PARASITE – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The success of Parasite is not merely marked by great filmmaking and an intriguing storyline, but deep within its foundations lies an overwhelming understanding on Bong’s part of how bigotry operates at an almost molecular level. It’s everywhere. Parasite is a truly original black comedy about the tragic, casual normalization of the uneven terms upon which everyday class warfare is waged.

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Bacurau – TIFF 19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A ‘human safari’ tour business brings blood-thirsting North Americans to South America to let loose with their desire to kill in what what their intrinsic racism allows them to frame as “ethical”. They consider murdering rural, poor Brazilians a moral act superior to letting loose at a local shopping mall or elementary school in the United States.

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Women horror filmmakers at TIFF 2019 – Report by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

As powerfully demonstrated at Toronto International Film Festival 2018 with movies including Emma Tammi’s crowd-pleaser The Wind and Carolina Hellsgård’s feminist zombie film Endzeit – Ever After, assumptions that horror is strictly a boys club are notably passé. This year’s iteration of TIFF (5 – 15 September) presents further proof that women filmmakers are a force to be reckoned with when it comes things that go bump in the night.

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REAL REEL WOMEN at TIFF 2019 – Report by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

In the spirit of the AWFJ’s REAL REEL WOMEN project which showcases the breathtaking history of biopics about some of history’s most significant women, the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival includes an intriguing array of films that could comfortably be added to this formidable list, with a notable majority directed by women filmmakers.

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Latresia D Bobo on Memphis Film Prize, Acting Aspirations and Motherhood – Sarah Knight Adamson interviews

At this year’s Memphis Film Prize awards ceremony, when Latresia D Bobo’s name was announced as Best Actress for her starring performance in the short film Pages, she responded with a heartfelt acceptance speech that produced an emotional reaction from the crowd, some of whom even teared up. Latresia, who is a Memphis native, conveyed her thankfulness to her supporters. I, serving as a member of the Memphis Film Prize jury, was among them. Latresia a has a bright future, and I’m pleased to be in her corner.

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Women at Melbourne International Film Festival 2019 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Topping off a stellar year for the work of women filmmakers at the 68th iteration of the Melbourne International Film Festival, that Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale won The Age Critics Award for the year – the festival’s most esteemed accolade – comes as little surprise. Writing in The Age newspaper (the award issuer), Australian film critic Sandra Hall wrote of Kent’s fearless sophomore feature “We found Jennifer Kent’s depiction of early 19th century Tasmania utterly convincing…the film’s portrayal and condemnation of violence against women is just as pertinent today as it was then.”

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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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