Etheria Film Night is a one-night event showcase of the best new horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller films from emerging female directors, headed by the tireless trio of Heidi Honeycutt, Stacy Hammon, and Kayley Viteo.
Several fun events led up to the festival â€“ including the “Dress My Mess” shopping extravaganza sponsored by local vintage clothing stores and a fabulous dinner for the filmmakers and festival peeps hosted by Mo Fitzgibbon.
When the big day finally arrived on Saturday, July 12, 2014, everyone was primed to check out Axelle Carolynâ€™s feature film debut (and the featured selection), Soulmate, at the historic Egyptian Theatre in the heart of Hollywood, CA.
In Gothic horror tradition, the story follows an emotionally fragile, recently widowed young woman named Audrey (Anna Walton) after she moves to the countryside to pause and reflect before getting her life back on track. When she realizes the cottage sheâ€™s renting is haunted, Audrey decides to stay and strikes up an odd relationship with the ghost (Tom Wisdom).
With nearly all practical effects and a phantom presence thatâ€™s mostly corporeal (in the same vein as classic ghost movies The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and The Uninvited), this film showcases the natural beauty of its limited locations and makes the most of mystery and suspense to augment its horror and supernatural elements. An excellent score and superb cinematography bring it all home.
In regard to the cinematography â€“ which everyone was talking about after the screening â€“ Carolyn said (in the Q&A) that it was a very happy accident. The DP she originally hired to shoot the film dropped out a mere three weeks before shooting was to commence, and so Carolyn hit the internet and began looking at reels. The one that stood out was, without a doubt, Sara Deaneâ€™s. Indeed, Soulmate fit right into the Etheria Film Night edict: female writer-director and DP with a convincing woman in the lead.
When asked why Soulmate was deemed a â€œvideo nastyâ€ in the UK, Carolyn laughed and said itâ€™s the most ridiculous thing and was totally unexpected as there is no nudity, excessive gore, sex, or extreme violence in the film at all. The ratings boardâ€™s reasoning was, because a suicidal character is shown cutting its veins lengthwise instead of going across the wrist, the film could teach youngsters how to properly kill themselves.
As it stands now, Soulmate is awaiting distribution in the U.S.
Following the screening was a fabulous red carpet cocktail reception in the sprawling art deco style courtyard. Several genre luminaries were spotted, including directors Darren Bousman, Mike Mendez, Don Mancini, and Andrew Kasch; writers Frank Woodward, John Skipp, Jeffrey Reddick, and Jackson Stewart; actors Ruben Pla and Bill Moseley; artist Aaron Kai; and composer Joseph Bishara. Horror personalities Spooky Dan Walker, Snow Mercy, and Jill Kill were also in attendance.
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