Suzanne Bauman (1945-2022): A Life in Film – Profile by Marilyn Ferdinand

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists mourns the passing of Suzanne Bauman, a producer, director, and writer of more than 80 documentary and feature films, as well as a teacher of documentary filmmaking. Bauman succumbed to cancer on January 2, 2022, surrounded by family in her home in Wrightwood, California.

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Oscars 2022 by the Rules – Susan Granger reports

Oscar hopes are high in Hollywood – but – first come the Oscar nominations. Ballots have gone out to all members of the 17 branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and the results will be announced early on Tuesday, February 8th. Right now, there are 9,487 active Oscar voters eligible to nominate and vote in the 94th annual Academy Awards, plus an additional 914 Emeritus members, making the total 10,487. All members can nominate Best Picture. ..and the Board has declared there will be 10 nominees this year.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal: from ‘difficult’ roles to director – Wendy Ide reports

With a string of plaudits for portraying complex characters, the actor is now focusing her ‘quiet fire’ behind the cameras with a stunning debut film. From her breakthrough role in Secretary, wearing stilettos, a pencil skirt and manacles and attempting to operate a stapler with her chin, to her directorial debut which digs into the messy truths about motherhood, Maggie Gyllenhaal has always been attracted to what she has described as “troubled women. The ones that are a real challenge. They really need me.”

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Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore comment

Research shows that, on average, kids see horror movies as young as 7 years old. And we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies — in fact, when my daughter was in the second grade, she had multiple classmates who’d seen “It.” It’s not realistic to expect that we can shield kids from scary or gory content forever. And, in fact, it can be counterproductive to prevent children from seeing any kind of conflict, loss, or trauma on screen. Far better to use these moments, when they come, as opportunities to help them through hard stuff in a safe place.

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Note to Hollywood: Fight Scenes Are Not Foreplay – Nell Minow comments

I was disappointed to see the same obsolete trope in two Hollywood films this month. In The Protégé and in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings we see a man and a woman in an all-out mixed martial arts fight. At least comparatively speaking, in these two very intense, full-on fight scenes, the women are the good guys and the men are extremely dangerous killers. And in both scenes, the fights are concluded not with one combatant defeating the other but with the couple having sex.

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Assessing the Film Festival Scene – Pamela Powell comments

In 2020, after the Sundance Film Festival squeezed in its 12-day celebration and the U.S. recognized and reacted to the dangers of Covid-19, most festivals either cancelled or went the virtual route with limited success. For critics who attended these events, this new viewing format created a void and a distancing from filmmaking. With no true end to the pandemic in site, how will this effect the future of festivals and critics’ attendance?

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One Thing Movie Studios Can Do to Support Diversity in Media Criticism – Betsy Bozdech comments

If studios and filmmakers truly believe in fostering diversity — behind the scenes, on camera, and in the dark rooms where writers who care passionately about film and media engage with their work — then it’s time to help make access to those films as equitable as possible. And that means continuing to make screeners available regularly so that reviewers everywhere, from every demographic, have the chance to make their perspectives heard. Equitable access to media screeners will give more voice to reviewers everywhere.

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WOMEN MAKE HISTORICAL ADVANCES IN THE 2021 OSCAR RACE – Susan Granger reports

History was made when the Oscar nominations were released for the Best Director category. Only five women have ever been nominated before. This year, Chloe Zhao was chosen for her elegiac road-trip drama “Nomadland,” along with first-time feature-filmmaker Emerald Fennel for her #MeToo revenge comedy “Promising Young Woman.” Chloe Zhao, the first woman of color nominated for Best Director, is the most nominated woman in a single year in Oscar history, since she’s also competing as Best Picture producer, along with Adapted Screenplay and Editing. That’s a record-breaking four nominations in a single year.

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EXAMINING OSCAR’S BELOW-THE-LINE NOMINEES – Susan Granger reports

Without doubt, movies are the most collaborative artistic medium, and streaming has made this year’s contenders more available than ever before. Some of the most memorable artisan aspects of filmmaking are Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound, all contributing to the ultimate success of a film. Directors of Photography honored by the Cinematography branch are Sean Bobbitt (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Erik Messerschmidt (“Mank”), Dariusz Wolski (“News of the World”) Joshua James Richards (“Nomadland”) and Phedon Papamichael (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”).

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Intersectionality at SXSW 2021 – Leslie Combemale reports

This year at SXSW there are a number of powerful female filmmakers of color who are shining a light on important social issues both through narrative and documentary films, employing women of color in front of and behind the camera. They are an inspiration not only for their commitment to diverse voices, but also for creating great content worthy of our attention. Here are some of the best offerings at the fest you can see right now.

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