A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM – Review by April Neale

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, a documentary directed by Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Yu Gu, focuses primarily on two cheerleaders’ personal stories and their legal battle for better pay and working conditions in the male-dominated industry. The NFL has coddled the owners and used cheerleaders since its inception, paying mascots and beer slingers more than the hard working dancers the fans come to see, and cheer on their teams. Some get no pay, some get less than the legal minimum wage.

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Whistler Film Festival 2020: Female-Directed Documentaries – April Neale previews

Whistler Film Festival continues to be a bright beacon for documentaries, a shining example of programming that showcases cinematic storytelling that connects diverse people with common themes. This year, three distinctly different female-directed documentary features represent the rich diversity of perspectives and highly developed skills of women working in nonfiction film.

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THE 40 YEAR OLD VERSION – Review by April Neale

Filmmaker Radha Blank’s starring turn as the fictional Radha is one to watch. She’s at a trifecta milestone in life, ruing her age, grieving for her mother and trying to make sense of career and survive in a high cost city. What’s an artist to do? This observant, perfectly lense and written comedic sidewinder follows this likeable woman’s path to getting her groove back by reinventing her creative outlets.

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FLY LIKE A GIRL – Review by April Neale

Misogyny and misconceptions about women abound in every walk of life, especially in the field of aviation. Societal stigma and educational gaps for women and men are part of the percolating conversation in filmmaker Katie McEntire Wiatt’s informative documentary, Fly Like A Girl. The film’s message is clear, do not be afraid to be the first or let someone else put an idea in your head that prevents you from exploring all your options in this life. And for that encouragement, this film soars above the pack.

And for that encouragement, this film soars above the pack.

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ONCE UPON A RIVER – Review by April Neale

There is a point where our internal critic asks, why are we watching this film? For Once Upon A River, it is to witness the miracle of kindness, and the randomness of human decency which can make or break someone’s spirit that is the underpinning of this story. The message is that all children need guidance and a watchful eye as they learn the ways of life so they can take eventually take educated chances and bet on themselves.

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Marc Ostrick on STRIPPED: LOS ANGELES and Women’s Choices – April Neale interviews

Elite dancers and sex workers in Los Angeles are given a closeup and a platform in Marc Ostrick’s new documentary, Stripped: Los Angeles, where they share their own unique career paths and their attitudes toward the adult entertainment industry. Ostrick, an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker with over 25 years of producing and directing documentaries, was interested in exploring the motivations of women who took to the stage, not as actors but as sensual performance artists.

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DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD – Review by April Neale

Our culture does little to alleviate anxiety about the end of life, and this documentary succeeds in allowing us to lose some of the dread and delight along with Dick Johnson as his daughter, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, cooks up very dramatic, well-staged and crafted ways to end it all: Heart attacks, impalings, having an A/C unit fall on his head — all while Dick Johnson discusses the merits to each calamity and gives amusing post-mortems of every potential demise.

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