Women’s Stories Weekly: Nora Ephron, Rwanda’s “Sweet Dreams” and more

The Death of Nora Ephron

It’s difficult for me to put words to how Ephron impacted my life as a writer and developing filmmaker, but this week I was gratified to read three lovely pieces on her legacy that articulated her global and industry impact.  She will be missed.

“Nora Ephron Dies at 71”
at Women and Hollywood

“In Memoriam: Nora Ephron, AKA Nora and Me”
at Movieline

“Nora Ephron, how I’ll miss her”
at The Guardian

International Images Film Festival for Women (Zimbabwe) Call for Submissions
at Screen Africa

‘Take This Waltz’ filmmaker Sarah Polley says acting less a priority now
at Winnipeg Free Press

(Polley’s second feature film as writer/director (“Take This Waltz”) rolled out in theatres across Canada yesterday.)

Rwandan Women Thrive on ‘Sweet Dreams’
at VOA News

Book Chronicles Women’s Role in Hindi Film World
at Outlook India

Zimbabwe: Dangarembga’s Film for India Festival
at All Africa

First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition

If you haven’t yet heard about this awesome series going on in Toronto at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, you’re missing out!  First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition, is a series of screenings celebrating the work of indigenous, aboriginal and First Nations filmmakers from four countries.

Included in this series is not only one of my favorite films, Eagle vs. Shark, by New Zealand Maori filmmaker Taika Waititi (Boy), starring Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) and the amazing Loren Horsley (see photo below), but also includes four films by the late Maori woman filmmaker, Merata Mita, and “Choke” by Metis filmmaker and actress Michelle Latimer who did an interview with Her Film in the spring of 2011.  You can read a lovely tribute to Merata Mita by Marian Evans on her blog, Wellywood Woman.

This is the “largest first peoples film series ever seen in North America.”  It kicked off on June 21 and runs until August 11, 2012.

One of my favorite actors, Academy Award-nominated Graham Greene, gave a talk on June 25 about his career in film, television and theatre.  There will be a lot of screenings, including a sidebar retrospective series called “First Peoples: Reclaimed Visions,” with screenings introduced by such cinematic luminaries as Graham Greene and filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins, The American Experience: We Shall Remain, Hide Away). 

The program spans Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, and “presents an unprecedented survey of the work of First Peoples filmmakers.”

 

The film program includes Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (introduced by Alanis Obomsawin, honored recently by the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto), Smoke Signals introduced by Chris Eyre, Patu! introduced by Heperi Mita (son of the late Merata Mita), Bran Nue Dae by Rachel Perkins, The Orator by Tusi Tamasese (first feature ever made in the Samoan language), Mohawk Girls by Tracey Deer, and many more, including several shorts programs.

For complete information, visit the Toronto International Film Festival’s website at http://tiff.net/1500nations. If you attend any screenings in this series, please leave a comment letting me know what you saw and what you thought of it!

LGBTQI Film & TV Week

LGBTQI Film & TV Week

(excerpted from Megan Kearns’ The Opinioness of the World)

So I’ve been ridiculously busy, busy, busy this past week on some writing projects. I’ll be able to share some exciting info with you all soon (!!!!). One of the things I was working on (which you should definitely check out) was Bitch Flicks‘ LGBTQI Week. Here are just a few of the insightful and articulate posts exploring positive and problematic depictions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and sexually fluid characters and themes in film and TV:

Read more over at Megan’s blog.  Click here.

Q+A with CampbellX (“Stud Life”)

CampbellX                                    (Photo by Robert Taylor http://www.roberttaylor photography.com/)

Biography:

Campbell is an award-winning filmmaker/curator whose films include the award-winning BD Women about Black lesbian lives and history, Legacy about the lasting impact of slavery on Black families and Fem, a butch homage to queer femininity.   Her body of work was honoured by the Queer Black Cinema Festival in New York (2009), and she curated “No Heroes” in 2010 at Iniva.  She was a selector for GFEST 2009-11 and the festival director for The Fire This Time! – Queering Black History Month.  Campbell has been published in Diva Magazine, Feminist Review, The Pink Paper, and many more publications.


Her Film:  What is your film Stud Life about and what drew you to making this film specifically?

CampbellX:  Stud Life is a film where a stud lesbian and her gay man best friend deal with what happens when she gets tight with a femme lesbian lover. “who did you wake up with? your lover, or your best friend?” The story is about how you negotiate time with your queer family when you want to be with a new lover.

