As part of our Scary Women programme we’re asking the question – what makes horror so appealing?Horror has been criticised for its brutality towards women and hyper-moral codification of sexuality. But there has been a feminist reclaiming of the ‘final girl’ trope and an embracing of the bloodied woman aesthetic.In recent years, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of stylish, innovative, women-led productions coming from the UK and Ireland. We have gathered some of the leading names in the genre to discuss the influences on their work, what motivates them, and why women filmmakers and audiences alike find horror such a compelling force.
We are delighted to be joined by a panel of filmmakers working in the horror genre: Kate Dolan, Lynne Davison, Marie-Therese Mackle, Aislinn Clarke, Die Hexen, Isabella Koban.
After graduating from IADT Kate went from strength to strength in creating distinctive short films. Her irreverent horrorCatcalls(2017) won best short film at YDA Ireland 2018. Kate earned a place on the Irish Times' 'Top 50 to Watch in 2019' list and soon after released her debut feature,You Are Not My Mother. After premiering at TIFF,You Are Not My Motherenjoyed a successful festival run that culminated in 6 IFTA nominations. In 2022 Kate was nominated for the IFTA's rising star award.
Writer-Director Lynne Davison was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. What began as a childhood dream has culminated in the Northern Ireland Screen new Talent focus feature film 'Mandrake'. Mentored by Sarah Gavron, Director ofSuffragette2015, through the WFTV Mentorship scheme 2019. Lynne is a highly experienced professional with an extensive background working as crew, including time spent on HBO'sGame of Thrones. Her collection of short films. have been screened as part of the Cork Film Festival, Richard Harris Film Festival, Belfast Film Festival, Best of FEEDback Female Film Festival, & the 26th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film festival. It is an essential interest of Lynne's to explore thought-provoking female-led universal stories within Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy genres.
Marie-Thérèse is an experienced producer in drama, docu-drama, and observational documentary programming. She has been working in production for over 18 years, now focused full-time on drama, an area in which she most flourishes. Her line producing credits include the final series ofDerry Girls(CH4, Netflix),My Left Nut(BBC; Line Producer)Dublin Murders(BBC/RTÉ; Production Manager), written by Sarah Phelps;Doing Moneydirected by Lindsay Miller (BBC; Production Manager), and Merman TV’s Frank of Irelandfor Channel 4 and Amazon, written and produced by Domhnall and Brian Gleeson. Currently she is LP on series 2 ofWorld on Fireproduction by Mammoth Screen. MT has produced many short films including Antonia Campbell-Hughes ghostly cinematicAcre Fall Between(2019, Out of Orbit Ltd) and in 2020 Marie-Thérèse producedMandrakewith Village Films Ltd, which was funded by them as part of their New Talent Focus scheme.
Aislinn Clarke is a Northern Irish writer/director. Her debut feature film,THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, was released internationally by IFC in cinemas and streaming following a series of nominations and awards at major genre festivals (Sitges, Frightfest, etc) in 2018. In 2019 Aislinn was awarded the Academy of Motion Pictures Gold Fellowship for Women. She is currently show-running 6-part original domestic thriller seriesBLACK NORTHfor ZDF (Germany) with Kindle (UK) Rocliffe (UK) and Underground Films (Ireland). Aislinn is in development with original TV seriesHYSTERIAheaded by producers ofTHE TERROR. She is also currently writing feature films to direct for Disney (US), Rumble (US), Protagonist Pictures (UK), and Blinder Films (Ireland), Aislinn is represented as a writer and director by CAA in the US and Dench Arnold in the UK.
Die Hexen is a self-made multi-award winning Irish composer, sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, performance artist, visual artist, and filmmaker (El Hor, Am I Dead). A daringly innovative hybrid composer whose avant-garde approach merges composition with unconventional sound elements to create unique sonic worlds. Their boundary pushing repertoire spans a range of mediums including narrative and experimental film, documentary, dance theatre, animation, installation, performance and game. Die's scores have been acclaimed by the likes of Variety and British film critic Mark Kermode, who singled them out as one of the top five film composers of 2022. They recently scored the Irish folk horror,You Are Not My Mother(2021), which won the Discovery Award at the Irish International Film Festival, and the Jury Award at the Gérardmer Film Festival. Their other composing credits include multi-award winning horror shortsEye Exam(2020) andShe Lives Alone(2020).
Isabella Koban is the founder and head programmer for Ghouls On Film; a Belfast-based feminist horror film society, which aims to showcase underrepresented voices both behind the camera and on-screen.