Chanda Chevannes on Making UNFRACTURED, Activism and Refusing to ‘Play the Part’

Chanda Chevannes on Making UNFRACTURED, Activism and Refusing to ‘Play the Part’

On a chilly November evening in 2014, I was sitting in a rental car outside the county jail in Watkins Glen, New York. My video camera was turned on, and resting in my lap. I had already set my white balance, exposure, and focal length. And since I had nothing to do but sit in the dark parking lot and wait, a steady stream of thoughts began to run through my mind. Or, more accurately, one thought raced around in there: Why am I doing this to myself?

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Looking at the Carpet from the Wrong Side: Albertine Fox on writing Godard and Sound (Exclusive)

Looking at the Carpet from the Wrong Side: Albertine Fox on writing Godard and Sound (Exclusive)

In her biography of the art critic and painter Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf makes much of the ‘perpetual need’ for the critic to look at art objects from new angles. Unpredictable and erratic in his approach, Fry ‘looked at the carpet from the wrong side; but he made it for that very reason display unexpected patterns.’ I have written a book called Godard and Sound that offers an alternative perspective on Jean-Luc Godard’s later films through an analysis of their rich soundscapes. At the same time, it develops an aural-inspired approach to thinking and writing about film, setting off from the simple but liberating premise that our relationship with film changes when we listen, and it’s the twofold nature of my book that brings me to write this article. Continue reading…

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Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard, Excerpt from Chapter Five (Exclusive) — Albertine Fox

Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard, Excerpt from Chapter Five (Exclusive)  — Albertine Fox

Albertine Fox writes: “I came to the topic not by way of French New Wave cinema but after writing a dissertation called ‘The Sound of the Image’ that explored the role of sound, music and voice in the experimental cinema of the French writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras. Duras’s ingenious idea of using the entire soundtrack from one of her films as the soundtrack for another was a powerful way of coming to understand the political implications of the radical disjunction of voice and image in cinema. In her film India Song, the offscreen voices and auditory renderings of alienation and intimacy undermine traditional patriarchal cinema’s restrictive scopic regime, bringing the spectator into contact with other, more ambiguous forms of pleasure and suffering, and with a different model of feminine subjectivity which I found deeply inspiring. Having grappled with the untapped freedoms that come from analysing sound in films that don’t abide by narrative conventions, I became enamoured with the disruptive and unpredictable soundscape of Godard’s Weekend, and with the subtle levels of repetition and variation in his earlier feature Vivre sa vie (My Life to Live). Read the excerpt…

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New Zealand’s Maori Women Talk WARU — Gill Pringle reports from TIFF

New Zealand’s Maori Women Talk WARU — Gill Pringle reports from TIFF

Told from the viewpoint of nine female filmmakers, Waru is the first feature film from New Zealand to be made by Maori women since Mereta Mita’s Mauri almost 30 years ago. Eight female Maori directors each contributed a ten minute vignette, presented as a continuous shot in real time, that unfolds around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy (Waru) who died at the hands of his caregiver. The vignettes are all subtly interlinked and each follows one of eight female Maori lead characters during the same moment in time as they come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward in their community. In Maori, waru means 8.

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Meet Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (‘Zero Divided by Zero’) and ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Bareilly’s Candy) — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Meet Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (‘Zero Divided by Zero’) and ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Bareilly’s Candy) — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Indian director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s first film, Nil Battey Sannata,’ (Hindi for Zero divided by Zero), released last year, was so successful she had to do a second version in Tamil. She premiered her second film, a hilarious romcom titled ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Hindi for ‘Bareilly’s Candy’) last month. Both films are femme-centric and, as Indian film critic andjournalist Mythily Ramachandran reports, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is here to stay. Read Mythily Ramachandran’s interview with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

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Meet Soundarya Rajnikanth, director of VELLAI ILLA PATTADHARI 2 — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

Meet Soundarya Rajnikanth, director of VELLAI ILLA PATTADHARI 2  — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

