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…

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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.

Read More

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…

Read More

@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

Read More

@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.

Read More

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.

Read More

@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…

Read More

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>>

Read More

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…

Read More

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.

Read More

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>>

Read More

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…

Read More

Sundance Female Filmmaker Initiative: New Stats for Women Directors

Sundance Female Filmmaker Initiative:  New Stats for Women Directors

New research shows films by women and men are equally likely to receive distribution out of the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Competition, but gap widens from there. Industry perceptions of a gendered marketplace, scarcity of talent pool, lack of ambition, as well as gender imbalance among gatekeepers, help explain broken pipeline for female filmmakers. The new study was conducted at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, Read on…

Read More

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…

Read More