Dark Nights Film Fest Announces Jury

Rebecca Varidel
10th Apr 2024

Australia’s new horror and dark genre film festival Dark Nights Film Fest taking place at the iconic Ritz Cinemas in October, has revealed the esteemed jurors onboard for its first year, dubbed “Volume One”.

Dark Nights’ Jury for 2024 consists of three feature film judges, three short film judges, and three screenplay judges.

Judging features, from Mexico, by way of Canada, rising Latino filmmaker Gigi Saul Guerrero, who first made an international impact on the festival circuit with her short EL GIGANTE, and now has a First Look deal with Blumhouse. Australian director Andrew Traucki, whose movies BLACK WATER and THE REEF are frequently included high up in lists ranking the best croc and shark thrillers of the past thirty years. From the US, prolific producer and documentarian Sylvia Caminer whose first narrative feature, the whip-smart psycho-thriller FOLLOW HER, won numerous awards across the festival circuit.

Short film judges are Natalie Richards, the founder and director of Australian youth horror festival Bloodfest, horror expert and genre academic Dr. Tara Lomax, and self-confessed movie freak-geek, cinephile and podcaster Adam Lovett.

Tackling the unproduced screenplays are a sturdy bunch of scribes from down under; script guru Anthony Egan’s had his fingers in more industry pies than you’ve had hot dinners, author and commentator Emma Westwood is well-versed in all things cinematically monstrous, and Dr. Adam Daniel is a filmmaker, teacher and researcher on the evolution of the horror form.

“We’re especially excited to announce that the winning feature film and short film screenwriters in the unproduced screenplay competition will be given the opportunity to be mentored by Robbie Miles, one of Australia’s most internationally experienced and successful producers and development executives, and an AFTRS alumnus,” states Dark Nights’ festival director Bryn Tilly.

The festival is calling for submissions from emerging and established Australian and international filmmakers and screenwriters. Taking place at the Ritz Cinemas in Sydney 11 - 13 October, the festival event celebrates the best new independent films from the more tenebrous corners of cinema.

Tilly is keen to emphasise, “We want audiences to immerse themselves in an atmosphere that redefines and pushes boundaries and leads them into new, unknown or lesser-known territory. Not just visceral horror, but psychological thrills, dark fantasy, cosmic dread, neo-noir, other kinds of dark genre vibes.”

​​The festival’s Earlybird Deadline for submissions is 26 May 2024, with Regular Deadline on 23 June, and Late Deadline on 21 July.

All submission criteria can be found on the festival website >> darknightsfilmfest.com/
or directly on the festival’s FilmFreeway page >> filmfreeway.com/darknightsfilmfest/

Pictured: BLACK WATER: ABYSS by Andrew Traucki