Tax Credit Changes to Benefit Canadian Female Filmworkers – Sharon McGowan and Jan Miller report

Tax Credit Changes to Benefit Canadian Female Filmworkers – Sharon McGowan and Jan Miller report

As women who have been working in the Canadian film and television industry for over three decades (on opposite sides of the country!), we are heartened by recent gender equity advancements in creative leadership positions in productions funded by Telefilm Canada, the Canada Media Fund, CBC and the NFB.

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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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My Gen Z Perspective on Film Criticism – Riley Roberts comments

My Gen Z Perspective on Film Criticism – Riley Roberts comments

I’m 18. I’ve been a YouTube pioneer, the youngest movie critic in history, sold a company, and interviewed hundreds of A-list stars from Dwayne Johnson to Selena Gomez – all before my first period. With high school graduation behind me, I’m looking at a bright future of…what? Closed doors? Despite acquiring a decade’s worth of experience in the field, I’m learning that everyone wants me to knock on the door clutching a very expensive piece of paper – one that comes from the “right” place accompanied by some stunning numbers with decimal points.

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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: 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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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 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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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 Filmmaker Interview: Rama Rau, Director of HONEY BEE

Whistler Film Festival 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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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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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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