Monster Fest is a celebration of all that is weird and wonderful in the international cult cinema palette – Horror, fantasy, science-fiction, action, crime, noir, dark drama, gothic western, black comedy, animation, erotica and more.

Monster Fest is about blackened cinemas with awe-struck patrons sitting on the edge of their seats. It’s about white knuckles, cold sweats, nervous gasps, gut-wrenching laughs and screams in the dark, but most of all Monster Fest is about people – people who love cinema with bite, a community of like-minded souls from every corner of life, united by a passion for the most twisted imaginings on the planet.
It is dangerous, delirious and delightful. It is about moving with wild abandon into the darkened recesses of cinematic imagination, and doing it with others. It’s about leaving your living room, entering the cinema and daring to live it large with films that are larger than life itself.
Founded in 2011 as an initiative of Monster Pictures, Monster Fest is a mix of Premieres, international festival favourites, challenging new discoveries and curated repertory sidebars alongside industry-focused events such as panels and masterclasses with renowned international guests, and a special emphasis on supporting emerging Australian genre film talent through the festival and beyond.
The Producers would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which Monster Fest takes place.

Testimonials

“Monster Fest is a kick-ass film festival, and a must see event for all genre movie lovers!”

“Monster Fest is providing access for Australian audiences to quality genre cinema, while paying an important growing role within the Australian festival landscape."

“Monster Fest has quickly become a major event on the international film festival landscape. Unforgettable films, incredible events and outstanding guests. We absolutely LOVE it!”

Monster Fest Team

  • Grant Hardie

    Festival Director, Programmer

    Grant Hardie, an RMIT film graduate, has worked within the Australian film industry for over twenty years in roles ranging from production through distribution. Grant’s passion for film harks back to late nights as a child, waiting for his parents to fall asleep before he would sneak out to the living room to catch a Hammer Horror film on television. This enthusiasm for genre cinema carried through Grant’s adult life and has proved a driving force behind co-founding Monster Pictures in 2010.

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  • Neil Foley

    Festival Director, Programmer

    Neil has worked in the Australian film industry for the last 20 years in various roles including production, distribution and acting. Neil and his long time friend and collaborator, Grant Hardie started hatching a plan in 2010 to start a distribution label specialising in genre cinema, and later that year, Monster Pictures was born. Neil lives in Melbourne with his whippet Wilma, is a fanatical supporter of the St Kilda Football Club and enjoys robust conversations about any number of topics.

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  • Jarret Gahan

    Online Content & Social Media Manager

    Jarret Gahan has been toiling away in visual storytelling for well over a decade, producing award-winning films, music videos and supplemental features for home entertainment releases for the last 18 years. His passion from infancy has been cinema, christened on VHS, his education started early with his first filmic memories being awash of exploding heads, flying spheres and fallen AT-ATs.

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  • Ben Hellwig

    Online Content & Technical Director

    Ben has worked in all aspects of film distribution for over half a decade, from acquisitions to product development, production, design and everything in-between. Outside of Monster Pictures, Ben is the co-founder of a boutique VHS distribution label, Celluloid Apocalypse, and co-produces the hit Channel 31 show Behind the Screen with fellow Monsterite Jarret Gahan.

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  • Catherine Seccombe

    Shorts Programmer

    Catherine has been in love with horror and genre film and TV since the age of 7, when a dodgy babysitter let her rent whatever she wanted from the video store and she proceeded to work her way through the shelves, cover by lurid cover. Since completing a Cinema Studies degree, Catherine has worked in film preservation and archival research at the National Film and Sound Archive, content acquisition and programming at SBS Television, theatrical distribution with Madman Entertainment and program research at ABC Television. 2017 is her 3rd year as a programmer for Monster Fest

  • Hussein Khoder

    Shorts Programmer

    Hussein Khoder is a filmmaker and festival programmer from Melbourne, Australia. When he is not absorbing as much knowledge as possible from all the films he watches, he works on any film he can get on. Monster Fest 2017 is his third year as a short film curator for Monster Fest.

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  • Bria Baker

    Shorts Programmer

    Bria Baker is a researcher and analyst. Since completing a Cinema Studies degree she has worked at Film Victoria and within the ABC Television commissioning division supporting film and television production. She has written a number of industry reports focusing on topics such as Break-out Australian Films and Genre Performance at the Box Office, and has also conducted audience test screenings for several Australian horror features. Bria is a voracious consumer of genre cinema and never uses the term “guilty pleasure."

