Image: Heidi Lee Douglas’ “Little Lamb”
Hobart – 28 August 2014 – Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival screened eight short films in competition this year – four in its Australian shorts session and four in its international session. It awarded a prize in both categories and the winning films were announced during the festival last weekend as:
Best International Short Film – Substance, directed by Barbara Stepansky (USA, 2014)
Best Australian Short Film – The Kingdom of Doug, directed by Victoria Thaine (Australia, 2013)
The judges for the Australian category – filmmaker Mattie Do (Chanthaly, Dear Sister), artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele and horror journalist Michael Helms – opted to also award an Honourable Mention in that category, which went to Little Lamb, directed by Heidi Lee Douglas.
“We only screened a small number of shorts this year,” says festival director Briony Kidd, “And so we are obviously commending all eight of them as being outstanding work.”
“We were particularly thrilled to have a number of world premieres; namely Little Lamb, Substance and the excellent Grace Under Pressure, by UK director Jen Moss. And we had the Australian premiere of Caitlin Koller’s Maid of Horror, which the audience loved.”
Victoria Thaine, whose film about a strange cult that meets at an ice skating rink has already won numerous awards, including Best Film at the St Kilda Film Festival, had this to say in response to her win for The Kingdom of Doug:
“[Producer] Naomi Mulholland and I are thrilled that The Kingdom of Doug has been recognised by a festival committed to showcasing the work of genre filmmakers with a specific focus on female directors – there should be more festivals like Stranger with My Face and we hope this little powerhouse of a festival continues to thrive.”
Victoria Thaine is well known in the Australian film industry as an actor for films like The Caterpillar Wish and The Love Ones. The Kingdom of Doug is her directorial debut.
And Barbara Stepansky had this response to the honouring of her film, Substance:
“We’re really excited that Substance had its premiere at SWMF and won an award in its category! The festival’s support of female filmmakers and short films is much appreciated and important to our ever growing genre community.”
Barbara Stepansky is a 2013 Nicholls Fellow and made an impressive feature film debut in 2011 with Fugue.
The full line-up of shorts in competition at Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival 2014:
THE KINGDOM OF DOUG
AUSTRALIA 2013 15 MIN DIR: VICTORIA THAINE
Josie and her fellow cult members have gathered in an ice skating rink to mass suicide. But when Josie loses faith in Doug, her charismatic cult leader, she starts questioning their choice to die.
AUSTRALIA 2014 22 MIN DIR: HEIDI DOUGLAS (world premiere)
A young convict woman desperate for freedom rashly chooses a new master, but alone on his isolated farm her hopes for a new life are undermined by the grim truths she discovers.
MAID OF HORROR
AUSTRALIA 2013 17 MIN DIR: CAITLIN KOLLER (Australian premiere)
This is the blood-soaked story of Emma, an overlooked Maid of Honour, who would kill to get her fairytale ending…
AUSTRALIA 2013 10 MIN DIR: MIA’KATE RUSSELL
What happens when a gay priest dates a werewolf and the homophobic neighbours come knocking?
CANADA 2013 3 MIN DIR: GIGI SAUL GUERRERO
A sadistic killer who goes by the name ‘El Matador’, torments his victims in a bull like fashion.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
UK 2014 10 MIN DIR: JEN MOSS (world premiere)
When Grace (Olivia Hallinan) gets invited to a reunion she can’t get out of, she turns to her friend Laila (Sophie Wu) for guidance. Laila has much more than supportive words and a shoulder to cry on for her wayward friend.
HIDE AND SEEK
JAPAN 2013 11 MIN DIR: KAYOKO ASAKURA
A schoolgirl goes to her Koto lesson. Soon she realises that there’s something very odd going on in her teacher’s house.
USA 2014 15 MIN DIR: BARBARA STEPANSKY (world premiere)
An innocent mix-up leads to disaster when two girlfriends encounter an extraterrestrial substance at a winter music festival.