by Kyna Morgan
In July 2012, I attended a film festival on Waiheke Island outside of Auckland, New Zealand. Invited by a colleague who worked for a big film organization at the time and helped organize the event, this was the first ever festival of films made by Maori women. Named the Whiti Whitiāhua Wāhine: Māori Women's Film Festival, it was part of the nationwide Matariki Festival which ran for several weeks. Several of the filmmakers attended and introduced their work, among them Kararaina Rangihau who is devoted to making films in the Maori language. On the ferry leaving the island for Auckland, I was able to catch a few minutes with her so she could talk about her film, Taku Rakāu e, which explores the story behind a well-known waiata (a Maori song that preserves the wisdom and knowledge of ancestors). Rangihau's film was produced by the late Merata Mita, the legendary and extraordinarily influential filmmaker. Mita was one of the earliest Maori women filmmakers and helped to influence many filmmakers both within and outside of New Zealand.
(Thanks to HWIF for this information and permission to post.)
Shero is a film by Lymari Graciano that will be part of Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking's "Work in Progress" screening on April 23 in Honolulu.
Unlike the every day super hero, Shero battles more than just evil villains. Shero battles broken heels, runs in his stockings, broken nails, and the scorn of the public. Uncomfortable in men’s clothing, all Shero wants to do is wear a dress while kicking ass. Is that so much to ask? Shero questions if the clothes really do make the man. A film by Lymari Graciano. If you want to know more about Lymari, click here.
Our Work in Progress Screenings provide a great opportunity for local and visiting women filmmakers to screen their unfinished films to an audience and get valuable feedback. It is a time of honest and constructive feedback aimed at helping the filmmakers get to the next stage of completing and distributing the film.
April 23 | 6:30 pm @ The ARTS at Marks Garage | FREE and open to the public!
Facebook page event, here.
Excerpted from "Q&A: Rosario Dawson" in Dame Magazine
Is there a demand to see women portrayed as multi-faceted, not just victims or not just powerful?
The demand is really there to seeing different types of entertainment, and different types of positions for women, and just different types of stories. Not to say that we’re not going to play women who are bad, women who are abused, women who might be many different things. Those are real stories about real people, but we shouldn’t only feel like we can only watch prostitutes.
So where will those opportunities come from?
I want to produce more now. I need to step back a little bit and use the things that I have learned from this industry for so long, and the people that I have met and the resources that I have built. I’m hoping I can make stories happen that no one is writing that I would really like to see.
Click here to read the entire article and interview by Jordan Riefe at Dame Magazine.
by Lotus Wollschlager
Tiny Furniture, a film by Lena Dunham, is set in New York City and follows the life of Aura. She has just gotten out of a long term relationship and graduated from college. She moves home with her Mom and younger sister to get her bearings. Her mother (played by her real life mother) is a well-known artist that photographs miniature things, including furniture. She is an aspiring filmmaker and had already released a few things online during college. Her younger sister Nadine (her real life younger sister) gives her a hard time about being home and keeps letting her know about rules to follow at home.
Aura rekindles a childhood friendship with Charlotte after seeing her at a party. Her mother thinks she is a bad influence and doesn’t want Aura hanging out with her. Charlotte helps her get a job at a nearby restaurant as a day hostess where she has to answer the phones and take reservations. She meets Keith, a sous chef, who is standoffish at first but gets interested once he finds out that her friend Charlotte can get him some Vicodin. He asks her to meet up with him after work to hook him up with the drugs and he stands her up. She ends up giving him another chance after he shows up to her art show.
She also meets Jed at the same party that she first spotted Charlotte. He does some comedy bits on YouTube and is in town from Chicago on a business trip. Her Mom and sister are gone for the week looking at colleges so she offers to let him stay at her place. She persuades her mom to let him stay a few more nights but she finally kicks him out after he gets a bit too comfortable. He is a bit of a moocher and doesn’t really seem like he really had any plans of finding another place to stay while in town.
