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Hemlock & Cedar Films have released a teaser trailer for their horror anthology Dark Whispers – Volume 1 ahead of the World Premiere of the film at CinefestOz on August 30.

The selection of 10 horror shorts have been directed by Australian women filmmakers, with a wraparound narrative starring Andrea Demetriades (pictured, above) as ‘Clara’ and directed by Megan Riakos binding the diverse narratives.

The overarching plot focuses on Clara, as she begins to sort through her deceased mother’s home. She discovers a mysterious heirloom, the ‘Book of Dark Whispers’, filled with chapter after chapter of strange stories. Each weird tale reveals a new facet of the twisted human, or not so human, psyche. (Pictured, right; from left, 1st AC Carina Burke, Riakos, Demetriades. Photo: Lauren Orrell)

“Our motivation for making the film was to release more wicked and wonderful stories by women into the world, much as our protagonist unleashes powerful ideas with each page she turns,” says Riakos, director of the 2015 feature Crushed and NSW chair of the industry body Women in Film and Television (WIFT). “It’s a metaphor for the darkness that lurks within us all.”

In addition to Riakos, directors contributing to the project are Angie Black, Briony Kidd, Isabel Peppard, Janine Hewitt, Jub Clerc, Kaitlin Tinker, Katrina Irawati Graham, Lucy Gouldthorpe, Madeleine Purdy and Marion Pilowsky.

A high-profile roster of Australian acting talent is on board, including Asher Keddie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine; The Hunting), Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana; Holding the Man), Tosh Greenslade (Mad As Hell), Melanie Irons (Noirhouse) and Bree Desborough (Home and Away).

Riakos and producing partner Leonie Marsh are overseeing the project, with Deadhouse Films’ Enzo Tedeschi on board as Executive Producer and Briony Kidd, co-founder of female-focussed horror film event Stranger With My Face, serving as Associate Producer. (Pictured, left; l-r, Tedeschi, Riakos and Marsh) 

It was while attending Kidd’s Hobart-based festival that Riakos found inspiration for the project. In June, she told, “The festival focuses on female filmmakers whose films take a unique approach to genre storytelling. I wanted to bring films like that to a wider audience.”

Following the CinefestOz launch, Dark Whispers – Volume 1 will seek further festival placement ahead of a planned 2020 theatrical season.

Dark Whispers Vol. 1 OFFICAL TEASER from Megan Riakos on Vimeo.


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