2018’s Women in Horror Month has brought forth a wealth of new cinematic offerings both to and from genre film artists and fans around the world… and we’re excited to take part in that creative wave with the online premiere of INK — the first horror short from Toronto-based photographer and filmmaker Ashlea Wessel.
INK is a surreal, gut-wrenching exploration of a young woman (Mishka Balilty) confronting a past trauma through the ritual transformation of tattooing… culminating in the fateful moment when her fears suddenly manifest themselves.
Wessel told 13TH FLOOR about the genesis of the project — which began life as a concept for a music video. The central character’s backstory began to expand until “she began to take on a life of her own… I couldn’t investigate this character or the motifs that I really wanted to without making it a narrative short.” This deeper context — while still contained entirely within INK’s claustrophobic walls — allowed Wessel not only to explore personal fears, but universal ones as well.
“There are a few themes that INK delves into — pregnancy, for example — that I think a lot of women find terrifying,” she explained. “I felt like it was a fitting central theme for my first short to investigate something that scares me too.”
Today you can only view INK online right here… [Warning: May be slightly unsafe for work]
This online premiere comes fresh off INK’s successful fest run, during which it took home awards for Best Director (Horrorhaus Film Festival, Los Angeles) and Best Actress (Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, New York), but that’s just the beginning: Wessel is already rolling cameras on a new short, TICK, which she summarizes as a “horror/sci-fi short exploring North American colonial relations in a post-pandemic age. With Vampires.” We’re already stoked for that one.