Filmmaker Updates: Where are they now?

After two years of interviewing women filmmakers and having a few guest bloggers, I thought Her Film readers might be interested in seeing where some of the filmmakers have landed.  I wrote to a first wave of filmmakers who have been involved with the blog to see how things were panning out for them.  (I’ll solicit more updates from filmmakers not included here and will post them later this summer.)  Check out a few updates below from women filmmakers featured here on Her Film since 2010:

CROSSING THE RIVER (directed by Emilie McDonald)

After a very successful shoot in South Carolina in March, “Crossing
the River” is currently in post-production and preparing for a fall
and spring festival run.  Please read more at our film’s website.

Read Emilie’s guest post about this film by clicking here.

ANNA & MODERN DAY SLAVERY (directed by Magda M. Olchawska)

Principal photography for Anna & Modern Day Slavery was completed on May 29 after nine days of shooting.  The whole cast & crew were fantastic to work with & very dedicated to the project. We worked long hours & once even had a shoot for 24 hours.  Some of the stills taken on the set can be seen on our Facebook page, and anyone interested in supporting the film should visit our website.

Read a Spotlight feature about Magda’s new film by clicking here.

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH (directed by Pratibha Parmar)

We have finished shooting and are thrilled to have added Sonia Sanchez, Sapphire and Alexis Pauline Gumb as our final interviewees. We are currently editing the film in California and also fund raising for the final money to enable the finishing post production such as hiring a composer, archive clearances, sound mix, color grade and online.  Read more about the film by visiting our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed @alicewalkerfilm.

Read an interview with Pratibha done by Marian Evans of the Wellywood Woman blog.

METRUK (directed by Orkide Unsur)

Metruk has been screening in different countries, and its last screening was at Montreal (as a Canadian premiere).  Orkide will soon be focusing her attentions on a feature screenplay.  Find out more about the Montreal screening by visiting her website here.

Read an interview with Orkide by clicking here.

ALL THINGS HIDDEN (written by Persephone Vandegrift)

All Things Hidden is set to film this year August 25th-29th. We will be launching our Kickstarter mid July! To keep up to date on its metamorphosis, please join the All Things Hidden FB page.

Read a guest post by Persephone by clicking here.

BONESHAKER (directed by Frances Bodomo)

Boneshaker is currently raising money for post-production and will premiere at film festivals in 2013. View the trailer here. To donate and keep yourself updated, visit our blog here.

Read an interview with Frances by clicking here.

KATE KAMINSKI (Bluestocking Film Series)

The May 20, 2012 Bluestocking screening played to an enthusiastic crowd at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland, Maine.  The biannual Bluestocking accepts rolling submissions through September 15, 2012 via Withoutabox and mail and the next screening is scheduled for Sunday, October 14, 2012. Visit the BFS website here.

Read an interview with Kate by clicking here.

MICHELLE LATIMER (director of Choke)

Choke was named by the Toronto Film Festival among Canada’s Top Ten for 2011, and was nominated for a 2012 Genie Award. It will be featured this summer as part of the First Peoples Cinema Retrospective at the Tiff Bell Lightbox. She begins shooting on her feature documentary Alias for the Independent Film Channel this falland she recently joined iThentic as the Director of Short Film Acquisitions for their digital channel.

Read an interview with Michelle by clicking here.

HOW TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY (directed by Therese Shechter)

After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $36K, Therese and the Trixie Films crew will be spending the summer finishing the edit of her film.  She  just returned from the Reel Change Workshop, an audience engagement boot camp, and is putting all her new-found knowledge to use designing the film’s outreach strategy. She continues to write the blog, curate First Person, and figure out what the heck to do with Pinterest.

Read a 2012 interview with Therese by clicking here and a 2010 interview by clicking here.

NICE & ROUGH: BLACK WOMEN IN ROCK (directed by Sheila J. Hardy)

My documentary about black women in rock is building the audience while we complete production.  We recently launched, a global community for black women in rock and their fans, and now we are about to launch the concert tour.  You can join us at, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.  To support this project, visit our Contribute page.

Read a guest post by Sheila by clicking here. (She was Her Film’s very first guest blogger!)

BIG VOICE (directed by Varda Hardy)

The film is in its last weeks of production and we are continuing to develop new relationships with various distribution companies, grantors, and donors who can propel us into post-production, which will begin in the second part of June.  We are in need of additional funds for our post production and are actively inviting sponsors/investors to come on board.  Read more about the film by clicking here and following @BigVoiceMovie.

Read an interview with Varda by clicking here.

INTERVIEW: Kate Kaminski of the Bluestocking Film Series


Kate Kaminski conceived the biannual Bluestocking Film Series — Films By Women — a screening event for women filmmakers.  She co-owns the DIY production company, Gitgo Productions, with partner Betsy Carson, and collaborates with the St. Lawrence Arts Center to bring women’s films to audiences in Portland, Maine.

Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

Her Film:  Your biannual film series is the only one in the world (as far as I know) to require films submitted for consideration to pass the now-famous Bechdel Test.  Can you talk about the importance of the Bechdel Test to you as a festival runner and what impact you see it having within filmmaking?

Kate Kaminski: The Bechdel Test is a crucial piece of the Bluestocking Film Series because as you point out, after the main requirement that the director of a film be a woman, we’re using it as the most basic criteria for entries.

When we set out on this journey a year ago, our motivation was that we really just wanted to see more films that explored women’s lives, our experiences, and our relationships with each other – separate from men. I’m not a big fan of commercial filmmaking in general because I’ve grown utterly bored by the male-centered POV that carries most films you would see at your local multiplex. Of course the Bechdel Test is deceptively simple and doesn’t guarantee a particularly female-positive slant nor does it make a film necessarily feminist.