I made the film as there are actually a dearth of images of masculine females – studs/butches/bois in cinema and not that many images of QPOC [Queer People of Color] anyway. The queer films tend to be from a Eurocentric perspective and whenever there are QPOC in films often our presence, whether it is the filmmaker’s intention or not, is often treated like we are giving insight into our “problems” and the issues of “gayness with our cultures”. We as QPOC filmmakers are not given the space to just tell a story where we are central to the narrative and it not be problematised.

I also made the film to show that London is very mixed and jumbled up if you live in an urban environment. So immigrants, queers, and the indigenous people are all living on top of each other and have to learn to negotiate the spaces we occupy. However we are now heavily influenced whether queer or not,  and from whatever class or ethnicity, by African Caribbean and African American culture in our clothes, language and the way we dance.

Very often British cultural product that shows this urban life is usually straight and homophobic and the ones that are LGBT are very “white”. Stud Life shows a different reality.

HF:  What has the reaction been to the film?  How do you engage with your fanbase/followers around the topic of the film to continue to build an audience?

CX: The reaction to the film has been mixed. Stud Life is not for everyone. It has scenes of sexual practice and violence some people may find triggering. The main role is that of a stud, which many lesbians who wish to have a mainstreamed image of ourselves find shameful.  It is also not a segregated film. It shows a world where genders, sexual orientations and ethnicities mix. Some queer audiences like their films gendered – boys only, girls only.

With this in mind I have been absolutely bowled over by finding the Other Audience who do not really care for this and are hungry for something different.  They have responded with love and joy at the screenings. So far all screenings have been fully booked out with many sold out screenings. The audiences have laughed, cried, screamed, groaned and shouted at the screen. I have had many tweets, Facebook feedback and posts written from audience members. Some quoting lines from the film or saying how the film related to them personally. I have found these touching, as when I wrote the film, I had no idea if anyone would even like the film or come to see it.

I used Facebook from the very beginning to connect with an audience and later Twitter and YouTube. I think it is important in these media to share others people’s work as well. Stud Life is about building LGBT community around queer cultural product. We seek out those who are doing the same. We actively promote those whose voices continue to be silenced by mainstream straight and LGBT media.

HF:  You’ve directed a number of projects, but can you speak a bit about your experience making your first feature film?

CX:  My experience of making my first feature was like that of a virgin. I had no idea what it would be like so I went into it all wide-eyed and innocent. This is even though I have made several award-winning short films before. I had one goal and it was to finish the feature. I could not have done it without community support and by that I mean the wider filmmaking community in London, the people who live and work in East London and also the wider international LGBT world who stumped up cash for our IndieGoGo campaign. The cast T’Nia Miller, Kyle Treslove, Robyn Kerr and Simon Savory were put through a gruelling 10 day shoot in the cold and wet London weather but were always chipper and professional and put in stellar performances.

I am one of the privileged few in the UK to have made a feature film – Stud Life was the only new LGBT film made in 2012. That is a sobering thought considering we made the film “by any means necessary” and received no film grants from any of the funders who give money for film. This allowed me to have a freedom to play and to cast the leads I wanted and also choose the crew I wanted to work with.

I am no longer a virgin and now have baggage that anyone does after the “first time”.

___________________

To connect with this filmmaker and to support her work, please visit these links:

Website:  blackmanvision.com

Twitter:  @CampbellX

Vimeo:  vimeo.com/blackmanvision

Facebook (Stud Life):  /studlifemovie

Twitter (Stud Life):  @studlifemovie

Tumbler (Stud Life):  studlifemovie.tumblr.com

SPOTLIGHT: License to Pimp

What would you do

if the strip club you worked at became a brothel?

Would you adapt to it, fight it, or quit?

LICENSE TO PIMP chronicles three strippers facing this dilemma.  Lola competes with club prostitutes to keep her job & support her family.  Daisy tried to get the city to enforce the laws & is up against strip club management & the strippers themselves who want to maintain the status quo.  Mariko quits working in the strip clubs & works independently of the club circuit so she can retain her earnings.  Ex-stripper & filmmaker Hima B. goes behind the scenes to reveal current workplace realities & show how the clubs operate by violating workers’ rights.

Pitch video:

 

Crowdfunding through: Kickstarter (as of this post, 22 days left to go on campaign)

Campaign goal: $30,000 (as of this post, $3,341 funded)

Courtesy of Hima B.

