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: 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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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize Director of LITTLE WAVES

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize Director of LITTLE WAVES

Ariane Louis-Seize; 12 minute dramatic short is a provocative coming of age story about Amelie, who is thrown off guard when her cousin (who is her first crush) brings a new love interest to an otherwise mundane family reunion. This upheaval sparks Amelie to explore her sexuality, experiencing sensations far more powerful and surprising than […]

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Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Rama Rau, Director of HONEY BEE

Whistler Film Festival 2018 Filmmaker Interview: Rama Rau, Director of HONEY BEE

In Rama Rau’s Honey Bee, Natalie is an underage truck stop hooker working for a pimp who claims to love her, but regularly abuses She is stopped by authorities and sent to a home, actually a working farm, run by a tough love matriarch played with authority by Martha Plimpton. Natalie can’t stand the chores and the discipline, and runs away, eventually rejoining her pimp. Julia Sarah Stone is outstanding as Natalie. Director Rama Rau continues her feminist explorations of women with bad reputations, following up on her 2015 documentary on aging burlesque queens League of Exotic Dancers. Honey Bee is a moving and credible drama that points out the dead-end choices that many young women are given little option but to make. The filmis nominated for the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature at 2018 Whistler Film Festival.

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NYWIFT’s AfriAmerican Immigrant Screening: Local Stories, Global Themes — Madeline Johnson reports

NYWIFT’s AfriAmerican Immigrant Screening: Local Stories, Global Themes — Madeline Johnson reports

Filmmakers from the African diaspora shared local stories that reverberated deep into universal themes and questions as part of New York Women in Film & Television’s (NYWIFT) Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories screening. Featured in this fourth season of NYWIFT’s series highlighting narrative and documentary shorts about the New York immigrant experience, these films tackled issues ranging from the #MeToo movement to President Trump’s travel ban, from immigrant experience to what it means to be American.

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Indian Filmmaker Rima Das Talks VILLAGE ROCKSTARS — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

Indian Filmmaker Rima Das Talks VILLAGE ROCKSTARS — Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

“Village Rockstars,” a poignant tale of ten-year-old Dhunu and her dreams of becoming a rock star with her own band is clearly rocking. Das, who hails from Assam (the northeastern state of India), has had no formal training in filmmaking. Nor did she assist anyone before making her first film, “The Man with the Binoculars” (2016). Her story is a testimony to believing in one’s dreams and pursuing them, very much like her young protagonist, Dhunu. Das spoke to AWFJ about her journey into films.

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Pamela Yates talks 500 YEARS and Career Commitments (Exclusive) — Jennifer Merin interviews

Pamela Yates talks 500 YEARS and Career Commitments (Exclusive) — Jennifer Merin interviews

Pamela Yates makes movies that make a difference. Some 35 years in the making, Yates’ trilogy, The Resistance Saga, is a series of documentaries about the Mayan people’s human rights struggle in Guatemala. The films actually helped to change the course of history in that country. Footage from the first film was used as forensic evidence to convict former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt of crimes against humanity. The trial was covered in the second film, and the third brings us up to date, while setting the entire saga with the context of a long history of exploitation, abuse and genocide. Read what Yates has to say about her career and the challenges and opportunities inherent in documentary filmmaking.

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Filmmaker Interview: Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum on LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD

Filmmaker Interview: Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum on LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD

Letters from Baghdad tells the little-known story of Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary women, sometimes called the “female” Lawrence of Arabia. Bell was a British spy, explorer and political powerhouse who traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence during WWI to help draw the borders of Iraq. Her strongly independent opinions and skillful negotiations helped shape the modern Middle East. Read what Letters from Baghdad directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum have to say about Gertrude Bell, their compelling documentary and how it came to be.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Heather White on COMPLICIT

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Heather White on COMPLICIT

While people in the West use smartphones to live healthier, happier lives, the construction of such devices has horrific health effects on the people who actually make them. Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced, including 70% of its cell phones. While people in the West use smartphones to live healthier, happier lives, the construction of such devices has horrific health effects on the people who actually make them. Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced, including 70% of its cell phones. Read what Complicit co-direcxtor Heather White has to say about her compelling expose and how it came to be.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Jessica Kingdon on COMMODITY CITY

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview:  Jessica Kingdon on COMMODITY CITY

China’s Yiwu Market is one of the largest shopping complexes in the world. Gorgeously shot, thematically focused and politically resonant, Jessica Kingdon’s ethnographic essay film blurs the boundary between consumer goods and the humans who sell them. Malls consume more than they are consumed, Small spaces, time lost,immersion in distraction. Read what Jessica Kingdon has to say about the making and meaning of her film.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Rawane Nassif on TURTLES ARE ALWAYS HOME

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Rawane Nassif on TURTLES ARE ALWAYS HOME

In Rawane Nassif’s unusual short Documentary, Turtles Are Always Home, Qatar’s pastel-hued buildings form the backdrop for an engagingly enigmatic film essay. The only signs of life are captured as reflections in windows and on water. What a stunning way to tell a story. Read what filmmaker Rawane Nassif has to say about her intent and methods.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Justine Harbonnier on ANDREW KEEGAN IS MOVING

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview:  Justine Harbonnier on ANDREW KEEGAN IS MOVING

Filmmaker Justine Harbonnier takes us to Montreal, where the city’s oldest house is being moved to make way for posh modern condos. Her profound and poetic film reflects her questions about how such moves impact a neighborhood and its residents, and others who pass by without even noticing these changes that effect the future of their city. Read what she has to day about making the film and her future plans.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Alexandra Gaulupeau on LIFE AT A SNAIL’S PACE

