Etheria Film Festival, like SXSW earlier this year, is finding ways to give a spotlight to up-and-coming directors. Etheria aims its focus on women directors of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. This year, Etheria is presenting a collection of 9 short films through Shudder. Like much of the other content on Shudder, the shorts curated by Etheria Film Festival is daring, subversive, and exciting, offering alternative voices to the standard genre fare.
The nine shorts mostly range from good to great with a few rising above and beyond, giving a glimpse into some exciting directors who will most-likely make the jump into feature films. A few of the highlights for me were the following . . .
Ava In The End, directed by Ursula Ellis, tells the story of Ava, who awakes as an entity inside of a computer. You see, Ava has recently died, is annoyed by the fact, and quickly wants to talk with the computer’s manager. Things don’t quite work out the way Ava has come to expect.
Basic Witch, directed by Yoko Okumura, follows a morning-after breakfast with a young couple. They have differing takes on how well the previous night’s events played out. Lily decides Brian needs to truly see things from her point of view and takes drastic measures to achieve her results. It’s a humorous yet affecting take on consent and gender roles.
Waffle, directed by Carlyn Hudson, introduces us to waffle heiress (yes, I said waffle heiress) Katie. Katie just wants a friend. Luckily, there is an app that allows you to order a friend, much like you would an Uber. But, Katie is an odd duck and possibly a bit obsessive. Effective, compact storytelling with an amazing performance by Katie Marovitch.
Maggie May, directed by Mia’Kate Russell, is perhaps the most horrific of the bunch. It’s also my favorite. Estranged sisters, Maggie May (Lulu McClatchy) and Sam (Katrina Mathers) reunite at their mother’s funeral. This story quickly takes a dark turn and explores how much a person won’t get involved in things. I know, that sounds vague, but trust me, it’s some chilling stuff.