Filmmaker Interview: Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum on LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD

Filmmaker Interview: Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum on LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD

Letters from Baghdad tells the little-known story of Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary women, sometimes called the “female” Lawrence of Arabia. Bell was a British spy, explorer and political powerhouse who traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence during WWI to help draw the borders of Iraq. Her strongly independent opinions and skillful negotiations helped shape the modern Middle East. Read what Letters from Baghdad directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum have to say about Gertrude Bell, their compelling documentary and how it came to be.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Heather White on COMPLICIT

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Heather White on COMPLICIT

While people in the West use smartphones to live healthier, happier lives, the construction of such devices has horrific health effects on the people who actually make them. Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced, including 70% of its cell phones. While people in the West use smartphones to live healthier, happier lives, the construction of such devices has horrific health effects on the people who actually make them. Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced, including 70% of its cell phones. Read what Complicit co-direcxtor Heather White has to say about her compelling expose and how it came to be.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Jessica Kingdon on COMMODITY CITY

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview:  Jessica Kingdon on COMMODITY CITY

China’s Yiwu Market is one of the largest shopping complexes in the world. Gorgeously shot, thematically focused and politically resonant, Jessica Kingdon’s ethnographic essay film blurs the boundary between consumer goods and the humans who sell them. Malls consume more than they are consumed, Small spaces, time lost,immersion in distraction. Read what Jessica Kingdon has to say about the making and meaning of her film.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Alexandra Gaulupeau on LIFE AT A SNAIL’S PACE

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Alexandra Gaulupeau on LIFE AT A SNAIL’S PACE

Filmmaker Alexandra Gaulupeau takes us into the unique world of Marla Coppolino, a malacologist (snail expert), artist and self-proclaimed spokesperson for the largely misunderstood diminutive species of land snails. Through the creation of elaborate miniature scenes and cello scores, Coppolino displays her own mighty appreciation for the tiny, slimy (and surprisingly sexy) creatures! Read what Alexandra Gaulupeau has to say about making her first film, microphotography and mini-budgeting and connecting people to the natural world.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Claire Simon on LE CONCOURS

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Claire Simon on LE CONCOURS

Le Concours, translated as “The Entrance Exam,” is an in-depth and intimate look at the students applying to La Fémis, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious film, where filmmaker Claire Simon was Head of Directing Studies. As the budding cinéastes struggle to find a place, the narrative spends a good deal of time with their interlocutors, pulling back the curtain to reveal the depth of seriousness and care that is extended to the students. Impassioned arguments about merit, and the very nature of cinema are hurled into the air. Read what Claire Simon has to say about her most recent project.

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AWFJ EDA AWARD @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Yan Su Chun on DROKPA

AWFJ EDA AWARD @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Yan  Su Chun on DROKPA

Filmmaker Yan Chun Su’s gorgeous observational film captures life on the Tibetan Plateau. The last of Tibet’s drokpa (nomads) lead herds of yak and sheep over hilly grasslands. No longer limitless and free- ranging, they move across sections of pasture, now allotted to them by the Chinese government. Read what Yan Chun Su has to say about the changing environment, nomadic life, organic filmmaking and her career.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Cat Mills on FIXED!

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Cat Mills on FIXED!

Repair cafes are popping up around the world as a community-based antidote to throwaway culture. In Cat Mills’ EDA Award-nominated short,
Fixed!, we get a glimpse inside Canada’s first repair cafe in Toronto, where a team of dedicated volunteers are helping their neighbors, one fix at a time. Read what she has to say about her beautifully crafted film, its riveting subjects, and her career.

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Elisa Chee on LUCY

AWFJ EDA Awards @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Elisa Chee on LUCY

Vancouver-based filmmaker Elisa Chee uses masterful animation to recall the story of a domesticated chimpanzee called Lucy and a human named Janis Carter, the caretaker who made it her life’s work to rehabilitate Lucy and return her to her natural environment. /Read what she has to say about her beautifully crafted short film, its subjects, animation in documentaries and her career.

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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: 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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Dr. Heidi Janz and Eva Colmers Accept AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2016 — Transcription of Acceptance Speech

Dr. Heidi Janz and Eva Colmers Accept AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2016 — Transcription of Acceptance Speech

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 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. Read the transcript

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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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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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