By Matilda Dorman


Saturday at the Melbourne Women In Film Festival was a day of rich conversations. Kicking things off with the Delightfully Dark panel at ACMI, four fantastic female filmmakers and performers deconstructing archetypes that womanhood and darkness don’t mix.

Donna McRae(Lost Gully Road) and Emma Westwood(author of Monster Movies and The Fly) eager to unpack horror and the power for genre to explore deep trauma and envelop new audiences in a female perspective.

Alison Adriano(Salt In Wounds) actress and filmmaker, with her first short in Sunday’s Sinister Shorts program, spoke to using darkness to explore authenticity. Acclaimed actress Susie Porter (The Second) described the delicious depth of human behaviour. 

Moderated by MWFF organizer Janice Loreck (author ofViolent Women in Contemporary Cinema), the panel challenged the audience to draw power from dark dames and murderous mothers, 

Next was Taking the Leap: From Shorts to Features.

A sold-out audience of both men and women eager to hear the logistics and emotions behind crossing from short form to something bigger, from panellists Angie Black (The Five Provocations),  Jessica Leski (I Used to be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story), Alena Lodkina (Strange Colours), and Jub Clerc (Storytime, The Turning).

Most of the panellists described to some degree “falling into” their various long-form pieces. Though each brought a distinctly different background and approach to filmmaking, all shared a conclusion that life just pulls you into the next step. 

Moderated by Dr Radha O’Meara (lecturer in Screenwriting in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne), the afternoon provided an endearing insight into being brave enough to take up a feature’s worth of space in the world.

Whitney Monaghan