MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 15: THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR

motw logo 1-35Using the horrific 1944 gang rape of a black woman by white men as a jumping-off point to examine systemic issues of race, class, and power in the United States, Nancy Buirski’s documentary “The Rape of Recy Taylor” is stirring and powerful. Like many other 2017 films, including “Detroit,” “Mudbound,” “Strong Island,” and more, “Recy Taylor” makes it abundantly clear that the complicated history and politics of race and gender are more relevant — and frustrating — than ever. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Big Deals for DuVernay, Caro, Boden and Arnold, and Fallout for Weinstein — Brandy McDonnell reports

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold signs to direct Big Little Lies. Disney signs Ava DyVernay, Niki Caro and Anna Boden (partnering with Ryan Fleck) to #100-million deals. ‘and the Academy establishes a code of conduct in response to the Harvey Weinstein debacle. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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The Academy’s 90th Oscars: First Promo, New Time and Shortlists — Michelle Hannett reports

oscars goldKicking of the 90 days to the 90th Oscars, the Academy revealed to movie fans that the telecast from Hollywood on Sunday, March 4, 2018, will now begin at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST, a half-hour earlier than prior telecasts. As previously announced, late-night talk show favorite Jimmy Kimmel will return to host. Nominations voting opens for the 90th Academy Awards on January 5, 2018, closes on January 12, 2018, with the announcement on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Women filmmakers are definitely part of the conversation this awards season continue reading…

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Story Supervisor Jason Katz on Creating COCO — Interview by Leslie Combemale

The new Pixar film Coco speaks about ancestral ties, remembrance, and celebration. It is a story that follows young musician Miguel on his journey into the Land of the Dead to solve a family mystery, embrace his passion for music, and create his own destiny. I interviewed Story Supervisor Jason Katz, who has had a hand in nearly every Pixar release since Toy Story, including being co-story supervisor for Finding Nemo and Ratatouille. He has been involved in building Coco from the beginning, and talks here about his perspective on leading the story department as his mentor Joe Ranft would have done, what inspired him in developing the film, and how Coco is much more about life, remembrance, and his grandmother Florence, than about death. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Gerwig’s Top Rating, Streep’s Gender Lament and MULAN Live — Brandy McDonnell reports

Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ becomes best-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney chooses Liu Yifei to be its live-action ‘Mulan,’ to be directed by Niki Caro. Making the rounds for’The Post,’ Meryl Streep laments the lack of gender parity. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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Women Filmmakers Rise to the Top at Whistler Film Festival 2017 — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler logo 2017At a time when the call for gender parity is more prevalent than ever, the Whistler Film Festival 2017, taking placed from November 29 to December 3, will screen 14 feature films and 16 short films directed by women, which makes up 30% of this year’s film programming, the highest percentage for the festival to date. Continue reading…

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IDFA 2017: The Female Gaze is Gone — Jennifer Merin reports

idfa 2017 ;ogoInternational Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, otherwise known as IDFA, has accomplished during the decades since it was co-founded by Ally Derks, who is rightly revered in the documentary film realm. But Ally Derks has moved on, and IDFA is changing its outlook. This year, the festival dropped its The Female Gaze program and is, apparently, no longer focusing on ongoing issues of gender parity faced by the international community of women filmmakers. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

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Belize International Film Festival 2017 — Gill Pringle reports

belize ffNow in its 12th year, the Belize International Film Festival has enjoyed growing success with every year, thanks to its founder and festival director Suzette Zayden. A Belizean native, her original goal with BIFF was to put Belize on the film map but also to engender connectivity between her fellow countrymen through film. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Iran’s Female-Directed Oscar Pick, Plus Portman, Bigelow, Winslet and more — Brandy McDonnell Reports

Natalie Portman wins Israel’s Genesis Prize, Iran makes first Academy Award submission directed by a woman, Sundance Selects acquires Rachel Dretzin’s documentary ‘Far from the Tree,’ and Kathryn Bigelow, Kate Winslet and more are honored by SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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EDA Awards @ Whistler Film Festival: Feature and Shorts Nominees Announced — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler logo 2017The Alliance of Women Film Journalists and Whistler Film Festival are proud to announce the nominees for two AWFJ EDA Awards to be presented at the 2017 festival. This is the fourth consecutive year of the partnership between Whistler Film Festival and AWFJ to honor films directed by women. Whistler Film Festival nominates films for consideration. Juries are comprised of AWFJ members. The winners will be announced and the EDA Awards will be presented at the festival’s awards ceremony on December 3, 2017. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Varda and Tomlin Honored, Nowlin Plays PTSD Woman Vet, Sexual Harassment Help Line Set

