Need a cure for your post-spooky-season blues? The Ax Wound Film Festival (AWFF)—now in its fifth year—is ushering in more scares deep into the Fall 2019 season. Spend Friday evening, November 15th and all-day Saturday, November 16th at the Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont with some of the most riveting and intense shorts directed by women.
“Many films are darkly funny and more likely to utilize experimental storytelling over the traditional narratives,” says festival director Hannah “Neurotica” Forman. Neurotica’s vision each year is focused on the myriad perspectives of today’s social climate. “2019 is horror, and we are left to our own devices, camera, pens, and paints to collectively process it.”
Doors open to the public on Friday at 7:30 PM and Saturday at 10:00 AM. Expect free giveaways, raffles, vendors, workshops, presentations, a Filmmaker Q&A, and more. The proceeds earned from the raffle go to the Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery and the Scleroderma Research Foundation. All-access passes that are good for both days are available for purchase at the door for $20.00 (students with ID receive 50% off). Cash only. Lodging, near-by airports, and venue information can be found here.
The Ax Wound Film Festival—the official film festival of Women in Horror Month—is an annual event featuring a diverse selection of horror films written and directed by women around the world. Our showcase includes short film blocks along with a full day of workshops and panels. Described as having a “family vibe,” we aim to empower, inspire, and provide networking opportunities for women-identified filmmakers and artists from all walks of life to end gender inequality in the film industry. AWFF is extremely honored to have been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of their “30 Bloody Best Genre Fests in the World in 2019”.
2019 SELECTED FILMS (In alphabetical order.)
Written and Directed by Julie Sharbutt
When three friends sense danger on a camping trip, they keep each other laughing until a horrible twist makes them feel more alone than ever.
A NIGHT AT THE TABLE
Written and Directed by Tamara S. Hall
A mother prepares food for a seemingly normal family night dinner but, as the conversation between her and her kids grow more peculiar, tension mounts, unveiling a lurking threat at the table.
ALWAYS GOING NEVER GONE
Written and Directed by Wanda Nolan
An Irish Banshee clings to the last living soul of a dying community on the rugged shores of Newfoundland.
ASKING FOR A FRIEND
Written and Directed by Kelsey Bollig
Blake and Q are childhood best friends, roommates, and well—soulmates. After a long day trying to maintain her #girlboss status at work, Blake’s one-track mind is solely set on the nachos Q has promised to make for dinner. In addition to the nachos, however, Q has also unexpectedly managed to kill someone in their apartment. Through a series of heavily graphic and hilarious situations, the girls tap into their inner serial killers and decide to handle the body themselves. Their naivete and inexperience leads to a weekend full of accidental drugs, Saran Wrap, and body that, for whatever reason, will not stop bleeding. So hypothetically speaking—how do you get rid of a body? Asking for a friend.
Written and Directed by Jackie Perez
This short is an adaptation of a Stephen King short story by the same name as part of his Dollar Baby program. Lieutenant Shapiro’s ship is destroyed in a crash on a deserted desert planet covered in sand dunes. As she begins to understand the severity of her situation, she sets out to discover other survivors and concoct a rescue plan.
Written and Directed by Sarah K Reimers
A mysterious and violent encounter sends a dog on a night of adventure and possibility.
BLOOD RUNS DOWN
Written and Directed by Zandashe Brown
When Elize undergoes a frightening transition, Ana must decide between saving her or protecting herself in this haunting account of inheritance, daughterhood, and demons.
BULL MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT
Written and Directed by Vanessa Newell
A horror comedy about a Girl Scout troop leader who discovers the terrifying truth about the legend of Bull Mountain.
CLEAN AS YOU LIKE
Directed by Theresa Varga. Written by Katy Poulter.
Best friends (and cleaners in crime) Bertha and Polly are the last two singletons of their friends group, who vow with a pinky swear to always stick together… Until Jock appears and threatens to rock their relationship with unexpected consequences.
Written and Directed by Dycee Wildman and Jennifer Bonior
A mysterious second-hand organ seduces its new owner to wake up and free her inner-self.
Written and Directed by Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari
Water focuses on the narrative of a deep-sea environment that unexpectedly manifests in the walls of a grieving women’s suburban dwelling; an impossible, flooded inner-architecture. It explores familial trauma and loss through the darkly surreal tale of a woman who discovers an ocean within her house. The life forms that dwell in this space are both real and a manifestation of the resident’s internal psychological state, as she comes to terms with the loss of her mother. Dark Water is underscored by both a sense of human loss and contemporary concerns around habitat loss within our oceans.
