They may not be household names, yet, but these inspiring and gifted female filmmakers are changing the game and need to be on your radar.
The independent film community is filled with talented female directors and creators that bring their stories and talent to eager audiences, and the horror genre is certainly no exception. The following filmmakers are women who have made an impression in the independent film scene with their horrifying tales, all of which deserve attention and support. If you don’t yet know these names, I urge you to make the most of this Women in Horror Month by seeking out as much of this great work as you can.
1. Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Sims-Fewer’s short films are defined by her well-crafted and emotionally raw stories concerning the female experience. Her short films Rape Card and Woman In Stall are especially vivid, with both films centered on the nature of sexual assault and harassment, as well as society’s toxic and horrifying views and reactions to such matters.
Her latest feature film Violation premiered at Sundance in 2021.
2. Sonia K. Hadad
Hadad has quickly established herself as quite a strong voice, using her own experiences growing up in Iran to project a grim look into many societal issues that women and girls face today.
With short films such as Exam, featuring in the 2019 Sundance film festival lineup — and recently qualifying for an Oscar on top of 33 other awards it has received since the film’s release, it’s easy to see how Hadid’s narratives make such a powerful impact.
3. Nikyatu Jusu
Jusu is another highly regarded face of the independent film scene. With her Sundance-featured twist on a modern vampire story, the short horror film Suicide by Sunlight, she showcases her ability to produce highly emotional yet stylish and unnerving narratives that captivate her audiences.
You can watch Suicide by Sunlight online right here.
Jusu is currently working on her new feature film Nanny, which has been selected for the 2020 Creative Capital Award.
4. Izzy Lee
Director/Writer/Producer Izzy Lee’s films (including the incredible shorts Innsmouth, Re-Home, and For a Good Time Call…, which made our list of Best Horror Shorts of 2019) do not stray from graphic but powerful scenes, using the horror genre to its fullest whilst covering a range of topics such as revenge porn, assault and other hard-hitting topics. Regardless, you’re always in for an intense and horrific ride. Check out Lee’s Director’s Reel here.
Her latest short film, Disco Graveyard, recently premiered at the Chattanooga Film Festival.
5. Angela Atwood
Atwood’s work in both acting, writing, and directing has gained her praise for her female-driven narratives. One of her most well-known works, Lady Hunters, follows the horrifying tale of three mothers who go on a hunt for a sexual predator. This short made our list
Lady Hunters made both my Top Ten Female Directed Horror Shorts and my Top Ten Horror Shorts of 2019 lists. It’s an absolute must watch.
6. Kennikki Jones-Jones
Jones-Jones has quickly established herself as a talented actress, writer and director. Her suspenseful yet emotive storytelling has wowed audiences thanks to her unique voice and her ability to use the horror genre as a tool of exploration.
Her latest short film, Knock Knock, is available to watch on YouTube via ScreamFest.
Knock Knock | Scary Short Horror Film | Screamfest
7. Jill Gevargizian
Jill Gevargizian, aka ‘Jill Sixx’, has made a mark for herself in the independent horror scene with stand out shorts such as 42 Counts and Call Girl, all of which are powerful stories surrounding a slice of the female experience.
Her most recent feature film, The Stylist, based on her wildly successful short of the same name (watch right here), made its World Premiere at Fantastic Fest in September of 2020. It will debut o ARROW beginning March 1st and will be available to stream in the US, Canada, and the UK.
8. Yfke Van Berckelaer
Van Berckelaer is no stranger to the horror genre with an impressive resume of female-driven narratives. One of her best-known works, Lili, centered around sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.
Lili was nominated for several awards during its festival run for both writing, direction, and performance. You can watch it for free on Vimeo.