Indian Filmmaker Nandita Das and MANTO – Mythily Ramachandran reports

Indian Filmmaker Nandita Das and MANTO – Mythily Ramachandran reports

The first Indian to be inducted into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame, filmmaker Nandita Das is a multi-hyphenated talent. She debuted as an actress in 1995, has worked with acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, and began directing in 2008. Her Manto is now playing international festivals.

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NYFF18: Just 4 Out of 30 Main Slate Films are Female-Directed – Melissa Hanson reports

NYFF18: Just 4 Out of 30 Main Slate Films are Female-Directed – Melissa Hanson reports

In 2017, New York Film Festival (NYFF) announced that its main slate lineup featured the most female-directed films in 10 years. This year it’s back to being below average with just four female-directed films in the lineup of 30. Even more striking, the festival’s record number was only eight of 25. Only 32% and that’s the highest percentage in 10 years. To date, NYFF has made no mention of an equality pledge, nor commented on the inclusion rider circulating in Hollywood, and it shows.

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Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard — Book Review by Kathleen Sachs (Exclusive)

Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard — Book Review by Kathleen Sachs (Exclusive)

Albertine Fox does a fantastic job summarizing the book’s theoretical mission in the first chapter. The book is not only a good resource for the topic at hand; it also provides ‘mini-lessons’ on subjects with which readers may be unfamiliar. This reflects the author’s thoughtfulness—she doesn’t assume that everyone reading is familiar with every reference, and she elaborates in such a way that even those who are familiar will glean something new from how she connects the ideas to her own.

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Ted Geoghegan on showing respect in MOHAWK — Hope Madden Interviews (Exclusive)

Ted Geoghegan on showing respect in MOHAWK — Hope Madden Interviews (Exclusive)

Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan has been making horror movies since 2001 when he began writing primarily low-budget European horror. His award winning 2015 break out film. We Are Still Here, a haunted house tale starring beloved genre staple Barbara Crampton, marked him as a director worth attention. He leveraged that success to tell a story he’d been mulling for years, a genre hybrid that breaks new ground called Mohawk.

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MOHAWK — Review by Hope Madden

MOHAWK — Review by Hope Madden

How many Westerns are told from the perspective of the American Indian? None, basically. When First Nation filmmakers (Chris Eyre, Sydney Freeland, Neil Diamond, Sterlin Harjo, Adam Garnet Jones, among others) create, they seem to ignore the genre that has, for most of Hollywood’s history, defined them in popular culture. Jim Jarmusch’s brilliant Dead Man comes closest, as Gary Farmer’s character Nobody informs William Blake’s (Johnny Depp) journey. Though Farmer’s not the lead, it is his character’s perspective of the West that guides the film. For co-writer/director Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here), that’s not enough. Mohawk, his latest film, spins a far more typically Western story: battle lines drawn between Mohawks and new Americans, each trying to secure a piece of American soil.

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Women on Top @ Whistler Film Festival Keynote Address — Valerie Creighton, Director, Canada Media Fund

Women on Top @ Whistler Film Festival Keynote Address — Valerie Creighton, Director, Canada Media Fund

Given the rapidly changing media landscape, the Canadian government announced it was open to making further changes to the Canada Media Fund program by ensuring that we have the tools and the flexibility to adapt our support for the screen-based sector. Hallelujah – finally!! We know that 18/19 will be a transition year but we will be consulting from coast to coast to coast to seek your advice on how you see the future of content unfolding.

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Chanda Chevannes on Making UNFRACTURED, Activism and Refusing to ‘Play the Part’

Chanda Chevannes on Making UNFRACTURED, Activism and Refusing to ‘Play the Part’

On a chilly November evening in 2014, I was sitting in a rental car outside the county jail in Watkins Glen, New York. My video camera was turned on, and resting in my lap. I had already set my white balance, exposure, and focal length. And since I had nothing to do but sit in the dark parking lot and wait, a steady stream of thoughts began to run through my mind. Or, more accurately, one thought raced around in there: Why am I doing this to myself?