Directed by Liz Tabish. Written by Lindsey Lemke.
New Orleans, 1983. As the full moon rises, a punk band known as The Darlings return to their rented mansion after the last leg of their tour. When the radio informs them of an escaped killer on the loose, they are shocked to find him already in the mansion! But these darlings have a vicious side of their own.
Written and Directed by Emma Taubner
After a gardening ritual goes awry, a mourning woman undergoes a drastic transformation.
Written and Directed by Sarah Welsh Elliott
A well-heeled Brooklyn couple expecting their first baby places all of their trust in a highly recommended doula with sinister motives.
Written and Directed by Chell Stephen
Babygirl is gonna find out where Mom’s been sneaking off to in the night and have her eyes opened to the perils and power of womanhood along the way.
Written and Directed by Erica Stockwell-Alpert
A man attempts to sacrifice his son, but isn’t prepared for what he summons.
Written and Directed by Shadi Adib
A mousetrap snaps shut, a market place awakens. A group of men heatedly discuss how to kill the animal in the little box. One after the other, they try to trump each other’s sadistic fantasies, and even a stranger’s suggestion to let the creature loose, turns out to be a sick manipulation. But as the macabre game unfolds and spirals out of control, both victim and tormentor suffer the same fate.
Written and Directed by Christina Raia
An actress is repeatedly catcalled on her way home from a shoot until just the right guy comes her way.
Written and Directed by Diana Porter
In a not distant future, an American couple, expecting their first child, receive the unfortunate news that they are having a miscarriage. The wife is immediately arrested for manslaughter.
IGOR THE VEGAN VAMPIRE
Written and Directed by Noy Levin
Igor is a vampire with a conscience that finds himself unable to eat humans anymore. He tries to go vegan, but just can’t go from human blood to Soy milk! What can save our poor Igor but a bloody love story?
IMAGINE A WORLD
Written and Directed by Joanna Tsanis
Two siblings are visited by an internet salesman who refuses to leave their house until he’s made his sale.
Written and Directed by Catherine Fordham
A woman’s desperate search through truck stops and motels explodes in vigilante justice when she discovers a young girl being trafficked by the same crew of truckers who took her teenage sister.
KILLING TIME WITH LIZZIE BOREDOM
Written and Directed by Elizabeth Theis
Lizzie Boredom is a reclusive sociopath who has convinced herself she’s a television star. Following a traumatic childhood event, Lizzie locked herself away in a rickety old house that she later inherited after her parents mysteriously disappeared. For 25 years, Lizzie’s only escape is through her own nightmarish delusions, where she’s the star of her own ghastly sitcom.
Written and Directed by BJ Colangelo
A young woman on her first date with another woman is forced to come to terms with who and what she has always been.
Written and Directed by Angela Atwood
Three best friends, on a weekend retreat to the Adirondacks, learn a heinous gang rapist has been released from prison nearby. Incensed by the atrocious nature of the crime against a teenaged girl, and incarceration of only one of the perpetrators, the three suburban moms find themselves novice killers and arbiters of justice.
LIL’ ROJA N THE HOOD
Written and Directed by Katherine Sainte Marie
A street-smart girl from East L.A. hitchhikes home after her car breaks down. After accepting a ride from a charming stranger, who turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, she decides to join a neighborhood gang.
Written and Directed by January Jones
Determined to fit in at a sleepover, 15-year-old Sam ignores cruel taunts from mean girl Blair and her growing feelings for new friend Willow, but she can’t ignore the strange things happening to her body.
THE LOST GODDESSES
Written and Directed by Julia Berkey
The Lost Goddesses is a campy horror short following two queer witches as they deal with the new absence of their third coven member and begin to seek a replacement.
Written and Directed by Katie Bonham
When strange manifestations begin to haunt Eddie, he is forced to uncover the dark and disturbing history of his home in this unsettling tale of regret and abandonment.
Written and Directed by Lindsay Serrano
Life is hard enough without your “monthly monster.” A driven thirty-something woman struggles to endure a visit from her Menstruation Demon while juggling a career, dating, an active social life, and her monster junk food cravings…A comedic look at what a woman has to deal with during that special time of the month.
Written and Directed by Alanah Rafferty
A young reporter in NYC discovers the presence of a terrifying disease that spreads through social media.
Directed by Tara FitzGerald. Written by Chiara Menage.
A modern-day psychological horror, Nothing Important is the chilling tale of one woman’s efforts to steal her life back from her lonely female neighbor.
