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Horror movies screaming out for more female directors


Horror movies screaming out for more female directors

More women than men are now watching horror films, so why are there still so few directing them? A new initiative from Darklight aims to give girls more of the action when it comes to making horror movies

The shocking news about horror movie audiences is that they are mainly made up of young women. Women under 25 accounted for the majority of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake audience and at least half (if not more) of theatergoers for "The Ring," "Scream," "Jeepers Creepers 2," "Final Destination" and "Identity." according to

Similarly figures reported on Boxofficemojo show that distributor Sony's exit polling suggested  61% of The Fog's audience was under 25 years old and 53% was female.

For the first time the number of women going to the cinema to be terrified by the latest horror movie exceeds that of their male counterparts. As female cinemagoers challenge the stereotype that women are only interested in chick flicks, a new  initiative aims to give female filmmakers access to this traditionally male dominated genre.

Warp X, in partnership with Threshold Studios,  has established a unique training and production initiative to encourage women directors keen to reinvent the horror genre for the 21st Century.

With funding from Skillset Film Skills’ Fund, Darklight:Women Direct Horror will provide an opportunity for female directors to develop their horror ideas through residential workshops and with specialized script editing and mentoring support. At least two of the ideas will be produced by low budget digital studio Warp X in 2008.

To celebrate the Darklight launch at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, representatives from Warp X and Threshold Studios were joined by a panel of filmmakers and critics with impeccable horror credentials. A packed audience joined in a discussion about why women directors are so rare in the world of horror, and whether the growing female appetite for scary movies might change what we see on our screens.

The panel was chaired by Nigel Floyd (film critic), and included Lizzie Francke (Executive producer, Trauma), Lucy Moore (writer, Lullaby), Ros Borland (Producer, Wild Country) and Billy O Brian (writer/director Isolation).

Panelists joined the audience in taking part in a mini-survey to determine how much men and women differ in what they find frightening. Evil children topped the poll for the women, while men proved more traditional, opting for ghosts.

DARKLIGHT is aimed at female directors with projects that may or may not have a writer attached. Directors should apply with a CV, DVD showreel and 3 x 1 page project outlines. These projects are not expected to be at script stage.

The DARKLIGHT training and development programme will consist of two residential workshops in February and May 2007 led by a team of industry specialists. Between these two residentials, directors will work with a script editor to develop their idea. There will also be support to produce a treatment package including production sketches and storyboards where appropriate.

Ten projects will be developed to outline stage with supporting visual material. Four projects will have writers and producers attached and will be developed to 25 page treatments. At least two of these will then be developed to script stage and greenlit by Warp X for production in 2008.

The closing date for applications to DARKLIGHT is 3rd November 2006. Application packs and guidelines will be available from 1st September. Directors wishing to register interest and receive a pack by email please contact Uzma Choudhry on


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