AWFJ Announces Winners of EDA Awards @ Whistler Film Festival 2021 – Jennifer Merin reports

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Sarah Fortin, Robin Hauser, and Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers + Carmine Pierre-Dufour make waves as AWFJ’s Best Female Directors

Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) and the are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s AWFJ EDA Awards.

Each year the AWFJ recognizes the amazing work that is created by women and for women, both in front and behind the camera, by adjudicating WFF films and presenting the AWFJ EDA Awards. These awards are presented in three categories: Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature, Best Female-Directed Short Film, and new for 2021, Best Female-Directed Narrative Documentary. The 21st edition of the Whistler Film Festival includes 81 films, 40 features and 41 shorts and this year achieved directorial gender parity, with 20 of 40 features and 25 of 41 shorts directed or co-directed by women or non-binary individuals.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented this year’s EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature to Nouveau Quebec directed by Sarah Fortin.
The jury stated that “Nouveau Quebec is a suspenseful and thoroughly engaging slow-burning drama from first time writer-director Sarah Fortin. It is a couple-in-crisis drama wrapped in a mystery. Fortin’s film thrives in how it captures and represents intense trauma in an isolated location and the culture of the area’s Innu and Naskapi residents with the dexterity of a more experienced filmmaker. We’re eager to see more films from this skilled and sensitive young director.” NOUVEAU QUEBEC premieres online today and is available across Canada until December 31.
The jury awarded the EDA Award for Best Female Directed Narrative Documentary to $AVVY, directed by Robin Hauser. Robin Hauser was congratulated on her use of strong visuals, colorful animation, and informed, engaging experts to create a film that shows learning about financial literacy can be fun and educational. The jury further noted that the film has the power to change lives, giving individuals, particularly women who are especially vulnerable to money troubles, practical steps to achieving and maintaining solvency. $AVVY is available to view to a worldwide audience until December 31.
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short Film to Fanmi directed by Carmine Pierre-Dufour and Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers. The jury stated that Fanmi mines the unspoken bonds of mother/daughter relationships to provide an intimate portrait of two strong-willed women who will do anything in their power to protect each other and learn from past mistakes. Fanmi is available to stream across Canada as part of the ShortWorks 1 program until December 31.


The Narrative Feature jury included Liz Braun, Sandie Angulo Chen, Tara Karajica, Jennifer Merin (Chair). The jury for feature-length Best Female-Directed Documentary included: Ulkar Alakbarova, Leba Hertz, Karen Martin (Chair), Tara McNamara (Common Sense Media), and the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short included Marina Antunes (Chair), Betsy Bozdech, Marilyn Ferdinand, and Kathia Woods.


AWFJ presents EDA Awards at year’s end and throughout the year at selected film festivals. The EDAs are named in honor of AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin’s mother, Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film and television actress whose career spanned more than 60 years. A dedicated foot soldier in the industry, Eda was one of the founders of AFTRA and a long-standing Member of AMPAS. EDA is also an acronym for Excellent Dynamic Activism, qualities shared by Eda Reiss Merin, AWFJ members and those honored with EDA Awards.


The full slate of WFF Award Winners will be announced at the WFF Awards Show online on December 19. Films continue to premiere on until December 25 with viewing available until December 31. To support our artists, WFF is splitting net film ticket proceeds with the filmmakers and Canadian rights holders.

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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).