The World’s 15 Bloody Best Genre Fests, 2018

11. Stranger With My Face International Film Festival // Tasmania, Australia // May 2018

“Stranger With My Face is not the sole female-focused genre film festival, but it’s easily the best,” declares a panelist. Founded by moviemakers Rebecca Thomson and Briony Kidd, the latter of which handles its programming, this Aussie hub in Hobart, Tasmania is where most of the year’s strongest women-powered genre fare tends to end up. The fest takes its name from Lois Duncan’s young adult novel—a nod to its exploration of “the horror within”—and creates an ideal space for gender and genre to collide, conflate, and deepen dialogue surrounding supernatural and splatter films, the art house and the grindhouse in equal measure. There’s also as much competition as there is community: SWMF hosts both the 48-Hour Tasploitation Challenge, in which registered teams complete a short in two days, and the Short Script Challenge, whose participants are also given a two-day slot to write a horror script of seven pages or less. (What’s scarier than that?)

L to R: Honoree Gaylene Preston, guest moviemaker Sandi Sissel, Best Short Film winner Kaitlin Tinker, and Best Feature Film winner Elizabeth E. Schuch at Stranger With My Face International Film Festival 2017. Photograph courtesy of Stranger With My Face International Film Festival

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  1. Marie Parks

    May 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I feel like this is not a complete list of the best genre fests! some of these are all genre fest with a horror event thrown in. What about my favorite one Shriekfest? I’ve been submitting and involved with that fest for years now and they treat everyone great! The fest director is the best I’ve ever met!

  2. Elijah Taylor

    October 17, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Solid list, but missing the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival is a huuuuge oversight. One of the best genre film festivals in Europe since 1983! One of the few festivals I’ve been to worldwide that truly has unique, internal festival culture. Really fosters a sense of community.

    Other stuff worth mentioning includes:
    Shockproof (Prague)
    Next Fest (Los Angeles)
    PUFF (Philadelphia)
    Telluride Horror Show (Telluride, Colorado)

  3. Clarissa Jacobson

    October 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Missing Nightmares FILM FEST!!!

  4. Jay Kay

    October 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I felt it could have had more members to the panel more diversity of people who head to the larger fests as well as the rest. Of course there will be interweaving festivals but this list primarily focuses on larger ones but does not include many of the fests who r in the mid part of the US among other things.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m Not putting down what this article is and contains. For me, it’s not a piece that shows festivals that are on the rise or in the tier below many of these. Have nothing but respect for panel and the writer. No doubt more incarnations to come … 😉

  5. Mr. Ghost

    October 16, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Who knew there are so many fests dedicated to horror. Excited to have these in my conscious reservoir to keep up with their output in the future.

  6. Tom Luca

    October 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Loved reading this, especially seeing Roger Corman, Larry Cohen(THE STUFF), Michael Moriarty(Q THE WINGED SERPENT), Adrienne Barbeau(ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) and more recognizable memorable greats in film. Thanks for sharing!

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