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: 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 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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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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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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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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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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