This news reminded me of a 2010 item I published on the old S&A site, on black women horror film directors.
First a quick test: how many women directors can you name who've directed horror films? Kathryn Bigelow immediately comes to mind. Check out Near Dark if you haven’t already; although horror isn’t the milieu in which she typically (or only) works.
Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David Lynch) is another.
Now how many black women horror filmmakers can you name? Or maybe I should first ask, how many black women filmmakers (forget genre) can you name?
It’s not typically a genre in which you’ll find a wealth of women directors working; horror films are typically regarded as a playground for boys, both the makers and the audience. But girls like them too, don’t they - whether making them, or watching them, or both?
In that 2010 piece, I highlighted the Viscera Film Festival, which was hosting its first ever event that year, in Los Angeles, with some 35 horror short films screened - every single one of them directed by a woman filmmaker. However, in browsing the selections, I didn’t immediately recognize any of the directors listed as being of African descent, given this blog's interests.
So I put out a call for black women directors of horror films, and I received 2 or 3 responses, which I highlighted in separate posts on the old S&A site.
Over 3 years later, with the site's readership now much larger than it was then (a year or so after its initial launch), I thought I'd revisit that inquiry, hoping that I'll receive even more responses than I did back then.
As I said earlier, this was prompted by American Film Market news announced yesterday that a “landmark all-female horror anthology” film is in the works, with each segment featuring a female director and female lead. Directors on board so far include the aforementioned Jennifer Lynch, as well as Mary Harron, Karyn Kusama, The Soska Sisters, and Jovanka Vuckovic.
I'm quite sure none of them is of African descent. Although if I'm wrong about that, someone will certainly correct me.
MPI/Dark Sky Films and XYZ Films are all behind the project, with Todd Brown producing.
“We know that women make up about half of the audience for horror films, and yet the female creative voice has been nearly silent in the horror genre,” said Greg Newman, Executive Vice President of Dark Sky Films parent company MPI Media Group. “So we are thrilled about the new and distinct approach that these talented directors will bring to the project.”
Todd Brown added: “One of the givens of so many horror films has been the objectification of young women, and we thought it was time for a different approach to scaring audiences and letting the female voice be heard.”
It looks like the list of directors involved in this project isn't yet complete, so there's certainly a chance that a black woman director will be join effort. Who that might be, I can't say. Black women directors working within the industry aren't fully represented, let alone those that work specifically within a genre like horror. However, on the independent circuit, I'm sure there are several black women directors who would absolutely love to be given an opportunity like this one.
So, I'm making the inquiry that I made in 2010, again: if you're a black woman director who has a horror film (or horror films) on her resume (whether shorts or features), or if horror is a genre in which you'd love to work, I'd love to know who you are, and check out your work, and maybe even highlight it here. After all, you never know who's reading. The producers of the above anthology just might be looking to diversify the project's list of directors, and they just might be looking here.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.