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Looking at the Carpet from the Wrong Side: Albertine Fox on writing Godard and Sound (Exclusive)

Looking at the Carpet from the Wrong Side: Albertine Fox on writing Godard and Sound (Exclusive)

In her biography of the art critic and painter Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf makes much of the ‘perpetual need’ for the critic to look at art objects from new angles. Unpredictable and erratic in his approach, Fry ‘looked at the carpet from the wrong side; but he made it for that very reason display unexpected patterns.’ I have written a book called Godard and Sound that offers an alternative perspective on Jean-Luc Godard’s later films through an analysis of their rich soundscapes. At the same time, it develops an aural-inspired approach to thinking and writing about film, setting off from the simple but liberating premise that our relationship with film changes when we listen, and it’s the twofold nature of my book that brings me to write this article. Continue reading…

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Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard, Excerpt from Chapter Five (Exclusive) — Albertine Fox

Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard, Excerpt from Chapter Five (Exclusive)  — Albertine Fox

Albertine Fox writes: “I came to the topic not by way of French New Wave cinema but after writing a dissertation called ‘The Sound of the Image’ that explored the role of sound, music and voice in the experimental cinema of the French writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras. Duras’s ingenious idea of using the entire soundtrack from one of her films as the soundtrack for another was a powerful way of coming to understand the political implications of the radical disjunction of voice and image in cinema. In her film India Song, the offscreen voices and auditory renderings of alienation and intimacy undermine traditional patriarchal cinema’s restrictive scopic regime, bringing the spectator into contact with other, more ambiguous forms of pleasure and suffering, and with a different model of feminine subjectivity which I found deeply inspiring. Having grappled with the untapped freedoms that come from analysing sound in films that don’t abide by narrative conventions, I became enamoured with the disruptive and unpredictable soundscape of Godard’s Weekend, and with the subtle levels of repetition and variation in his earlier feature Vivre sa vie (My Life to Live). Read the excerpt…

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New Zealand’s Maori Women Talk WARU — Gill Pringle reports from TIFF

New Zealand’s Maori Women Talk WARU — Gill Pringle reports from TIFF

Told from the viewpoint of nine female filmmakers, Waru is the first feature film from New Zealand to be made by Maori women since Mereta Mita’s Mauri almost 30 years ago. Eight female Maori directors each contributed a ten minute vignette, presented as a continuous shot in real time, that unfolds around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy (Waru) who died at the hands of his caregiver. The vignettes are all subtly interlinked and each follows one of eight female Maori lead characters during the same moment in time as they come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward in their community. In Maori, waru means 8.

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Meet Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (‘Zero Divided by Zero’) and ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Bareilly’s Candy) — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Meet Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (‘Zero Divided by Zero’) and ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Bareilly’s Candy) — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Indian director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s first film, Nil Battey Sannata,’ (Hindi for Zero divided by Zero), released last year, was so successful she had to do a second version in Tamil. She premiered her second film, a hilarious romcom titled ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ (Hindi for ‘Bareilly’s Candy’) last month. Both films are femme-centric and, as Indian film critic andjournalist Mythily Ramachandran reports, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is here to stay. Read Mythily Ramachandran’s interview with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

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Meet Soundarya Rajnikanth, director of VELLAI ILLA PATTADHARI 2 — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

Meet Soundarya Rajnikanth, director of VELLAI ILLA PATTADHARI 2  — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

A career in films was inevitable for Soundarya Rajnikanth, the youngest daughter of Rajnijanth, the Tamil actor who is fondly nicknamed ‘Superstar” in India. Soundarya stepped out of her father’s shadow in 2014 to direct her first film, Kochadaiiyaan, an animated period film with her father in the lead. This film, shot with motion-capture technology, is a first in the history of Indian cinema. Director Soundarya returns with her second feature, the live action Vella Illa Pattadhari 2 (Unemployed Graduate, in Tamil), the sequel to the blockbuster, Vella Illa Pattadhari, which was released in 2015.