Legendary French filmmaker Agnes Varda, now age 89, receives an honorary Oscar in Hollywood, while The Society of Voice Arts & Sciences has bestowed upon Lily Tomlin the Voice Arts Icon Award, presented at New York’s Lincoln Center. Actress Kate Nowlin weighs in on what it’s like to play a war veteran suffering from PTSD in Blood Stripe, which she also co-scripted. The tsunami of stories out sexual harassment continues to sweep through the entertainment industry and Women in Film Los Angeles is launching a sexual harassment hot line to help those who have suffered unwanted sexual attention for decades to overcome the trauma. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Claire Ferguson Talks Storytelling, Trauma and Team Work in DESTINATION UNKNOWN –Jennifer Merin interviews

Claire FergusonIn Destination Unknown, British documentary filmmaker Claire Ferguson’s interviews with Holocaust survivors captures on film the most intimate and painful memories of traumas experienced in the Nazi death camps and the ongoing suffering they have caused throughout the victims’ lives. The survivors’ vivid descriptions are supported by archival footage. The combination of current testimony from surviving elders with images of what they lived through is absolutely devastating. Destination Unknown is an important addition to the canon of Holocaust films. Read what filmmaker Claire Ferguson has to say about making the film and the responsibilities of documentary filmmakers. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Jolie and Loung Ung Honored, WONDER WOMAN Top Grosser, The Guardian’s Women’s Cinema Canon

Filmmaker, actor and activist Angelina Jolie and author-activist Loung Ung will receive the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award at the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards for their critically-acclaimed film “First They Killed My Father,” which is also Cambodia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. ‘Wonder Woman’ sill soars at the box office to become the top-grossing superhero origin film. Writer-directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s “Loving Vincent” sets new standards in animation art. The Guardian proposes a new cinematic canon chosen by women. Note that the members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalist created a Top 100 Films list a decade ago in response to AFI’s heavily male dominated Top 100 Films List. And the beat goes on. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN...

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Women Honored at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards — Jennifer Merin reports

ccda200Jane (as in Goodall) was awarded the top honor of Best Documentary and filmmaker Ceyda Torun’s Kedi won the award for Best First Documentary at the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards gala, held on November 2 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York. Continue reading…

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SPOTLIGHT November 2017: Dee Rees, Independently Epic Filmmaker, Director MUDBOUND

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With just a few films to her credit, director Dee Rees is already making an assured and unique mark on American cinema. She brings mature talent, technical skill, and creative vision, all while being true to herself as a gay African-American woman. Available November 17, her latest film Mudbound vividly demonstrates she can extend her intimately emotional filmmaking to an epic scale. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Femme-Helmed Horror, Kids and Horror, and A Scary Project for Tracy Oliver

Special for Halloween, we’ll tell you where to get the creeps with horror movies directed by women, you can weigh in on the age at which young kids should be introduced to the chills and gore of the horror genre, and get the scoop on Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver’s new project — she’s inked to adapt and direct the young adult best seller scarer, “Survive the Night.” Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Best Femme-Helmed, Femme-Centric Films of 2017, November Update

motw logo 1-35Focusing specifically on films directed by women as well as those featuring strong female lead characters and female-centric stories, AWFJ’s Team #MOTW has endorsed more than 40 exceptional films during 2017, to date. Because we pick only one film per week for #MOTW endorsement, we’ve had to pass up a good number of superb films that qualified, but were not our collective top choice. In August we paused to list the Best Femme-Helmed, Femme-Centric Film of 2017, to Date, including #MOTW selections and others we’d particularly liked. Now that awards season is beginning, we’re updating that list to include films released from August through the end of October. Continue reading…

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Angela Robinson on PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN — Julide Tanriverdi interviews

angela robinson on set with cameraProfessor Marston and the Wonder Woman” tells the story of the man who created the female superhero. Consider it the other Wonder Woman movie, and it’s an indie. Like most indies it took writer/director Angela Robinson some time to get her movie made. She worked on the script on nights and weekends for over four years. Then it took another four years to get the film financed. Robonson had been a lifelong fan of Wonder Woman and was obsessed not only with the superhero but also with her creator, William Moulton Marston. He led a fascinating double life because he was hiding his polyamorous relationship with his wife and mistress. Interviewed by AWFJ.org at the Toronto International Film Festival, Angela Robinson spoke about why she needed to tell the Marston family story on screen. Continue reading…

