Uniqueness in the Age of Global Aesthetics – Katia Shannon

Uniqueness in the Age of Global Aesthetics – Katia Shannon

Filmmakers are encouraged to develop a distinguishable aesthetic to pierce through the clutter. But it might be harder than ever to achieve. Where you are from and what your films should look like, are not interdependant anymore. That’s exciting, but the globalization of aesthetics is both a brilliant opportunity and a trap. The challenge lies in embracing the opportunity of a cross-cultural digital dialogue while recognizing what makes your world view unique and inimitable. The good news is, that it’s already around you, beckoning for attention.

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QuARTSantine: OXFF and other FFs and the PandemONIUMic – Melanie Lynn Addington

QuARTSantine: OXFF and other FFs and the PandemONIUMic – Melanie Lynn Addington

It feels like March 12 was years ago now. That was the day the Governor of Mississippi limited any events that assembled 250 people or more. It was 6 days before our 2020 Oxford Film Festival was supposed to happen. And then it wasn’t happening anymore. That felt like the end of the world at the time.

Since then, instead, the film festival community has worked non stop to rally as over 150 film festivals scheduled for the spring and summer have had to cancel, postpone or go online.

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Amber McGinnes on INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Obstacles and Opportunities

Amber McGinnes on INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Obstacles and Opportunities

Self-producing your first feature film takes a Herculean effort. I mean, just getting the darn thing financed and FILMED feels like a major accomplishment. But then getting it FINISHED, getting it OUT into the world is a whole other thing… that’s where I thought you left the art behind and just started to focus on […]

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On THE PUSHBACK, Purpose and Pushing Back – Emily Barclay Ford

On THE PUSHBACK, Purpose and Pushing Back – Emily Barclay Ford

We raced to finish The Pushback in time for our SXSW delivery deadline and then the festival was canceled the same day. Although we are sad that we did not get to premiere at the festival and in Texas, where the documentary was shot, we feel like we have to make lemonade out of lemons and find the opportunity in this moment. Due to the shutdown of other productions, there will likely be more appetite for finished content in the coming months. And with social distancing, cancellation of group events, and potentially the inability to canvas, we’re thinking that a film like ours can be a useful tool to reach people through their living rooms at a safe distance.

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A Filmmaker’s Musing: Passion vs Ambition – Katia Shannon

A Filmmaker’s Musing: Passion vs Ambition – Katia Shannon

Instead of asking myself, how do I find the ‘Right’ people/project/time, how about I ask, what does my current track record say about my passion and ambition? If I were a stranger looking at my work, would I be able to understand my unique and specific aspirations and the passion that fuels them?

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Filmmaker Katia Shannon on “How I Watch Films as a Film Director”

Filmmaker Katia Shannon on “How I Watch Films as a Film Director”

A few years ago, during an undergraduate film studies class viewing of Michael Snow’s Wavelength, I was struggling to find anything positive about the 40-minute imperceptibly slow zoom we were watching unfold. After reconsidering the value of my student loan, and whether or not people would notice if I took a quick nap, something great happened. I dove into a contemplation of the nuances between entertainment, appreciation, and enjoyment.

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KARUPPU DURAI ​- Review by Mythily Ramachandran

KARUPPU DURAI ​- Review by Mythily Ramachandran

Karuppu Durai celebrates life and it’s little joys. An old man who awakes from a coma escapes his family’s intention to go ahead with ‘thalaikoothal’ (a traditional practice of involuntary euthanasia of an elderly person that was prevalent in south India). He meets a young orphan and begins a great adventure. KD won director Madhumita ‘Best Director’ award at UK Asian Film Festival, London where it premiered and received the ‘Jury award’ at Singapore South Asian Film Festival.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Cate Smierciak on MUDPOTS

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Cate Smierciak on MUDPOTS

Cate Smierxiak’s Mudpots is about two inseparable friends who are, due to forces beyond their control, about to be separated. The film is a coming of age tale about being a teenager who is old enough to be aware of changes in life but not able to control or even influence the most impactful events that form the future. Mudpots is among the short films nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019. Here’s what Cate Smierciak has to say about the making and meaning of the film.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Katharine O’Brien on LOST TRANSMISSIONS

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Katharine O’Brien on LOST TRANSMISSIONS

Lost Transmissions is about mental illness. It’s also about the mental wavelengths we’re on, trying to connect to with one another, and missing. On one hand the film is grounded in realism. It shows someone trying to help their friend with psychiatric care. On the other hand, the film looks at how bizarre the real world is if we take a moment to consider it in depth. Lost ransmissions is the opening film at Whistler Film Festival 2019, where it is among the films nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award. Here’s what directior Katharine O’Briien has to say about making the film.

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Nia Long Accepts Award at Critics Choice Association Celebration of Black Cinema

Nia Long Accepts Award at Critics Choice Association Celebration of Black Cinema

Marking the the 100th anniversary of the release of legendary black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s The Homesteader, the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Black Cinema Awards, held in LA on December 2, 2019, honored actress and activist Nia Long, along with Kasi Lemmons, Chewitel Eijofor and Eddie Murphy for their extraordinary career achievements. Introduced by Chaz Ebert, Long’s affecting acceptance speech acknowledged her sources of inspiration and some of the hardships she’s faced. was particularly affecting. Here it is:

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sonia K Hadad on EXAM

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sonia K Hadad on EXAM

Iranian filmmaker Sonia K. Hadad’s short film, Exam, is a compact, well-crated truth-based crime drama that delves into how familial pressures impact the life of an Iranian teenage girl. On the days of an important exam that will determine her future at school, the girl reluctantly agrees to her father’s behest that she deliver a packet of cocaine. Exam is among the films nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019.

