Date: Saturday June 11, 2016
Location: Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, CA
Another “Etheria Film Night” is in the book… The fourth edition of this annual celebration of women in filmmaking featured a wide variety of genre short films that encompassed every aspect of the female film maker’s perspective within all the dark corners of horror. With the sights and sounds of Hollywood’s finest in attendance at the “Aero Theater” in Santa Monica, California, “Etheria Film Night” Festival Directors Heidi Honeycutt and Stacy “Pippi” Hammon, as well as Creative Services Director Kayley Viteo, hosted one of the most anticipated film festivals across the country. With a howling and energized red carpet, the women filmmakers both of the main event short film competition, as well as the film makers of the “Etheria Roadshow” (playing next at the horror convention Days of the Dead in Indianapolis) came from the different corners of the country in support of the creative power, visual presentation, quality storytelling and empowerment. The red carpet featured countless media sources, photographers, fans, industry namesakes as well as the elegance of the female filmmaker. A wide variety of styles, perspectives and personalities rang out as the day turned to night and the magic of “Etheria” took hold.
Fans, peers, and artists joined the Los Angeles crowd to celebrate not only the pallet of short films but the fine contributions of filmmaker Jackie Kong (Blood Diner) who received the “2016 Inspiration Award” from the “Etheria” organization. Kong, who continues to be a force in movie-making of all kinds, was introduced by Hammon as part of the main event festivities. A great inspiration for all female filmmakers and much more. Kong and previous cast members accepted the award with emotional words and roaring cheers. This however, was only part of the night’s scheduled programming as the 2016 “Etheria Film Night” special film feature was a sneak preview of the feature-length film “The Love Witch” by Anna Biller. Biller, who was in attendance, directed, wrote, produced, did a majority of the total design of the film, edited and more. Focusing on love, magic and madness with this film, Biller joined more than half a dozen of the film’s cast and crew for a panel discussion hosted by author and former “Fearnet” writer Alyse Wax. The short film program showcased nine diverse short selections that ranged from fantastic history (Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon), realistic action martial arts with a heart (Boxer), a Wild West love story (Hoss), twisted dark humor (Hard Broads), time travel (ReStart), mad science music numbers (Bionic Girl), VHS homage (Nasty), as well as straight up slasher horror (The Puppet Man). With more than half of the main event lineup filmmakers attending, “Blumhouse.com” Editor-in-Chief Rebekah McKendry moderated the second panel discussion which led into the awarding honors for the night.
In the end, it was a sweep for the dark, psychological tale of “The Stylist” getting the top honors as the shocked, proud and emotional filmmaker Jill Gevargizian and her “Sixx Tape” team won as part of an incredible, creative and well selected field of short films! Gevargizian’s seventh short film garnered both the “Etheria Jury Prize” selected by a jury of industry professionals as well as the “People’s Choice Award” voted on from attending audience and presented by the horror publication “Girls and Corpses”. The “Twisted Twins” Jen and Sylvia Soska, surprised the “Etheria Film Night” crowd and presented the jury prize to Gevargizian, who first and foremost thanked her team and fans who had come with her from Kansas City and across the country to be with her on this incredible night. Other award winners that night included the “Artemis Film Festival’s” “Best Action” in a short film to Toy Lei’s “Boxer” and “Best Screenwriting” from the “ISA” for the short film “Restart” by Olga Osorio.
Overall, the annual event was a complete success from the red carpet celebration through each aspect of the programming that led into wee hours of the morning at the incredible after party found at the local Irish pub! With such support and incredible perspectives from some of the most creative, visual and intelligent women filmmakers on the planet as well as such a positive vibe and energy, everyone throughout the afternoon and night was talking, laughing, learning and networking about everything in the art of filmmaking. For me traveling 3000 miles from New Jersey to California, the experience had a lasting impression on me as I watched such empowerment, love, respect and incredible perspective that shined during this weekend. For more information, as well as the full list of “Etheria Film Night” selections, which you can check out here. While no date has been set for the 2017, make a plan for next June to join the movement and support these female filmmakers in all their diverse and distinctive forms under the banner of “Etheria Film Night”. Also catch the curated “Etheria Roadshow” featuring selected short women filmmakers across the country this year!