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: 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: 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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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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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: 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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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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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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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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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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@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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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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