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NZ Update #6: Short Films by NZ Women at the NZIFF

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Here, in alphabetical order by director, are the women-directed short films selected for two sections of the New Zealand International Film Festival. Because a successful short film is seen as an element of the pipeline to taxpayer funding for a feature film, selection of these films really matters.

Some of these come from this year’s New Zealand’s Best Short Film competition (BSF). NZIFF programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell made a shortlist of 12 films from 83 submissions and veteran filmmaker Gaylene Preston selected six finalists. And the winners of the associated awards do well! A jury of three will select the winner of the $5,000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize, and the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Media Ltd will award a $3,000 Wallace Friends of the Civic Award to the film or contributor to a film they deem to merit special recognition. The winner of the audience vote takes away the Audience Choice Award, consisting of 25 percent of the box office from the main-centr…

Kate Kaminski & Bluestocking

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Women's film activism now has real depth. And the networking that goes on gives it real strength. Women's film festivals are a vital part of all this (and, yes, I know I haven't finished the update of the film fest page here, but intend to as soon as I've finished my tax return!)


One of my favourite women's festivals is Bluestocking, directed by Kate Kaminski, also one of my faves, as a human being. She began Bluestocking as an experiment that asked the question: 'if I brought female-centered, female-directed films to Maine, would the audience show up?' 
When it began in 2011, Bluestocking was the first of its kind: an all-narrative short film festival that requires films to feature a female protagonist and to pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test (at least two female characters who talk to each other for more than a few seconds about something other than a man, men, or boys). It celebrates complex female protagonists and filmmakers who place them front and center, a…

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

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Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…

#Cannes2017 Excludes #WomeninFilm Who Bring Their Children

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Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s track record is pretty impressive.

She has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and Variety’s Arab New Wave, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections in Cannes, one in Venice and one in Berlin.

Annemarie’s short film like twenty impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and continued to break ground when it went on to be a finalist for the Academy Awards.

Her second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of this Sea (2008), went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, and garnered fourteen other international awards including Best Film in Milan. It was the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman and Palestine’s 2008 Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film.

Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlinale , Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and Best Film in…

A 'Wonder Woman' Film School? Aprons Into Capes?

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Jane Campion often speaks out at Cannes, where she's still the only woman to have won a Palme d'Or. Twice: once for her short, Peel, and once for The Piano. This year, as reported by Variety, she's spoken out again.

'We’re a long way from really understanding the female experience of being in the world', she said. 'There’s not enough female storytellers out there. We’ve been brainwashed a bit by the patriarchal experience of the whole way of being in the world.'


And now it seems that she and other prominent filmmakers like Andrea Arnold – last seen dancing on the Cannes red carpet (I've been enjoying the Cannes feed on YouTube), and  Maren Ade – the director of Toni Erdmann, and a member of this year’s feature film jury at Cannes, are thinking about founding a ‘wonder woman’ film school.

'It’s all about turn your aprons into capes,' Campion said. 'If all of us ladies that have done something strong and good got together, I think it would give t…

Cinefemme: 'Dinner With Dames' & Paul Feig

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Cinefemmewas founded by women filmmakers, for women filmmakers, back in 2002. It provides fiscal sponsorship to women filmmakers and artists, as well as peer-to-peer networking, mentorship, and strategy for project fundraising. By advancing women’s careers in film and the arts, the organisation empowers women’s voices to create gender parity in the arts and equal representation in the media.  Cinefemme goes from strength to strength. You can check out its many projects and partners here.

Its monthly Dinner With Dames is among Cinefemme's many thoughtful strategies for change. I love this initiative, because it aims to 'propel women to bigger & better career opportunities within studios & networks' and 'invites Hollywood to tackle the gender diversity issue by sitting down for dinner with up and coming female writers, directors, producers, and other skilled department heads. The hot topic of diversity in film has many people pointing fingers without offering many…

Announcing! 'Mothers of Invention: Parenting &/as Filmmaking Practice'

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Remember Corinn Columparand Sophie Mayer's book, There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking & Beyond, back in 2009?  Corinn followed There She Goes with Unsettling Sights: The Fourth World on Film (2010) and Sophie wrote Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (2015) (WW interview here) as well as The Cinema of Sally Potter: The Politics of Love.

I love their activist writing and editing work about #womeninfilm, with its emphasis on intersectionality and rigour and its love of women's onscreen stories.

Now Corinn and Sophie are back together for a new collection, Mothers of Invention: Parenting and/as Filmmaking Practice! And they're calling for contributions. This is how they explain the ideas behind Mothers of Invention and what they're looking for–

In 1983, E. Ann Kaplan famously called second-wave feminist film culture a movement created by daughters 'unwittingly…repeat[ing] the patriarchal omission of the Mother'. By way of what Charlotte Brunsdon has cal…

Moms-in-Film's Mathilde Dratwa & Christy Lamb – & Their #BudgetTheBaby Campaign

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Christy Lamb and Mathilde Dratwa are American filmmakers with a revolutionary idea: to #BudgetTheBaby. Their non-profit Moms-in-Film has a beautiful and highly informative website, and at this year's SXSW they trialled their Wee Wagon concept, a service for filmmakers on set and at festivals. And there's lots more! And lots more coming soon!

WW What gave you courage to propose that every shoot should #BudgetTheBaby and how does the Wee Wagon fit into this?

Mathilde We are both filmmakers and relatively new moms. When I had my baby, I wrote a blog post about how difficult it was to be both. The response to that blog post was really phenomenal, so I decided to meet in person with the other moms who were commenting on it – or at least, those that were in New York, which is where I'm based. That was exactly a year ago, during last year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Luckily for me, Christy came on board shortly afterwards – and as she lives in LA, we were able to really make pro…