Whistler Film Festival 2016: Feminism Soars – Jennifer Merin reports

whistler-2016The 16th annual Whistler Film Festival has drawn to a close after five days packed with film screenings, a full house of filmmaker labs and pitch sessions, parties and power skiing. Parity for women is a cause that’s fully embraced by festival director Shauna Hardy Mishaw, who has established partnerships with female focused organizations to train, mentor and promote women directors and producers at the festival. Additionally, femme-helmed films scored big in award wins. Read more>>

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ Whistler Film Festival 2016: The Winners — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler-2016For the fourth consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists was at Whistler Film Festival to present AWFJ EDA Awards to female filmmakers for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature and Best Female-Directed Documentary. The winners were announced on December 4 at the festival’s awards ceremony at the Maury Young Arts Center. Read on…

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Women on Top Summit @ Whistler Film Festival: Keynote Address by Valerie Creighton, Canadian Media Fund

valerie-creightonAt Whistler Film Festival’s spirited Women on Top Summit (held December 3, atop Whistler Mountain), Canada Media Fund’s president and CEO Valerie Creighton affirmed and underscored Canada’s commitment to reach parity for women working in all aspects of the country’s moving image industries. Creighton’s speech provides comprehensive coverage of status and strategies re Canada reaching the goal of gender parity. The entire address is published on THE FEMALE GAZE

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AWFJ to Present EDA Awards at Whistler Film Festival — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler-2016This is the fourth consecutive year in which the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has the honor to partner with Whistler Film Festival to recognize women filmmakers with presentation of EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Feature Film and Best Female-Directed Documentary at this year’s festival, held in Whistler from November 30 to December 4, 2016. Whistler Film Festival nominates narrative features and documentaries for consideration. Selected by AWFJ jurors, the winners will be announced on December 4, at the Whistler Film Festival Awards Ceremony. Read on…

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Maite Alberdi Wins IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for THE GROWN UPS, with 2,500 Euros Prize

idfa-2016For the third consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. At a ceremony hosted by Chile Docs and held on November 22, IDFA director Ally Derks introduced AWFJ jurors Jennifer Merin and Dorothy Woodend who were attending the festival, and they in turn announced winner of the award and the cash prize of 2,500 Euros. The winner of the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed film is The Grown Ups, directed by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi. Read more…

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Asli Ozarslan on DIL LEYLA

asli-ozarslanAsli Özarslan’s Dil Leyla is the story of Imret Leyla, mayor of Cizre, a Kurdish town in Turkey. At age 26, she’s the youngest mayor in Turkey. Having left Cizre for Germany at age five, after her father, a Kurdish guerilla, was killed, she returns to help rebuild her town. Political tensions rise as Turkey’s national elections near. In profiling Leyla’s struggle, Özarslan calls forth contemplation of Turkey’s political climate and of women’s influence in bettering the outlook. Read Özarslan’s interview about the film on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Areum Parkkang on AREUM

areum-parkkangIn her first documentary feature, South Korean teacher and filmmaker Areum Parkkang takes a look at her own difficulties in finding a boyfriend. When her numerous blind dates don’t lead anywhere, she asks her students for their advise. They tell her that it is her appearance that is off putting. They advise her to make herself more attractive by slimming down, dressing up in a more feminine way, and wearing makeup. Read her interview on THE FEMALE GAZE

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Mia Hansen-Løve on THINGS TO COME and Writing — Interview by Tomris Laffly

mia-hansen-loveMia Hansen-Løve talks the way she writes: There is an effortless breeziness to her prose. Her casual smarts evidently come easy to her, as she packs multitudes of meaning in each seemingly straightforward statement. Listening to her take a brainy journey from one idea to the next, I note how her in-person demeanor matches the on-the-page and behind-the-camera storyteller. Read more>>

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Maite Alberdi on THE GROWN-UPS

maite-alberdi-300x200Chilean documentarian Maite Alberdi’s uniquely intimate observational style give us an up close and personal glimpse into the world of four adults with Down syndrome, all of whom struggle to live more independently in a social structure that has confined them for 40 plus years in a special education school where they’ve been trained and mow work. In a most humane and compassionate way, the film embraces the dreams and frailties of its leading characters and exposes the ways in which socially conscious compassion and the need for expediency conflict in impacting the lives of people who don’t fit social ‘norms.’ Read Alberdi’s comments on making the filming The Grown Ups and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Coco Schrijber on HOW TO MEET A MERMAID