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EBERTFEST 2016: WOMEN IN FILM PANEL — Report by Shalayne Pulia

EBERTFEST 2016: WOMEN IN FILM PANEL — Report by Shalayne Pulia

“How can you make an Oscar worthy film with one tenth of the budget? It’s an uneven playing field to begin with,” Darrien Gipson said in addressing the amazing disparity between the stats regarding the numbers of women compared to men from the very start of the hierarchical ladder to achievement in noviemaking. Gipson was a member of EBERTFEST’s Women in Film panel, moderated by Chaz Ebert. Read more>>

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In Reality, We Must Demand Equal Representation for Women Documentarians, Too – Victoria Cook comments

In Reality, We Must Demand Equal Representation for Women Documentarians, Too – Victoria Cook comments

Re the Oscars, there is a misperception that the documentary category is more inclusive, less sexist and less racist than the other categories. Recent talk about the underrepresentation of women and people of color as directors in the entertainment industry as a whole (reference the NYT Sunday magazine cover, the Forbes article, the Variety article about the 7% statistic, Jennifer Lawrence speaking out, etc) and specifically about the underrepresentation of women in the major categories at the Oscars but there is no public discourse about this also being a pervasive problem in the documentary category. This must change.

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Mary Walsh’s Feminist Keynote at the Filmmaker Luncheon at Whistler Film Festival 2015

Mary Walsh’s Feminist Keynote at the Filmmaker Luncheon at Whistler Film Festival 2015

Oh never mind feminism or equal pay or all that, because in 2015 they’ve got the boys over at the gym gulping down steroids, lifting weights, trying to take up more room. While we women are supposed to be over here chained to a stair master, living on diet coke and the odd Kleenex tissue for roughage, desperately trying to disappear.

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ONCE MY MOTHER, FIDELIO: ALICE’S ODYSSEY Win AWFJ EDA Awards @ 2015 St. Louis International Film Festival — Michelle McCue Reports

ONCE MY MOTHER, FIDELIO: ALICE’S ODYSSEY Win AWFJ EDA Awards @ 2015 St. Louis International Film Festival — Michelle McCue Reports

After 11 days of celebrating magnificent and electric movies, the 24th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) came to a conclusion on Sunday evening, November 15.

At the closing ceremony the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) presented EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature and Best Female-Directed Documentary. Read on…

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Top Female Performances @ New York Film Festival 2015 – Liz Whittemore

Top Female Performances @ New York Film Festival 2015 – Liz Whittemore

In consideration of the abundance of beautiful films that screened at the 2015 New York Film Festival, I wanted to call to attention to a few key women whose performances made them stand out from the crowd. Some were obvious to spot and were already garnering buzz. Others flew under the radar until their festival screenings, but they deserve just as much applause. Welcome to the top performances by women in films screened at the New York Film Festival 2015. Read on…

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@TIFF: Sarah Silverman’s Serious Challenge in I SMILE BACK – Janice Page interviews

@TIFF: Sarah Silverman’s Serious Challenge in I SMILE BACK – Janice Page interviews

In one scene, Sarah Silverman sits topless on a toilet, snorting cocaine. In another, she does lines (not the kind with words) off the same kitchen countertop where she makes and decorates sack lunches for her school-age children. The shock isn’t in seeing Silverman do these things. The New Hampshire-born actress and comedian is well known for feasting on uncomfortable subjects and working blue. What’s surprising is that her latest vehicle is a straight-on drama titled “I Smile Back,” a sobering, seriously downbeat feature film in which Silverman plays the lead — and makes it look as easy as delivering a raunchy joke about Paris Hilton. Read the interview

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@NYFF: BROOKLYN or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent – Martha P. Nochimson comments

@NYFF: BROOKLYN or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent – Martha P. Nochimson comments

