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Roxanne BENJAMIN, Jovanka VUCKOVIC, Karyn KUSAMA
XX is a new all-female helmed horror anthology featuring four dark tales written and directed by fiercely talented women: Annie CLARK (St. Vincent) rocks her directorial debut with The Birthday Party; Karyn KUSAMA (Theinvitation, Girlfight) exorcises Her Only Living Son; Roxanne BENJAMIN (Southbound) screams Don’t Fall; and Jovanka VUCKOVIC (The Captured Bird) dares to open The Box. Award-winning animator Sofia CARRILLO (La Casa Triste) wraps together four suspenseful stories of terror featuring a cast including Natalie BROWN, Melanie LYNSKEY, Breeda WOOL and Christina KIRK.
It is unfortunate that opportunities for women directors in any genre are still relatively rare; however, the lack of women filmmakers in the horror genre is particularly abnormal. In the history of literature, it is not difficult to find women horror writers – for example, Mary SHELLY, Ann RADCLIFFE, Shirley JACKSON, and Joyce Carol OATES – since horror is a genre perfect for addressing sensitive women’s issues. The good news is more and more women directors like Jennifer KENT and Ana Lily AMIRPOUR start to raise their voices through genre films.
XX is a bold attempt to accelerate such trend. It is an all-female helmed horror anthology composed of short episodes directed and written by women and featuring strong female leads. A total of five women directors have participated in this project, including Sofia CARRILLO, the director of the animated framing sequence depicting a walking dollhouse. The only exception to this all-female crew is Jack KETCHUM, the author of the short story The Box is based on.
Although XX certainly comes up with a feminist agenda as a whole, the subject and form of each episode are not necessarily limited to it. The first episode The Box directed by Jovanka VUCKOVIC follows the story of a mother who witnesses strange things happen to her family after her son looks inside a box of an old man sitting next to them in the subway. The second episode The Birthday Party directed by Annie CLARK is a black comedy about a mother forced to hide her husband’s body on her daughter’s birthday. The third episode Don’t Fall directed by Roxanne BENJAMIN is a blood-soaked horror film in a more traditional sense about people on an expedition out in the desert who get killed by ancient evil sprits. Finally, the last episode Her Only Living Son directed by Karyn KUSAMA attempts to reinterpret Rosemary’s Baby from a feminist perspective. (Djuna)
Roxanne BENJAMINRoxanne BENJAMIN
"Roxanne Benjamin is a Screenwriter, Director, and Producer whose films include the Sundance Midnighter favorites V/H/S and V/H/S/2. She co-producedFaults, starring Mary Elizabeth WINSTEAD, and Sean BYRNE’s The Devil’s Candy. Southbound, the genre anthology film she directed, co-wrote and produced, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and marked her directorial debut.
Jovanka VUCKOVICJovanka VUCKOVIC
Jovanka VUCKOVIC is an award-winning filmmaker and writer.She has worked as a visual effects artist, earning a Gemini Award, cemented a reputation as a genre film authority during her tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Rue Morgue Magazine, and was twice named one of the most important women in the history of horror alongside Mary SHELLEY (Frankenstein). Vuckovic is the author of Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undeadand Vuckovic’s Horror Miscellany
Karyn KUSAMAKaryn KUSAMA
"Karyn KUSAMA wrote and directed her first feature film, Girlfight, in 1999. The film won the Director’s Prize and shared the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. In 2004, Karyn directed the science fiction love story Aeon Fluxfor Paramount Pictures. Her latest feature, The Invitation, is a psychological suspense film that won the Grand Prize at the Sitges Film Festival, among other awards.