Memphis Film Prize Top 10 finalist Lauren Cox talks WITHOUT A ROOF, domestic violence and homelessness – Brandy McDonnell interviews

While she was pregnant with her second child, Lauren Cox also wrote, produced, directed and starred in her third short film. “Without a Roof,” starring Cox as a pregnant woman who resorts to homelessness to escape her abusive marriage, was one of the Top 10 finalists earlier this month for the Memphis Film Prize, where Cox also was a nominee for best performance by an actress.

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Memphis Film Prize winners Abby Meyers and Kevin Brooks talk A NIGHT OUT and Sexual Violence – Brandy McDonnell interviews

A Night Out was primarily shot in the twisty hallways and narrow staircases of the Mollie Fontaine Lounge, an old Victorian mansion that has been converted into a trendy Memphis night spot. The short literally follows Jessica (Rosalyn Ross) as she wanders through the corridors and encounters an admiring stranger (Bertram Williams) who takes flirtation too far.

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Memphis Film Prize 2019 Wrap – Sarah Knight Adamson reports

The Memphis Film Prize is a uniquely creative showcase for emerging talent. Filmmakers from across the country submit short films — five to fifteen minutes long — for a cash prize of $10,000. The main requirement is that the films be shot in Shelby County, Tenn. Ten films selected for the competition are screened for audiences and judges in August, and a winner is chosen. The goal of the festival is to compensate creativity, allowing filmmakers to keep their creative work moving forward. I was one of three AWFJ members on the 2019 jury.

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Melbourne International Film Fest: Agnieszka Holland, Penelope Spheeris Retrospectives – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

As the first iteration of the Melbourne International Film Festival helmed by incoming artistic director Al Cossar, the 68th year of the Australian festival continues its impressive recent commitment to showcasing the works of both emerging and pioneering women filmmakers. In terms of the latter, two of this year’s three “Directors in Focus” retrospectives are dedicated to the extraordinary careers of two very different but equally influential filmmakers, Agnieszka Holland and Penelope Spheeris.

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WOMEN FILMMAKERS AT MONTREAL’S INTERNATIONAL FANTASIA FILM FEST – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Breaking with past bad habits, the presence of women-made movies at genre film festivals around the world is now becoming an assumed norm rather than a curious anomaly. The 2019 iteration of Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival is a case in point, a fiercely independent and originally programmed festival that defines ‘outside the box’ curatorial thinking to the point that it has earned a strong international reputation for taste-making and trend-setting on the global film genre scene.

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Sydney FF 2019: A DOG CALLED MONEY – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Weaving together a range of different threads and textures in his revealing documentary about cult British rock icon PJ Harvey and her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project, Irish filmmaker and photojournalist Seamus Murphy‘s A Dog Called Money crosses the globe with the musician to meet the people and places that inspired her.

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Sydney FF 2019: SCHOOL’S OUT – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It would at first be far too easy to dismiss School’s Out as representative of generational anxieties about an increasingly vocal, empowered youth, whose voices around the world we see manifest on the daily news in everything from climate change protests to gun restriction rallies in the United States. But the film is far from this simplistic; rather, there is something much opaquer and consequently disturbing about the vision these young people have that the adults and even other students around them are simply not privy to.

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Sydney FF 2019: QUEEN OF HEARTS – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Women directors exploring romantic relationships between grown women and boys is hardly new. While unarguably a part of this tradition, Danish filmmaker May el-Toukhy’s Queen of Hearts is a gut-wrenching and ethically confronting film that hinges on a woman lawyer called Anne whose job is to fight for the rights for abused children and young people. As we discover, this profession lies in uneasy proximity to her status as a sexual predator who has seduced her teenage stepson

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Melbourne FF Premiere’s Kim Farrant’s ANGEL OF MINE – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas Reports

The Melbourne International Film Festival has just released first glance highlights from this year’s forthcoming festival that will run from 1 – 18 August. Amongst the many local and international premieres is the announcement that the festival will screen the world premiere of Australian filmmaker Kim Farrant’s sophomore feature Angel of Mine.

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Bentonville FF – Ani Simon-Kennedy and Kishori Rajan on THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LONG ROAD – Betsy Bozdech interviews

Director Ani Simon-Kennedy — a veteran of commercial shoots and socially conscious projects — screened her second narrative feature, The Short History of the Long Road, at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival after premiering it at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. She has received support from the Sundance Institute, The Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, Film Independent, Chanel and AT&T. Accompanied by producer Kishori Rajan, Simon-Kennedy — who’s based in New York, where she and her producing partner Caitlin Yatsko run Bicephaly Pictures — talked to AWFJ about her film, a road movie starring Sabrina Carpenter and Danny Trejo, and female filmmakers.

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