National Film Board of Canada aims for gender parity by 2020 — Jennifer Merin reports

National Film Board of Canada aims for gender parity by 2020  — Jennifer Merin reports

Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced that the NFB is aiming to achieve gender parity (50 percent) in key creative positions for animated, documentary and interactive works in production as of 2020. The initiative targets editing, cinematography, screenwriting and music composition and includes key creative positions related to animation and immersive/interactive storytelling, where women are decidedly in the minority—positions such as art director, art designer and creative technologist.

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Cady McClain on making SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT

Cady McClain on making SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT

Cady McClain has traveling the globe, speaking to female directors and documenting their stories for her serialized documentary, Seeing is Believing: Women Direct. Not yet complete, the documentary is intended to elucidte the skills and tools needed to succeed as a woman in the directing field . Here, McClain writes about her own filmmaking process, why she’s making this documentary series and what she’s learning from doing so. Read on…

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

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

At 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 here. Read on….

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Maite Alberdi Wins IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for THE GROWN UPS

Maite Alberdi Wins IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for THE GROWN UPS

For 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 IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed film goes to Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi for The Grown Ups. Read more…

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

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

Asli 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 .Read Interview about making the film.

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

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

In 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 the interview

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

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

Maite Alberdi’s uniquely intimate observational style presents the world of four adults with Down syndrome who are struggling to become more independent in a social structure that has confined them to 40 plus years in a special education school where they were trained and now work. The film is a revealing look at how social compassion and the need for expediency conflict in their lives. Read Alberdi’s comments on making the film and filmmaking.

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

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

Danish 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 the interview

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

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

Dutch 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.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Jacqueline Zünd on ALMOST THERE

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Jacqueline Zünd on ALMOST THERE

In Almost There, Swiss filmmaker Jacqueline Zund follows three men who search for meaning and seek dignity as they approach the autumn of their lives. Zünd studied journalism at Ringier Journalistenschule and film at London International Film School. She has been freelancing as a director since 1988. Almost There is her second documentary feature. Read her interview about filmmaking and Almost There.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen on SEALERS

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen on SEALERS

Norwegian filmmakers Gry Elisabeth Mortensen and Trude Berge Ottersen brave difficult filming conditions to follow a crew of Norwegian seal hunters as they prepare for and set out on what may be their last excursion onto the polar ice. Their families have been seal hunters for generations, but the profession is increasingly challenged by international laws preventing the killing of the animals. Sealers is a close up and personal look at a dying tradition. Read on…

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

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

Lucija Stojevic’s La Chana is an up close and personal profile of Antonia Santiago Amador, the hugely popular flamenco dancer. Known as La Chana, Amador was revered by dance afficiandos for her vibrantly passionate spirit and extraordinary footwork. La Chana’s career peaked during the late 1960s, shortly after which she inexplicably vanished from the dance world and her own celebrity. Stojevic delves into Amador’s artistry and complex personality by intertwining spectacular footage of her performances with current footage of her living quietly in Barcelona, entertaining her daughter, coaching talented young dancers and preparing for a comeback recital — and revealing, for the first time, why she stepped out of the spotlight at the height of her career. Read what Lucija Stojevic has to say about her film…

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

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

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. Read more…

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

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

Alice 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. Alice Schmid comments about making the film and filmmaking. Read on…

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Nicole Nielsen Horanyi on MOTLEY’S LAW

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Nicole Nielsen Horanyi on MOTLEY’S LAW

Filmmaker Nicole Nielsen Horanyi won the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015 for Motley’s Law, a film about a courageous yet pragmatic woman who refuses to relinquish her mission even under death threats. Kimberly Motley, beauty queen turned litigator, is the sole American practicing in Afghan courts, navigating a corrupt legal system. Horanyi follows Motley from court in Kabul to home in the US, where she’s raising three kids. Motley’s Law is a powerful reminder of what one person can accomplish with courage and tenacity. Read Nicole Nielsen Horanyi’s comments about making the film.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Beata Bubenets on CHECHEN

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Beata Bubenets on CHECHEN

Chechen, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015. Filmmaker Beata Bubenets follows a young volunteer soldier, Ruslan Arsajev, during the Ukrainian crisis of 2014. After protecting demonstrators in Kiev, he goes to Donbass region, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting against government troops. Providing a new view of the effects of war, Chechen is an intimate portrait of a mercenary who’s engagement in hostilities counters his own peaceful nature and search for love. Read what Beata Bubenets has to say about her subject and making the film.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Ester Gould on A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR WITH EGO

