AWFJ Presents EDA Awards At St Louis International Film Festival 2012

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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 (, 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 (, Womens eNews). Documentary jurors were Monika Bartyzel (Moviefone), Jeanne Wolf (Parade Magazine, Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood), Karen Krizanovich (Radio Times — U.K.), Jette Kernion (, with Michelle McCue ( 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.



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.


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.

Tel: 212-678-0821

Mobile: 917-301-9131

Skype: sharon.j.kahn

Follow us on Twitter @sharonkahnpr

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).