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XX, Roxanne Benjamin
XX, Roxanne Benjamin

The 5th edition of Stranger With My Face International Film Festival will take place in Hobart, Tasmania, from May 4 to 7, 2017 , with a line-up of feature films, a shorts program, a symposium, industry events and an art exhibition.  Stranger With My Face focuses on women’s perspectives in genre filmmaking with an emphasis on horror and related genres.

The 2017 program includes a retrospective of the celebrated New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston; the Tasmanian premiere of the all-female horror anthology XX with one of the filmmakers, Roxanne Benjamin, in person; and a screening of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs with its cinematographer, Sandi Sissel ASC.

“Stranger With My Face is a place for newcomers get their films seen and to meet like-minded artists,” says Festival Director Briony Kidd, “But it’s also very much about highlighting older work that’s ripe for rediscovery.”

In addition to appearing for Q&As after screenings of their work, Gaylene Preston and Roxanne Benjamin will take on the role of mentors for the festival’s filmmaker development program The Attic Lab, which returns after a successful first year in 2016.

Roxanne Benjamin is well-known as the producer of the V/H/S films, credited by many as kicking off the ongoing ‘revival’ of the horror anthology feature film. She recently produced, directed and wrote segments of two new anthologies, Southbound, which premiered at TIFF in 2015 and XX this year, which opens this year’s Stranger With My Face after premiering at Sundance

Gaylene Preston ONZM is one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded filmmakers, with a career spanning more than four decades. While primarily known for her work in documentary and factually inspired drama, Preston is influential genre circles with two films in particular, both of which will screen at Stranger With My Face 2017.

PERFECT STRANGERS (1991) is a “chilling romance” which stars Rachel Blake and Sam Neill, and the lesser known MR WRONG (1983) which has recently been championed by cult cinema connoisseur Quentin Tarantino, who said “I loved the woman who was the lead in it… she would never be the lead in the American version of that movie. And there was something so authentic about seeing her trapped into this supernatural story.”

Rounding out the The Attic Lab mentor team for is veteran cinematographer Sandi Sissel (CHICKEN RANCH, SALAAM BOMBAY, MASTER AND COMMANDER) who will be in attendance for a screening of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, followed by an in-depth discussion around the artistic challenges involved in the 1991 Wes Craven production.

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