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Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2019 - Dark Delights

posted on 2019-02-21, 00:00 authored by Sian MitchellSian Mitchell
Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2019 - Dark Delights



Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Palace Kino Cinemas, RMIT University

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Research statement

Research Background The history of Australian horror and thriller filmmaking has been dominated by male practitioners with notable examples illustrated in the era of ‘Ozploitation’ (1970s and 80s Australian exploitation cinema) and the genres’ resurgence in the 2000s with films such as Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005). However, there have been some key but less visible interventions made by Australian women filmmakers over the last few decades (e.g. Samantha Lang’s The Well, 1997) and a more recent resurgence occurring in the last ten years. Films like Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014) and Donna McRae’s Lost Gully Road (2017) subvert these genres’ historical and stereotypical representation of women as victims to reclaim these cinematic stories as modes of empowerment onscreen and behind the camera. Research Contribution As the Melbourne Women in Film Festival director, I established and led the curation of the 2019 programme of publicly presented screenings, panels and workshops thematically titled ‘Dark Delights’. This theme sought to connect the concepts of darkness and empowerment that emerge from Australian women’s genre filmmaking to examine the personal and aesthetic representations of filmic darkness as an empowering and subversive act. An audience of over 1200 attended programme events including a digitally restored retrospective screening of The Well with Lang in attendance. Panels also explored women’s perspectives on genre filmmaking and empowering women’s leadership in screen practice. Research Significance Funded by government partners, Film Victoria and City of Melbourne, and located at premier screen and cultural venues including the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Palace Kino Cinemas indicates the importance of the festival in showcasing Australian women’s filmmaking. The festival featured in national media including a feature cover story in The Age’s Spectrum Magazine and national syndicated newspapers.

Publication classification

JC2 Curated Exhibition or Event – Exhibition/Event


NTRO Major


1 digital festival programme 4 colour photos


Stevens K, Loreck J, Monaghan W


Melbourne Women in Film. Festival (2019: Melbourne, Victoria)


Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Palace Kino Cinemas, RMIT University

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.