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A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies? (3) A New International Women's Film Festival Network (IWFFN)

Discussion at the Internationales Frauen Film Festival, 2012 
August 3 2013: I wrote this a year ago and was asked to take it down until the IWFFN was ready for publicity. I re-found it today, as I prepare a new post about You Cannot Be Serious, an international meeting about women's film-making, held at the Berlinale earlier this year. I'm still excited about the potential of the IWFFN!

Wonderful news! There is now an International Women's Film Festival Network (IWFFN), conceived this year at Germany's Internationales Frauen Film Festival (in Dortmund and Koln alternate years) and housed at the Athena Film Festival in New York. Another sign of a golden age for women who make movies? I hope so!

There's already the Network of Asian Women's Film Festivals. And European women's film festivals have networked for years (I remember taking part in their meetings at Festival de Femmes in Creteil in 2004 and they'd been established long before that). So it's very exciting that the movement is crossing more borders and that the discussion at the Internationales Frauen Film Festival included women from South America and from the United States. Here's what the Internationales Frauen Film Festival wrote about the meeting that generated the idea for the International Women's Film Festival Network:
There was overwhelming acclaim for the discussion held for international women's film festivals and women's film networks. Representatives from women's film festivals in Brussels, London, New York, Munich, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile and Assen (NL) met up with women film-makers, distributors and other networkers to discuss the work of women across the film industry. The news that the Cannes Film Festival, whose competition is once again to take place without including one film made by a woman director, is the latest example and reflection of the situation as a whole. The wish for broader cooperation, a permanent platform for dialogue and the development of joint strategies was loud and clear – all the more so if participation by women in all areas of film creation, production and distribution is to be boosted.
Announced by Athena's co-founder and Artistic Director Melissa Silverstein, of Women & Hollywood, the International Women's Film Festival Network has put together a website that includes the members and links to their festival websites. It will also contain a way for the festivals to provide information about their selections with contact information, so that other festivals can use that information if they want to programme the same film. Here's the network's Mission Statement:
The International Women’s Film Festival Network (IWFFN) was created in 2012 to support and promote women’s voices, visions and leadership, both onscreen and behind the scenes. The Network will strive to amplify the visibility of women filmmakers, more prominently showcase their work across the globe, and demonstrate that audiences attend films about women and girls. In recent years as distribution methods are changing, the film festival circuit has become even more crucial to the success of a film. By working in collaboration, the Network will expand and enhance the importance of women’s film festivals and will encourage filmmakers and distributors to premiere and screen their films at these festivals. The Network will create a database of women’s film festivals and will serve as a forum for members to exchange knowledge and expertise. Membership in the Network is open to any independent film festival that has staged at least one festival within the last three years and whose programs are dedicated to screening films by or about women and girls.
Membership of the network is open to festivals only, but others can join the network's Google group to stay updated with its activities. It's not hard to imagine that this network could emulate the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (Together We Are Strong) and move into distribution, especially online distribution, especially in an alliance with other groups like Women Make Movies. Will Women in Film lend its support? The European Womens Audiovisual Network (EWA)? The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media? The potential is endless. And for the first time for women filmmakers, that potential may be truly global. A golden moment. Warm congratulations to all concerned.

A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies (1) (a new model for women's filmmaking)
A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies (2) (Gender & the Venice Film Festival/ media convergence)
A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies (4) (my own golden day)

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