“That girl” has historically been Hollywood’s fantasy of a paragon of unstained goodness, beauty, and honesty that conquers all obstacles. Neither class, nor evil, nor bigotry stops her. No matter how poor she is, she can marry upward. No matter how evil the villains, they inevitably yield to her irresistible charm — or someone who hardly knows her risks all to save her. No matter what kinds of prejudice or ethnic conflicts might surround her, it is hardly necessary to speak of them since “the girl” melts them away like ice cream in a hot New York July. Or should we say a quick BROOKLYN minute? The falsifications of such a premise are obvious. And they have many implications beyond creating an unbelievable female presence. Read the full commentary in EYE ON MEDIA.

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@TIFF: Meet Emily Blunt, American Badass – Janice Page interviews

@TIFF: Meet Emily Blunt, American Badass – Janice Page interviews

That’s probably not where we thought Blunt was headed a decade ago, when she played Meryl Streep’s prickly assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s since played a queen (The Young Victoria), a cartoon gnome (Gnomeo & Juliet), a can-do business consultant (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), and Matt Damon’s futuristic crush (The Adjustment Bureau). Then earned sci-fi fan points in Looper, but it wasn’t until last year’s Edge of Tomorrow that “action hero” started looking like a legitimate entry on her resume. Now there’s Sicario and that cements Blunt’s badass qualifications. Read on…

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AWFJ to Present EDA Awards @ SLIFF 2015 – Michelle McCue Reports

AWFJ to Present EDA Awards @ SLIFF 2015 – Michelle McCue Reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will present juried AWFJ EDA Awards @ St Louis International Film Festival 2015 (SLIFF) for Best Female-Directed Narrative and Documentary Feature Films. The 24th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival takes place Nov. 5-15. This is the third year AWFJ partners with SLIFF to recognize outstanding achievements of women filmmakers. Read on…

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Alliance of Women Film Journalists To Present AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 – Jennifer Merin reports

Alliance of Women Film Journalists To Present AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 – Jennifer Merin reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will proudly present our juried AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015 for the Best Female Directed Film. This is the second consecutive year of the organization’s partnership with IDFA to recognize women’s accomplishments in documentary filmmaking. In 2014, the AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA was presented to Maite Alberdi for Tea Time The AWFJ EDA Award and the Oxfam Global Justice Award are the only two independently-presented awards on the IDFA Awards roster. Read more>>

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Ten Noteworthy Female Performances at TIFF 2015 – Pam Grady comments

Ten Noteworthy Female Performances at TIFF 2015 – Pam Grady comments

With the Toronto International Film Festival, the Oscar season officially opens in North American. TIFF, with its hundreds of features, is one of the true harbingers of nominations to come. And while there was much emphasis this year on women behind the camera—20% of features and 45% of shorts at TIFF were made by women, according to figures cited by Indiewire—the festival also provided a peek at performances that should warrant attention from Academy voters (or ought to!), if not this season, then next. Read on…

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Digging deeper into Toronto festival films – an overview by Janice Page

Digging deeper into Toronto festival films – an overview by Janice Page

Toronto International Film Festival was overrun with big movies about and by Bostonians. While headlines were grabbed by predictable awards-season contenders, there were just as many smaller films worth noting. A number of them were femme-helmed and femme-centric flashes of genius. Think Laurie Anderson, Julie Delpy, Charlotte Rampling, Sarah Silverman and others. Read more>>

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Susanne Bier on Directing in Hollywood and Other Challenges – Interview by Julide Tanriverdi

Susanne Bier on Directing in Hollywood and Other Challenges – Interview by Julide Tanriverdi

Susanne Bier’s In A Better World won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2011, putting the Danish filmmaker into that very small circle of women who’ve won Oscars for directing. It also won her a place on Hollywood’s A-List and an invitation to move from indies to studio films. But transitioning from Copenhagen to Hollywood has been challenging. Here’s what she has to say about it. Read on…

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