- Australian premiere of Elizabeth E. Schuch’s THE BOOK OF BIRDIE
- Tasmanian premiere of Mattie Do’s DEAREST SISTER
- Mary Shelley Symposium talks and shorts line-up announced
The fifth edition of Stranger With My Face International Film Festival will take place in Hobart from 4-7 May.
Stranger With My Face focuses on women’s perspectives in genre filmmaking with an emphasis on horror and related genres.
The 2017 program includes the Australian premiere of Elizabeth E. Schuch’s debut film THE BOOK OF BIRDIE. Schuch is a London-based director and producer specialising in creative visuals and has contributed to many films, TV, and theatre productions in the art department as a production designer, matte painter or storyboard and concept artist (including Wonder Woman andPacific Rim:Uprising).
“It’s a visually stunning piece, with a fascinating intensity and sense of its own style,” says Festival Director Briony Kidd. “I’ve no doubt Elizabeth is a filmmaker to watch.”
The film tells the story of a fragile teenage girl who’s placed in a gloomy convent to be looked after by nuns. Will her unusual obsessions become a mark of sainthood or a dark heresy?
The director says: “I’m absolutely thrilled to bring the mad, mystical world of The Book of Birdie to meet the perfect genre audience in Tasmania, and to meet the other filmmakers passionate about telling strange dark tales with a female eye.”
Also screening at Stranger With My Face 2017:
- The Australian feature film INNUENDO, directed by Saara Lamberg, in a micro-budget spotlight
- The Laos feature film DEAREST SISTER, a ghost story with powerful social resonances from SWMF favourite Mattie Do
And a line-up of short films including:
- Blood Sisters (Australia, dirs. Caitlin Koller & Lachlan Smith)
- Doll (Australia, director Jia He)
- The Man Who Caught a Mermaid (Australia, director Kaitlin Tinker)
- What Happened to Her (USA, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan)
- Pendulum (UK, Lauren Cooney)
- Gardening at Night (USA, Shayna Connelly)
- Slapper (Australia, Luci Schroder)
And the following one-hour talks make up this year’s Mary Shelley Symposium:
- Print-maker Jazmina Cininas talking about her ‘Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame’ body of work around the mythology of the female werewolf in culture (her exhibition Blood Moon will also be opened as part of the festival)
- Film academic Deb Verhoeven talking about the films of Gaylene Preston, SMWF’s featured retrospective for 2017
- Writer, researcher, and artist Lauren Carroll-Harris reflecting on the screen culture in Australia, with a presentation entitled ‘Why do we fund Australian films but not the cinemas to screen them in?’
- And horror fan and broadcaster Chloe Black with ‘The Wolf in the Dress,’ an exploration of transgender and transphobic representation in modern horror.
The 2017 poster is by Adelaide-based artist Amy Fairweather, who cites influences including Robert Louis Stevenson’s DR JECKYLL AND MR HYDE, and the Jennifer Kent film THE BABADOOK. “I had an image in mind of a Victorian-esque woman who’s in a trance-like state, her ‘darker’ side emerging in plumes of smoke.The monster is a representation of her tormented, malevolent, and twisted self.”
The key international guests for 2017, and mentors for the Attic Lab program for filmmakers that takes place within the festival, are Gaylene Preston (the featured retrospective filmmaker of the festival with her films PERFECT STRANGERS and MR WRONG screening), producer/director Roxanne Benjamin (whose anthology feature film XX is screening) and cinematographer Sandi Sissel (who worked on Wes Craven’s THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS) will be showcased in a special screening. For more information see this previous media release.
Festival Passes and individual session tickets are available now at www.strangerwithmyface.com.
ABOUT STRANGER WITH MY FACE
Named after the dark YA novel by Lois Duncan, Stranger With My Face International Film Festival 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, industry events, a symposium, and exhibitions, as well as satellite events year-round.
“Events like this are needed more than ever, with women’s rights under threat around the world,” says Festival Director Briony Kidd. “Women are angry, and they have a lot to say. Genre filmmaking is enriched by that sense of urgency and energy and we’re seeing more and more extraordinary films directed by women emerging from the indie scene. But they’re often not as visible as they deserve to be, and that’s where Stranger With My Face comes in. Our mission is to celebrate these films and bring them to a broader audience.”
Stranger With My Face has become a key platform for genre film in Australia, and it is proudly connected to the larger women-in-horror movement worldwide. 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 Coolest 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.”
A new addition to the festival in 2016 was The Attic Lab, a program to mentored and support women directors, giving them an opportunity to pitch new projects at the festival. The Lab will return in 2017, with details to be announced soon.
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