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Whistler Film Festival Interview: Katia Shannon on STANDSTILL

Whistler Film Festival Interview: Katia Shannon on STANDSTILL

Katia Shannon’s Standstill is about a young woman who arrives at an intersection in her life. On the way to starting a new life with her boyfriend, Amanda gets stuck in traffic. Her fight to get through the gridlock turns into a fight for survival as her body comes to a standstill. With panic mounting, Amanda must face her deepest vulnerabilities in order to survive. Standstill has been nominated for an EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019. Here’s what Shannon has to say about her deeply personal short film.

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Whistler Film Festival interview: Lydia Dean Pilcher on LIBERTÉ: A CALL TO SPY

Whistler Film Festival interview: Lydia Dean Pilcher on LIBERTÉ: A CALL TO SPY

Financed and shot independently, filmmaker Lydia Dean Pilcher’s thrilling truth-based narrative is about female spies of the Allied resistance during WWII. Forced to consider new avenues for espionage after the Nazis invade France, Sir Winston Churchill resolved to create a covert brigade of female spies within his Special Operations Executive. Spy-mistress Vera Atkins (Stana Katic) was tasked with overseeing this unit, and the bulk of the narrative focuses on the efforts of two of her most effective recruits: American expatriate Virginia Hall (played by Sarah Megan Thomas, who also wrote the script and produced) and Muslim pacifist Noor Inayat Khan (Radhike Aote). Together, these women form a sisterhood while entangled in dangerous missions to build a new type of spy network and help stop Hitler. The film presents powerful female characters and reveals an aspect of women’s herstory that has too long been neglected. Liberte: A Call to Spy is among the female-directed films nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019. Here are Lydia Dean Pilcher’s insightful comments about the making and meaning of the film.

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Whistler Film Festival interview: Rebecca Snow on PANDORA’S BOX: LIFTING THE LID ON MEMSTRUATION

Whistler Film Festival interview: Rebecca Snow on PANDORA’S BOX: LIFTING THE LID ON MEMSTRUATION

In Pandora’s Box, filmmaker Rebecca Snow deals with a central issue in women’s struggle for gender equality by revealing how for generations women have been shamed, ostracized, and silenced, because they menstruate. Pandora’s Box unmasks the global pandemic of menstrual inequity and period poverty. The powerful stories that emerge raise public consciousness of #Menstrual Equity, a global movement that is going mainstream. Pandora’s Box is among the female-directed films nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019. Her insightful comments on the making and meaning of Pandora’s Box are fascinating.

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Whistler Film Festival Interview: Sarah Phillips on SUPPLEMENTS

Whistler Film Festival Interview: Sarah Phillips on SUPPLEMENTS

Sarah Phillip’s Supplements is set in the year 2289, When all that’s left on Planet Earth is the domed city Old Centauri, roaming sun flares that scorch the land, and the nomadic tribes that mitigate the two. Kiirke comes from one such tribe, and she must travel to Old Centauri, along with her stowaway younger brother, to seek a small fortune to save her family – But the only way to make money as a newcomer to the city is to enroll in Supplements Labs as what the locals call a “lab rat.” The short film has been nominated for an. AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019.

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Whistler Film Festival 2019: Kristina Mileska on THE BEAR AND THE BEEKEEPER

Whistler Film Festival 2019: Kristina Mileska on THE BEAR AND THE BEEKEEPER

In Kristina Mileska’s The Bear and the Beekeeper, an ageing beekeeper tries to keep a pesky predator away from his beehives in order to keep the memory of his loved one alive. The dialogue-free short The Bear and the Beekeeper explores themes of loss and memory with a sense of whimsy and lightness. The short film has been nominated for an. AWFJ EDA Award at Whistler Film Festival 2019.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE Filmmaker Jaya McSharma on the Making and Meaning of BEST IN SHOW

LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE Filmmaker Jaya McSharma on the Making and Meaning of BEST IN SHOW

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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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Makenzie Smith on the Making and Meaning of CICERO

LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Makenzie Smith on the Making and Meaning of CICERO

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 Camille Schmoutz the Making and Meaning of on ST ESTHER DAY

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

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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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE

LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE

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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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Abigail Kruger on the Making and Meaning of SHREVEPOET

LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Abigail Kruger on the Making and Meaning of SHREVEPOET

Abigail Kruger’s Shreveport was one of twenty short films selected from this year’s crop of 120 submissions to compete for the coveted $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize. One of the submission requirements is that the short have been filmed in Shreveport, or in the surrounding area. Kruger comments on the making and meaning of her film, a lyrical ode to to the city of Shreveport, following a street poet who dances through the city on roller skates.

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EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE – Review by Lesley Savage

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE – Review by Lesley Savage

Breaking Bad fans jonesing for a fix of the critically-acclaimed AMC TV show, about a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer who becomes a methamphetamine cook to leave money for his family upon his death, will score big with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” appearing in select theaters nationwide for a three-day run and on Netflix before airing on AMC.

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HOUSE OWNER – Review by Mythily Ramachandran

HOUSE OWNER – Review by Mythily Ramachandran

Indian actor-director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan stands apart with her stories pivoted around women that are portraits of people who are human. Her fourth Tamil (south Indian language) film, House Owner talks about living with a spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s-a premise not much explored in south Indian cinema or even Indian cinema.

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THE WIND – Review by Marietta Steinhart

THE WIND – Review by Marietta Steinhart

Going back and forth in time while remaining in the same desolate cabin, Emma Tammi’s directorial feature debut The Wind journals the unraveling of Lizzy , a German immigrant and sensitive frontierswoman, holding down the farm with a rifle while her husband, Isaac, rides off into the sunset.

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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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