The Night Market Presents: Etheria Film Night’s Heidi Honeycutt
by Jay Kay
Film festivals pop each up year, all looking for a distinctive signature that will not only draw fans but showcase the work of peers and filmmakers from all walks of life. A staple in Los Angeles for years and evolving into several different film expos traveling around the world. “Etheria Film Night” has become a platform for women filmmakers to flourish and show that dark side.
“Etheria Film Night” is a showcase of the best new horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller films made by emerging women directors,” as stated on their website. We were very fortunate to have some time with Heidi Honeycutt, the Director of Programming, for Etheria as we welcomed her to “The Night Market”.
Jay Kay/Terror Time: The “Etheria Film Night 2016” Main Showcase Lineup coming up June 11th (etheriafilmnight.com) is stacked with such talented and incredible women filmmakers… no artists I shall say, who have submitted their visions of horror. Talk for us first about the selection process as well as what each of you feel the overall strength of the main showcase lineup is this year?
Heidi Honeycutt: Every year, I do notice a trend in what is submitted, in 2014, it was French Zombie Films (I am pretty sure it had something to do with “The Walking Dead” getting on European Netflix or something), in 2013, when I was working on “Viscera Film Festival”, it was “scary children”, and last year there were so many new science fiction films.
The selection process is this: I watch every single last film. Then, Kayley Viteo and Stacy Hammon watch every single film, we discuss. We make lists. We debate. Then we take the films to two rounds of judges: one that helps us move films to the final round, and a finalist set of judges that help us decide on the “Best Film” winner. It takes a LOT of time. We actually watch every single submission. We’re very thorough.
JK/TT: “The Main Event” features the top shorts for this year from women filmmakers and artists of all walks of life. For you two, what is the signature or theme of this year’s crop compared to previous years? For example, is it the use of technology or dealing with modern issues surrounding women perhaps strong characters, diversity in story or maybe something else?
HH: This year, for 2016, I can say that we had many, many action films (perhaps “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” influenced filmmakers this year?). So many great action films. And retro-themed horror. We are showing “NASTY” by Prano Bailey-Bond and “The Puppet Man” by Jacqueline Castel – both of those have a retro feel. “Hard Broads”, our comedy, does too. Paying homage to the 1980s and 1990s is in this year. The feature, “The Love Witch”, is set in a gorgeous late 1960s Technicolor world.
JK/TT: Staying on growth, development and evolution, talk about the growth and continued visionary filmmaking from both the USA and aboard? How much does each of these countries influence the women who make these films?
HH:I definitely feel that women in Europe have access to funding sources that women in the USA just don’t have. In fact, Canada and Australia have awesome government-funded programs for filmmakers too. We just don’t have that in the US at all. So, if you’re in Austria, you can get funding for a short or feature and you don’t have to adhere to politics and bureaucracy at a studio. You can just make a really good film and not have to worry about disappointing your investors. It’s almost unthinkable here in Hollywood, where everything has to be paid for out of private pockets. Not having government arts funding severely limits the creativity of women genre directors in the USA, and it really boosts it in other nations that do have it. This series of film events have become a year around planning and execution. Talk about the business side of “Etheria” and what it takes to keep this going? I basically come up with a billion ideas every year and two of them will be good. Running Etheria is a lot of strategic discussions, hopeful lists, reliance on sponsors, orchestrating events with other entities who hopefully know what they’re doing, and planning the actual event with the “American Cinematheque”. It’s a full time job. No one gets rich. We do it because we love it. I hope the filmmakers and the community know that – the only thing we get out of it is knowing that THEY got something out of it.
JK/TT: How has this organization and its mission grown since its inception? How has it worked together with other promoters and of course the “Women in Horror” movement celebrated each February?
HH: Etheria has grown from a once-a- year festival event day to something of a community. We have an online networking group, an ongoing tour plan, and we collaborate with all kinds of other entities on screenings and events. The Women in Horror movement is our friend – it allows us to draw attention to the work of genre film creators who happen to be women. It gives us a way to tie in our horror films with the mainstream horror community online. We love it.
JK/TT: What does the horror community and fans mean to this event as well as to have such high profile celebrities, filmmakers, journalist and peers come out in support of “Etheria”?
HH: The fans are everything. We’re nothing if people don’t buy a ticket to attend, or share our message, or don’t enjoy the films. We’re nothing without the filmmakers – without them, we have nothing to show. The support from high-profile friends in the horror and film communities means, to me, that people recognize that our films ARE really good and worth looking at to find new talent, and that they appreciate what we’re doing and want to show their support by helping us by donating time to attend, to judge, to post a special message on social media, etc. Without the rest of YOU guys, WE are just a few people sitting in a room. We need all of you.
JK/TT: Return if you dare to “The Night Market” next Monday as we continue our conversation with Heidi Honeycutt (etheriafilmnight.com) in Part 2 here at “Tom Holland’s Terror Time”.
Follow Jay Kay @horrorhappensFF and at horrorhappens.com