Written and Directed by Mackenzie Bartlett
When Sarah forgets to invite Matt to the party, her friends just can’t let it go. They’ve been working so hard to plan the perfect night (everyday isn’t a full moon, you know…).
Written and Directed by Shannon Brown
Amy was killing it at work…until it was time for the potluck.
Written and Directed by Mika Kenyah
An embattled man whose insecurity is causing a rift between him and his girlfriend, will soon learn fighting against the demons of his past only makes them stronger.
Written and Directed by JL Ivory
Gladys moves into a new apartment in Los Angeles but soon discovers that her roommate isn’t as easygoing as she appears. She quickly realizes she has the roommate from hell…literally.
Written and Directed by Gayatri Bahl
Tina is a surreal thriller about a woman who is stalked by an Indian classical dancer, forcing her to confront herself in a way she never expected.
WHAT DAPHNE SAW
Written and Directed by Lizz Marshall
In the future, capital punishment has been abolished. Violent criminals are reprogrammed into unquestioning servants, their free will and ability to speak taken away. A young woman endures her punishment of servitude in a seemingly normal man’s home, where she discovers dark secrets.
WHO LET THE TAXIDERMY OUT?
Written and Directed by Laurence Unger
A reformed taxidermist brings taxidermy animals back to life with chaotic consequences for an uninvited guest in this all-female silent film. This experimental kitsch comedy invites viewers to re-think what little girls are made of.
MASTER’S TOOLS: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK INTO THE PITFALLS OF CONSUMERISM, CULTURAL REPRESENTATION, & APPROPRIATION
Presented by Monika Estrella Negra
In this golden age of Diversity in Hollywood, Monika will highlight, deconstruct and demystify the elements of cultural appropriation, fetishization and capitalistic exploitation within the film industry.
Monika Estrella Negra is a queer, Black punk/goth hybrid of mystery. Her first short titled Flesh is about a Black femme serial killer navigating the Chicago DIY punk scene (of which was included in the ‘Horror Noire’ syllabus). She has directed three additional shorts, They Will Know You By Your Fruit, Succubus, and the in-production Bitten, A Tragedy. A writer, a nomadic priestess, spiritual gangster and all around rabblerouser – Monika has written essays for Black Girl Nerds, Grimm Magazine, Black Girls Create, is the author of a zine series (Tales From My Crypt), the creator of Audre’s Revenge Film and Black and Brown Punk Show Chicago, a GRRL Haus Cinema Resident Filmmaker (2019), Co-Chair of Communications for Alliance of Women Directors, a 2018 Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grantee, and is aspiring to become a Meme Lord. Hailing from the Midwest, she now resides in Philadelphia, focusing on completing her Vengeance Anthology.
THE DISTRIBUTION DOWN LOW
Presented by Christina Raia
Get the down low on distribution. Seed&Spark breaks down the current landscape of distribution for independent film and TV, including the economics of different avenues to take, the right questions to ask potential partners, and what needs to be done from pre-production through post-production to set yourself up for successful distribution.
Christina Raia is a New York City based Writer/ Director and the Founder of CongestedCat Productions. She focuses on character-driven narrative projects that explore social issues through humor and horror. Her work, consisting of over a dozen short films, a web series, and two feature films, has screened at film festivals around the world and gained a large online following through multiple crowdfunding campaigns and coverage on press outlets such as Indiewire and BuzzFeed. Through a desire to support other filmmakers, she works for Seed&Spark as the head of education, teaching and empowering creators to build their audience and crowdfund their work. She also runs IndieWorks, a monthly screening and community-building series showcasing short films by other New York filmmakers.
FILMMAKER Q & A PANEL
Hosted by Annie Rose Malamet
Annie Rose Malamet is an educator and independent podcast producer/consultant. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Photography, Video, and Related Media from The School of Visual Arts. Currently, she teaches at BRIC Arts Media in Downtown Brooklyn. Annie is the creator, host, and producer of “Girls, Guts, & Giallo,” a podcast examining subversive and controversial films from a femme leather dyke perspective.
FILM BLOCK INTRODUCTIONS
Hosted by Rowena Gangrena Written and Directed Chloë & Natalie Buse of Candy Bank Productions (candybankfilms.com)
Chloë & Natalie Buse are Candy Bank Productions, a mother-daughter indie filmmaking duo living & based in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Together, we craft fantastical low-budget indie films teeming with dreamy horror elements and strong female characters. Our films have been screened around the world, including David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Festival 2016 & 2017 and Northern Frights Festival 2016-2018.