Etheria Film Night is the world’s most respected (and most fun!) showcase of new horror, comedy, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller films made by emerging women directors. Previously it was known as Viscera, and the focus was more on horror. The festival is run by Heidi Honeycutt, Stacy Pippi Hammon, and Kayley Viteo.
This year’s guests of honor were legendary film producer Roger Corman and grindhouse/drive-in director Stephanie Rothman. Corman was the first to give Rothman her break in directing feature films – Blood Bath, The Velvet Vampire, The Student Nurses, etc., – and he presented her with the 2017 Inspiration Award.
Though the Film Night has traditionally shown a feature along with a slew of shorts, this year it was solely shorts – from all over the world and of different genres. The event took place at the historical Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, CA, on June 3, 2017.
Do No Harm
Directed by Roseanne Liang (12:00) (Action/Thriller) (New Zealand)
In an aging private hospital, a surgeon is forced to break her physician’s oath when violent gangsters storm in to stop a crucial operation.
Directed by Olga Osorio (13:00) (Science Fiction) (Spain)
Summer of 1982. Teo claims he has found a wormhole. His brother, Óscar, does not believe him…at least not for now.
Directed by Tara Price (5:00) (Horror) (USA)
When a reclusive man is repeatedly woken up over the course of a night by severe headaches, accompanied by musical repetition from an unknown source, his sanity begins to swiftly unravel.
Directed by Bridget Savage Cole (10:00) (Science Fiction) (USA)
Swell is an app that allows users to change their mood or emotion through sound. When a young couple tries to control each other’s settings, their relationship is tested by a cacophony of emotions.
Directed by Norma Vila (14:00) (Horror/Fantasy) (Spain)
Dreams die, blood is eternal.
Directed by Ruth Pickett (12:30) (Dark Comedy) (UK)
A newlywed Christian couple go on their honeymoon to what they believe to be a quaint B&B in the Welsh countryside. But the cottage turns out to be a sex den, and events go horribly wrong.
Directed by Cameo Wood (12:00) (Science Fiction) (USA)
In the near future, a young animator is offered what should be her dream job, but when she discovers the truth of the modern “creative” process, she must make a hard choice about her passion for film.
Directed by Thirati Kulyingwattanavit (6:45) (Horror) (USA)
An ancient Thai legend says that if an unborn child is sacrificed to the darkness, eternal life can be attained – at the risk of the restless mother’s spirit exacting her revenge.
We caught up with some guests on the red carpet and took lots of pics! [photos: Aaron Kai]
Bill Moseley, star of such iconic horror pics as Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and The Devil’s Rejects, said he loves to attend Etheria every year. “It’s fun to hang out with like-minded people. I have seen some cool movies here, and it’s always fun to meet the directors. It’s exciting for me.” When we asked him how many female directors he’s worked with, Bill replied, “Not too many at all. I can’t name a figure, that’s how hard it is. Because there aren’t too many women horror film directors… or the ones who are working are not hiring me.” [laughs] “I’d love to work with Ana Lily Amirpour, the Soska twins, Jessica Cameron… I worked with Jessica as an actor, but not a director.” When it comes to Bill’s most awesome recent event, he said, “My most exciting news is marrying my girlfriend of twenty years. We just got married three months ago.”
Jeffrey Reddick, the writer of the original Final Destination movie, was also on hand to lend his support to the female filmmakers whose work was featured that night. Talk naturally turned to Wonder Woman, since it’s directed by Patty Jenkins and opened at #1. “People are complaining about the all-female screenings of Wonder Woman this weekend, and it’s like, ‘Why are you doing that?’ And I say, ‘It’s because you don’t usually need one.’ It’s like Gay Pride Month and why we don’t have Straight Pride Month because that’s every day.
“It’s always good to encourage and educate the next generation. So it’s good to show people [that women can direct] and African-American people can succeed in horror movies. Now we have Get Out, and thank you, Jordan Peele. It’s important to celebrate and also bring attention to it. I wouldn’t have known their work, if it weren’t for festivals like this,” he said.
Jeffrey has a lot going on in his own career these days. “We have Superstition at Lionsgate. It’s the first slasher movie I’ve ever written, and it’s a 90% African-American and Latino cast… so it’s racially diverse, which I’m very proud of. It’s something I’ve been fighting for, for years. We are also trying to get funding together for me to direct a feature version of Good Samaritan, which was my first short film. And I’m working on a TV series called “The Seed” that’s about a demon created by all the negativity online.”
Finally, it was time to talk to the Big Kahuna himself, Roger Corman. He walked the red carpet with Stephanie Rothman, and his wife, Julie. Then he sat down with us to give us a few words on Stephanie and her contribution to the film world. “Stephanie is an extremely talented woman, and she knows the technique of filmmaking very well. The combination of her intelligence and technical knowledge bring something extra to filmmaking that many directors do not have.”
When asked about being such a mentor to women directors, Roger said, “I wasn’t really trying to give women their first break. I was trying to find the best director, writer, or below the line individual, and if they happened to be a woman, I would hire them. Other guys would look only at men, while I would look at the talent irrespective of their gender.”
Once the theater was filled and introductions were made, it was time to present the well-deserved Inspiration Award to Stephanie. Roger took the stage, flanked by Heidi Honeycutt and Stacy Pippi Hammon, and addressed the crowd: “I would like to present this award to Stephanie Rothman, who has blazed trails for working woman directors. She directed a number of films for me, one of which I remember specifically: Student Nurses, presenting women as taking charge of their own lives. It was the first film made for my company, New World Pictures. It was major success at the time, and I think it still holds up today.”
Stephanie graciously thanked her mentors, including Corman. “He financed my first three films, and he was overwhelmingly supportive. He taught me a lot of what I know of the real world of filmmaking.” She went on to mention the negatives to several of her films, once lost, have now been recovered; and the plan is to restore and release them soon on DVD. “Finally, I would like to share a thought with those women whose films we will watch tonight: You are here because the work you have directed is of high quality. In other words, you are exceptional. By this I mean you are exceptions to the rule that most directors are men. When I was directing films, you could count the amount of female directors on less than one hand. Times have changed. Patty Jenkins is being praised for her direction of Wonder Woman. But [women directors] are still the exception, because their gender is always noted [within that praise]. My hope is that when you find success, you will not forget those women who are still struggling to make it and you will extend a helping hand to them.”
The Audience Award for Best Short went to the gory martial arts thriller Do No Harm, directed by Roseanne Liang.