The Night Market Presents: Etheria Film Night’s Heidi Honeycutt (Part 2)
Film festivals pop up each 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 continue to have some time with Heidi Honeycutt the Director of Programming for Etheria before their June 11th showcase. We continue to talk with her here in “The Night Market”.
Jay Kay / Terror Time : Moving to the “Touring Group”, what are the requirements to be part of the touring group of “Etheria Film Night” short films? What makes this group really an essential part of the Etheria and a representation for fans across the country and around the world? How much has Jason Hoover and “Days of the Dead” meant to the exposure of this program?
Heidi Honeycutt: You know, we only have one two-hour stretch on one night to showcase our Main Lineup films at the “American Cinematheque”. That’s not a lot. We end up with so many great films that need to be seen but we can’t show them. So we offer those films a position on the world tour. For instance, a horror film may not play the main lineup, but it may fit perfectly into an all-horror lineup at Days of the Dead and tour with that program. “Days of the Dead” has been an amazing opportunity for us and we’re so grateful to call that convention our friend. We do screen only our horror and thriller shorts there, because it’s a horror audience, but man, what an audience! Some of the nicest horror fans I have ever met and some of the most professional staff I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We feel incredibly lucky to be able to tour our films with them. It’s been fantastic exposure for our festival and for our filmmakers.
JK/TT: The “Woman’s Underground” film program has a much different tone for this organization. Avant garde, experimental, dark and outside the box filmmaking is showcased here. What was the thought process with selections and separation from the other events like the “Tour” or the “Main Event” showcases?
HH:You know, we really just wanted to show the weirder shit. The shit that didn’t have the production value, or straightforward narrative, or that was political, or outrageous, or not mainstream at all. We get a lot of really amazing film submissions that are GREAT but totally wacky and out there. Those films deserve to be seen too, so we created Women Underground as a separate program. The audience is prepared to be weirded out, surprised, and to get something totally innovative and outrageous. The main Etheria lineup is meant to be more mainstream genre – stuff that could be on TV or in theatrical feature film. Women Underground is for the filmmakers who are breaking all the rules and doing their own thing in a very courageous way.
JK/TT: Talk with us about this year’s judging pool for each “Etheria Film Night” event? How important is it to have a diverse and experienced pool?
HH: Oh, SUPER important. We have men, women, showrunners, executives, journalists, managers, independent filmmakers, horror filmmakers, animators, producers, cinematographers, and die-hard fans on the judging panel, which is made up of all colors and sexual orientations. Diversity is incredibly important to us as an organization. We’re about increasing diversity by showcasing women directors – our judging panel needs to not only be qualified to assess the quality of a genre film and to recognize marketable talent, but they need to come from different social points of view so we get input from all kinds of people who may see things differently. The more diverse a judging panel, the better films we will end up with in our final lineup, and that’s what matters the most.
JK/TT: Everyone can go to http://etheriafilmnight.com to see the specifics on this year’s lineups for each film event. Looking back at the selections from 2014 to now, we see a lot of the women filmmakers moving up in the film community and industry. Talk about seeing these women in horror filmmakers grow and evolve?
HH: Axelle Carolyn, who let us screener atmospheric feature Soulmate in 2014, has really blossomed. She produced, and directed a segment in, “Tales of Halloween”, and I know she has other projects in the works as we speak. Gigi Saul Guerrero is another; we screened her films in 2014 and 2015 (she’s that good)! I know she’s working on new shorts and has a feature film based on “El Gigante” (which we showed in 2015). She’s about to explode on the mainstream horror scene, in a very big way. There are so many more too: Arantxa Echevarria and Chloe Okuno are amazing directors who I know are planning on making more genre films inthe near future.
JK/TT: What can we expect with the “The Main Event” on June 11, 2016 at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, California? What is the emotions like that night?
HH: It’s a super fun event! We try to make our filmmakers the number one priority, so it is all about them. We want them to have fun, meet fans and industry people, be interviewed by press, get awesome red carpet photos, have some booze and refreshments, feel special. Because they are special. The entire night is about them. We make them the main attraction.
JK/HH: It has been an honor and I thank you for the time here in “The Night Market” ladies. Final question revolves around Los Angeles, what has that city meant to “Etheria” and would it thrive as much if it were not near a hub like this?
HH: Some of our most successful screenings have taken place in other cities! For instance, we did an Etheria night with “Slaughter Movie House” in Kansas City, and it was one of the best we’ve ever had. We screen the films in Boston at the Somerville theatre every year, and it’s an amazing evening. Toronto, even in Montenegro – the films play well. I think anytime you have a really great audience, you have a great event. That audience can be anywhere, because those people in the audience don’t necessarily have to be industry professionals. They can be genre fans. And that’s really what matters: exposing these amazing women genre directors to genre fans, so that they know to keep an eye out for them in the future. We want genre fans to see these films and know in their hearts they’re a genuine fan of a woman director based on the quality of her work. They’ll look forward to her future work, to any feature films she makes, and get to know her as a filmmaker, just the way they do with men. That’s real equality, and that’s all we can ask for.
Follow Jay Kay @horrorhappensFF and at horrorhappens.com