This Saturday we were pleased to award a Digital Bolex rental package to the Best Film and Audience Award winners of the 4th annual Etheria Film Night, held at the Egyptian Theater in the heart of Hollywood.
Etheria is a film festival that showcases the best short sci-fi, horror, action, fantasy, and thriller films directed by women each year, and many of these films have already played at dozens of festivals like Sundance and Palm Springs. I was honored to be a judge at the festival, and Joe and I were both floored by the quality of the films selected this year.
Women filmmakers often face smaller budgets and tougher hurdles while launching their film careers, and as a result there are very few women who get the chance to direct genre films, whose stunts, car chases, special makeup, and spooky practical effects can be difficult to execute without access to resources, so Etheria is a much-needed festival whose mission we’re proud to support. As fans of independent cinema and new filmmakers, we were very glad to do what we could to help these women get their fantastic work into the public eye. It was especially exciting that the slate featured a film by Gigi Saul Guerrero, whose short DEAD CROSSING we saw at NFFTY in 2012.
Awards for 2014 went to AFI DWW graduate Sarah Doyle, audience award winner for her film YOU, ME, & HER (trailer below), and German director Julia Walter won Best Film for her calculated thriller JOB INTERVIEW. We were excited to sponsor the event alongside Birns & Sawyer, MovieMaker Magazine, and others interested in helping underrepresented filmmakers share their stories. Proceeds from the event benefited Reel Grrls, a Seattle-based organization that teachers girls and teens how to make films.
The shorts screening, featuring films form Germany, Mexcio, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the US, accompanied the debut horror feature SOULMATE by Axelle Carolyn, and an award presented to Lexi Alexander for her body of work and her contribution to the fight for gender parity in the film industry.
LA Weekly did a great writeup of the event and interview with organizer Heidi Honeycutt, writer for MovieMaker magazine and author of an upcoming book about women horror directors.
The women represented at Etheria Film Night made their films with limited resources and a lot of ingenuity. Job Interview, a 10-minute psychological thriller from German film student Julia Walter, was shot on her university’s campus. She’s spending a few weeks in the U.S. to take the short to festivals, including San Diego Comic-Con next week. For The Jelly Wrestler, director Rebecca Thomson filmed inside her friend’s pub. Her movie has already been making rounds on the festival circuit. Sarah Doyle’s clever, sci-fi comedy You, Me & Her came out of the Directing Workshop for Women at AFI, where her budget was capped at $25,000. It’s about a woman who learns that 30 parallel universe versions of herself entered her world and they are all her better. This was the film’s premiere.
All of the films go beyond the stereotype of films women can make. “A lot of people think women make sappy films, character-driven drama, family drama stuff,” says Doyle. “There’s a misunderstanding about what women would do.”
This small festival, literally located in Hollywood, is trying to send a message to the immense, figurative Hollywood. “We’re trying to show people out there that you think there are no women out there who are qualified to direct your action film or your horror film, well, you’re wrong,” says Honeycutt. “We’re going to prove it.”
The selected shorts join a host of other top-notch women-directed shorts that tour the country throughout the year. We encourage everyone to follow the festival and its selections on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EtheriaFilmFestival
The filmmakers can be found on twitter, and we suggest you check out their amazing work, which I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of soon:
- @luchagorefilms – Gigi Saul Guerrero
- @sarlaughalot – Sarah Doyle
- @queenripsnort – Rebecca Thomson
- @danisgoulet – Danis Goulet
- @rosemcgowan – Rose McGowan
- @asskrash – Kayoko Asakura (Japanese!)
- @JuliaWalterFilm – Julia Walter
We hope you’ll check out these wonderful filmmakers and their scary, gory, thrilling, hilarious, and soul-searching films.
Elle, Joe, and team Bolex