Whistler Film Festival 2020: EDA Award Nominees and AWFJ Juries – Jennifer Merin reports

For the eighth consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has the honor to partner with Whistler Film Festival to recognize women filmmakers with presentation of EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Feature Film and Best Female-Directed Short at the 2020 festival, held virtually from December 1 to 20, 2020.

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TIM’S VERMEER (2013) – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

In this fascinating documentary, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to prove that the 17th century Dutch Master, deemed the greatest realist painter of all time, was secretly using an optical instrument to capture his photo-like images. It provides a uniquely original view of timeless masterpieces.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 20, 2020: ANTIGONE

Quebecois writer/director Sophie Deraspe brings fresh life to ancient source material with Antigone, her powerful update of Sophocles’ classic play. Trading a Greek chorus for smartphone-wielding teens and city-state rivalries for clashes related to gang loyalty, it centers on the smart, resourceful titular teen, played rivetingly by Nahema Ricci.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 13, 2020: CODED BIAS

Designed largely by white men, it turns out that a lot of facial-recognition programs are best at recognizing…white men. So when those technologies are used to scan the faces of women and people of color, they’re far more likely to make incorrect associations and conclusions. Inconvenient if you want to use your face to open a biometric lock; potentially devastating if a database suggests you’re a terrorist.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Jennifer Merin

We might all be in need of and very keen on watching escapist comedies during the ongoing pandemic social restrictions, but this compelling documentary is an important and timely film. Knowledge is power, and Coded Bias delivers knowledge that can help us to resist/reverse the further deterioration of democracy and of human civilization as we know it.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 6, 2020: PROXIMA

Alice Winocour’s drama Proxima may be about a woman who’s getting ready to head to space, but it’s the very earthly ties that bind us to this planet — and to each other — that are at the heart of this thoughtful film. Starring Eva Green as French astronaut Sarah Loreau, Proxima explores the intersection of professional ambition and motherhood in a way that will ring true for anyone who’s ever had to balance personal and professional demands.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 30, 2020 – US KIDS

If there’s any upside to the turmoil and tragedy that the United States — and the world — has been experiencing in recent years, it’s the fact that it’s shaping and motivating a powerful surge of youth activism. While it’s certainly not fair for society to look to teenagers to solve problems caused by generations of adults, there’s no denying the passion, drive, and ingenuity of change-makers like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and the Parkland shooting survivors. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder introduces us to several of the latter in her moving documentary Us Kids.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 23, 2020: ON THE ROCKS

On the Rocks feels a bit like what you’d get if Woody Allen and Wes Anderson made a movie together — only with a lot more feminine energy, empathy, and understanding. Sofia Coppola’s dramedy tackles modern marriage, motherhood, career uncertainty, and parent/adult child relationships with a light touch and strong performances from a talented cast.

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Rama Rau Talks HONEY BEE and Trafficking- Jennifer Merin interviews

In Rama Rau’s Honey Bee, Natalie is an underage truck stop hooker working for a pimp who claims to love her, but regularly abuses She is stopped by authorities and sent to a home, actually a working farm, run by a tough love matriarch played with authority by Martha Plimpton. Honey Bee is a moving and credible drama that points out the dead-end choices that many young women are given little option but to make. The film won AWFJ’s EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature at 2018 Whistler Film Festival. The film is releasing online November 10.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, October 16, 2020: YELLOW ROSE

Both a timely drama about the harsh nature of U.S. immigration policy and its impact on families, and a poignant coming-of-age story, Diane Paragas’ semi-autobiographical first feature Yellow Rose centers on a talented Filipina teenager living in Texas whose love of country music is one of the few things she has left after her world abruptly crumbles around her.

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