Indian directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh won two Sundance awards for WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Indian directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh won two Sundance awards for WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Debutant directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh received two awards-Audience award and Special Jury award at Sundance Film Festival 2021 for their documentary Writing With Fire, chronicling the rise of ‘Khabar Lahariya’ (Waves of news), India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (considered untouchables) women and which recently went digital. WWF is produced by Black Ticket Films, a production company cofounded by Thomas and Ghosh and recognized for its award winning shorts including Timbaktu that received the Indian national award in 2012 as Best Environmental film. Mythily Ramachandran talks to the duo on the making of this documentary.

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Indian Director Kavya Prakash begins her directorial career with VAANKU – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Indian Director Kavya Prakash begins her directorial career with VAANKU – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Indian director Kavya Prakash opens her directorial career with Vaanku, about a young Muslim woman’s wish to lead the Islamic call for prayer, Adhan, generally done by men. When a young woman, Razia, expresses her wish to lead the prayer, it sets rolling a ripple effect in her family and society around. Kavya, daughter of noted Indian filmmaker V K Prakash – two times Indian national awardee – speaks with Mythily Ramachandran on Vaanku and her journey into cinema

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ashley Eakin on SINGLE

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ashley Eakin on SINGLE

Single confronts the complexities of being disabled and dating. Kim, who was born with one arm, gets set-up to go on a blind date. When she finally meets Jake, to her horror – he only has one hand. Unable to get over the apparent ignorance of the matchmaker, as well as her own insecurities about being different, Kim tries to bail on the date.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Janice Mingas on WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Janice Mingas on WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME

When The Night Has Come sheds light on the dangerous reality of systemic racism and police brutality. It tells the story of Matt, a young Black man whose life is forever changed after he is stopped by the police for an identity check.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ali Liebert on THE QUIETING

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ali Liebert on THE QUIETING

The Quieting tells the story of Maggie, an anxious and newly queer woman on the eve of her first date with a woman. She is thrown into the throes of self-doubt and fear is confronted by an unexpected guest. Sara Canning and Julia Sarah Stone star in this psychological thriller by Ali Liebert that snaps the struggle of identity sharply into focus.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize on SHOOTING STAR

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize on SHOOTING STAR

On a family trip to observe the shooting stars, Chloé, a withdrawn teenager, discovers a dazzling attraction for her mother’s new boyfriend. Ariane Louis-Seize likes to write and film unconventional characters who break down barriers by acting as we would never dare to do ourselves.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Alex Anna on SCARS

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Alex Anna on SCARS

Alex Anna’s body is a canvas: her scars come to life to tell a new story of self-harming. Live action and animation intertwine in this short and poetic documentary, both intimate and universal.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Wendy Morgan on SUGAR DADDY

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Wendy Morgan on SUGAR DADDY

Some films jump off the screen to announce the arrival of vital new talent. Such is the case with Wendy Morgan’s Sugar Daddy, starring Kelly McCormack in a tour de force performance as Darren, a new age music composer and performer who is trying to break into the record industry. Sugar Daddy is the opening film for Whistler Film Festival 2020.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Elinor Nechemya on OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Elinor Nechemya on OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR

With his eyes in a fantasy book and his ears to the horrific testimony of an Eritrean refugee, nine-year-old Sinai falls asleep at his mother’s workplace, and his mind drifts away. In his sleep his mother tells him a surrealistic fairytale about a Syrian refugee family living in Sweden. This “fairytale” is about a young Syrian boy who falls into a coma-like situation after the family receives a deportation letter from the government.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Aimee Long on A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Aimee Long on A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL

Inspired by a true event, A Shot Through The Wall is about an Asian American police officer who accidentally discharges his weapon during an investigation, killing a black teenager through an apartment wall. The case spirals out of control as the incident is deemed police racial bias. His fellow cops and unions initially tell him there’s nothing to worry about, but politics erupt and he’s left standing alone. His fiancée is African American, but his reluctance to involve her as part of a PR defense unleashes a series of mishandled opportunities for him to defend himself.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Niav Conty on SMALL TIME

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Niav Conty on SMALL TIME

Naiv Conty’s Small Time is about childhood, family, and the role models around us. Stubborn patriotism, dogmatic faith, and the sexualization of young women are all themes that swirl around in this tragic story about a ten year old girl surrounded by addicted adults,

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Whistler Film Festival Interview: Susan Rodgers on STILL THE WATER

Whistler Film Festival Interview: Susan Rodgers on STILL THE WATER

A former museum curator, Susan Rodgers’ film career started with a wardrobe continuity gig on the television show Emily of New Moon. Soon a box of wartime letters discovered in an attic launched her first film, the half-hour period drama Bobby’s Peace. Rodgers’ inaugural feature film, Still The Water, was completed in the spring of 2020.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Emily Dickinson on MARCH

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Emily Dickinson on MARCH

First time director Emily Dickinson’s narrative short March takes place in 2024, and follows an American woman in her mid-twenties, as she travels to Canada to get a now-illegal abortion. A day in her life showcases abortion tourism, the current state of relations between the two neighbouring nations, the implications of a misogynist government, and the resilience of women. March is nominated for the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short at Whistler Film Festival 2020.

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Filmmaker Anu Menon on SHAKUNTALA DEVI – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Filmmaker Anu Menon on SHAKUNTALA DEVI – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Indian filmmaker Anu Menon busts Bollywood stereotypes, Known for films with stories about strong female characters, her latest feature is Shakuntala Devi, a biopic that chronicles the life of the legendary female mathematician known alternatively as the ‘wizard of India’ and the ‘human computer.’ Menon chats with Mythily Ramachandran about the titular character and 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 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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