A career in films was inevitable for Soundarya Rajnikanth, the youngest daughter of Rajnijanth, the Tamil actor who is fondly nicknamed ‘Superstar” in India. Soundarya stepped out of her father’s shadow in 2014 to direct her first film, Kochadaiiyaan, an animated period film with her father in the lead. This film, shot with motion-capture technology, is a first in the history of Indian cinema. Director Soundarya returns with her second feature, the live action Vella Illa Pattadhari 2 (Unemployed Graduate, in Tamil), the sequel to the blockbuster, Vella Illa Pattadhari, which was released in 2015.

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EBERTFEST 2016: WOMEN IN FILM PANEL — Report by Shalayne Pulia

EBERTFEST 2016: WOMEN IN FILM PANEL — Report by Shalayne Pulia

“How can you make an Oscar worthy film with one tenth of the budget? It’s an uneven playing field to begin with,” Darrien Gipson said in addressing the amazing disparity between the stats regarding the numbers of women compared to men from the very start of the hierarchical ladder to achievement in noviemaking. Gipson was a member of EBERTFEST’s Women in Film panel, moderated by Chaz Ebert. Read more>>

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In Reality, We Must Demand Equal Representation for Women Documentarians, Too – Victoria Cook comments

In Reality, We Must Demand Equal Representation for Women Documentarians, Too – Victoria Cook comments

Re the Oscars, there is a misperception that the documentary category is more inclusive, less sexist and less racist than the other categories. Recent talk about the underrepresentation of women and people of color as directors in the entertainment industry as a whole (reference the NYT Sunday magazine cover, the Forbes article, the Variety article about the 7% statistic, Jennifer Lawrence speaking out, etc) and specifically about the underrepresentation of women in the major categories at the Oscars but there is no public discourse about this also being a pervasive problem in the documentary category. This must change.

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Mary Walsh’s Feminist Keynote at the Filmmaker Luncheon at Whistler Film Festival 2015

Mary Walsh’s Feminist Keynote at the Filmmaker Luncheon at Whistler Film Festival 2015

Oh never mind feminism or equal pay or all that, because in 2015 they’ve got the boys over at the gym gulping down steroids, lifting weights, trying to take up more room. While we women are supposed to be over here chained to a stair master, living on diet coke and the odd Kleenex tissue for roughage, desperately trying to disappear.

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ONCE MY MOTHER, FIDELIO: ALICE’S ODYSSEY Win AWFJ EDA Awards @ 2015 St. Louis International Film Festival — Michelle McCue Reports

ONCE MY MOTHER, FIDELIO: ALICE’S ODYSSEY Win AWFJ EDA Awards @ 2015 St. Louis International Film Festival — Michelle McCue Reports

After 11 days of celebrating magnificent and electric movies, the 24th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) came to a conclusion on Sunday evening, November 15.

At the closing ceremony the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) presented EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature and Best Female-Directed Documentary. Read on…

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Top Female Performances @ New York Film Festival 2015 – Liz Whittemore

Top Female Performances @ New York Film Festival 2015 – Liz Whittemore

In consideration of the abundance of beautiful films that screened at the 2015 New York Film Festival, I wanted to call to attention to a few key women whose performances made them stand out from the crowd. Some were obvious to spot and were already garnering buzz. Others flew under the radar until their festival screenings, but they deserve just as much applause. Welcome to the top performances by women in films screened at the New York Film Festival 2015. Read on…

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@TIFF: Sarah Silverman’s Serious Challenge in I SMILE BACK – Janice Page interviews

@TIFF: Sarah Silverman’s Serious Challenge in I SMILE BACK – Janice Page interviews

