Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

Pratibha Parmar's 'My Name is Andrea'

My Name Is Andrea:  fury & tenderness is now Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea , about the radical feminist and writer Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005), explores who Andrea was. It also exposes the ongoing violence inflicted on women’s bodies and spirits across the globe, through featuring five diverse actresses — each one evoking a different aspect, experience and decade of Andrea Dworkin’s life. Pratibha on set with actress and activist Amandla Stenberg who plays young Andrea. In the spirit of contemporary independent women’s film making, the film’s being made in parts and the first twelve minutes of the film is shot and edited. And it’s an impressive twelve minutes. This is what Gloria Steinem said after viewing it– …I can see that this is going to be a film like no other — lyrical, poetic, referential, journalistic, placed in time, deep, complicated…. And it was so moving to me to see what I assume truly is Andrea as a little girl. Nobody but you could take her on

#WomeninFilm Activists Speak: Voices From A Revolution

This year #WomenInFilm ‘how-to’ talks have flourished. The speakers aren’t the first to share, nourish and inform, of course. But until this year, there was just one standout for me: Ava DuVernay’s  Film Independent Forum keynote   in 2013. She brilliantly argued that filmmakers should abandon despair about not having access to what we need and move on from depression about what makes our work difficult: a ‘wrong’ gender, a ‘wrong’ race or culture, no film school training, no money, no mentors, no advocates, no time. Instead, ‘Create work’, she said. ‘Look at what you have and work with that’. She’s also argued that ‘It’s not about knocking on closed doors. It’s about building our own house and having our own door’, and that has resonated for many women filmmakers. installation, National Museum of African American History & Culture (Smithsonian) In the three years since, lots of women have followed her advice — or come to a similar conclusion independently — and now

Catherine Eaton's 'The Sounding'

Catherine Eaton and The Sounding illustrate all that excites me about the 'new' women's filmmaking– sophisticated and engaging concepts; the rise of the actor/writer/director; writer/director/producer associations with #womeninfilm support groups; crowd-funding; a beautiful, thoughtful, confidence; principled choices; visual pleasures. Catherine has Native-American heritage, so for me her project also celebrates the rise and wonderful diversity of indigenous women’s filmmaking. Catherine has performed on Broadway and on screen and written two television projects (both finalists for the Sundance Episodic Labs), and is a 2016 Tribeca & Channel Women’s Filmmaker Award winner. The Sounding 's  immaculate crowdfunding campaign for finishing funds gives us two days left to get behind a winner! I'm delighted to share this engaging Danielle Winston interview, with warm thanks to Agnès Films, where it was first published . Catherine Eaton and team. Photo b

Megan Riakos – Writer, Director and Inspiration

This is Megan Riakos, writer/director/producer of Crushed (a thriller, 2015, available on iTunes and Google Play in Australia, New Zealand and North America). Megan also inspired WIFT New South Wales’ red carpet demonstration at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards in Sydney, after she had ‘a terrible experience with the AACTA Award selection process’ and approached WIFT NSW, where she’s a committee member. She got a very supportive hearing: WIFT NSW says it’s ‘fed up with the Sausage Party that is the Australian film industry and calls on AACTA to make Australia’s night of nights truly representative of our diverse screen culture’. It’s also produced a Charter for Gender Equity at the AACTAs. The demo was called the Roast the AACTAs (#AACTASausageParty). Here are The Activist Sausages. The protest attracted lots of attention. You can read about it in more detail  here  (WIFT NSW) and  here  ( Junkee )and  here  ( Guardian ). An

Megan Thompson: Looking for Women's Experiences When We Enter Film Fests!

Megan Thompson Megan Thompson is in her final year studying Creative Events Management at Falmouth University in England and became interested in feminist film festivals because she'd like to be involved with them in the future. Inspired by the underrepresentation of women directors at general film festivals – a hot topic at the moment, as in Kate Kaminski's   'Aren't We There Yet?' the other day – Megan wanted to learn from women directors who have entered film festivals, including women's/feminist film festivals. What experiences have we had? What barriers have we faced, in the industry and at film festivals? Megan's chosen to use a feminist approach, allowing our voices to be heard without the pressure of fitting into questionnaire boxes. Our responses will help build her research into a strong narrative of multiple voices, which can be used by film festival programmers, to educate others about this issue and to help make change. The link to f

'Aren’t We There Yet?'

I'm delighted to share Kate's illuminating article, because film festival selection is a global issue for #womeninfilm, even here in New Zealand at the New Zealand International Film Festival.   Many thanks, Kate!  And thanks too, for Catherine's photo and Reggie's concept photos, developed for Kate's celebrated  Bluestocking Film Series  (Bstkg). Front: Sarah Doyle and Brittany M. Fennell, directors. Back: Yolonda Ross (director), Dawn Jones Redston (director), Tema Staig (Women in Media). Photo taken at Bluestocking 2016. Photo:   Catherine Frost by Kate Kaminski As the founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking Film Series, this IndieWire headline caught my attention immediately: 'Women Directors Are Everywhere, But Film Festivals Are Still Catching Up — NYFF'. Now in its 7th season, Bluestocking Film Series’ mission is to celebrate and amplify women’s voices and stories, and is part of a long tradition of women-centered festivals

Sue Clayton & 'Calais Children: A Case to Answer'

