Australia’s premier genre film festival Monster Fest wrapped its most successful edition to date in Melbourne with Official Closing Film THE GREASY STRANGLER (with actors Sky Elobar and Elizabeth De Razzo in person) followed by its annual awards ceremony acknowledging the best of this year’s impressive lineup. The festival’s 6th edition ran from November 24-27 at the Lido Cinemas, preceded by their industry component, the Swinburne University Media and Communication Monster Academy on November Nov 23 and 24.
The features jury, consisting of Fantastic Fest head programmer Evrim Ersoy, filmmaker Donna McRae and longtime screen critic Simon Foster awarded the festival’s top prize, The Golden Monster, to Julia Ducournau’s RAW, with Ducournau in person to accept her award, beautifully designed and sculpted by Rain Gidley Studios. RAW also walked away with an honour for best FX. “RAW is a tour de force of invention, innovation and storytelling,” says juror Donna McRae, “A film that celebrates appetite and difference.”
Feature film awards also went to André Øvredal’s THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, dual awards for the Australian home invasion feature SAFE NEIGHBOURHOOD (including a Best Performance award for young actor Levi Miller), Bartosz M. Kowalski’s PLAYGROUND, Alice Lowe’s PREVENGE, Sophia Takal’s ALWAYS SHINE and more.
In the short film category, jurors Barbara Creed (author of the seminal book The Monstrous-Feminine), filmmaker Heidi Lee Douglas and visiting television scholar Amanda Reyes handed top awards to André Øvredal’s THE TUNNEL, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s documentary short WHAT HAPPENED TO HER and Kiefer Findlow’s INSOMNOLENCE, while the Trasharama Program gave its Golden Lomax Award to Finnish director Chrzu Lindstrom’s THE CONTRACT and its inaugural Encouragement Award to Australian filmmaker Frank Daft for BLOWN AWAY.
“There were huge waves of emotions running through the films,” says short film juror Amanda Reyes, “whether it be legitimate fear and terror, or grief or even wildly raucous humor. INSOMNOLENCE, which won the Best Australian Short category is a prime example of combining terror and sadness in unique ways that sat deeply with the jury. Same with THE TUNNEL, which won for Best International Short. THE TUNNEL is visually stunning, but it is the tragedy held within the simple gut punch ending that made it an unforgettable experience.”
Here’s the full list of 2016 award winners:
- Best International Short: THE TUNNEL (André Øvredal, Norway)
- Best Australian Short: INSOMNOLENCE (Kiefer Findlow, Australia)
- Best Victorian Short: SECRETIONS (Goran Spoljaric, Australia)
- Best Director: WHAT HAPPENED TO HER (Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, USA)
- Best Screenplay: THE INCREDIBLE TALE OF THE INCREDIBLE WOMAN-SPIDER (Pablo Guirado, France)
- Best Performance: Najarra Townsend, THE STYLIST (Jill Gevargizian, USA)
- Best Effects: THE PAST INSIDE THE PRESENT (James Siewert, USA)
- Best Cinematography: DISCO INFERNO (Alice Waddington, Spain)
- Best Score: IMITATIONS (Fabian Velasco & Milos Mitrovic, Canada)
- Best Villain: O CHRISTMAS TREE (Greg Kovacs, Canada)
- Best Animation: THE ITCHING (Diane Bellino, USA)
- Honorable Mention for short we’d like to see made into a feature: DAWN OF THE DEAF (Rob Savage, UK)
- Trasharama Golden Lomax Award: THE CONTRACT (Chrzu Lindstrom, Finland)
- Trasharama Encouragement Award: BLOWN AWAY (Frank Daft, Australia)
“Monster’s Choice” Audience Awards:
- Best Feature: MONDO YAKUZA (Addison Heath, Australia)
- Best Short: Tie: DRAGON FORCE (Stuart Simpson, Australia) / A HELL OF A DAY (Evan Hughes, Australia)