In one scene, Sarah Silverman sits topless on a toilet, snorting cocaine. In another, she does lines (not the kind with words) off the same kitchen countertop where she makes and decorates sack lunches for her school-age children. The shock isn’t in seeing Silverman do these things. The New Hampshire-born actress and comedian is well known for feasting on uncomfortable subjects and working blue. What’s surprising is that her latest vehicle is a straight-on drama titled “I Smile Back,” a sobering, seriously downbeat feature film in which Silverman plays the lead — and makes it look as easy as delivering a raunchy joke about Paris Hilton. Read the interview

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@NYFF: BROOKLYN or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent – Martha P. Nochimson comments

@NYFF: BROOKLYN or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent – Martha P. Nochimson comments

“That girl” has historically been Hollywood’s fantasy of a paragon of unstained goodness, beauty, and honesty that conquers all obstacles. Neither class, nor evil, nor bigotry stops her. No matter how poor she is, she can marry upward. No matter how evil the villains, they inevitably yield to her irresistible charm — or someone who hardly knows her risks all to save her. No matter what kinds of prejudice or ethnic conflicts might surround her, it is hardly necessary to speak of them since “the girl” melts them away like ice cream in a hot New York July. Or should we say a quick BROOKLYN minute? The falsifications of such a premise are obvious. And they have many implications beyond creating an unbelievable female presence. Read the full commentary in EYE ON MEDIA.

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@TIFF: Meet Emily Blunt, American Badass – Janice Page interviews

@TIFF: Meet Emily Blunt, American Badass – Janice Page interviews

That’s probably not where we thought Blunt was headed a decade ago, when she played Meryl Streep’s prickly assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s since played a queen (The Young Victoria), a cartoon gnome (Gnomeo & Juliet), a can-do business consultant (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), and Matt Damon’s futuristic crush (The Adjustment Bureau). Then earned sci-fi fan points in Looper, but it wasn’t until last year’s Edge of Tomorrow that “action hero” started looking like a legitimate entry on her resume. Now there’s Sicario and that cements Blunt’s badass qualifications. Read on…

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AWFJ to Present EDA Awards @ SLIFF 2015 – Michelle McCue Reports

AWFJ to Present EDA Awards @ SLIFF 2015 – Michelle McCue Reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will present juried AWFJ EDA Awards @ St Louis International Film Festival 2015 (SLIFF) for Best Female-Directed Narrative and Documentary Feature Films. The 24th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival takes place Nov. 5-15. This is the third year AWFJ partners with SLIFF to recognize outstanding achievements of women filmmakers. Read on…

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Alliance of Women Film Journalists To Present AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 – Jennifer Merin reports

Alliance of Women Film Journalists To Present AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 – Jennifer Merin reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will proudly present our juried AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 for the Best Female Directed Film. This is the second consecutive year of the organization’s partnership with IDFA to recognize women’s accomplishments in documentary filmmaking. In 2014, the AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA was presented to Maite Alberdi for Tea Time The AWFJ EDA Award and the Oxfam Global Justice Award are the only two independently-presented awards on the IDFA Awards roster. Read more>>

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Ten Noteworthy Female Performances at TIFF 2015 – Pam Grady comments

Ten Noteworthy Female Performances at TIFF 2015 – Pam Grady comments

With the Toronto International Film Festival, the Oscar season officially opens in North American. TIFF, with its hundreds of features, is one of the true harbingers of nominations to come. And while there was much emphasis this year on women behind the camera—20% of features and 45% of shorts at TIFF were made by women, according to figures cited by Indiewire—the festival also provided a peek at performances that should warrant attention from Academy voters (or ought to!), if not this season, then next. Read on…

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Digging deeper into Toronto festival films – an overview by Janice Page

Digging deeper into Toronto festival films – an overview by Janice Page

Toronto International Film Festival was overrun with big movies about and by Bostonians. While headlines were grabbed by predictable awards-season contenders, there were just as many smaller films worth noting. A number of them were femme-helmed and femme-centric flashes of genius. Think Laurie Anderson, Julie Delpy, Charlotte Rampling, Sarah Silverman and others. Read more>>

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Susanne Bier on Directing in Hollywood and Other Challenges – Interview by Julide Tanriverdi