Sue Clayton in the Calais Jungle camp Director Sue Clayton is perhaps best known for her award-winning Hamedullah: The Road Home , about the forced removal of young people from the United Kingdom (UK) to Kabul and for her archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK and her work with a team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers . Today, she’s in the vast refugee camp called ‘the Jungle’ in Calais, northern France, which acts as a border to the UK. According to Sue, it is 'not an official camp. It’s run by about 100 young volunteers, mainly untrained, and no infrastructure at all’.  In a few hours,  the French will begin to demolish the camp and scatter its occupants all over France, in buses. Sue is focusing on the over 1000 unaccompanied children and  young  people in the camp,  the 'unaccompanied minors',  who live in cold tents with no food or power. She is finding as many as possible, making  making Calais Children: A Case

WARU: Breaking the Silence

WARU l to r Chelsea Winstanley , Katie Wolfe , Briar Grace-Smith , Paula W. Jones , Ainsley Gardiner , Renae Maihi , Casey Kaa , Awanui  Simich-Pene (not shown,  Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu ) If you're excited by Ava DuVernay's work, especially her Queen Sugar series, entirely directed by women, and by We Do It Together and its Together Now , seven short films in one (1), you'll want to know about WARU . Māori women excel in the literary world, as writers of fiction and poetry and as playwrights. They've also made many short films and docos and television programmes. But only two Māori women have directed feature films: Ramai Hayward directed 1972's To Love a Māori , with her husband Rudall, and Merata Mita directed Mauri in 1988.  WARU ('Eight'), responds to that history with a powerful, collaborative and change-making intervention. WARU is an 80-minute feature produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton of   Brown Sugar Apple Grunt  and n

Xuanyi Fu 傅煊贻 & Suicidal Female Protagonists in Chinese Narrative Films

Xuanyi Fu Back in April, I was invited to speak at Resistance, backlash and power – Gender equality and feminist new practice in EU and global discourse , at the National Centre for Research on Europe at Canterbury University. Afterwards, Xuanyi Fu came and chatted. I was thrilled because her project excites me and I always love to hear more about women’s filmmaking in China. And now she's kindly answered these questions. Where are you from and what’s your film background? My name is Xuanyi Fu  傅煊贻 . I was born in Chongqing, China. I did my bachelor degree in Cinematography at Sichuan The Fine Art Institute in China and I got my master degree with merit in Film and Screen Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London in the UK. I’m a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at the University of Canterbury. My supervisor, Adam Lam, is an expert in Chinese films, literature, language and culture, which is why I came to New Zealand. What’s your thesis about?  My thesis is about

Women Are *Not* The Problem?

Writing buddy 1B sneaks in through the kitchen door. I don’t hear a thing. A little later, she slides down the hall, pauses in the doorway of my work space and, because she’s like that, she poses , grinning at me over the top of my screen. –Kare, she says, throwing her arms wide. Jug’s on. Off your nono. A cuppa and a double feature at the Cuba Lighthouse. If we get going, there’s Florence Foster Jenkins followed by Hunt for the Wilderpeople . I don’t move. –It’s ten o’clock on a weekday morning, I say. I have to finish this. And I’ve seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople. –So? You like watching movies a second time. With a mate, particularly avec moi and a shared pot of tea. –One more viewing of a man-directed New Zealand movie with a male protagonist will kill me. She shakes her head, beckons. –I’ve been six hours on the road. Com’on, girl, a cuddle at least. –I didn’t know you were coming. –Because you don’t answer your ******* phones. Because you send out-of-t

Natalie Wreyford: Radical Academic

Natalie Wreyford has a unique perspective, as an academic who was deeply embedded in the UK film industry for many years and is also politically very active. She held a senior role at the UK Film Council; commissioned one of the first reports into the lack of women screenwriters; read, advised on and script edited hundreds of film scripts; and worked with Academy Award-winners and those trying to get their first break. Natalie is now  Research Fellow on Calling the Shots:Women & Contemporary UK Film Culture , at the University of Southampton, where she co-authored Calling the Shots: Women working in key roles on UK films in production during 2015 (2016), and is the author of ‘ Birds of a feather: informal recruitment practices and gendered outcomes for screenwriting work in the UK film industry ’. Her PhD thesis, The gendered contexts of screenwriting work: Socialized recruitment and judgments of taste and talent in the UK film industry  is online here . A couple of ye

Ally Acker: An Update

Many cross-border conversations about #womeninfilm take place on Facebook now, rather than in blog comments or elsewhere online. This week, several of those conversations were about Geena Davis’ participation, as one of five executive producers and the ‘star’, according to imdb , of Tom Donahue’s Untitled Geena Davis/Gender in Media Documentary . And the conversations were notable for their rich diversity of viewpoints, because there’s now a rich diversity of #womeninfilm activists (including some men), many of us also filmmakers. And as I enjoyed the debate, I recalled Ally Acker’s project, Reel Herstory, with Jodie Foster and wondered if she had asked Geena Davis to participate in any way. I also recalled that this year at Cannes, one of the few features directed by women was The Women Who Run Hollywood / Et la femme créa Hollywood , by sisters Julia and Clara Kuperberg. Clara and Julia Kuperberg Time for an update, I thought. Just a little one. ‘Nothing too long or