Marvelous Women at Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019 – Marietta Steinhart reports

Marvelous Women at Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019 – Marietta Steinhart reports

Programmed by a team consisting of six remarkable women, including Lili Rodriguez, Alissa Simon, Hebe Tebachnik, Therese Hayes, Jessica Eskelin, and Jane Schoettle (from the Toronto International Film Festival), plus former Newsweek critic, David Ansen and artistic director Michael Lerman, the 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival showed 228 films of which 55 were either directed or co-directed by women (about 24 percent), leaving room for more female directors in the future. Nevertheless the festival has no lack in films with or about women.

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WIDOWS – Review by Marietta Steinhart

WIDOWS – Review by Marietta Steinhart

Steve McQueen has created masterful dramas about men and their torment. Gillian Flynn is notorious for her compelling thrillers about traumatized women. Together they’ve made a smart heist movie with a feminist twist. Last year, Widows, was one of the most intriguing films with and about women.

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COLD WAR – Review by Marietta Steinhart

COLD WAR – Review by Marietta Steinhart

Four years after winning an Oscar for best-foreign-language film for Ida, author and director Pawel Pawlikowski has returned with three-time Oscar-nominated Cold War, a meticulously composed story of love shattered by the Iron Curtain, and temperaments. It will break your heart, but never mind: despair has never looked so gorgeous.

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SHOPLIFTERS – Review by Marietta Steinhart

SHOPLIFTERS – Review by Marietta Steinhart

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters is a tender, strangely powerful and sad exploration of what makes a real family and implies that we often find true compassion among the strangers we encounter in the world. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2018, claimed the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film at the 30th Palm Springs International Film Festival this January and is nominated for a best foreign-language film Oscar.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Kristina Wagenbauer, director of SASHINKA

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Kristina Wagenbauer, director of SASHINKA

First-time feature director Kristina Wagenbauer’s Sashinka is a family drama that revolves around tensions between mother and daughter. Talented young musician Sasha’s life and burgeoning career are completely disrupted when her mother, an attractive yet shockingly adolescent and alcoholic Russian emigre, shows upon her doorstep, desperate for a place to stay. The scene is set for their emotionally fraught confrontation that is the film’s affecting climax. Sashinka was nominated for the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature at Whistler Film Festival 2018.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Meryam Joobeur, director of BROTHERHOOD

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Meryam Joobeur, director of BROTHERHOOD

Filmmaker Meryam Joobeur’s 25 minute narrative film takes us to rural Tunisia and into the life of a hardened shepherd, Mohamed, who is deeply shaken when his estranged son Malik, who’d left the family to fight for ISIS, returns home with a Syrian wife. Tensions between father and son slowly build into an inevitable and heartbreaking confrontation with devastating results. Brotherhood is the recipient of AWFJ’s EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short at Whistler Film Festival 2018.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018: Lara Zeidan, director of THREE CENTIMETRES

Whistler Film Festival 2018: Lara Zeidan, director of  THREE CENTIMETRES

In Lara Zeidan’s nine-minute short film is a dense and claustrophobic drama in which four teenage Lebanese girls go on a ferris wheel ride to cheer one of them up after a breakup. They find their friendships put to the test while they are suspended high above Beirut, as secrets are revealed and tensions rise. The drama culminates in an unexpected confession.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Caroline Monnet, director of EMPTYING THE TANK

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Caroline Monnet, director of EMPTYING THE TANK

Caroline Monnet’s ten-minute documentary short, Emptying the Tank, is a profile and tribute film about Ashley Nichols, a masterful Chippewa female mixed martial artist. The film eloquently captures, demonstrates and celebrates the athlete’s inner strength, fortitude, and her steadfast dedication to her physical and spiritual health.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Sophie Dupuis, director of FAMILY FIRST

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Sophie Dupuis, director of FAMILY FIRST

Sophie Dupuis’ first feature is Canada’s selection for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar category. Family First is a a hard-hitting, crime-tinged drama about a totally dysfunctional family. JP, a 20-something guy, lives with his alcoholic mother and 19 year-old brother whose behavior is best described as psychotic. The family is ruled by JP’s drug-dealing Uncle Dany, who uses the brothers to collect debts. JP tries to avoid violence, his brother enjoys it. JR is torn between loyalty to his mother and brother and his deep-seated wishes to create a better life for himself and his girlfriend. The plot is intense, the script, direction and performances are superb. Family First is the recipient of an AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature at the noWhistler Film Festival 2018.

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Gillian McKercher director of CIRCLE OF STEEL

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Gillian McKercher director of CIRCLE OF STEEL

In Gillian McKercher’s Circle of Steel, corporate interests butt against personal ethics, as an Asian Canadian engineer, Wendy Fong, gets a job working in the Alberta oil fields. A sometimes satirical and largely sympathetic depiction of life in the oil and gas industry, life can become numbingly routine, especially amidst constant rumors of layoffs related to market pricing for oil and gas products. Wendy takes dubious advice from her co-workers, who largely congregate in local bars to burn off steam when not working. Complications ensue when she finds out that layoffs are officially announced making her very unsure about the future she has worked so hard for. Circle of Steel has been nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2018.

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