The competition resulted in 48 completed scripts, mainly from within Australia but there were some international entrants also. “The judges were very impressed with the diversity and quality of submitted scripts,” said Festival Director Briony Kidd. “There were many approaches to the idea of writing horror, from personal autobiographical stories to riffs on familiar tropes. Many of the writers incorporated Tasmanian history or a Tasmanian aesthetic.”
The winners were announced at an Australian Writers Guild panel on horror screenwriting on 23 August at the Founders Room in Salamanca Arts Centre.
BEST SCRIPT OVERALL:
The Life and Times of Teddy Whalley by Mike Wedderburn (TAS)
On Wednesdays We Wear Yellow by Michael Halford (NSW) / Blood Sisters by Hannah White (VIC)
Chompey-Changey by Scott McAteer (VIC), Rat Trap by Darren Swanson (TAS), Mrs Chang’s Perfect Teeth by Karen Lam (Canada)
This year all entries will be read by the judges and then a shortlist compiled. The judges will be looking for scripts that are in the horror genre (loosely, genre hybrids are okay), that tell a compelling and affecting story and that are in some sense original, opinionated or bold. While a feel for cinematic conventions will obviously assist your chances of winning, technique is of secondary concern to the strength of the concept. The short-list will then be narrowed down further to a list of 10, and from these the judges will nominate prize winners.
Our 2014 judges were:
Brian Yuzna is a prolific writer, producer and director, known for his work in horror and sci-fi over more than 20 years, including the Re-Animator films, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, & his cult masterpiece, Society… to name just a few. This is what he had to say about contemporary horror for a recent interview for the UK Horror Channel: “Horror has become so mainstream that it seems to have mostly lost that transgressive creativity that used to make it so exhilarating…. The horror genre has a relatively rigorous structure and it may be time for new filmmakers to develop it into more effective directions. One of the most interesting horror films for me recently was Cabin In The Woods. It wasn’t very scary, but the way it deconstructed the horror tropes made me think that after that you just cannot make a ‘teenagers in the woods’ movie again. The times dictate our fears, and these times are definitely very different from the last few decades. I am waiting for the new classics to emerge…” Read the rest of that interview here.
The AWGIE award-winning screenwriting duo of Armstrong and Krause know pretty much all there is to know about Australian genre filmmaking these days. They wrote the original screenplay for the feature film Acolytes (starring Joel Edgerton) which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness session and at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. They were contributing writers on BAIT 3D, directed by Kimble Rendall, which became the most successful Australian film in China. Their latest feature script 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell and directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek 2) for Blumhouse Productions, (Insidious, Paranormal Activity) is currently in postproduction. They are currently working on feature projects with several Australian producers and directors including Michael Robertson (Black Water, The Reef, The Pack) and Michael Rymer (Battlestar Galactica, Hannibal) as well as their own original projects. Armstrong & Krause will be at Stranger With My Face in 2014 and we’re looking forward to hearing more about what they’ve been up to. Armstrong and Krause are on Facebook here.
Ursula Dabrowsky is a name to watch in horror. She’s also been a supporter of the Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival from the start, and we’re thrilled that she’ll be a guest of the festival in 2014 once again. Ursula wrote her first psychological horror screenplay, Family Demons, and shot the film in early 2006 in two weeks with a production budget of $6,500. Three years and $35,000 later, the film went on to screen at numerous national and international film festivals and won Best Foreign Film and Best Actress at the Fright Night International Film Festival in the United States. Ursula Dabrowsky has recently completed the second instalment of her Demon Trilogy Inner Demon, a supernatural revenge horror film that obtained financing through the SAFC’s FilmLab. She’s writing the third one too, it’s called Demonheart. Here’s the Facebook page for Inner Demon.