Etheria Film Night 2015 took place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA on June 13, 2015, and it was an absolute blast! Not only were six awesome short films screened, but Jane Espenson, screenwriter extraordinaire, was given the 2015 Inspiration Award. The award was to be presented to her by Amber Benson, Juliet Landau (who sadly ended up unable to attend), and Tricia Helfer (she read Juliet’s tribute to Jane and added a few details of her own).The award presentation was very sweet, with Amber and Tricia talking about working with Jane and how she truly is an inspiration and absolutely deserves the award. Every word spoken about Jane was true, and her acceptance speech was also wonderful and emphasized that creators need to keep creating. Hopefully Jane’s words were taken to heart by many in the audience, and then further emphasized by the films that screened after.The first film to screen was Sheila Scorned, which was about a Go-Go dancer who kills her ex-boyfriend, only to meet up with many of his gangster friends who are angry about his death. She fights her way out of their clutches, only to discover a very interesting plot twist. I wasn’t a fan of some of the stylistic choices director Mara Gasbarro Tasker made, but as a whole, I very much enjoyed Sheila Scorned.
Next was Amber Benson’s contribution to the night: Shevenge. The story is about three friends who think their boyfriends don’t appreciate them enough and plot ways to get revenge on them. This was my second favorite film of the night, especially because of the humor infused into the horror. It was true campy fun without being too gory, and the ending had me laughing!The third film was my least favorite of the movies screened. El Gigante was a graphic, gory horror film directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, which focused on a cannibalistic family that captures illegal Mexican immigrants on the US/Mexico border and does horrible things to them. Thinking about it turns my stomach, which I assume was what Guerrero was going for as a reaction. If you’re a fan of super gory horror, you’ll really enjoy El Gigante.
Godel Incomplete, the fourth film to screen, was another of my favorite films of the evening. It was a time travel tale intertwined with a love story between a particle physicist and Kurt Godel. The concept used was really interesting, as was seeing how both sides affected the other. Of all the films shown, this is the one I’d most like to see turned into a feature-length film. Director Martha Goddard did a wonderful job mixing the complexities of love and aging with desperation to have one person join the other. As a fan of romance, the story touched me and made me curious to know more.
De Noche y De Pronto (Suddenly, One Night), directed by Arantxa Echevarria, was the second Spanish-language film to show (El Gigante was the first). It’s a story that scares with how real it feels. A woman is home alone in her apartment, when a man knocks on the door, claiming to be her upstairs neighbor whose home has been broken into. She nervously allows him entrance in order to call the police, but finds herself more and more suspicious of his somewhat eccentric behavior. The ending was a twist, but I found that I somewhat expected it to happen, which actually made it even more jarring and horrifying. De Noche y De Pronto (Suddenly, One Night) is a modern urban legend brought to life and will stick in the back of your mind.
The final film of the night, Slut, was my favorite of the evening. It’s a wonderful take on the classic tale of a girl who changes her appearance to gain the attention of boys, only to realize it wasn’t the best idea. Chloe Okuno, the director of this piece, is a student at the American Film Institute (AFI), and I hope to see more work from her in the future.Etheria Film Night was a lot of fun, and hopefully the event will grow even larger next year. The focus on female content creators is still very much needed.
Submissions for 2016 will begin on July 1st, so be sure to submit your projects to them to participate next year! I had a great time attending this year, and look forward to seeing the content that comes in future years. Etheria Film Night is not to be missed!
For more photos from the red carpet, check out this link.