More after the jump...
One might be tempted to believe that a Female Filmmakers evening would be rife with girly movies, chick flicks, femenist soapboxes, romantic comedies and other works of the cutie-patootie variety, but it turns out that this isn't the case. This isn't to say that they weren't represented at all; the evening's one outright romantic film, a short called "The Miss" by Grace McPhillips managed to be very cutie without the patootie. And "Race You" by Samantha Hart and Jennifer Moody managed to translate the imaginary landscape of a little-girl-all-grown-up into a vibrant video background for the music of the band Elizabeth and the Catapult.
When you get right down to it, the only difference I might've noticed was a very slightly different philosophical texture to each work. Jessica Christopher's psychological thriller "Skin Deep" had all the trimmings of a classic horror film yet dealt with themes of incest; a topic perhaps more compellingly scary to a female audience. Similarily, "Whirlybird" by Danielle
Corches explores the surreal journey of a young girl in her first encounter with a loved ones death without ever playing to sentiment or stereotype as if to say; girls experience death too and that's just the way life is.
In a more light hearted way "Bring It In" by Dina Facklis also dealt with the subject of girls and death in a comedy about a junior high basketball coach trying to help his team through a student's untimely death. But don't get me wrong- this film was anything but a downer- as it had members of the audience howling with laughter. Yes, the belly laughs were flowing freely, but there was some close competition with another sly little short called "Treeless Squirrel" (Anna Patel). This clever little nut, if you'll allow me the pun, masquerades as a social message to plant more trees, but don't be deceived, it is actually comedic entertainment at it's finest. And anyone who thinks that scatalogical humor is limited to the menfolk ought to take a gander at a short film by Holly Todd, Sarah Schooley and Merje Veski entitled... well, "A Short Film". I'd say more, but I wouldn't want to ruin the fun.
Sometimes the laughs carry a message as well, such as Laura Heit's "Look For Me" which explores the pros and cons of being invisible for a day. Sometimes the message stands alone such as Jenni Olson's minimalist "575 Castro Street" paying tribute to the words of Harvey Milk. And sometimes the message is less important than the journey of the character such as "The Egg Timer" by Emily Haddad and the journey of a young woman dealing with her guilt relating to the death of her brother.
And then there's a film like "The Visionary" which doesn't seem like a girl movie at all until you realize that it's all about relationships and communication.
So the moral of the story is: Don't Be Fooled. If I'd been watching this same series of films without knowing that
they were made by female filmmakers I'm not sure that I ever would have
been able to point to any of them and say "Oh yeah, that's totally a girl film"
The moral of the story is that when it comes to female filmmakers, the emphasis is firmly and deliberately planted on the filmmaker part.
Tags: 575 Castro Street, A Short FIlm, Amy Weber, Anna Patel, Annabelle and Bear, Barbara Wallace, Blue Damen Pictures, Bring It In, Dina Facklis, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Emily Haddad, Female Filmmaker Night, Grace McPhillips, Gwydhar, Hannah Free, Holly Todd, Jenni Olson, Jennifer Moody, Jessica Christopher, Laura Heit, Look For Me, Merje Veski, Midwest FIlm Festival, producers, Race You, Sag Indie, Samantha Hart, Sarah Schooley, Skin Deep, State of Romance, The Egg Timer, The Miss, The Visionary, Tracy Baim, Treeless Squirrel, Whirlybird