Frontières Market partners up with Genre Writing Contest From Our Dark Side

The Frontières International Co-Production Market is the first and only co-production market to connect North America and Europe with a specific focus on genre film. Started in 2012 as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival (which has been featuring genre films since 1996), Frontières has since developed into a biannual transatlantic circuit – taking place in Montreal in July at Fantasia, and Brussels in April at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. 

For each market, 24 projects with completed scripts suitable for international co-production and that represent innovation and new perspectives in genre film are selected from both emerging and established filmmakers. The four day market provides participants with one-on-one meeting sessions, consulting services, workshops, panels, and networking cocktails.

Frontières will be awarding full accreditation to the Montreal Edition of Frontières (held in July alongside the Fantasia Film Festival) to one of the five contest winners.

For more information:

Meet Lindsay Peters

LPETERSLindsay Peters is the Director of the Frontières International Co-Production Market. Lindsay was also a programmer with the Fantasia International Film Festival for three years prior to taking over Frontières. Before Fantasia, Lindsay worked at the Toronto International Film Festival, the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, Fashion in Film, and the Museum of the Moving Image in a variety of programming and administrative roles. She holds an MA in Film Studies from Concordia University,

What is genre?
Genre really is fantastic film and this can include horror, sci-fi, cult films and any film that rejects the ordinary. At Fantasia, we are a genre film festival, but we will stretch the parameters of what genre film means. After 18 years of getting to know our audience, we can cater to what our audience likes and program films that don’t always fit neatly into genre categories.

Why is genre important?
The genre audience is a relentlessly passionate and dedicated community that continues to thrive and can support blockbuster-level opening weekends for films like The Conjuring and Mama. And at the same time, genre is still a place where smaller films can emerge, like recent Cannes successes It Follows and Blue Ruin. What was previously considered a niche interest is now a core part of the international film industry, both economically and artistically.

What’s in this for women?
Genre films allow for the outsider perspective to really flourish. There have been a lot of articles lately listing the lack of opportunities for women in filmmaking and when women actually are given the opportunity to get behind the camera and direct a horror film, it can be really successful because women have that outsider perspective that makes for a great genre film. Jovanka Vuckovic and Jen & Sylvia Soska are just a few really exciting directors working in genre film that happen to be women – Josephine Decker, who directed the beautifully twisted Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, is another really exciting talent to watch who bends the conventional notions of genre.

What makes an exciting horror?
The unexpected. It’s important to have those genre elements but to also have your own critical perspective on them – a personal twist.

What makes an exciting sci-fi?
Sci-fi can often be dependent on a higher production value to make it believable, but it’s all about creating a universe that finds the familiar within the unknown.

What makes an exciting fantasy?
I think the most interesting fantasy films are those that can find a good balance between the historical perspective and at the same time create that all-important new universe, like Game of Thrones.

Where would we find out about these genres?
I guess I’m biased, but it would be attending genre film festivals and markets! And leading up to these festivals, go online and look through their catalogues and study their line up.

How did you get started working in genre?
I’ve always had a personal devotion to genre films and television – The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were a huge formative influence on me growing up – and in 2010 Fantasia did a screening of Metropolis to a live orchestra in Montreal that completely opened my mind to the history behind genre film. The next year, I joined the Fantasia team.

Why do you stay with it?
Honestly because I think that genre film just keeps growing and growing! The audience for Fantasia is constantly growing and becomes even more devoted as time goes on. Every year we seem to find new audiences and exceptional new filmmaking talents that make every year better than the last.

Why are you involved with supporting this contest?
I think it’s really important because there aren’t enough female driven projects being made, and a contest like this is something that can really help fill this void. I also think it’s great that this contest is supporting projects that are at an early development stage, because this is fairly rare. There are some fantastic women working in genre film, there always have been, and this contest is a great opportunity to bring these women together while discovering new voices.

Who are some of the filmmakers or artists who inspire you?
Claire Denis is fantastic and someone who has done very interesting things in genre while theoretically working as an auteur filmmaker. Her film Trouble Every Day is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. There are also some great male filmmakers that integrate a feminist perspective into their filmmaking –Joss Whedon is the most prominent example, but there’s also Simon Barrett & Adam Wingard, who most recently did the horror-thriller The Guest. I’m also completely fascinated by the ‘90s cycle of female-centric thrillers that came out of Hollywood– films like Fatal Attraction, Single White Female or The Hand that Rocks the Cradle– while these films were overwhelmingly written and directed by men, there were some really interesting dissections of the idea of female power happening on screen.

What are the advantages of coming to Frontières?
For each edition, we select 24 projects and issue 350-400 industry accreditations. We aim to keep an intimate, focused environment in contrast to the big markets like Berlin or Cannes. If you work in genre film, we’re the place to be. Our market gives people a chance to really get to know each other over the four days, and establish significant connections. We also strive to bring together emerging talents with the leaders in the genre film industry.

Who comes to your market?
Our aim is to forge connections between North America and Europe so there is high European attendance and a solid number of producers from across Canada and the U.S. We also host a large number of sales agents and acquisition executives from genre-focused companies like Raven Banner and XYZ Films as well as companies with a wider mandate like the Weinstein Company, Universal and Mongrel Media. And we do have participation from outside North America and Europe. For example, Turbo Kid, which is the first project to reach completion through our market, started in New Zealand. The project leaders met Montreal producer Anne-Marie Gelinas at our market, and ended up receiving support from Telefilm Canada.

Q&A by Sharon McGowan

Sharon McGowan is a filmmaker and an Associate Professor at the University of B.C. As a member of the Board of Directors of Women in Film + Television Vancouver, she is the producer of the Genre Script concept Contest and chairs WIFTV’s Advocacy Committee.


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