Tasmania’s Stranger With My Face International Film Festival will return for its fourth edition from April 14-17, 2016.
Named after the dark YA novel by Lois Duncan, Stranger With My Face focuses on female perspectives in genre film, with an emphasis on showcasing the work of women directors. Held over four days in Hobart, Tasmania’s picturesque capital city, the festival hosts screenings, lectures, workshops and exhibits, as well as satellite events year-round.
The event taps into the state’s evolving artistic tradition of “Tasmanian Gothic,” a product of its dark history and isolation from mainland Australia. Initiated as a grassroots event to celebrate Women in Horror Month in 2012, the event has grown rapidly to become a key event for those looking to genre filmmaking for new ideas and voices. Past special guests have included Jennifer Lynch and Penny Vozniak for Despite the Gods and Chained, pioneering Laotian horror filmmaker Mattie Do with Chanthaly, a presentation by horror scholar and author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical History) and Aussie vet Ann Turner, who opened the festival with her 1989 cult classic Celia in 2014.
“There’s a great awareness right now that women are underrepresented in the film industry and audiences are hungry for female-driven stories,” says Festival Director Briony Kidd. “Combine that with the innovation characteristic of the indie horror scene currently, and we’re seeing an explosion of female genre talent that makes Stranger With My Face more relevant than ever.”
With its recently-revamped website and increased international reach, SWMF establishes itself as one of the key platforms for genre film in Australia, and an integral part of the larger women-in-horror movement worldwide.
A new addition to the festival team this year is longtime genre film programmer and writer Kier-La Janisse, author of the film memoir, House of Psychotic Women. Janisse is serving a residency with Stranger With My Face until July 2016. “Stranger With My Face is a brilliantly-curated festival and I wanted to be a part of the enormous potential I saw here,” says Janisse. “With so many gutsy female-centric genre films in recent years, this is a very exciting place to be.”
The call for submissions is now open, with both feature length and short films made after January 1, 2015 eligible for consideration. The festival takes a broad approach to horror, with dark fantasy, Gothic melodrama, horror comedy, dystopian sci-fi, animation, documentary and experimental hybrids all qualifying for the selective festival lineup.
While submissions are open to filmmakers of all genders, only films by those who identify as women are eligible for awards.
Stranger With My Face presents the return of The Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge!
Stranger With My Face also has a strong focus on production initiatives, as is evidenced by the success of its two annual filmmaking challenges - the Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge and the 48-Hour Tasploitation Challenge. Winning projects from these competitions have gone on to enjoy industry success, in some cases acting as a catalyst for a career change into the area of genre production.
The Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge is open internationally to participants who wish to write a 6-page script in 48 hours, to be assessed and awarded by a panel of judges including Simon Barrett (writer of You’re Next and The Guest), Stephanie Trepanier (Producer of Turbo Kid and Director of Development for Snowfort Pictures) and Dr. Shelagh Rowan-Legg (Film critic for Sight and Sound, Twitch and programmer for Film4 Fright Fest). The winning script of the inaugural Script Challenge in 2012, Heidi Lee Douglas’ Little Lamb, went into production and screened internationally as a festival hit. The Challenge welcomes both experienced and novice screenwriters, as well as writers from other disciplines such as playwriting and fiction. Applications open Monday February 1, 2016 - please visit www.strangerwithmyface.com for registration and contest details.
Stranger With My Face is also proud to support local production by offering the annual 48-hour Tasploitation Challenge, which took place the weekend of January 22nd - 24th with a screening of the finished films on Monday January 25th. This year the jury was led by veteran producer Julie Corman, with Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood; Electric Boogaloo), Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones; the Devil’s Candy) and more.
About Stranger With My Face International Film Festival
Stranger With My Face International Film Festival is based in Hobart, Tasmania, founded by filmmakers Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson. Deriving its name from the young adult novel by Lois Duncan, it explores the idea of ‘the horror within’ and promotes discussion around genre and gender, from ghost stories to gore, from art house to exploitation. SWMF has a focus on female directors working in horror and related genres and aims to highlight bold new work by independent filmmakers. Stranger With My Face is a founding member of the Women’s Alliance of Fantastic Film Festivals (WAFFF), along with Etheria Film Night (Los Angeles), Tokyo Scream Queens Film Festival and Ax Wound Film Festival (Brattleboro). It was voted in the Top 5 Cooleset Women’s Film Festivals in the world by Movie Maker Magazine in 2013 and guest filmmaker Jennifer Lynch (Chained, The Walking Dead) described it as follows:
“Nothing short of magical. It was transformative for me. I think what is being done there, and celebrated there and made possible as a result, is the best I have seen at any fest… I want to be there every year.”
About Briony Kidd, Festival Director:
Briony Kidd is a Tasmanian-based playwright, filmmkaer, director and producer a graduate of the VCA Film School in Melbourne. She has written and directed short films that have won awards around the world and has several feature film projects in development, including projects funded by Film Victoria and Screen Tasmania. She has been involved in theatre since 2006, when she wrote and produced a play for Melbourne Fringe. She wrote and directed Death by Television for Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2011 and followed that up with various smaller projects, including The Pit, the ‘pilot’ for a new radio/theatre hybrid project called Radio Gothic, in 2015. In addition to her own creative pursuits and running the Stranger With My Face International Film Festival, Briony runs events for writers, teaches screenwriting and is a script consultant. She’s also a freelance writer specialising in arts and film.
About Kier-La Janisse:
Kier-La Janisse is a film writer and programmer, the founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Spectacular Optical Publications. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival in Vancouver (1999-2005) and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She has written for Filmmaker, Shindig!, Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011) and Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade (Lexington Books, 2015) and is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012). She co-edited Kid Power! and Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s with Paul Corupe, and is currently writing A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time, about children’s programming from 1965-1985.