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Alexandra Gaulupeau on LIFE AT A SNAIL’S PACE

Filmmaker Alexandra Gaulupeau takes us into the unique world of Marla Coppolino, a malacologist (snail expert), artist and self-proclaimed spokesperson for the largely misunderstood diminutive species of land snails. Through the creation of elaborate miniature scenes and cello scores, Coppolino displays her own mighty appreciation for the tiny, slimy (and surprisingly sexy) creatures! Read what Alexandra Gaulupeau has to say about making her first film, microphotography and mini-budgeting and connecting people to the natural world.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Claire Simon on LE CONCOURS

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Claire Simon on LE CONCOURS

Le Concours, translated as “The Entrance Exam,” is an in-depth and intimate look at the students applying to La Fémis, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious film, where filmmaker Claire Simon was Head of Directing Studies. As the budding cinéastes struggle to find a place, the narrative spends a good deal of time with their interlocutors, pulling back the curtain to reveal the depth of seriousness and care that is extended to the students. Impassioned arguments about merit, and the very nature of cinema are hurled into the air. Read what Claire Simon has to say about her most recent project.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Julia Hechler on LES CLOYS

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Julia Hechler on LES CLOYS

In a particular Parisian neighborhood, residents have devised a means of establishing their own cultural identity and reclaiming their person power through the creation of a slanguage they call Verlan (back to front). American filmmaker Julia Hechler captures their trending tongue on film. Read what she has to say about the importance of language, getting to know your subjects and her next career moves.

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AWFJ EDA AWARD @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Yan Su Chun on DROKPA

AWFJ EDA AWARD @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Yan  Su Chun on DROKPA

Filmmaker Yan Chun Su’s gorgeous observational film captures life on the Tibetan Plateau. The last of Tibet’s drokpa (nomads) lead herds of yak and sheep over hilly grasslands. No longer limitless and free- ranging, they move across sections of pasture, now allotted to them by the Chinese government. Read what Yan Chun Su has to say about the changing environment, nomadic life, organic filmmaking and her career.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Clara van Gool on VOICES OF FINANCE

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Clara van Gool on VOICES OF FINANCE

Dutch filmmaker Clara van Gool’s short dance documentary takes us to London’s bleak financial district, where traders, bankers, and hedge fund managers describe an atavistic society, blood red in tooth and claw. As they move through the city streets, bodies become a metaphor for the extremity of an industry that twists and bends human nature into torturous form. Read what Clara van Gool has to say about making the film, dance as metaphor and her career.

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AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Cat Mills on FIXED!

AWFJ EDA Award @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Cat Mills on FIXED!

Repair cafes are popping up around the world as a community-based antidote to throwaway culture. In Cat Mills’ EDA Award-nominated short,
Fixed!, we get a glimpse inside Canada’s first repair cafe in Toronto, where a team of dedicated volunteers are helping their neighbors, one fix at a time. Read what she has to say about her beautifully crafted film, its riveting subjects, and her career.

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Elisa Chee on LUCY

AWFJ EDA Awards @ DOXA 2017 Filmmaker Interview: Elisa Chee on LUCY

Vancouver-based filmmaker Elisa Chee uses masterful animation to recall the story of a domesticated chimpanzee called Lucy and a human named Janis Carter, the caretaker who made it her life’s work to rehabilitate Lucy and return her to her natural environment. /Read what she has to say about her beautifully crafted short film, its subjects, animation in documentaries and her career.

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National Film Board of Canada aims for gender parity by 2020 — Jennifer Merin reports

National Film Board of Canada aims for gender parity by 2020  — Jennifer Merin reports

Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced that the NFB is aiming to achieve gender parity (50 percent) in key creative positions for animated, documentary and interactive works in production as of 2020. The initiative targets editing, cinematography, screenwriting and music composition and includes key creative positions related to animation and immersive/interactive storytelling, where women are decidedly in the minority—positions such as art director, art designer and creative technologist.

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Cady McClain on making SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT

Cady McClain on making SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT

Cady McClain has traveling the globe, speaking to female directors and documenting their stories for her serialized documentary, Seeing is Believing: Women Direct. Not yet complete, the documentary is intended to elucidte the skills and tools needed to succeed as a woman in the directing field . Here, McClain writes about her own filmmaking process, why she’s making this documentary series and what she’s learning from doing so. Read on…

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Women on Top Summit @ Whistler Film Festival: Keynote Address by Valerie Creighton, Canadian Media Fund

Women on Top Summit @ Whistler Film Festival: Keynote Address by Valerie Creighton, Canadian Media Fund

At Whistler Film Festival’s spirited Women on Top Summit (held December 3, atop Whistler Mountain), Canada Media Fund’s president and CEO Valerie Creighton affirmed and underscored Canada’s commitment to reach parity for women working in all aspects of the country’s moving image industries. Creighton’s speech provides comprehensive coverage of status and strategies re Canada reaching the goal of gender parity. The entire address is published here. Read on….

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Maite Alberdi Wins IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for THE GROWN UPS

Maite Alberdi Wins IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for THE GROWN UPS

For the third consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists presented the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. At a ceremony hosted by Chile Docs and held on November 22, IDFA director Ally Derks introduced AWFJ jurors Jennifer Merin and Dorothy Woodend who were attending the festival, and they in turn announced winner of the award and the cash prize of 2,500 Euros. The IDFA 2016 AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed film goes to Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi for The Grown Ups. Read more…

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