Women’s Stories Weekly

Revivified!!!  Adapting a series started in 2011, a round-up of big stories about women and film each week, I’m re-launching it here as Women’s Stories Weekly which I plan to post every Saturday.  If you hear of a big story about women filmmakers or women in film, please forward a link to me here, and I’ll try to include it in that week’s post.  Or, connect with me on twitter or facebook to let me know.

Berlin Hosts the “8 Arab Women Filmmakers Festival”

Still from Kingdom of Women (2010, dir. Dahna Abourahme)

Eight Arab women filmmakers saw their films screened in Berlin from February 29 to March 6 at the Akademie der Künste and Cervantes Institute.  The overall theme was the Arab Spring, and a variety of formats were included (shorts, docs, animation).


The filmmakers and their films are:

FORBIDDEN (2011) / dir. Amal Ramsis

KINGDOM OF WOMEN (2010) / dir. Dahna Abourahme

NI ALLAH, NI MAÎTRE (NOR GOD, NOR MASTER) (2011) / dir. Nadia El Fani

A GAME (2010) / dir. Marwa Zein

Watch the short:


LETTER TO MY SISTER (2006) / dir. Habiba Djahnine

DAMASCUS ROOF AND TALES OF PARADISE (2010) / dir. Soudade Kaadan

LEMON FLOWERS (2007) / dir. Pamela Ghanimeh

SHOUTING IN THE DARK (2010) / dir. May Ying Welsh

Filmmakers were Egyptian, Palestinian, Algerian, Syrian, Franco-Tunisian, Sudanese, American and Lebanese.

Read the full story here:  “Arab Women Bring Spring to the Screen” (8 March, Inter Press Service)

Women In Film and Television India Launches in Mumbai

WIFT India has launched as the global organization’s 45th Chapter!  The Mumbai-based chapter is headed by co-founding president, Petrina D’Rozario, with Uma da Cunha serving as vice president.  Both are filmmakers, with D’Rozario having started as a journalist and moved into documentary filmmaking and da Cunha playing many roles, including casting director, critic and editor of a film magazine and festival organizer.  Filmmaker Kiran Rao and writer-director Sooni Taraporevala are among those who will serve on WIFT Mumbai advisory board.

Read the story here:  “Women in Film & Television India Chapter Launched” (7 March, The Hollywood Reporter)

Visit the WIFT India website by clicking here.

Oscar-winning SAVING FACE Premes on American Television

Co-directors’ Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge’s documentary Saving Face premiered on International Women’s Day (March 8) on HBO in the U.S.  Just under two weeks ago, they were handed two 9-pound statues for their film, Oscars for Best Documentary Short.  The film focuses on cruelty perpetrated against women in Pakistan in the form of acid attacks which mutilate and disfigure the faces of the victims.  A Pakistani plastic surgeon returns to the country to help women reconstruct their lives and their bodies.  Saving Face is the first Pakistani film to ever win an Academy Award.

Watch the trailer below and read an interview by National Geographic with the directors:

“‘Saving Face,’ the Oscar-Winning Documentary, Has Its TV Premiere”

Check out the Oscar page, including a Nominee Questionnaire, by clicking here.



From Bitch Flicks: 11 Films that Celebrate Inspiring & Trailblazing Women

Great post from one of my favorite sites: Bitch Flicks, in celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday (March 8 — this year and every year.)

They ask: What films inspire you?  Check out this awesome list of inspiring titles:

Happy International Women’s Day:

11 Films that Celebrate Inspiring & Trailblazing Women.

Strong women and women who are realistically portrayed, aren’t THAT common in film, especially Hollywood studio pictures.  Some films with powerful and inspiring central female characters that I have loved throughout the years (or some, very recently) are:

Harold and Maude (1971) / The genius Ruth Gordon plays the title character, a quirky, empowering, and inspiring heroine.  Watching this film is one of my earliest memories.

Where Do We Go Now? (2011) / Directed, co-written & starring Lebanese filmmaker-actress, Nadine Labaki, this film is an emotional and stunning tale of women.

Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994 TV movie) / Stars one of my favorite actresses, Irene Bedard, in this biopic of Mary Crow Dog, a Lakota activist who participated in the Wounded Knee (South Dakota) protest in support of Native American rights and the rejection of abuse by the FBI. (Based on the autobiography Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog (with Richard Erdoes)).

Waitress (2007) / Written, directed and starring the late, incredible actress-filmmaker Adrienne Shelly.  I love this film for its artful balance of the humor and heartbreak of life.

Mi Vida Loca (1993) / Written and directed by the amazing Allison Anders. Albeit I was 15 when I first saw it, and knew that I wanted to be a filmmaker even then, but I hadn’t seen women portrayed like this, nor seen the story of this community told.

Leona’s Sister Gerri (1995) / A biographical documentary by Jane Gillooly about a woman named Gerri Santoro who is shown in a photograph (published 1973) as an “anonymous woman” dead from an illegal abortion.  Santoro is the woman, a mother of two, who died in 1964.  This photograph helped fuel the pro-choice struggle in the 1970’s.