Susanne Bier on Directing in Hollywood and Other Challenges – Interview by Julide Tanriverdi

Susanne Bier’s In A Better World won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2011, putting the Danish filmmaker into that very small circle of women who’ve won Oscars for directing. It also won her a place on Hollywood’s A-List and an invitation to move from indies to studio films. But transitioning from Copenhagen to Hollywood has been challenging. Here’s what she has to say about it. Read on…

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Negotiating Unfamilar Places: Girls Respond to Programming @ Berlinale 2015 – Essay by Monty Majeed

Negotiating Unfamilar Places: Girls Respond to Programming @ Berlinale 2015 – Essay by Monty Majeed

The magic of movies lies in the fact that they evoke in children — girls and boys, alike — a horde of emotional responses to onscreen images. Young women, in particular, are profoundly influenced by films that follow girl protagonists whose stories transport them to new cultures, environments and character circumstances outside of their personal experiences within their familiar realm. As Indian critic Monty Majeed discovered while interviewing girls at Berlinale 2015, this year’s festival’s expanded programming of films with young women protagonists projected horizon-broadening images that were as transformative and enlightening as they were disturbing. Read on…

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An Open Letter to the New York Film Festival Selection Committee – Rania Richardson

It was a surprise to many when when filmmaker Ava DuVernay was not on the list of Academy Award nominees for the 2015 Best Director despite her widely hailed work on “Selma.” Then again, Kathryn Bigelow’s 2010 Oscar win for “The Hurt Locker” didn’t exactly usher in a new dawn for female filmmakers. It’s a boy’s club, this movie world. You know it is. Read on…

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Canada’s Women In the Director’s Chair Participants Celebrate Each Other’s Work – Filmmaker Rebecca Gibson Bears Witness

Canada’s Women In the Director’s Chair Participants Celebrate Each Other’s Work – Filmmaker Rebecca Gibson Bears Witness

My name is Rebecca Gibson, and I am a filmmaker. A writer, director, producer, and actor. On November 25, 2014, I came from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Vancouver, British Columbia to join a group of eight carefully-selected female filmmakers from across Canada to participate in the nineteenth annual Women In the Director’s Chair program, an internationally respected Canadian professional development offering, specially designed to advance the skills, careers and screen projects of women directors. Read on…

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Women Rule Whistler Film Festival – Literally! — Katherine Brodsky reports

Women Rule Whistler Film Festival – Literally! — Katherine Brodsky reports

Ffounded some 14 years ago by Shauna Hardy Mishaw, who is currently its executive director. WFF, is a significant player within the Canadian film fest circuit,i known for its intimate, casual environment, set by Mishaw’s loyal and tireless admin team, consisting mostly of women, most of whom have been with the festival for years, setting the stage for high-quality film-centric hospitality through which filmmakers and industry honchos mingle, and deals are made not only via scheduled one-on-one meetings, but also in the hot tub or on the ski slopes. The festival continues to grow, and to shine the spotlight on women in film. Read on…

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Doc Watcher Chris Campbell’s Male Perspective on The Female Gaze

Christopher Campbell, who covers documentaries at NonFics.com, has written an interesting report and commentary focusing on one important aspect of The Femsle Gaze discussion — that is whether the filmmaking industry — or to be more specific, the documentary film industry — requires the use of a Bechdel Test to establish equal opportunity for women. Do you agree with his accessment?

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The Female Gaze @ IDFA: AWFJ Presents EDA Awards to Two Female-Directed Documetaries

The Female Gaze @ IDFA: AWFJ Presents EDA Awards to Two Female-Directed Documetaries

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Inc. (AWFJ) presented juried AWFJ EDA Awards to two female-directed film at the 2014 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world’s leading documentary film festival. The awards were presented in conjunction with this year’s The Female Gaze program, which included a strand of 28 female-directed feature length documentaries and a panel discussion with 15 leading female filmmakers from around the world.

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