  • Simon Foster

    FEATURES JUDGE

    A 30-year veteran of the Australasian film sector, Simon experienced the VHS boom years in the sales and marketing teams at Village Roadshow, Columbia Tri-Star Films and 20th Century Fox before becoming Asia Pacific Sales Manager for ‘The Showbusiness Bible’, Variety. After 4 years as film reviewer at SBS Movies and contributor to Empire, Inside Film and Screen Hub, he launched SCREEN-SPACE in 2012. He currently reviews for Fairfax Media and ABC-FM Statewide (NSW). He has served on juries and panels at The Sydney Underground Film Festival, Sydney’s A Night of Horror/Fantastic Planet Film Festival, the MIFF sidebar Telescope, The South Australian Screen Awards and The Byron Bay Film Festival.

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  • Jon Nilsen

    FEATURES JUDGE

    Jon has worked in the Australian film industry for the past 27 years, in a variety of roles within exhibition and distribution. Always a fan of genre cinema since the age of 8, he has produced and directed several short genre films. In 2005, he independently acquired and distributed the Sundance hit PRIMER to local audiences. Currently a Film Programmer for Event Cinemas, his love of genre film has resulted in a new partnership with Monster Pictures through the Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow satellite events at various Event Cinemas across the country.

  • Cameron Williams

    SHORTS JUDGE

    Cameron Williams is a writer and film critic who can be heard regularly on ABC Radio and contributes to The Monthly, The Final Cut, ABC Online, Vice, Junkee, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, SBS Movies, Birth. Movies. Death and Little White Lies. Cameron is the founder of the Popcorn Junkie and tweets too much @MrCamW.

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  • Sally Christie

    SHORTS JUDGE

    Sally Christie is a film writer and current honours student at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Her research interests include censorship in film, controversial cinema and pop culture in education. She is currently working on a thesis entitled, “From the Grotesque to the Divine: The Carnivalesque and John Waters.”

  • Claire Barrett

    SHORTS JUDGE

    Claire Barrett has been watching horror films from behind the couch for more years than she cares to remember. Since completing her Masters in Cinema Studies, Claire has been toiling away in the ABC's television archive, surfacing only for the occasional trip to the cinema. This is Claire's first year on the Monster Fest judging panel, and she's scared already.

  • Dick Dale

    Trasharama Programmer

    Dick Dale has been creating award-winning short films since 1993. In 1997 he founded Trasharama, the nastiest film program in Oz, sourcing the most sick and twisted horror shorts on Earth. Spawned in a local rock dive followed by punk acts, it now premieres at Monster Fest annually and tours Australia as the 'Roadkill Roadtrip tour'. Dick’s other activities include being Trasharama MC, punk rock vocalist, spoken word artist, film reviewer, roadie and worst barman. He is currently producing and directing the splatterpunk feature Ribspreader.

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  • Kim Taylor

    OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

    Kim is partner of and sidekick to Grant Hardie, together they travel the country with the Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow. Kim takes on many roles, least of which is the official photographer. Over the past decade Kim has worked as the stills photographer on several award-winning films. After a successful year studying Film and Television at Victorian College of The Arts, her graduating film INTERRUPTED played several film festivals around the world including Shepparton Shorts Film Festival, Brooklyn International Film Festival and SKANC Short Film Festival. Kim’s hunger and fervour for horror and genre films often finds her lamenting “let’s just eat and watch movies all night”.

  • Victoria De Paoli

    OPERATIONS ASSISTANT

    A self-proclaimed literature fanatic, Victoria is a graphic designer whose passion for art and involvement in the creative industry has been her chosen path since she could first talk. It was in 2015 during her Bachelor degree at Swinburne University that Victoria became aware of her love for cinema, undertaking a genre film studies elective that later introduced her to the world of Monster Fest. She worked as Assistant to the Director that year where both her knowledge of genre cinema expanded and her interest in the industry ignited. Since then she’s made herself a frequent face in the Monster Pictures office contributing to areas of design, writing, editing, sponsorship and more.

  • Mark Van De Beek

    Graphic Designer

    Freelance designer, musician and retro-horror-fan Mark Van De Beek can be found at a live music bar, laying out this festival program or on tour with a beer in his hand.

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