Etheria Film Festival celebrates genre films made by women

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Etheria Film Festival presents horror, science fiction, fantasy, action and suspense films directed by women. For the third year, its showcase will air on Shudder.

Etheria Film Festival 2022 – Official Trailer

In 2020, COVID-19 forced the Etheria Film Festival to go virtual, but it did so in a big way. He partnered with Shudder, the horror streaming channel, and was able to share his showcase of female-directed genre films to a much wider audience than he ever could have reached in person.

This year, this partnership, which seems perfectly suited, continues with seven short films broadcast until July 19.

The films explore a wide range of topics and feature very different styles of women around the world.

From Spain, “Dana” delivers a thriller about a woman who survives a sexual assault on the street one night and then embarks on a mission to track down serial rapists. Directed by Lucía Forner Segarra, the film boasts solid performances and a no-frills visual style.

“FREYA” and “Come F*ck My Robot” offer two perspectives on our ever-changing relationship with technology. Canadian filmmaker Camille Hollett-French turns to a futuristic technology known as FREYA (Federally Regulated Inquiry and Yield Assistant). Jade considers FREYA a friend or at least a companion because FREYA is involved in all aspects of Jade’s life, from helping her assess one-night stands to letting her know when her mineral levels are low. But as unexpected events disrupt Jade’s routine life, she begins to question FREYA’s purpose.

Mercedes Bryce Morgan’s “FREYA” and “Come F*ck My Robot” use humor to address our sometimes difficult interactions with technology. Morgan’s film cites an actual Craigslist article of the same name as the inspiration for its film. Brian, an unemployed slacker, finds a job posting from an engineer who wants someone to have sex with his prototype sex robot. The result is a lesson for the engineer in how not to treat a woman or even a robot for that matter.

Australian director Millicent Malcolm’s ‘The Familiars’ and Annalize Lockhart’s ‘Inheritance’ both turn to family secrets and legacies as well as supernatural elements. Both directors tell us well-crafted horror stories with mysteries at their heart.

AK Espada’s horror-comedy “This is Our Home” pits a vegan and her roommate against a rodent infestation. The film states that no animals were harmed during the making of the film, but warns that there is “genuine archival footage of an animal in distress”. I’m not sure that using disturbing footage taken by someone else gives you a pass even if you’re trying to make a point.

Finally, “Lucid,” directed by Deanna Milligan and Canada, serves as something of a summary of the festival showcase. Mia is an art school who shares a self-portrait in her class and is told it’s borderline failure. Her teacher suggests she dig deeper to reveal something more personal. Although the teacher and some of her classmates seem buffoonish, they are right in the sense that Mia can do better, and she does so by fully embracing her love of the grotesque in a bloody work of art.

Kudos to Etheria for spotlighting these up-and-coming female artists and encouraging them to pursue their art as well.

All seven movies stream on Shudder through July 19. And if you want to support more films by and about women, there are still a few days left at The Women Underground Film Festival virtual festival, and then there will be an in-person event on August 13 at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, where I will moderate a post-film discussion.

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