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Ester Gould on  A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR WITH EGO

A Strange Love Affair With Ego won a Special Mention from the AWFJ EDA Award jury at IDFA 2015. Director Ester Gould’s very personal, brave and beautiful cinematic search for an understanding about her beloved older sister’s life and circumstances is structured as a layered tapestry of memory, projection, re-enactments of letters and imaginings — all of which are woven together to become an affecting poem about the fragility inherent in all humans. Read filmmaker Ester Gould’s comments about making the film.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Alisa Kovalenko on ALISA IN WARLAND

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Alisa Kovalenko on  ALISA IN WARLAND

Alisa in Warland, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is a film in which the director discovered that she was also the lead character. Just out of film school, Alisa Kovalenko and Liubov Durakova set out to document the war in their homeland, embedding themselves with soldiers on the fron in Eastern Ukraine. Read what Alisa Kovalenko has to say about their experiences as first time filmmakers working under truly extraordinary circumstances.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Ina Borrmann on EVERY 28 DAYS

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Ina Borrmann on  EVERY 28 DAYS

Every 28 Days, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is a very personal and deeply moving documentary in which filmmaker Ina Bborrmann chronicles her efforts to become pregnant and bear a child. IDFA’s catalog description of the film is below. Read what Borrmann has to say about the challenges of making this documentary about herself and her own life choices.

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Mariana Viñoles on CAROLINA’S WORLD

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Mariana Viñoles on CAROLINA’S WORLD

Carolina’s World, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is filmmaker Mariana Viñoles’ portrait of Carolina, a 20 year old who loves to tango, and loves life and has Downs Syndrome, The film is up close and personal, entirely revealing and always respectful. Read what the filmmaker has to say about her experiences in making Carolina’s World,

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Kari Anne Moe on REBELS

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Kari Anne Moe on REBELS

Rebels, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is about the problems faced by disenfranchised youths in Norway. Filmmaker Kari Anne Moe takes a tough yet sympathetic look at the struggles of Norwegian dropouts enrolled in a special social welfare program created to help them renter the mainstream. IDFA’s catalog description of the film is copied below. Read what filmmaker Kari Anne Moe has to say about her experience…

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EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Miriam Chandy Menacherry and Maheen Zia on LYARI NOTES

EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Miriam Chandy Menacherry and Maheen Zia on LYARI NOTES

Lyari Notes, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is an inspiring girl-centric film about female empowerment in through music. The film is the result of a remarkable collaboration between veteran Indian filmmaker Miriam Chandy Menacherry and first time Pakistani filmmaker Maheen Zia. In their collaboration, the filmmakers bravely confronted and overcame cultural bias towards women and ethnicity. Read what the filmmakers have to say about their process.

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SUFFRAGETTE Producers Alison Owen and Faye Ward on Feminism and Working Together – Jennifer Merin interviews

SUFFRAGETTE Producers Alison Owen and Faye Ward on Feminism and Working Together – Jennifer Merin interviews

It took Alison Owen and Faye Ward five or six years of brainstorming and campaigning to produce Suffragette, the narrative feature about women’s struggle for the right to vote in Britain a century ago. The film, which is arriving on big screens at a moment when feminism in filmmaking is trending and Hollywood’s male-dominated film industry hierarchy is under investigation for sexual bias and harassment of woman, has a compelling contemporary resonance.

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Writer/Director Philiane Phang Wins Inaugural “Phosphate Prize at IFP” For Strong Female Characters – Jennifer Merin reports

Writer/Director Philiane Phang Wins Inaugural “Phosphate Prize at IFP” For Strong Female Characters – Jennifer Merin reports

IFP has announced that the recipient of the inaugural Phosphate Prize at IFP is writer/director Philiane Phang. The Phosphate Prize at IFP, which includes a $25,000 grant funded by Phosphate Productions, was created to recognize narrative feature film screenplays that “provide a strong and complex lead female character.” The unrestricted cash grant also encourages the recipient to continue on her or his career path of writing and making quality independent films.

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Michael Sheen on FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and Female Focus in Film – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Video)

Michael Sheen on FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and Female Focus in Film – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Video)

In Far From The Madding Crowd, Michael Sheen portrays one of three male suitors to the fiercely independent Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), and he’s played opposite strong leading female characters in other films, as well. In this exclusive, uncut interview, Sheen talks about the female focus of Far From The Madding Crowd, the need for balance and complexity in women’s roles in movies and a living female icon he’d like to see portrayed on screen. Watch the video…

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