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AWFJ is Heading for Whistler Film Festival, Nov 29- Dec 3 — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler logo 2017The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will present two juried EDA Awards for the Best Female-Directed Feature and Short Films at this year’s Whistler Film Festival (WFF) taking place from November 29 to December 3. This is the fourth consecutive year in which AWFJ has partnered with the Whistler Film Festival to honor the work of female directors whose films are being presented. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Judd and Mirren Honored, Chenoweth Cast and Weinstein Ousted! — Brandy McDonnell reports

In an unprecedented move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has terminated Harvey Weinstein’s membership, following the storm stirred by revelations of his sexual harassment of actresses and other women in his employ. Ashley Judd, who has spoken out about Weinstein’s transgressions, is to receive The Women’s Media Center’s Speaking Truth to Power Award on Oct. 26 at Capitale in New York City. Helen Mirren has been named the recipient of The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 45th annual Chaplin Award, to be presented at a gala on April 30, 2018. Kristin Chenoweth has signed on to star in and produce the ABC pilot “The Real Fairy Godmother,” playing a self-absorbed “real housewife” who learns that she’s descended from a secret order of Fairy Godmothers and is destined to use her magical abilities to help those in need. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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TIFF 2017: Angela Robinson on PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN — Pam Grady Interviews (Exclusive)

angela robinsn headtiff logoOne of the happy surprises of Toronto International Film Festival 2017, Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston and the Women, may share the same DNA as Patty Jenkins’ blockbuster Wonder Woman, but it is an altogether different animal. This erotically charged, real-life drama spins the tale of how Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston’s (Luke Evans) muses, his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), led him to create the comic-book superheroine. The film is a fresh, sexy take on the origins of Amazonian warrior Diana. Writer/director Angela Robinson tells us her own origin story that starts with the gift of a book about a childhood favorite, as she reveals the wonder of William Moulton Marston and his women. Continue reading…

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THE FALL OF TOXIC MASCULINITY AND THE RISE OF FEMININE CONSCIOUSNESS — Chaz Ebert comments

WE WOULD ALL LIKE TO BELIEVE that the “casting couch” in Hollywood had vanished over time as a relic of a less-enlightened age. People in the entertainment industry, particularly certain men in power, minimized this tradition of abuse, likening it to a rite of passage. But as a former lawyer who has handled sexual harassment cases, I can affirm that this “ritual” of men in power taking advantage of the powerless and vulnerable with unwanted sexual advances or unpermitted touching and verbal and physical abuse is entirely unacceptable and illegal, and in some cases constitutes criminal sexual assault. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Taymor Hired, Weinstein Fired and Cameron is Still at It — Brandy McDonnell reports

Julie Taymor will helm a coming-of-age biopic about feminist journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, based on Steinem’s bestselling memoir My Life on the Road, adapted for the screen by Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl. Harvey Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company Sunday following last week’s New York Times expose detailing decades of sexual abuse allegations made against the Oscar-winning producer by employees and actresses including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, among others. James Cameron is still trying to terminate feminist positivity about Wonder Woman, asserting that bustier-clad Gal Gadot is too beautiful to be groundbreaking. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 6, 2017: FACES PLACES

motw logo 1-35Celebrated filmmaker Agnes Varda is no stranger to making films about everyday, relatable people — including herself. FACES PLACES, her collaboration with photographer/artist J.R. (he’s known only by his initials), chronicles the pair’s friendship and partnership while introducing audiences to a wide range of French people, who share their communities and fascinating stories with Varda and J.R. in exchange for powerful, personalized public art installations. Continue reading…

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SPOTLIGHT October 2017: Agnès Varda, Filmmaker, Honorary Oscar Recipient, Director of FACES PLACES

“You decide you do something, then you are totally ready for things to happen.” Agnès Varda, on YouTube

agnes headsho croppedawfjspotlightsmallsmallFilm director Agnès Varda was talking about her process for creating documentaries, but she might as well have been talking about her storied career as the only female director of the French New Wave. Over her 63 years (and counting) of filmmaking, Varda has created a vast body of work composed not only of documentaries, but also short films and features. She is also an accomplished photographer. And now, at age 89, Varda has a new film and a new honor to add to her crowded list of awards and recognitions. Continue reading…

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