Les Femmes Underground Film Festival – Beth Accomando reports

The festival’s mission is three pronged. First, equip, inform, influence, and mobilize women in underground media. Second, transform the landscape of cinema for womxn by creating opportunities and forums that accurately represent them. And third, create opportunities for young girls and young womxn via educational resources, wellness fairs and literacy efforts. The result is a film festival that provides a safe haven not just for women filmmakers but also for filmmakers who want to push the envelope in terms of style and form. It is not merely about independent filmmakers but also experimental ones. Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival VI is a short but jam-packed event that’s well worth seeking out.

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THE EXAM (MIFF 2022) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Kurdish director Shawkat Amin Korki’s unflinching feature, The Exam, packs an enormous punch by combining a probing examination of gender politics with the high-octane thrills of what ultimately feels like a heist movie. Greater than the sum of its parts, The Exam is riveting stuff.

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CLARA SOLA (MIFF 2022) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Clara Sola maps a woman’s journey of self-knowing. From the opening moments, cinematographer Sophie Winqvist captures what is to become a steady stream of shots that focus on Clara’s hands and fingers, with a conscious emphasis on touch; not just for Clara to touch things or extend her hands towards things just out of reach, but, perhaps just as importantly, to be touched.

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DUAL (MIFF 2022) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

At the film’s core lies that good old fashioned science fiction chestnut “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” when it comes to technological progress. But, of course, being a Stearns film the way science fiction manifests is notably without the whistles and bells so typical of the genre elsewhere. Rather, the basic premise – that we can pay to replace ourselves with genetically engineered doubles when we die to help assuage the pain and grief of our family and friends – comes into view almost matter-of-factly. Here, it is the tension between the film’s main character and her “replacement” that drives the narrative.

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WOMEN ROCKING HOLLYWOOD at San Diego ComicCon 2022 – Leslie Combemale reports

It’s very strange and a little disconcerting that five months of work is distilled into a panel event that takes less than an hour, but that’s how it goes planning the Women Rocking Hollywood panel for San Diego Comic-Con every year. What borders on surreal is that in 2022, I was working around an ongoing pandemic to do so. In some ways, 2022 was the best event yet, this being the seventh year of the female filmmaker-focused panel. The seven years includes the last two, in which we showed up virtually. Although there were some challenges unique to 2022, “Women Rocking Hollywood: Multi-hyphenate Female Filmmakers” as this permutation was called, featured several exclusive reveals, as well as a worldwide exclusive clip presented by the women participants, and that made this SDCC particularly special.

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Fantasia Film Festival: Born of Woman 2022 – Liz Whittemore reports

Nine unique films comprise one extraordinary viewing experience. Fantasia Film Fest’s annual Born Of Woman program features shorts created by an eclectic array of female filmmakers. Get ready to be astounded by 2022’s storytelling.

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I LIKE BATS (Fantasia Fest 2022) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Released in 1986 by Polish actor and director Grzegorz Warchol, that I Like Bats has, until now, gone broadly unchampioned is a jaw-dropping oversight; this is your new favourite cult film classic, just waiting to be discovered. Sleek, sexy and riddled with dark humor, this electrifying vampire tale has more energy and sparkle than most contemporary horror films could ever dream of.

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WOMEN AT FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival – one of the world’s biggest and most highly genre films festivals – returns in 2022 from 14 July to 3 August with its usual impressive line-up of world, national and regional premieres, as well as hosting a diverse array of international and local guests and signature special events. Of these latter, the unquestionable highlight of this year’s Fantasia is the awarding of the Canadian Trailblazer Award to pioneering filmmaker, author, critic, historian and curator, Kier-La Janisse.

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HALFTIME (Tribeca 2022) – Review by Valerie Kafrin

The Netflix documentary Halftime peeks into the whirlwind life of global superstar Jennifer Lopez—but don’t expect to get too close. “One of the things that I’m proud of is that I’m able to hold it together in front of everybody without anybody knowing how I feel,” she tells the filmmakers. Earlier, she says that she doesn’t even let on when she’s sick. Lopez is an undeniably charismatic performer, yet in exploring her drive, Halftime shows us only half the picture. “My whole life, I’ve been battling and battling to be heard, to be seen,” she says. If only we’d seen more of that.

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HARGROVE (Tribeca 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Perhaps it’s the love first time filmmaker Eliane Henri had for her friend, legendary jazzman Roy Hargrove, that inspired her, but she’s created a film that isn’t just biographical, but also considers things like the predatory nature of the music industry and what art can be in truly collaborative hands. Her choices lead to a beautiful tribute for one of the giants of the musical world.

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