AWFJ EDA Awards @ Whistler Film Festival: The Winners! – Katherine Brodsky reports

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At the Whistler Film Festival Awards Brunch on Sunday, December 6, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) recognized the outstanding achievements by four women filmmakers by presenting its prestigious EDA Awards at the festival for the third consecutive year. Read more…

This year marks the 15th anniversary of “Canada’s coolest film festival” and featured 89 films from around the world. The festival nominated female-directed films for the EDA Awards in three categories: Best Female-Directed Narrative, Best Female-Directed Documentary and Best Female-Directed Short.

AWFJ’s Founder & President Jennifer Merin, who chaired the documentary and shorts jury, presented the EDA Awards, alongside Katherine Brodsky who chaired the narrative jury.

The EDA award for the Best Female Directed Documentary went to Hui (Jane) Wang’s Last Harvest, a beautifully rendered and intimate observational film about the impact of massive industrial development in China. The elderly couple at the center of the narrative, an idiosyncratic and philosophical pair, provide a very personal glimpse into a country in the midst of enormous and physical change.

The jury also recognized co-writer Marni Jackson’s contribution to Al Purdy Was Here with a Special Mention. The film, a tribute to Canada’s beloved poet and personality, was directed by her husband, long-time Maclean’s critic Brian D. Johnson.

This year for the first time AWFJ presented an EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short, choosing Sunday Brunch by Celine Deveaux. Merin remarked that the film represents “everything a short film should be — skillful, creative, inspired, meaningful, witty, a joy wit superb animation that morphs images into each other in an utterly captivating way.”

The Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature Award went to Valerie Weiss’ A Light Beneath Their Feet for its outstanding, nuanced, empathetic performances by Taryn Manning and Madison Davenport and its sensitive portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship. The film was also acknowledged for shedding light on mental illness and bi-polar disorder, something that affects many creative, smart, wonderful individuals in our society, but is frequently treated as a taboo subject. Movies like this one open the door to a more open discussion.

AWFJ is a professional association of 90 leading women film critics and commentators based in the US, Canada, and the UK. We present EDA Awards at select festivals to recognize outstanding work by female directors/filmmakers.

The AWFJ Juries:

Servng on the Best Female-Directed Fiction Feature jury:

  • Katherine Brodsky (Chair), Vancouver, Variety
  • Lexi Feinberg, Berkeley, Big Picture Big Sound
  • Leba Hertz, San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles,
  • Kimberley Jones, Austin, Austin Chronicle

Serving on the Best Female-Directed Documentary Feature jury:

  • Karen Martin, Little Rock, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Jennifer Merin (Chair), New York, Women’s eNews
  • Janice Page, Boston, Boston Globe
  • Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis, Belleville News Democrat
  • Dorothy Woodend, Vancouver, The Tyee

See the complete list of awards presented at Whistler Film Festival 2015 at

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Katherine Brodsky

A freelance writer with a strong focus on film, Katherine Brodsky has contributed to publications such as Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Playboy Magazine, Mashable, USA Weekend, MovieMaker Magazine, Backstage, Stage Directions, Elle Canada, Canadian Screenwriter, Complex, the Georgia Straight, and many others. For her stories, Katherine has had a chance to interview a diverse range of ‘intriguing’ personalities, including Oscar, Emmy, Pulitzer, Tony, and Noble Prize winners & nominees. Follow her on Twitter @mysteriouskat or at