[floridaleft] [culture] WinFemme Film Festival Presents Finely Wrought Tales (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue Dec 12 07:30:01 MST 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Film Festival Presents Finely Wrought Tales
> Run Date: 12/08/00
> By Mashadi Matabane WEnews correspondent
> In New York's chic Tribeca, a little-known but important film
> festival made its East Coast debut. With 19 films all featuring
> strong roles for women with a wide range of life experiences, the
> WinFemme Film Festival exhibited scenes from our lives.
> NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Kathryn, a 75-year-old woman, sat at her
> kitchen table speaking warmly about life as a rural farmer's wife,
> cooking, cleaning and caring for children in the documentary
> "Kathryn and Her Daughters," produced and directed by Sandra
> Pfeifer.
> This finely wrought visualization of a fast-disappearing way of life
> was one of 19 films, documentaries and shorts shown here at the
> second annual WinFemme Film Festival the first weekend of December.
> There were no blockbusters, no high body counts, no gratuitous
> violence or sex. Instead, the films presented complex tales,
> artfully told and skillfully realized.
> "Click Three Times" featured Karen, a mentally disabled 22-year-old
> woman portrayed by Kelly Boczek, looking for a way to escape her
> unhappy existence in the fantasy land of Oz, with the help of a
> homeless woman, portrayed by Isabel Sanford, well-known for her role
> as Louise Jefferson in the "Jeffersons" television series.
> The other documentaries included profiles of women singers, painters
> and dancers, such as Martha Becket, a reclusive artist and dancer.
> The plot of "Loyalties" centered on two Canadian friends discovering
> that one was the direct descendant of slave owners who had owned her
> friend's slave antecedents. Their relationship leads to the meeting
> of the two extended families. Other plots dealt with a little girl
> stumbling into spirituality in "God at Seven" and a young woman
> dealing with a gay father in "Godass."
> Women in Films Complex, Not Decorations
> The films at the festival recognize the fullness of women's lives, a
> point blatantly absent on the big screen which prefers perpetuating
> stale stereotypes of women as objects and decoration, said the
> festival organizer.
> Sponsored by the Women's Image Network, a not-for-profit
> organization founded in 1993 with the purpose of encouraging more
> positive portrayals of women in the media, the festival showed works
> with female protagonists in the lead. The network also produces the
> Win awards and seminars for women in screen-writing, financing for
> films and new media. It also produced the television special "Fifty
> Years of Funny Women" for ABC.
> An advertisement for the festival poked fun at the tired roles
> portrayed by women. Featuring a chick, a tomato, a fox and a Barbie
> doll, the tag line read: A gentle reminder for those who sometimes
> confuse women with various unrelated objects.
> "I use humor to help people along," said network founder and
> festival organizer Phyllis Stuart.
> Stuart organized what she terms her "pilot" festival in Los Angeles
> last year featuring only one film, one documentary and one short,
> two of which were later nominated for prestigious awards.
> This year, she had film festivals in Los Angeles and New York. The
> West Coast version presented 43 films, almost double the 19 shown in
> New York.
> Recalling her doubts before this year's festival got underway,
> Stuart said she was worried then about finding enough films to
> present.
> "I didn't know if people were making enough films about women."
> However, Stuart advertised on her Web site and in industry
> newspapers and found films worth showing. None featured women as
> bimbos, victims, romantic interest or sexual sidekick.
> Festival Is Pointedly Not Called a Women's Festival
> Stuart said she doesn't call the festival a women's festival because
> it marginalizes it and because the films can be made by women or
> men.
> The purpose of the festival is, she said, to "satisfy my commitment
> to getting more women's stories out there and dispelling stereotypes
> about women." She added, "I thought that if I continued to show
> images of women as interesting and multi-dimensional that perhaps
> people would begin to see them as such in our culture as well. Women
> are every bit as complex as men are, and I'm really interested in
> seeing what I can accomplish rather than just talking about things."
> Stuart said, however, that she's not sure if she can do the film
> festival again.
> The industry, she said, is already overflowing with film festivals,
> making it harder to stand out when people have so many options to
> choose from.
> "I don't know if I can survive another year of the film festival,"
> she said in an interview after the festival. "It's very difficult to
> juggle getting things promoted and trying to get the resources to
> promote and then run a festival and run your life. It's been very
> challenging this year."
> Mashadi Matabane is a New York-based journalist.
> For more information, visit the Women's Image Network's WinFemme
> Film Festival: http://www.winfemme.com/

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