XX Anthology: Horror Directed By Women

I leave the Internet for a few hours to get my mustache waxed and the next thing I know, this big project is announced! I have been looking forward to this announcement for some time since director Jovanka Vuckovic told me this was brewing, and I've secretly yearned to know the details. Now we have them!

Jovanka Vuckovic is really the driving force behind this anthology of horror segments all directed by women. It was her initial spark that gave this project the power it has: she gathered some of the best female horror directors of our time: Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO), Karyn Kusama (JENNIFER'S BODY), Jennifer and Sylvia Soska (AMERICAN MARY), Jennifer Lynch (CHAINED), and animator Sofia Carrillo (PRITA NOIRE) for the first female-directed  horror film anthology.

XX is the title, but there are no plot descriptions yet. The anthology will also feature female leads.

From the official press release:

Producer Todd Brown said, "One of the givens of so many horror films has been the objectification of young women, and we thought it was time for a different approach to scaring audiences and letting the female voice be heard."

Greg Newman, EVP of Dark Sky Films' parent company, MPI Media Group says, "We know that women make up about half of the audience for horror films, and yet the female creative voice has been nearly silent in the horror genre. So we are thrilled about the new and distinct approach that these talented directors will bring to the project."

But I would rather hear from Vuckovic or the other directors, dudes!

I'm on this like I'm on horror films directed by women (white on rice).

XX horror anthology directed by women

Where Are All The Female ABC'S OF DEATH 2 Directors?

Meredith Borders, managing editor of BadassDigest, a genre news film site run by the people at Drafthouse Films, just posted a short article wondering where are all the female entrants to the second ABC'S OF DEATH contest.

You see, the first film was essentially a sausage fest except for two segments out of the 26: one directed by Angela Bettis (ROMAN) and the other co-directed by Helene Cattet (AMER). This year, the ratio is slightly better: three women directors, Jen and Sylvia Soska (co-directing one segment) and Kristina Buozyte with a potential fourth female director if one happens to win the current contest in which filmmakers are asked to submit a short film and viewers vote to pick the new director.  The comments on the article range from people lamenting how they can't name more than five women horror director to people suggesting that Karen Lam, Jovanka Vuckovic, and Maude Michaud are good possibilities to people saying that the reason women don't direct horror is because women characters are marginalized in horror and in our culture et cetera.

Borders states she is a feminist and I am really happy that someone with so much power at Drafthouse is willing to come out and say that she really wishes there were more women included in this thing. However, Borders doesn't ask the question that I think is really obvious: why were only three women asked to participate in THE ABC'S OF DEATH 2 from the get-go?

"Because there aren't any women horror directors to ask," you suggest? There are actually like dozens. I can name dozens. Right now. Danielle Harris, Karen Lam, Barbara Stepansky, Jovanka Vuckovic, Brea Grant, Axelle Carolyn, Marina de Van, Caroline Dupotet, Rie Rasmussen, Kristina Klebe, Devi Snively, Sofia Carrillo, Faye Jackson, Rania Ajami, Emily Hagins (she seems like a no-brainer for Drafthouse, which has been one of her biggest supporters in Austin, Texas), Amber Benson, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Maude Michaud, Izabel Grondin, Danishka Esterhazy, Elza Kephart, Gigi Romero, Asia Argento, Debbie Rochon, Mae Catt, Rebekah McKendry, Marichelle Daywalt, Anouk Whissell, Julia Ostertag, Tii Riks, Jen Moss, Jessi Gotta, Lindsay Denniberg, Juliet Landau, Isabelle Gaumont, Jenn Wexler, Mattie Do, Amy Hesketh, Jen Thym, Ursula Dabrowsky… and this is just off the top of my head. Any of these directors would be completely qualified to stand next to The Soskas and any of the male directors already currently hired for the ABC'S OF DEATH 2. Not to mention that there are women directors with long careers in horror and even cult followings that may be available for something like this including Amy Holden Jones, Jennifer Lynch, Mary Harron, Mary Lambert, Katt Shea, Jackie Kong, Barbara Peeters, Tammi Sutton, and Deryn Warren. And, I can think of some actresses and writers that have been interested in directing for a long time who would be not only great at cutting their teeth on an ABC'S OF DEATH 2 segment but would also bring a lot of fan love  to the entire project like Tiffany Shepis, Diablo Cody, Heather Langenkamp, Juliet Snowden, and Brinke Stevens.

