AWFJ to Present EDA Awards at Tallgrass Film Fest 2021 – Jennifer Merin reports

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The Alliance of Women film Journalists is partnering with Tallgrass Film Festival to present EDA Awards for Best Female Directed Films at the festival’s 19th edition, taking place in Wichita, Kansas from October 20 – 24, 2921.

With “Stubbornly Independent” as its motto, Tallgrass Film Festival, one of the nation’s leading regional film festivals, founded in 2003, aims to foster an appreciation of the cinematic arts by creating shared experiences around the international medium of film. Women in film are high priority on the festival’s agenda. This year, the festival presents 44 features and 128 shorts for in-person screenings. Screenings and events are also available online.

In this, the first year of the AWFJ-Tallgrass partnership, AWFJ will present EDA Awards in two categories:

  • Best Female-Directed Feature Film (Narrative or Documentary)
  • Best Female-Directed Short Film(Narrative or Documentary)

Two jury panels of AWFJ members will select the winners from films nominated by the festival, including four narrative films and ten short films.

AWFJ’s features jury includes

  • Margaret Barton-Fumo
  • Karen Martin
  • Jennifer Merin
  • Danielle Solzman

Feature films nominated for the EDA Award are

  • This Is Not a War Story, directed by Talia Lugacy
  • We Burn Like This, directed by Alana Waksman
  • Moon Manor, directed by Erin Granat, Machete Bang Bang
  • I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking), directed by Kelley Kali & Angelique Molina

AWFJ’s shorts jury includes

  • Kristen Page-Kirby
  • Brandy McDonnell
  • Sharronda Williams
  • Susan Wloszczyna
    Short films nominated for the EDA Award include

    • 1-800-D-Direct, directed by Clare Macdonald
    • Al-Si, directed by Suzannah Mirghani
    • And Then, directed by Jenn Ravenna Tran
    • Eureka, directed by Mida Chu
    • Gabriela, directed by Natalia Kaniasty
    • I AM NORMAL, directed by Olia Oparina
    • Missing First Period, directed by Chassidy David
    • Myrtle, directed by Patricia McCormack
    • The Summer Of Snakes, directed by Lara Panah-Izadi
    • The Young King, directed by Larin Sullivan

    The AWFJ EDA Awards were presented to their worthy winners at the Tallgrass Film Festival’s awards ceremony on Saturday, October 23, 2021.

    In addition to its first time EDA Awards presentation, Tallgrass Film Festival inaugurated the $5,000 Gordon Parks Award for Black Excellence in Filmmaking, created in partnership with David Parks, son of Gordon Parks, with support from the Kansas African American Museum, Shocker Studios, Wichita State University Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and the Wichita Branch NAACP.

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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).