From filmmaker, Hima B.:

“I worked in half of San Francisco’s strip clubs during the 1990s and saw their transformation into brothels.  Now as a filmmaker, I uncover current working conditions & try to find out how strip clubs are able to operate outside the law.”

“As stripping increasingly gains acceptance within popular culture, more and more women & teenagers enter this industry and are unaware of their rights & workplace realities.  This documentary reveals the impact these illegal practices have on workers.  This is why License to Pimp needs to be made.”

Courtesy of Hima B.

The Characters:

Lola begins stripping as a 16 year old after learning her mother has cancer & needs treatment.

Daisy Anarchy goes public about how the strip clubs’ illegal fees have pushed many strippers to prostitute.

Mariko Passion quits stripping at her favorite club as the work becomes increasingly sexual and spills into her personal life.

Credits

Hima B. (Director/Producer/Camera)

Connect with this filmmaker and learn more about this new film:

Kickstarter:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/himab/license-to-pimp-documentary

Facebook:  /LicenseToPimpMovie

Twitter: @LicenseToPimp

Website: http://licensetopimp.com/

Blog:  http://licensetopimp.wordpress.com/

Mailing List:  www.bit.ly/K6W4rl

_______________________

Do you have a film you are trying to finance that you would like to feature here?  Send us an email with a website and social media page(s) for your film.

Standup in Stilettos – the laughs continue tonight!

Last Saturday night, I was utterly jazzed to schedule a full hour of comedy watching — female comics.  “Standup in Stilettos” is a new series on the TV Guide Network of women comics performing for an audience of women.  This is refreshing, and I couldn’t welcome this show more if I tried.  As a lifelong comedy nerd who was first inspired and entertained by Looney Tunes and the Muppet Show, to an angst-riddled teen who watched more than her fair share of standup on Comedy Central (before it was even called Comedy Central), to an adult who finally recognizes the genius of Joan Rivers, loves the rise of women in primetime comedy, and will never forget seeing George Carlin live on his last comedy tour, I’m sick of these discussions of women “not being funny.”  This postulation is simply not true and completely inaccurate.  Funny comes in all forms and flavors, and the women who performed on last week’s show — including the genius host, Kate Flannery (“Meredith” from The Office) — were all good, some even great.

 

 

 

 

 

Kicking off the show was Mary Lynn Rajskub who, if you don’t know her (“24,” Punch Drunk Love, the new “Dirty Work”), you should definitely get to know her.  The slow build up of some of her bits is timed so well that you end up in stitches.  Helen Hong also performed, as well as Arden Myrin, Gina Yashere and others.  What’s surprising to me is that there is so little information about this series in the media!  With all this constant talk of women’s “inability” to do comedy, I would think that there would be more buzz.  While some comics are more well known than others, there is a nice mix of people who you might not have seen or heard of before.  Unfortunately, the only channel that really does comedy — Comedy Central — doesn’t do much standup programming anymore, and when they do, they are specials and are by male comics.  I lament the passing of the “comedy remix” days hosted by Laura Kightlinger and Mario Joyner.  It’s there that I got to know people like Janeane Garofalo, Margaret Cho, Carol Leifer, Marc Maron, Richard Lewis, Rita Rudner, Denis Leary…

Coming up tonight on the show — its second episode (it airs in two half-hour segments) — is the brilliant Retta (“Parks and Recreation”), Lisa Sundstedt, Lisa Alvarado, Maria Bamford (who makes a killer comedy album, by the way), Jamie Lee and Erin Jackson.

So make some popcorn, plop down on the couch and laugh with me at 10PM and 10:30PM tonight (eastern) on TV Guide Network — channel 273 on DirecTV!

Schedule and more info at:

Standup in Stilettos page on TV Guide Network

Treat Yo’ Self to Parks and Recreation’s Retta on StandUp in Stilettos

Women’s Stories Weekly: Regimen of woman filmmakers, female feticide and more

Six Months On A Regimen Of Woman Filmmakers – Out The Gate With Diablo Cody
at Movies I Didn’t Get

Exposing Military Predators (about new film “The Invisible War”)
at the National Journal

Films, Literature Devote Little Attention to Female Feticide
at the New York Times India Ink blog

Sustaining sensibility (about Malayalam writer-director Anjali Menon)
at The Hindu

‘Middle of Nowhere’ finds love in South-Central L.A.
at Herald Online