I think, if maybe more women directors were represented as actual hires from the beginning, more women would be encouraged to actually enter the contest. I'm not surprised some women may not feel encouraged or excited about entering if they feel that there's already a barrier between them and the project. I'm curious why more women were not initially hired, especially when there are people at Drafthouse, like Borders, who are clearly aware of women directors and want more of them in the project. If the producers are interested in what women are doing, they're more than welcome to read my blog. And I'd be happy to make any suggestions or connections they might need for an ABC'S OF DEATH 3 that is more gender-balanced. The real tragedy here, of course, is that they haven't read my blog. I mean, that's the main, larger, much more important issue: me and my stuff and my ego. Me. Me. Me.

EDIT: director Marcy Boyle (NOBODY CAN COOL) reminded me of an article I wrote in 2011 about this same issue, to which producer Ant Timpson responded.  You can read the article here, and this was Ant's response to the original article:

Just wanted to say that I actually went all out not to make this a sausage fest and even though I didn't invite Marina (agggrhh one of my favourite films ever is IN MY SKIN) as I had a brainfart and totally forgot about her. Not sure she would have done it but I love her work.

I made an effort to try and get quite a few women involved. I wanted Katt Shea and even approached her via Facebook. You have to understand that this was a low-fi project at the start, Magnet weren't involved it was just myself and Tim trying to put it together. I don't want to mention other names. The issue was that some higher profile women directors simply did not respond or had agents protecting them from projects like this. So what happens is that we fall back onto who we know (and into that bloody boys club) which is directors we have personal contact with and who can make a call about participation immediately. This whole thing was being rushed for Cannes like you wouldn't believe.

I have no issue with the anger in your tone as I believe its totally warranted. It is a sausage fest in horror. I see all these gatherings of horror directors and its always dudes with one token woman in the photos. I don't think there's a conscious decision to exclude but there's also a huge fucking lack of getting them recognition.

Anyway, just wanted to say that there was consideration and I did try. We just had time and some other pressures working against us.

Keep up the good fight.

Ant

 

But my ego aside, here are the current entries in the ABC'S OF DEATH 2 search for the 26th director:

M IS FOR MAKE BELIEVE written and directed by Summer Johnson:

M IS FOR MEMORY co-directed by Melanie Coleman:

M IS FOR MONEY co-directed by Shelly Doss:

M IS FOR MASK directed by Arianne Goddard:

M IS FOR MISERYEATER directed by Alicia R Norman:

M IS FOR MATERNITY WARD directed by Val O. Morris (I know her! Hey Val!):

M IS FOR MOLESTER co-directed by Sebrina Bedard:

M IS FOR MUCUS also co-directed by Sebrina Bedard:

I happen to know that there are a few more women who are going to submit before the deadline, like Ama Lea and Emma Julia Jacobs, and the contest doesn't end submissions until October 31st, 2013 so who knows how many they may get between now and then. Voting goes on until November 30th, 2013 and the winner will be announced on December 15th. I really do hope it's a woman who wins (and because she deserves it, not as a hand-out because of her vagina) just because – honestly – out of 26 segments the producers only invited three women? That's a bit silly.

I'll keep you posted on this!

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)


Los Angeles Film Festival 2012: Scafaria, Sears, Delaurentis, Carrillo, Chapman, Sloan, Heder, Perkins, Mayer, and Garbus

At the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival (which is great because it's in my backyard, which is the number one important thing about any film festival) I'll get a chance to see Lorene Scafaria's sci-fi comedy feature "Seeking a Friend For The End of the World." Finally! Along with some really amazing short sci-fi and fantasy and horror and action all directed by women…

First there's Scafaria's film:

Sofia Carrillo's 2012 Viscera Film Festival Selection "Prita Noire" ("Black Doll") is a short horrific fantasy from Mexico:

Disney/Pixar's animated fantasy "Brave", originally directed by Brenda Chapman before she got the boot:

Two dark comedies, which I consider genre and about which I choose to write, just as I choose to be in my 30s, that look awesome are Sian Heder's "Dog Eat Dog" and "Don't Hug Me, I'm Scared" co-directed by Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling.  "Dog Eat Dog" unfortunately does not have a trailer, but you can watch all of "Don't Hug Me, I'm Scared" along with the original fundraising video from "Dog Eat Dog":

"Humanized" is a sci-fi short directed by teenage actress Olivia Delaurentis:

Maureen Perkins' sci-fi drama "Laura Keller", originally made through "Futurestates," features Amber Benson (also a genre director. It's an incestuous business). Watch it here in entirety, or check out the trailer:

The highlight of the fest, for me, will be Jillian Mayer's fantastical "The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke", which I have been excited about since I first heard of it:

Kelly Sears' multi-award-winning "Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise" is a darkly animated depiction of a terrifying story:

And last is Liz Garbus' short discussion of robots and human friendships "Robot." There is no trailer for this, and this is the world premiere, so it'll likely be the first time most people view it. Gerbus has won serious acclaim for her documentary work, includeing Academy Award nominations. Be all in awe.