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.


“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.

    See Profile.
  • 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.

    See Profile.
  • Jarret Gahan

    Online Content & Digital Marketing 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.

    See Profile.
  • 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.

    See Profile.
  • Kim Taylor


    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”.

  • David Churack

    Content Writer & Digital Marketing Assistant

    David is a recent graduate from Melbourne University’s "Writing, Editing and Publishing Master’s" program. Previously a film student in his home state of WA, his passion for all things adventurous and transgressive in cinema naturally led him to Monster Pictures. He has had content published by a variety of online and print media sources, and has been busy writing feature articles and marketing content for Monster Pictures throughout 2018.

    See Profile.
  • 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

  • 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."

  • 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.

    See Profile.
  • Simon Foster


    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.

    See Profile.
  • Jon Nilsen


    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.

  • Emma Westwood

    Shorts Judge

    Emma Westwood is a film writer and commentator who was once arts editor for the Melbourne weekly street mag, Inpress. She has written about cinema and the arts for publications such as The Age, Metro, Screen Education, Empire, Diabolique and Senses of Cinema. She is the author of two books on cinema – Monster Movies (Oldcastle Books, 2008) and The Fly (Auteur Publishing), a monograph on David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake, and she is currently working on another monograph about Jame Whale's 1935 classic, Bride of Frankenstein, for Electric Dreamhouse in the UK. Emma also co-hosts the weekly film criticism show Plato’s Cave on 3RRR. 

  • Lisa Kovacevic

    Shorts Judge

    Lisa Kovacevic is a Film and Television Writer, Producer and Art Director. Lisa also writes for, and producers, radio. She anchors the film review program and podcast Plato’s Cave for 3RRR Radio Station in Melbourne.

  • Faith Everard

    Shorts Judge

    Faith Everard is a writer and critic who produces the Plato's Cave podcast. She was a judge at the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia in 2017, and the Critics Campus intern at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2018. Her work can be found at Senses of Cinema, ABC Online, The Big Issue and 4:3.

  • Stuart Richards

    Shorts Judge

    Stuart Richards is the author of The Queer Film Festival: Popcorn and Politics (Palgrave, 2016). He completed his PhD in screen and cultural studies at the University of Melbourne and is currently a research fellow with the Australian Film Institute Research Collection. His research interests include queer cinema, film festival culture and Australian film and television. He is also a practicing film critic and can be heard on Plato’s Cave podcast.