cococroppedsmallDutch filmmaker Coco Schrijber’s highly cinematic style and essay-like approach to filmmaking transforms her personal quest for resolution about her brother’s downing suicide into a profound contemplation of life-sustaining and death-dealing aspects of the sea. She evokes the unsolved mystery of Rebecca, a cruise ship employee who disappeared while her ship was at sea and the story of a Mexican surfer who is flying across the ocean to find more challenging waves on other shores to broaden her narrative. Read what Coco Schrijber has to say about the film and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Mette Carla Albrechtsen and Lea Glob on VENUS

mettecarla-and-lea-cropped-300x216Danish filmmakers Mette Carla Albrechtsen and Lea Glob explore the subject of young women’s sexuality by setting up an open ‘casting call’ at which they interview the film’s subjects about their sexual experiences and attitudes towards sexuality and their bodies as they develop from adolescence to womanhood. Through this compilation of interviews, the filmmakers contemplate their own attitudes towards sex, and offer the opportunity for women who see the film to do as, as well. Read what they have to say about Venus and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Lucija Stojevic on LA CHANA

lucija-stojevic-smallLucija Stojevic’s La Chana profiles the career and artistry of Antonia Santiago Amador, the hugely popular flamenco dancer, revered by dance afficiandos for her passionate spirit and extraordinary footwork. Her career peaked during the late 1960s, before she inexplicably vanished from the dance world and celebrity. Stojevic delves into Amador’s complex personality by intertwining spectacular footage of her emotional performances with current footage of her quiet live in Barcelona, coaching talented young dancers and preparing a comeback recital — and revealing, for the first time, why she stepped out of the spotlight at the height of her career. La Chana is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film. Read Lucija Stojevic’s comments about La Chana on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Elvira Diaz on EL PATIO

elvira-diazFilmmaker Elvira Diaz was born in 1975 in France, after her father fled from Chile as a political refugee. El Patio is her third documentary about the consequences of Pinochet’s dictatorship on witnesses and victims’ lives. In the film, she follows aging gravediggers as they reveal, for the first time, their haunting memories of surreptitiously burying ‘disappeared persons’ during the dark days of the Pinochet regime. The film is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award of 2,500 Euros. Read Diaz’s comments about making the film on THE FEMALE GAZE

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Alice Schmid on THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ANZI

alice-schmid-headshotAlice Schmid, filmmaker and novelist, tells stories from around the globe, mostly focusing on children. The Girl Down Lock Anzi, nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award, is set in rural Switzerland, where 12- year-old Laura is fascinated by and works up the courage to explore a legend about a maiden who is supposedly imprisoned in caves close to her family’s farm. The film is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award of 2,500 Euros. Alice Schmid comments about making the film and filmmaking on THE FEMALE GAZE

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Alice Schmid on THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ANZI

alice-schmid-headshotAlice Schmid, filmmaker and novelist, tells stories from around the globe, mostly focusing on children. Say No (1993) is a film classic on child abuse. Working in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1999 to 2002, she showed the lives of child soldiers. In Letter to Grown-Ups (1994) she followed a child through the mine-fields of Cambodia. In Every Drop For The Future (1996), she accompanied a Bolivian girl on her two-hour walk to school. Schmid’s latest documentary, The Girl Down Loch Anzi, is nominated for the IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film. Read her comments about the film on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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SPOTLIGHT November, 2016: Ally Derks, IDFA Founder, Documentaries Mogul and innovator

awfjspotlightsmallsmallallyderksIDFA’s founder and director Ally Derks is in the AWFJ SPOTLIGHT this month, as she helms the 2016 festival from November 16 to 29. During her 30-year tenure at IDFA, Derks has built the festival into the world’s preeminent documentaries showcase, marketplace and pitch forum, with year round programs to develop the art of documentary filmmaking and broaden its horizons. This will be the last IDFA under Derk’s direction, as she leaves the organization to spend 2017 living and working in Berlin as an invited fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy, an institution of the prestigious Robert Bosch Stiftung. Read on…

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AWFJ Announces Nominees for 2,500 Euro Prize for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2016 – Jennifer Merin reports

idfa-2016The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is pleased to name three finalists in this year’s competition for the IDFA 2016 EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature Length Documentary. AWFJ is partnering with IDFA (International Dcoumentary Film Festival Amstersam) for the third consecutive year to honor female filmmakers whose documentaries are on the festival schedule. This is the first year the award includes the 2,500 Euro prize. The winner of the award will be announced at IDFA on November 22, and the award will be presented at that time. Read on…

