Violent Femmes: Vermont’s Ax Wound Film Fest celebrates women in horror
Established in 2014 to offer support to female filmmakers within the horror genre, Vermont’s Ax Wound Film Festival celebrates the work of women in horror during a screaming two-day event. Created by Hannah Neurotica – founder of “the world’s first feminist horror publication” and of the movie movement Women in Horror Month – Ax Wound is one of the biggest independent genre festivals in the world and is ranked in FilmFreeway’s top 100.
The festival is an incubator of female-made indie horror with fresh & fearsome ideas, and much of its celebrated history is owed to what filmmaker Lynne Hansen called Ax Wound’s “family vibe”. In the past four years, the festival has become renowned for its strong sense of community, offering a nurturing space in which women in horror can meet each other, collaborate, and be inspired.
Filmmaker Heidi Moore (Dolly Deadly) celebrated Ax Wound’s unifying capabilities within the genre. “This is more than just a film festival. It brought together so many women who are out there creating motion pictures.” As well as showcasing the freshest indie horror joints made by women, the festival also features a great deal of practical workshops, talks, and panels devised specifically for emerging female filmmakers.
During the 2017 Ax Wound program, these talks included: a presentation by Seed&Spark director of crowdfunding, Christina Raia, about how indie filmmakers can build their careers by identifying (and engaging with) potential supporters of a film; a DIY effects workshop hosted by SPFX makeup artist Cassandra Sechler; and a presentation by Rue Morgue Magazine’s Alison Lang, examining modern horror movies that pre-imagined Trumpian-era America.
Networking & educational opportunities aside, Ax Wound also boasts a diverse program of female-created horror shorts specially selected for the festival. Unlike the majority of other independent film fests, Ax Wound is refreshingly non-competitive, giving all movies screened the freedom to be enjoyed and celebrated on an equal, unassuming level.
Showcasing new takes on the horror genre from female and LGBTQI perspectives, the program often delves into unexplored, original narratives that subvert stereotypes and offer nightmarish visions of the modern world. All within a cool, creepy, and supportive atmosphere every horror fan (regardless of gender or sexuality) can appreciate.
In 2018, the festival will take place at Ax Wound’s regular haunt of The Hooker-Dunham theater in Battleboro on November 9 & 10, with all featured filmmakers receiving a mystery goodie bag, on-stage Q&A, and spotlight feature on the Ax Wound blog. So whether you’re a female filmmaker looking to scare or a horror film fan looking for scares, Ax Wound is set to continue slicing & dicing a tasty program together to keep the screams coming in 2018 and beyond.