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Symposium: "Why Do Women Love True Crime?"

  • Monarch Tavern 12 Clinton Street Toronto, ON, M6J 2N8 Canada (map)

From shows like Making a Murderer and A Crime to Remember to podcasts such as Serial, In the Dark, and My Favorite Murder, ratings statistics and academic study alike show that the primary audience for this content is women. And this trend did not begin with the recent explosion of true crime multi-media; studies show that in the Victorian era, women were the primary public audiences at criminal trials, as well as being the target audience for ghost stories and penny dreadfuls.

Why are women so drawn to true crime? From exercising anxieties around real-life dangers to the mere fact that women tend to be less squeamish about blood, this panel will look at women’s historical and current engagement with true crime fandom.


Supervising Producer
Investigation Discovery, Web of LiesDeadly Women

Keila Woodard is a true crime Producer and storyteller who’s launched over 900 hours of programming for Investigation Discovery, the #1 most-watched network for women in the US and the leader in true crime television.  Crafting the world’s most compelling criminal cases into gripping and relatable stories, while also shining a light on victim-advocacy, is the heart of Keila’s work as a true crime Producer.  She has worked very closely with FBI profilers, psychologists, detectives and true crime journalists to bring some of the genre’s best known series to life, including Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe KendaOn the Case with Paula Zahn, and Deadly Women featuring Candice Delong.  In addition, with nine years of experience directing true crime voiceover, Keila has worked with grassroots organizations such as Women In Film and Video (WIFV) as an advocate in helping talented narrators find their platform. Keila holds a BA in Radio/TV/Film studies from Howard University and is based outside of Washington DC.

Lecturer in Pop Culture, True Crime, and Sexuality Studies
Concordia University

Karen Herland fell in with a bad crowd with a taste for horror and true crime. She has been a lecturer at the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies since 2012.  She teaches at Montreal’s Monstrum Society and sits on the Monstrum Journal’s editorial board. A lecturer in popular/visual culture and sexuality studies at Concordia University, she will be teaching their inaugural course on True Crime in 2019.

Met While Incarcerated

Catherine Legge is an award winning producer/director and showrunner who has been on the ground floor of top shows like Canadian Pickers (HISTORY), Buy It, Fix It, Sell It (HGTV), and Still Standing (CBC). Catherine’s fascination with true crime started at a young age when she’d frighten her parents by reading Max Haine’s stories in the weekend paper from the age of six. Catherine’s background is in news, investigative journalism, and documentary television, where she’s covered true crime stories including the Gemini award-winning documentary Inside the Interrogation Room for CBC Disclosure, which looks at how police interrogation techniques can lead to false confessions. She just completed producing/directing her first feature documentary Met While Incarcerated for the Documentary Channel, about successful women who’ve married a man in prison for a violent crime. Catherine is developing a drama series about women who kill and a true crime limited series she’s been investigating for two years.

Filmmaker, Writer, and Curator

Rémy Bennett is a filmmaker, writer, and curator living in New York City. She earned her BA in acting, directing, and drama studies from The Central School of Speech and Drama in London and studied film at SVA in New York. Her feature directorial debut, the psychosexual film Buttercup Bill was produced by Sadie Frost and screened at The New Orleans Film Festival, Raindance, and The Marfa Film Festival and was distributed theatrically in the UK. Her short film titled Eat Me and an accompanying art installation based on a fictitious female serial killer exhibited at the 2016 SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW and was voted in the critics top 10 shows at Armory Week in W Magazine and Gothamist.

In 2017, Bennett journalistically covered the inaugural true crime festival CrimeCon for Playboy and The Front Media. Her six part docuseries Under Her Skin, co-directed with her sister Kelsey Bennett and produced by the female led media company The Front, had its premiere in April at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and she is in development on several feature film documentaries including LA Despair: Chasing Death With John Gilmore which explores the life and writings of cult Hollywood true crime writer John Gilmore.  As an artist and writer Bennett has contributed to PLAYBOY, VICE, BUST MAGAZINE, and DIABOLIQUE and has most recently curated a film series at The Roxy Hotel Cinema in NYC titled GRIT & GORE: NYC HORROR which featured artist talks with Larry Fessenden, William Lustig, Frank Henenlotter and Roberta Findlay. Bennett has lectured on crime and horror at The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies in Brooklyn and will be speaking on a panel at the design institute AD/O in Brooklyn in a seminar exploring Fear, Violence, & Monsters in culture curated by Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun. 


Anne T. Donahue is a writer and person from Cambridge, Ontario whose work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Shondaland, and Vulture, among others. Every Tuesday, she appears as a columnist on CBC's q, and hosts her own weekly podcast with eOne called Nobody Cares (Except For Me). Her first book, Nobody Cares, will be out with ECW on September 18, and you can sign up for her weekly newsletter, That's What She Said, in the meantime. She's also known to scream into the abyss regularly on Twitter as @annetdonahue.


15% of ticket sales from this event will be donated to charity.