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: 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 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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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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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 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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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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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: Female-Directed Films – Melissa Hanson reports

NYFF18: Female-Directed Films – 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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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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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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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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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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