AWFJ EDA Awards @ Salem Film Fest 2015

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salemfilmfest2014logoThe Alliance of Women Film Journalists is partnering with Salem Film Fest to present the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film at this year’s festival, taking place in Salem, Massachusetts from March 5 to 12, 2015. This is the fourth consecutive year of the EDA Awards partnership. For the list of nominated films and jury members, read on…

Salem Film Fest programmers have nominated six superb female-directed films for EDA Award consideration. In alphabetical order, they are:


BORN TO FLY: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity – Directed by Catherine Gund – USA/UK – A profile of the extraordinary choreographer whose approach to action and dance dares her dancers to fly.

MY BROTHER’S VOWS – Directed by Stephanie Weimar – Canada/Germany – The filmmaker’s very personal commentary on her brother’s decision to become a monk.

THE OPTIMISTS – Directed by Gunhild Magnor – Norway – The documentary follows The Optimists, a Norwegian volleyball team made up of women aged 66 to 98, as they prepare for a match against The Gunpowder Guys, a Swedish volleyball team made up of men of equal age.

SONGS FOR ALEXIS – Directed by Elvira Lind – Denmark – The film is a coming of age love story about Alexis Ann and young transgender Ryan Cassata as they fight to defend their love for each other .

STRAY DOG – Directed by Debra Granik – USA – This verite portrait of Missourian Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, Vietnam vet and biker, is a revealing and unusually perceptive take on current American culture and mindset.

WAITING FOR AUGUST – Teodora Mihai – Belgium/Romania –The story of 15 year-old Georgiana takes charge of her six siblings in Bacau, Romania, while her mother works abroad so the family can survive.

The EDA Award jury is comprised exclusively of AWFJ members. On the 2015 EDA Awards @ SFF Jury are Nikki Baughan, Cate Marquis, Lisa Rosman, Elizabeth Wittemore and Dorothy Woodend, with Jennifer Merin serving as Jury Chair.

AWFJ will also present two panel discussions with filmmakers during the festival, with specific topics yet to be determined.

For more information about Salem Film Fest, including the full 2015 schedule of films and events, visit the official Website. For reports on previous AWFJ EDA Award presentations at Salem Film Fest, click here.

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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).