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A CAT’S TALE — Review by Martha P. Nochimson

cats-tale-posterA Cat’s Tale is a very independent film. It defies all current norms of studio production. For this story of a pair of middle-aged fraternal twins, Rob and Carla (Marty Grabstein and Lisa Barnes), Director Rick Mowatt has crafted a fluid cinematic style to create individual and shared spaces for the embattled siblings, while Grabstein and Barnes have honed performances that uncannily fill those spaces with both the profound loneliness of isolated souls and the two step of prisoners of a fraught family history. Who tells stories about middle-aged people? Family stories are about young people, cute people, people who hit back at middle-aged people. Right? Readthe full review on EYE ON MEDIA

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Top Female Performances @ New York Film Festival 2016 — Liz Whittemore reports

nyff-54-previewWoman were out in  full force at this year’s festival. From directors like Ava DuVernay, Kelly Reichardt, Alison Maclean, Maren Ade, and Mia Hansen-Løve in the Main Slate section alone, to the star studded Hollywood performers we’ve come to love and respect throughout the years. Tackling subjects such as grief, injustice, rape culture, loneliness, fear and self actualization, this year’s selections were a strong representation of the complexities of  the female gender.  Read on…

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Ten Films Nominated for the IDFA AWFJ EDA Award’s €2,500 Prize — Jennifer Merin reports

idfa-2016Programmers at IDFA have selected ten documentaries to be considered for this year’s IDFA AWFJ EDA Award, which bestows a prize of €2,500 for the Best Female-Directed Documentary. The winner will be announced and the award will be presented in Amsterdam on November 22, 2016. This year’s AWFJ jurors are Dorothy Woodend (Canada), Julide Tanriverdi (Germany) and Jennifer Merin (USA). 2016 is the third consecutive year that IDFA and AWFJ have partnered to recognize women’s outstanding achievements in documentary filmmaking, and it is the first year in which the EDA Award comes with a monetary prize. For the full list of films, read on…

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AWFJ to Present EDA Award for Best Female Directed Film @ IDFA 2016, with € 2,500 Prize! – Jennifer Merin reports

idfa-2016For the third consecutive year, The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will present the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA, the world’s leading documentary film festival, taking place in Amsterdam from November 17 to 29. Ten new female-directed documentaries screening in the festival’s program have been nominated by the festival for the EDA Award of € 2,500 and the AWFJ certificate. The winner will be determined by AWFJ’s international jury. Nominated films and jurors will be announced shortly. Stay tuned….

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Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2016: Feminist Programming — Jennifer Merin reports

This year’s admirably programmed Human Rights Watch Film Festival, presenting 18 films focused on human rights issues worldwide, is scheduled to take place from June 10 to 19, with screenings at the Lincoln Center Film Society and IFC Center. The festival program also screens in more than 20 cities throughout the calendar year. This year, of the 18 programmed films, eleven directly concern issues related to the rights of women and girls, and 10 if them are directed or co-directed by women. Read more>>

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Etheria Film Night: Female Filmmakers take note! — Liz Whittemore reports

Etheria Film Night bannerEtheria Film Night is an annual showcase screening of a progressive slate of genre films directed by women for an audience including producers, managers, show runners, distributors, and genre fans.  Women want to make exciting, provocative, entertaining, fantastic, and terrifying films. Etheria puts the women directors who want to make genre films and TV in front of the people who want to hire them. Read more on I SCREAM YOU SCREAM…

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Athina Rachel Tsangari on CHEVALIER and Competition — Pam Grady interviews

athina rachel tsangariIt takes a woman — Greek writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari (“Attenberg”) — to take the measure of men in Chevalier, her absurd comedy set on a luxurious yacht. Six men, apparently thrown together by a blend of business and familial obligations on a spearfishing vacation, drift off the coast of Greece and come up with a game to while away the time. They will determine who is “the best in general,” a competition that pits man against man as they take the measure of absolutely everything, from sporting prowess to sleeping posture, a rivalry that undermines the group’s bonhomie and comes to consume them. “It’s almost like a likability contest. It’s almost like a floating Facebook,” said Tsangari during a visit to the Bay Area, where Chevalier screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival. “Competition is just natural,” Tsangari said. “It’s what we do from kindergarten.” Read more…

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ DOXA: Dr. Heidi Janz and Eva Colmers’ Moving Acceptance Speech

Dr. Heidi Janz

Dr. Heidi Janz

Eva Colmers

Eva Colmers

VANCOUVER — At DOXA Documentary Film Festival 2016 awards ceremony, held on May 14, the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary Short was presented to co-directors Dr. Heidi Janz and Eva Colmers for We Regret to Inform You, their very affecting and effective film about Heidi’s arduous battle to get disability support from the Canadian government. The directors were not present to receive the award from AWFJ’s Karen Martin, but the had prepared a very beautiful and affirming acceptance speech on tape. You can read the transcript and/or watch the video:

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