Middleburg Film Festival 2022: Female Focus – Leslie Combemale reports

The Middleburg Film Festival marked its 10th year in operation this October, and as founder Sheila Johnson and director Susan Koch have done from the start, they made the celebration of women in film both in front of and behind the camera one of the major priorities of the fest. There were 16 female-helmed films represented in the fest out of the 44 shown, including several by women of color, and many of those films also have female heads of departments, which is, of course, important to advancing gender parity overall.

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Gina Prince-Bythewood on Cast, Action and Camera in THE WOMAN KING – Leslie Combemale interviews

With the new historical epic The Woman King, Gina Prince-Bythewood has added yet another winner to her impressive filmography. Based on historical events, the film is centered on a cast of Black women portraying members of the Agojie, a legion of female warriors who protected the Kingdom of Dahomey (now part of Benin) in 1800s Africa. Full of action, the performers in The Woman King do nearly all their own stunts, and every actor portraying a member of the Agojie plays a powerful, fully-formed, three dimensional character. Prince-Bythewood chats about her cast, her collaborators above and below the line, and how The Woman King has changed her as a director.

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Terilyn Shropshire on Gina Prince-Bythewood, Evolutional Editing and THE WOMAN KING – Leslie Combemale interviews

Terilyn Shropshire has been building a career as a film and television editor in Hollywood for over 30 years, working with some of the best directors in the business. Her ongoing collaboration with Gina Prince-Bythewood began in 2000 with the director’s now classic Love and Basketball. Now Shropshire is in the spotlight for her work with Prince-Bythewood on the new and critically acclaimed release The Woman King. AWFJ.org’s Leslie Combems;le spoke with Shropshire about her process, and the joy of a project that highlights powerful Black women in a positive and dynamic way never done before onscreen.

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