In some ways, it’s proving to be way harder than I ever imagined it would be. I keep getting submissions from very worthy women directors and the films don’t pass. I can’t figure out if these submitters aren’t reading the “fine print” – though we try to put the Bechdel Test front and center wherever we advertise the BFS – or if they’re just hoping we’ll ignore it. It’s almost disheartening.

Filmmaker Betsy Carson. (Photo credit: Judy Beedle Photography) Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

I suppose I was a bit naïve to think a) that it would be cinch to get loads of woman-directed films that b) passed the Bechdel. That being said, I’m now digging in for the long haul and standing by my commitment to the test as a basic criteria – and, believe me, I’ve met with some pressure to jettison it. I’ve also had some very positive responses from women filmmakers about our using it as a basis for entry.

As far as the Bechdel Test having an impact within filmmaking, I would have to say, from what I see, the answer is…not so much. At least, not yet. Frankly, it’s not enough to make a film that passes the test unless the impetus is to express a deeper understanding of what the test implies about women’s stories and their importance to all of us. It’s my hope that the BFS will generate discussion – and production! – among women filmmakers – and maybe even spark a revolution. I’m all about a cinematic revolt in this country – for all genders, races, and beliefs.


HF:  Is the BFS for you part of a larger feminist engagement with the community and with women filmmakers?  How does the series specifically fit within your mission as an artist and/or as a female artist?

KK: It’s definitely about engaging with other women filmmakers. Living in Maine, my filmmaking partner (Betsy Carson) and I sometimes feel lonely and marginalized.

Production still from 20/20. (Photo credit: Judy Beedle Photography) Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

I don’t necessarily see the BFS as a vehicle for showing our own films, though I’m tempted to try to convince Betsy to make one with me specifically for the series. For me, the BFS is much more about going outside our little corner of the world and bringing back to our community woman-directed films that would otherwise never be seen and that also express the rich diversity of our experience as women. It’s not about excluding men – it’s about introducing women’s voices into the mix. Back in the 90’s we had a women’s film festival here and it didn’t last. There was also a Maine Women and Girls Film Festival but I don’t think they’re doing that anymore either. We’ll see how this goes. I choose to believe that we have an audience – that people of all genders are hungry for what we want to show them.

As far as feminism is concerned, I’m increasingly dismayed by the cultural shift away from that as a positive value, so, yes, it’s also about a feminist agenda. I would definitely like to see more women making films that express feminist ideas.

Still from the webseries "Willard Beach." (Photo credit: Judy Beedle Photography) Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

HF:  As you hold the biannual Bluestocking Film Series, what are you finding audiences’ reactions to the films to be?  And what types of audiences are you seeing? (i.e. are they diverse in race, gender, class, age, etc.?)

KK: Well, we’ve only had one screening – last October – so our track record is short. But the audience last October was amazing. Very enthusiastic – very supportive – and we were only half a dozen seats away from completely sold out, so I’d say it was a rousing success, especially when you consider that we didn’t have a budget for advertising, etc.

The make up of the audience was young and old, women and men. But as far as racial diversity, you may not know that Maine is one of the “whitest” states in the nation. We are also a very poor state, economically, and not everybody has even the $5 we charged for that premiere screening. Unfortunately, we do have to raise the ticket price going forward, so it comes down to (literally) who can afford to shell out $10-15 for a “special event” like this – not everybody can do that.

Film poster for 20/20. (Poster design: Holly Valero) Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

As we move forward with the series, we’re discussing taking it on the road and traveling around the East coast with it. We’d also like to expand it ultimately to the internet, as an online festival – it kind of goes without saying that the online world offers incredible diversity both in the filmmakers and audience.


HF:  I’ve read perspectives on women’s film festivals that are both positive and negative, positive meaning that women’s film festivals provide a forum for women-made films, and negative because these festivals could be considered a type of “ghettoization” of women-made films.  As a filmmaker and festival runner, do you find yourself torn between these perspectives, or do you give credence to the negative perspective at all?

KK: To me, this idea of the ghetto is a patriarchal construct – let’s face it, one person’s ghetto is another person’s community so I’m actually fine with it regardless. And women’s film festivals level the playing field…at least theoretically.

BFS poster. (Poster design: Holly Valero) Image courtesy of K. Kaminski

HF:  The recent documentary film Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom on media representations and political involvement of women and girls has helped bring the phrase “You can’t be what you can’t see” to the fore.   Filmmakers whose films are selected for the BFS see their work shown to other women, so how do you see this interaction and engagement between and among women and women artists affecting what they consider to be possible?  In other words, do you see a broader consciousness shift happening to which the BFS may be contributing? 

KK: I think it’s absolutely critical to feel like you’re part of the “guild” of filmmakers, part of the craft and history of the art when you’re making films. And, by its nature, art is inclusive – but if you’re a woman making films about the experience of being female, it can seem like your work is “out of sync” with “what you see” [being made by mostly male filmmakers]. To be a small part of a bigger wave of “possibility” for women in the arts is exciting. I would dearly love to see a consciousness shift and if the BFS can contribute to that, it would be a beautiful thing.


The film entry deadline for the Spring 2012 Bluestocking Film Series is April 15.  The screening will be held on May 20, 2012.

To learn more about the BFS and to connect with this filmmaker, check out these links:

Website: Bluestocking Film Series

Website: St. Lawrence Arts Center’s BFS page

Facebook: Gitgo Productions

Twitter: @GitGoProd

Webseries: Willard Beach (by Kate Kaminski and Betsy Carson)