Darklight: Women Direct Horror

October 2006 to August 2007

Warp X and Threshold Studios set out to find female directors with a fresh vision for UK horror.

Darklight: Women Direct Horror

Darklight was developed in response to findings from a Skillset and UK Film Council Feature Film Production Workforce Survey (2005). It was reported that in UK feature film production less than 5% of women were in lead technical roles i.e Directors opposed to Producers or front of camera talent. At the same time the Japanese Horror genre was thriving in cinemas and attracting an increasing number of female audiences due to strong empathetic central characters.

In response to this, Threshold approached Warp X and Skillset, and with funding support from Skillset Film Skills Fund and Warp X, developed Darklight: Women Direct Horror – a UK wide bespoke training linked to production scheme to seek out and support female directors looking to break into feature length production.

The scheme comprised of residential workshop and  masterclasses, from key industry professionals including the legendary Richard Stanley, Dog Soldiers’ director Neil Marshall, prosthetics and special effects Neill Gorton, and many other expert writers, editors, sound design artists, cinematographers. Pitch to market phase as well as Four of the projects getting a chance to get onto the  Warp X development slate.

Threshold launched the scheme at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2006, and at festivals in Bristol, Bradford and London. From 76 applications, 10 female directors were selected with a diverse wealth of experience ranging from BAFTA-nominated shorts to art installations to television documentary. The directors worked with actors, sound recordists, lighting and camera talent during master-class weekends, and engaged in a period of one-to-one story and script development. Darklight culminated in the commissioning of four of the directors to develop their ideas into full treatments.

Read our blog post TS20: Darklight

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