AWFJ Presents EDA Awards and Panels @ Salem Film Fest – March 6-13, 2014

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented two filmmaker panel discussions as part of this year’s Salem Film Fest Filmmaker Forum program. Featuring documentarians with films screening at the festival, the panels focused on the vital topics of how filmmakers build trust in their subjects and how they avoid changing their subjects’ developing stories. Read on…

  • Building Trust in Documentary Filmmaking is a discussion about how filmmakers gain the trust of subjects who are in tenuous circumstances and, conversely, how they can trust their subjects to tell the truth. Filmmakers on the panel included Cozette Russell (director of Brookford Almanac), Jeremy Workman (director of Magical Universe) and Miho Yamamoto (producer of The Exhibition). The panel took place on Saturday, March 8 at Noon.
  • Changing Reality is about how nonfiction filmmakers avoid altering the course of events and/or the outcome of the evolving story they’re documenting — even when they might be tempted to do so. And how they know when it’s time for them to disengage themselves from an ongoing story. Scheduled to appear are Suzan Beraza (director of Uranium Drive-In), Tracy Droz Tragos (co-director of Rich Hill), Michael Kleiman (director of Web) and Lukas Korver (director of The Medicine Game). The panel took place on Sunday, March 9 at Noon.

AWFJ President Jennifer Merin moderated both panels. Admission to both was free.

This is the third consecutive year of partnership between Salem Film Fest and AWFJ. Salem Film Fest is also one of the festivals at which AWFJ presents EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Film. This year, ten films were nominated for the EDA Award.

Samantha Grant’s A Fragile Trust won the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film @ Salem Film Festival 2014, while a Special Mention EDA Award for Documentary Storytelling and Impact was presented to Deepti Kakkar and Farad Mustafa for Powerless.

This year, the AWFJ jurors Monika Bartyzel. Cynthia Fuchs, Sheila Roberts, Diana Saenger and Sara Vizcarrondo.

Jennifer Merin, Samantha Grant, Erin Trahan at Salem Film Festival
Jennifer Merin, Samantha Grant, Erin Trahan at Salem Film Festival
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Jennifer Merin

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 About.com. 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 also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).