Returning to Whistler Film Festival for the second year running, AWFJ honored women filmmakers whose works were screened in the 2014 program. Of the eight female-directed films nominated by the festival, five were narrative features and three were documentaries.
Because of the high quality of films in both genres, the AWFJ EDA Award jury decided to level the fic/nonfic playing field by combining the two categories, and assigning all jurors to vote on all films.
That decision resulted in the selection of three EDA Award winners. Read on…
Voting by jurors Cathryn Atkinson, Monika Bartyzel, Nikki Baughan, Katherine Brodsky, Laurie Coker, Cynthia Fuchs, Jennifer Merin and Jeanne Wolf resulted in the dual presentation of EDA Awards for Best Female Directed Film awards to two films, a documentary and a narrative feature.
In presenting the EDA Award to Madeleine Grant’s The Backward Class, the jury noted that the documentary “is an eye-opening, moving and exceptionally well-crafted documentary that intimately captures an inspiring story of perseverance, and allows audiences to truly invest in the outcome for its protagonists,” said the jury, ”At the same time the filmmaker doesn’t shy away from addressing the very real challenges, sacrifices, and ethical dilemmas that are being faced. Through the experiences of the students of Shanti Bhavan school, which educates India’s poorest children, the filmmaker effectively shines a light on the realities of the rich/poor divide, and opens debate about the uncomfortable realities that idealism and good intentions may not be enough to change the world.”
The Backward Class also took home WFF’s Best Documentary Film Award.
Tying with The Backward Class for the EDA Award for Best Female Directed Film was Anne Fontaine’s Gemma Bovery. According the jury, the film “puts a new twist on a classic story. Even while exploring the ennui of daily life and uninspiring relationships, Gemma Bovary engages us with sensual performances, lush cinematography and lavish costumes, and enlightens us about the nature of obsession. An intriguing take on Flaubert, featuring a charming turn from Gemma Arterton as the eponymous heroine. That her performance calls for swathes of French is even more impressive! At the film’s core is Fabrice Luchini’s wonderful performance as a man who is obsessed with the woman next door whom he associates with his favorite fictional character, Emma Bovary.”
The jury also voted a Special Mention for That Guy Dick Miller, a documentary produced by Lainie Miller. The jury found that the film “salutes one of Hollywood’s unsung heroes, and is a rip-roaring look at the modern film industry through the experiences of an exceptional and prolific character actor Dick Miller who who had a unique ability to fit into any scene, wear any hat put on his head, step into any shoes, and make it real.”
AWFJ will present the 2014-15 EDA Awards for this year’s crop of films on January 12, 2015, and the next AWFJ EDA Festival Awards will be presented at Salem Film Fest in March, 2015.