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The Stranger With My Face Festival took place for the first time from February 17-19, 2012 with in-kind support from Monster Pictures and Wide Angle Tasmania. The inaugural Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival was an official ‘Women in Horror Recognition Month’ event, and the festival screened dark, subversive and entertaining films by women, from exploitation to art house, gore to ghost stories.

The festival featured two blocks of short horror films by women on 18 February, including a showcase of films from the Viscera Film Festival, a US-based festival which started in LA and tours its ‘sick chick flicks’ around the world. The festival also screened the outrageous feature film Dead Hooker in a Trunk on 17 February. Directed by and starring Canadian twin sisters Sylvia and Jen Soska, Dead Hooker has become a low-budget surprise hit on the genre circuit, championed by cult horror director Eli Roth.

The short film selection included a twisted tale about a female hitchhiker from Canada’s Karen Lam, Doll Parts, and a poignant take on the idea of being haunted by a past relationship in Emily Carmichael’s The Ghost and Us. There’s the moving The Last Post (written and directed by Axelle Carolyn and starring British character actor Jean Marsh) and Tasmanian werewolf chiller Tahune’s Beast (directed by Joshua Llewellyn and produced by Catherine McClintock).

The festival included a series of talks and workshops on topics as varied as writing suspense for theatre, why spooky music works, Italian ‘giallo’ cinema, true crime literature and creating special effects horror make-up.

It featured the 10 X 10 Short Script Challenge (renamed The Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge as of 2014). Registered participants had 10 days to come up with an original horror script, upon being given a ‘secret code word’ to spark their imagination. Sixty-five writers registered, with 39 completed scripts emerging at the end of the competition. The winning script, announced at a special ‘bloody carpet’ event at Salamanca Arts Centre, was Little Lamb by Heidi Lee Douglas.

2012 AWARD WINNERS

Best Script – Heidi Douglas 
for Little Lamb
Honourable Mention (interstate) – Scott McAteer 
for Remember Sunshine Valley (VIC)
Honourable Mention (teen) – Tanaya Roy
 for Nightfall
Honourable Mention (Tasmanian Gothic) – Daniel Lynch for 4 2 2
Honourable Mention (familial) – Carrie McLean
 for Die, Die, Die My Darling…
Honourable Mention (international) – Matthew Hodgson
 for Eyes on the Prize (Canada)
Honourable Mention (exploration of gender) – Zane Pinner
 for Speak With Love
Honourable Mention (Tasploitation) – Rob Manion 
for Convenient Disposal
Best Short Film – Heidi Honeycutt & Leslie Delano 
for Wretched (USA)
Best Short Film Runner-up – Victoria Waghorn for When Sally Met Frank (Australia)