Founded by celeb hairstylist turned filmmaker Sapna Bhavnani, the festival will open with the Award-winning Mexican film Huesera: The Bone Woman, directed by Michelle Garza Cerver and close with The Nightmare, directed by Alice Wadding.
The festival will screen 23 Indian and International films in competition including Aarti Kadav’s sci-fi feature, The Astronaut and His Parrot starring Ali Fazal and Megha Ramaswami’s acclaimed short Lalanna’s Song starring Parvathy Thiruvothu and Rima Kallingal, apart from a special screening of the award-winning cult horror film, Tumbbad, a bunch of exciting talks and panel discussions with Vishal Furia (Chhori, Lapachhapi), Vikram Bhatt (Ghost, 1920, Creature), Anvita Dutt (Qala, Bulbbul), Kaizad Gustad.
The physical screenings will take place from March 17-20 at Harkat Studio and Veda Factory while the virtual screenings will be held from 10 – 20 March 2023 and the tickets are available at Wench Film Festival. The festival will screen 23 films in the competition out of which 19 will be available to watch online at wenchff.festivalsaints.com. The films will be shown under three different categories, Blood Thirsty (More than 40 mins) Dwarves (10 to 40 mins), and Elves (Less than 10 mins). The jury judging the three different categories will comprise Annick Mahnert and Shari Frillot (Blood Thirsty), Alexandre Heller-Nicholas (Dwarves) and Namrata Joshi (Elves)
Sapna Bhavnani, Founder of the Wench Film Festival adds, “In the process of writing my new film Bearlike Man, I realised a palpable lack of female representation in the genre outfit of India. Over the three decades I looked at, 9.9% of directors were women. Horror comes with just 5.9% of directors being women and Sci-fi 2.8%. I find this statistic offensive. When I found out I was the first Indian woman director to pitch at BIFAN I knew I had to change gears and move the female gaze to the genre space that has eluded it for a long time. The goal of the Wench FIlm Festival is to highlight women but also to promote and celebrate the genre space that has been in our blood since birth. India is a country of many religions and each has their own superstitions and rituals and we are amazed that we don’t have a festival yet. We are happy to start the conversation and like all things that start first, building the foundation is of utmost importance as well as collaborating with people who have been instrumental in building the genre space. I met Vivek at Film Bazaar last year and he said he also was looking to start a horror festival - and bam here we are. He took my vision and scaled it. We have no doubt of the success of the festival and already have big plans for our halloween bash. When I hear Indians saying they do not like horror I laugh as we are the land of spirituality which starts with spirit."