara-Nicole Azarian
The Dump – Rebekah McKendry
The Halloween Kid – Axelle Carolyn
The Morning After – Jen Moss
The Night Caller – Donna Thorland and Peter Podgursky
The Third Eye – Caroline du Potet

Feature Sneak Peek: Among Friends-Danielle Harris

2012 Tour Official Selections

Apple Head – Rebecca Thomson
Baby Face – Kate Shenton
Barbie Girls – Vincianes Millereuu
Bloodtraffick – Jen Thym
Dead Friends – Katelyn D. Mann & Stephen W. Martin
Escape From Hellview – Hadas Brandes
Hawkins Hill – Sara Seligman
How to Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused By You – Nadia Litz
Jump – Louise Fielden
Locked In – Valeria Appel
Monster Slayer – Valorie Caskey Ebeling
My Mom and Other Monsters – Kate Tsang
Nice Guys Finish Last – Kimberly McCollough
Neighbors – Robyn Simms & Stephen Johnson
Red- Maude Michaud
Road Rage – Barbara Stepansky
Sibling Rivalry (Under 18) – Tara-Nicole Azarian
Sheeties – Paula Haifley
Smothered – Unn Lilleaas
Sylvie – Valerie Khoudari Ratner
Summer of the Zombies – Ashleigh Nichols
The Provider – Brianne Nord-Stewart
The Dump – Rebekah McKendry
The Halloween Kid – Axelle Carolyn
The Morning After – Jen Moss
The Night Caller- Donna Thorland and Peter Podgursky
The Third Eye – Caroline du Potet
Undetected – Kristen Anderson-Suave
Zeke – Dana Buning

WOW Sydney Screens "Crumble", 'Ray Morley", "Nice Guys Finish Last", "Slashed", and "Natural Order of Things"

The WIFT WOW Festival (it stands for, like, "Women in Film on… something. I don't know) in Sydney, Australia will screen Rebecca Thomson's sci-fi comedy "Slashed",

the animated sci-fi "The Natural Order of Things" by Sarah Seeby, Nicola Quilter's comedic fantastical horror "Ray Morley", Kimberley McCullough's AFI horror "Nice Guys Finish Last",

and Renata Bialkowska's thriller "Crumble"

 

March 6-16th, 2012.

 

Soksas, AllThingsHorror, Donner Pass, Stepansky, Paladin: This Week's News About Women Genre Film Directors

So, what kind of shit did you miss this week? I made it nice and concise for you so you can follow and don't get left behind.
AllThingsHorror celebrated Women in Horror Month by writing about four up-and-coming female horror film directors: Julie Ufema ("Caveat"), Ashleigh Nichols ("Summer of the Zombies"), Karen Lam ("Doll Parts"), and Elise Robertson ("Donner Pass").

Elise Robertson was interviewed by Fearnet about her horror feature "Donner Pass". She says,

On my first reading of the script, I thought, "This is going to be fun." Once I got into it, I discovered that I really liked this genre. You are dealing with such high emotions, and there is so much to do, visually. You are always trying to create suspense or do a lot with the camera to create mood and tone.

ScreenHub Australia featured an article written by filmmaker Donna McCrae ("Johnny Ghost") about Tasmania's Stranger with My Face Film Festival curated by Aussie directors Briony Kidd ("The Room at the Top of the Stairs") and Rebecca Thomson ("Cupcake"). Unfortunately, it's a paid-view site, so go ahead and disable "javascript" in your browser and you can bypass that crap and read it anyway. This also works for any paid news site, including The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times. Suck it, Times!
Anne K. Black's fantasy feature "Paladin" is out on DVD and was reviewed by Heropress, which said:
Writer/director Anne K Black has also taken the time to weave Will's story into a well-thought-out world – with a number of Dungeons & Dragons-style "character classes" being name checked through the script from the mystical, dragonslaying paladins to the magically-gifted (and feared) conjurers.
Fangoria Magazine #31, out on newsstands now, features an interview with Canadian filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" as well as preview of Laura Lau's theatrical "Silent House":

Barbara Stepansky ("Fugue", "Hurt") got the interview treatment by Women in Horror Month blogger Justin Hamelin and she says witty, introspective things that I like such as:

I don’t know if it’s necessarily easier for female directors to tap into that. Of the top of my head I could think of at least ten male directors who are incredible psychological horror masterminds. Brad Anderson’s “Session 9” is my personal pinnacle in terms of the types of movies I want to make. I do feel that female filmmakers have a more natural tendency to bring character and motivation to the forefront before getting to the gore and violence part of it all. I have a hard time diving into a slew of kills before I’ve gotten to know and started to care for my characters. I don’t think there’s much fun in just going from one violent death to the next without a point. Then again, I was never a huge fan of one-night-stands either. Maybe there’s a correlation.