The film won the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival. Tiny Furniture is somewhat autobiographical because Dunham’s mother (Laurie Simmons) really is an artist and uses interesting objects, such as dollhouses, in her photography. I appreciated the writing style and authenticity that Lena Dunham brought to the film. I mean, who hasn’t fumbled along at some point in their life while trying to figure out how they fit in the world? Her main character has a pity party for herself at times but manages to make an effort to keep putting herself out there.
I was so thrilled to read this morning that Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer (who's also a producer, by the way) has launched her own short film contest! She's carrying it out through her Facebook fan page, and asking people to submit a link to their film to her fan page before February 10. It seems this is an effort by Spencer to help broaden the playing field for independent filmmakers who need a place to have their work seen. Check out the article here for more details, and visit her fan page to submit a link to yoru film.
A new online film festival has been launched by Crankytown, a site that teaches you about your period and offers advice. They're introducing Crankyfest a film festival with films about menstruation. Their panel of judges is made up of actress Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight), actress Meagan Rath (Being Human), and Jane Grenier of Conde Nast/Teen Vogue. Read an article about Crankfest at Jezebel, and check out the new festival at: crankytown.ca/crankyfest.html.
Panning to enjoy the screenings in Park City, Utah at this year's Sundance Film Festival? Or maybe you're schlepping your film out to snowy climes? Check out this annual event hosted by Women In Film on January 20! Just head over to wif.org/sundance for more details.
I'm thrilled to see that new Contributor to the Her Film Project blog, Katie Carman-Lehach, is having her feature film Off Season screened on January 8 at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City! This is Katie's second feature film she has directed and co-produced and it will be screened as part of a NewFilmmakers New York event. Off Season screens at 9:30pm with a reception held beforehand.
Read more about Katie's film and watch the extended trailer below.
Short Synopsis: A noir inspired horror-thriller set on the windswept East coast during winter. Sylvie Stone takes refuge in an isolated beach hideaway after her husband is convicted of a sweeping act of financial fraud. Villainized in the press, and afraid to venture out into public, Sylvie savors the isolation, until a series of frightening occurrences lead her to discover she's being stalked by a mysterious presence. Soon each night alone is filled with terrors, and Sylvie seeks out romantic distraction with a local surfer. Uncertain of her own sanity, and faced with a terrifying ultimatum, Sylvie is forced to confront the secrets of her past, or take them with her to the grave.
From the Director's Statement:
Ideas for the films I make are sometimes born out of strange places, and "Off Season" was no different. The first spark of an idea came during a car ride home from Atlantic City, NJ with my longtime co-producer Elizabeth Lee, on what was decidedly an 'off season' trip to the shore. Bernard Madoff had just been arraigned and sentenced to 100+ years in jail, and the intrigue surrounding one of the largest ponzi schemes in history seemed unceasing. Yet there was still one side of the story yet to be told: that of Bernie's wife, Ruth Madoff. One of things I strive to do in my filmmaking is tell a story that hasn't been told, from a different perspective. Naturally I was struck by the puzzle of this character, Sylvie Stone, a woman whose life will be forever darkened by this massive crime, but whose motives are elusive and unknown to everyone but herself. What makes a person succumb so easily to greed? And what does she think & feel when she's alone? Is she remorseful? Unrepentant? These are the things we wanted to explore in creating this character and story. We also wanted to explore what would happen if outside forces were at play against her, as a means of reflection against the choices Sylvie makes. To what lengths will she go to get what she wants? Can someone like Sylvie ever be redeemed? There are many complexities at play in a character like Sylvie Stone, and we hope our film simultaneously sheds light on and questions her motives, while also acting as a reflection of our society and what our culture really values.
Visit the film's website at: www.offseasonmovie.com and follow Katie Carman-Lehach on Twitter @katiecarman.
Come join Her Film Project on our new open LinkedIn Group for women filmmakers who would like to network with other women filmmakers around the world, share their work and take advantage of support to further their careers. Be sure to pass on the group's URL to your friends and colleagues, too, so they can join the Her Film Project movement!
Check out our LinkedIn Group now!
(To connect with Her Film Project founder, Kyna Morgan, check out her LinkedIn profile and request a connection.)
Jacqueline Lee Katz