Delightfully Dark

Panel (60 mins)

ACMI, Saturday 23rd February, 12:30pm

Attendees please be advised that this panel may delve into controversial topics and themes.

The world can be a dangerous place, yet women filmmakers rarely shy away from dark themes. From fantasy to realism, women have a long tradition of weird, transgressive and powerful cinema. Following the Melbourne Women in Film Festival’s Dark Delights program, this panel will explore how women filmmakers engage with darkness—from horror and fantasy to explorations of real-life. Featuring a panel of esteemed filmmakers and critics, we ask: what does the dark side look like for women creatives? And can it be empowering to depict darkness onscreen?

Main image: Jade of Death


Image: James Green for the Sydney Theatre Company

Image: James Green for the Sydney Theatre Company

Susie Porter

Susie Porter is an award-winning Australian film and television actress. She has appeared in films such as Don’t Tell (2017), The Caterpillar Wish (2006) and The Monkey’s Mask (2000), as well as TV series including Wentworth (2018-19), Puberty Blues (2012-14) and East West 101 (2007-11). Her films The Second (2018) and Sink (2018) are screening at MWFF.

Donna McRae

Donna McRae’s particular interrogations of ghosts, 19th century gender roles and post-punk rock‘n’roll offer a surprising and powerful potential. After the VCA Donna made several successful shorts before her micro-budget feature Johnny Ghost (2012) won multiple awards. Her second feature, Lost Gully Road (2017), is distributed by Umbrella and Wildeye Releasing (USA) while her feature documentary Cobby: The Other Side of Cute (2017) has just premiered in San Francisco. Her next project, a ‘ghost’ western, is in development with Acme Film Company, she is part of a female horror anthology with Unicorn Pictures, and her video installations have screened internationally. Donna works at Deakin University.


Emma Westwood

Emma Westwood is a film writer and commentator who was once arts editor for the Melbourne weekly street mag, Inpress. She has written about cinema and the arts for publications such as The Age, Metro, Screen Education, Empire, Diabolique and Senses of Cinema. She is the author of two books on cinema – Monster Movies (a compendium book) and The Fly (a monograph on David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake), and she is currently working on another monograph about James Whale's 1935 classic, Bride of Frankenstein. She has lent her voice to DVD and bluray commentaries for the likes of Kino Lorber, Indicator and Umbrella. She can also be heard as a co-host on Triple R radio's weekly film criticism show, Plato’s Cave.

Alison Adriano

Alison Adriano is a Melbourne based Actress and Filmmaker.  Alison is a graduate of the 16th Street Actors Studio Part-Time Program and is also a graduate of a Bachelor of Film/Television at Swinburne University. As an actor her credits include House Husbands, TVCS, music videos, independent short films and web series.  Alison’s directorial debut Salt in Wounds, which she also wrote, edited and acted in, has gone on to screen at festivals including Melbourne Women Film Festival, New Renaissance Film Festival Amsterdam, San Francisco Indie Fest, Femme Frontera Festival Texas and London Short Film Festival. Ultimately Alison is a multidisciplinary Actress/Creative, who is passionate about diverse storytelling with accurate representation.  


Janice Loreck - Moderator

Janice Loreck is a lecturer in Screen Arts and Cultural Studies at Curtin University. She is the author of Violent Women in Contemporary Cinema (2016), contributor to the upcoming collection Women Make Horror (2020), and is Festival Coordinator for the Melbourne Women in Film Festival. She also works as a film critic for The Conversation, 6PR and RTR FM. Her forthcoming research considers the work of female provocateurs in global art cinema.