MovieMaker Magazine has a long interview with Emily Hagins ("Pathogen", "My Sucky Teen Romance") on their website. She speaks a little about her second and third films, the ghost story "The Retelling" and the vampiric teen comedy "My Sucky Teen Romance":

I made some more shorts and music videos before making my second feature film, The Retelling. That movie was definitely another stepping stone for me as a filmmaker, because I was faced with the most challenges I’ve ever had on making a movie. I think a huge difference between my first two features andMy Sucky Teen Romance is that, for the first two, I just wanted to make a feature.

 

Stranger With My Face Festival Wins

The first annual Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival in Hobart, Tasmanier, Australier, went off with a huge bang! Curated by Aussie filmmakers Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson, the festival had a dark, fantastical edge and a focus on the female side of horror, and was an official 'Women in Horror Recognition Month' event.

Now, this is the kicker. MY short film, "Wretched", won Best Short Film of the fest. I'm not kidding! I would have reported the news whoever won (I swear) but I'm especially impressed with myself and my film today.

I made the film with director Leslie Delano and DP/Editor Jessica Gallant. I wrote and produced and co-directed the very personal story about a bulimic woman. There is lots of blood in the movie. It stars Joe Bob Briggs and Jamie Andrews (she's in, like, ever commercial in the USA right now as we speak).

The Best Short Film Runner-up wasVictoria Waghorn's  Viscera alumnus "When Sally Met Frank", a native Aussie film about the horrors of society's obsession with plastic surgery.

Hey, if I can't write about myself on my own blog, then where CAN I?

Aussie Women Horror Directors: Stranger With My Face Festival

There are a handful of severely talented aussie women who direct offbeat, quirky, strange, weird, and horrifying films, such as Briony Kidd ("The Room at the Top of the Stairs"), Rebecca Thomson ("Cupcake: A Zombie Lesbian Musical"), Ursula Dabrowsky ("Inner Demon"), Victoria Waghorn ("When Sally Met Frank") and I'm sure quite a few more. Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson have formed a new Women in Horror Month event called Stranger With My Face: a fantastic film festival that will dedicate a portion of screen time to horror directed by women.

Briony Kidd is a veteran of the Viscera Film festival 2011, which is how I met her and how she became part of "the group." By that, I mean that I think Kidd is going to be a permanent part of the Viscera family, just like how Canadian Karen Lam (also from 2011's Viscera Festival) is now permanently stuck to us and will never be allowed to leave (alive).

Kidd betrays the intellectual and dark appeal of the festival with the description: Deriving its name from the young adult horror novel by Lois Duncan, the festival explores themes of the the shadow self, tapping into archetypes like the evil twin and the mad woman in the attic.

Taking place in Hobart, Tasmania (yes, that is a part of Australia! Who knew? Not Americans!) on February 17th through 19th, 2012 Stranger With My Face will screen films from the Viscera library in a special showcase.  So far, Stranger With My Face is screening Emily Carmichael's "The Ghost and Us," Karen Lam's "Doll Parts,"  Lola Rock n' Rolla's "I was a Tranny Werewolf." "Barbee Butcher" by  Sophie Laguës, Gigi Romero's "The Party’s Over,"  "Beautiful as You Are" by Doug Malette and Mary Katherine Sisco, Kidd's own gothic thriller "The Room at the Top of the Stairs," Victoria Waghorn's "When Sally Met Frank," and my film "Wretched" – made with Leslie Delano and Jessica Gallant.

Talks ("Q n A's" or "Panels" in American English) on gender, horror, fantasy, and filmmaking which will intersperse the weekend as well. Keep an eye on the festival for updates to the film slate.

Rebecca Thomson and… "Jelly Wrestler"?

Check out the fundraising campaign for Tasmanian genre director Rebecca Thomson's next flick: here it is. Thomson's previous film is a zombie/lesbian/musical, so it's almost not surprising that her new film is about wrestling in jelly.

"The Jelly Wrestler" is described as, "the story of washed up barmaid Cheryl, crowned Queen of the Gelatine in the 80s at the peak of her career, but who has been on a slippery gelatinous slope downhill ever since.

When the pub where she works decides to hold a jelly wrestling championship, Cheryl sees an opportunity to relive her glory days, as well as win the respect of her hip young colleagues.

But in order to have one last shot at the gelatinous crown, Cheryl must not only grapple with her younger more supple opponents, but put down for the count her own jelly wrestling demons – a task that may well be beyond her."

Niiiice. You can follow the film's progress on the Facebook group for now.