Whistler Film Festival: 2019 EDA Award Nominees and AWFJ Juries – Jennifer Merin reports

For the seventh consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has had 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 2019 festival, held in Whistler from December 4 to 8, 2019.

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Vancouver International Film Festival 2019 Wrap – Marina Antunes reports

The 38th annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) may have wrapped its final screenings over a month ago, but the city is still basking in the post-festival glow thanks to the success of this year’s festival. VIFF has been expanding beyond film screenings for years and in 2019, organizers truly expanded the frame and in addition to over 320 films, the festival presented a number of live performances, master classes and industry-based conferences.

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Louisiana Film Prize: Jaya McSharma on the Making and Meaning of BEST IN SHOW – Jennifer Merin interviews

Jaya McSharma wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in Best in Show, one of 20 short films selected to compete in the 2019 Louisiana Film Prize, a unique film festival that awards a cash prize of $50,000 for the film deemed best by audience members and by film industry professionals. The dramady, a searing satire of the fashion industry, follows an unconventional fashion show model whose appearance is deemed no longer fit for the runway. Her rebellion is an inspiration to all who reject the torture of trying to stick to superficial standards of size, shape and beauty.

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HEARTLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROUND UP – Laura Emerick reports

To stand out among the many regional film festivals nationwide, Heartland has created its own special niche by focusing on movies that convey the transformative power of cinema. Witness its mission statement: “The films we select and exhibit — whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or shift audiences’ perspectives on the world — all have one thing in common: they are story-driven films that do more than entertain.”

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Camille Schmoutz on the Making and Meaning of ST ESTHER DAY – Jennifer Merin interviews

Camille Schmoutz’s St Esther Day is an elaborate period drama about the clash of socioeconomic classes in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. St Esther Day is an excellent example of how much story can be told, how much atmosphere can be evoked and how much social relevance can be conveyed in a short film. Produced in Shreveport specifically for submission for the 2019 Louisiana Film Prize’s $50,000 award, the film took advantage of the city’s unique locations and ambiance.

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Middleburg Film Festival 2019 Wrap-Up – Sandie Angulo Chen reports

Now in its seventh year, the Middleburg Film Festival in bucolic Virginia horse country continues to feature a well-curated slate of top-notch narrative and documentary feature films from around the world. Washington D.C.-area AWFJ members in attendance included Nell Minow and Susan Wloszczyna, both of whom participated in the Talk Back to the Critics’ session, as well as Leslie Combemale and Sandie Angulo Chen. Between us, we saw at least 40 films, and we’ve picked our favorite women-focused films and performances from the festival for readers to put on their must-watch lists.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Makenzie Smith on the Making and Meaning of CICERO – Jennifer Merin interviews

Makenzie Smith’s film, Cicero, was in competition for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize upon one winner. This year, more than 120 short films were submitted for the competition, with twenty selected to be screened at the festival, held from October 2 to 5 in Shreveport, to vie for the big money. Written by Smith who co-directed with Finch Nissen, Cicero was shot in Shreveport, per Film Prize submission requirements. The plot involves the tense and unexpected face off between two men — a hit man and his targeted victim — who find themselves confined together in a stuck elevator.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE – Jennifer Merin interviews

Rachel Emerson’s Maven Voyage, one of twenty short films selected to compete for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize, was shot in Shreveport, per submission requirements. Emerson won the fest’s $1,000 best actress award and a $3,000 Founders Circle Award to seed her next project. She comments on the making and meaning of her film, an engaging scifi adventure about a gal (Emerson) who wants to join the first manned mission to Mars.

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FOCUS ON FEMALE FILMMAKERS AT 2019 LONDON KOREAN FILM FEST – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

The 2019 festival turns towards the role of women in both Korean cinema specifically and representations in Korean culture more broadly in two ways; firstly across a variety of other program streams including Cinema Now and focuses on documentary, shorts and animations, and perhaps of more immediate, the Women’s Voices strand that highlights the best of women-made Korean cinema at the current moment.

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NEW YORK FILM FEST ’19: Great (but too few) Female Filmmakers – Jennifer Merin reports

Programming for this year’s 57th New York Film Festival, held from September 15 to October 23, suggests that this highly regarded cinema showcase has little regard for the 5050×2020 gender parity initiative. Of the 66 feature films presented in this year’s 26-day schedule, just 11 were directed by women. That’s a mere 16.666666666667%, and a very long short fall from the 50/50 by 2020 goal. That said, the female-directed films that were showcased in this year’s NYFF program are absolutely brilliant. Here’s a run down.

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