November 18, 2012 (St. Louis, MO) For the third time in 2012, the international Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) has presented awards for women filmmakers at a prominent festival. Tonight, at the closing night ceremony of the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), Ursula Meier’s “Sister” received the EDA for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature, while Debbie Lum’s “Seeking Asian Female” took the EDA for Best Female-Directed Documentary. The narrative feature “Found Memories,” directed by Julia Marat, and the documentary “The World Before Her,” directed by Nisha Pahuja, received Special Mentions from their respective juries.
AWFJ is an organization of top women film journalists and critics from across the U.S, Canada and UK. Each December, the organization distributes a full slate of EDA Awards recognizing the year’s best (and worst) films by and about women. This year, AWFJ has expanded its outreach to audiences by presenting EDA Awards at select festivals. The St. Louis International Film Festival is the third such partnership, following programs at the Salem Film Fest in Massachusetts in March, and at Sheffield Doc/Fest in England in June.
According to AWFJ President Jennifer Merin, “SLIFF is one of the country’s top regional showcases for independent and international film, and it has been a delight to collaborate with them and to honor them for presenting such an exciting slate of films by and about women.”
SLIFF Executive Director Cliff Froehlich notes, “Dating back to the silent era, women have been vital contributors to film art, but they have long been underrepresented and underappreciated in the industry. Thankfully, that situation is changing, and the number of women filmmakers has grown exponentially in recent years. SLIFF believes it’s important to shine a spotlight on their increasing role, and the EDA Awards are an excellent means of acknowledging the diverse works that contemporary women filmmakers are directing.”
EDA AWARD JURIES: Nominees and winners are selected by a panel of AWFJ members. The jury for the St. Louis EDA Awards in the narrative category included: Maitland McDonagh (MissFlickChick.com), Ann Lewinson (Boston Phoenix, Kansas City Start), Nikki Baughan (MovieScope — U.K.), Leba Hertz (San Francisco Chronicle). The jury was chaired by AWFJ President, Jennifer Merin (Documentaries.About.com, Womens eNews). Documentary jurors were Monika Bartyzel (Moviefone), Jeanne Wolf (Parade Magazine, Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood), Karen Krizanovich (Radio Times — U.K.), Jette Kernion (Slackerwood.com), with Michelle McCue (WeAreMovieGeeks.com) serving as chair.
THE WINNERS: Set at a luxurious Swiss ski resort, Ursula Meier’s “Sister” is the story of a woman supported by her 12 year-old brother’s petty thefts, until the child starts lose his bearings in the company of a dangerous stranger. On behalf of the narrative jury, Jennifer Merin commented that “’Sister’ is a gripping drama about children who have to grow up fast. With surprising plot twists, an exceptional lead performance by the young Kacy Mottet Klein and excellent hand-held cinematography by Agnes Godard, the film is original, timely and beautifully-observed.”
In “Seeking Asian Female,” documentarian Debbie Lum goes in pursuit of “yellow fever,” following a middle-aged Caucasian man who lives out his fantasy of marrying a younger woman from China, with surprising results. Jury chair Michelle McCue praised the film as “An engaging look at the objectification and stereotyping of women, with revelations that defy expectations. Lum’s film is funny, charming and very graciously realized.”
EDA AWARD NOMINEES: In the Best Female-Directed Narrative category, nominees included “Camilla Dickinson” (U.S., dir. Cornelia Moore), “Found Memories” (Brazil, dir. by Júlia Murat), “The Olivia Experiment” (U.S., dir. Sonja Schenk), “Sister” (France, dir. Ursula Meier), and “Sun Don’t Shine” (U.S., dir. Amy Seimetz). Nominees in the Best Female-Directed Documentary category were “Her Master’s Voice” (U.K., dir. Nina Conti), “The Perfect Victim” (U.S., dir. Elizabeth Rohrbaugh), “Seeking Asian Female” (U.S., dir. Debbie Lum), “We Women Warriors” (U.S., dir. Nicole Karsin), “The World Before Her” (Canada, dir. Nisha Pahuja).
Photo Captions: 1. In Ursula Meier’s “Sister”, Léa Seydoux stars as a woman supported by her petty-thieving brother played by Kasey Mottet Klein. An Adopt Films release. 2. In SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE, documentarian Debbie Lum follows a Caucasian man who dreams of a young Asian wife.
ABOUT AWFJ and THE EDA AWARDS
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Inc. (AWFJ), a not-for-profit corporation, is an association of professional female movie critics, reporters, and feature writers working in print, broadcast, and online media. AWFJ is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s perspectives on film and to supporting work by and about women — both in front of and behind the cameras — through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs, and by presenting the annual EDA Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (the best and worst) by and about women in the movies. In 2012, AWFJ launched a new program to present EDA Awards to women filmmakers in partnership with select film festivals. http://www.awfj.org.
ABOUT THE ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) is one of the largest and highest profile international film festivals in the Midwest. Celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2012, SLIFF is presented by the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis, which also annually produces the lesbian-and-gay-themed QFest (April), the Classic French Film Festival (July), and the locally focused St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase (August). In addition, Cinema St. Louis hosts educational programs, screenings, and special events throughout the year. Among other honors, SLIFF has been listed among the “10 Best Regional International Festivals” and “Top 10 Short Subject Film Festivals in the U.S.,” and is officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for its shorts programming.
For additional information about AWFJ and the EDA Awards, contact:
Sharon J Kahn, President
Kahn Media Strategies inc.
Follow us on Twitter @sharonkahnpr