Does your film pass the Bechdel Test? Submit it now to the Bluestocking Film Series!

Bluestocking fall deadline extended to September 30!


The deadline for the fall Bluestocking Film Series screening event has been officially extended to September 30. The screening will take place on October 28th.

Interested filmmakers will find all other rules and regs spelled out under our WAB listing and are encouraged to use WAB for entries where we accept rolling submissions. However, we will also accept films submitted as outlined below. Please note that films submitted through WAB receive a discounted entry fee of $15 – the fee for films submitted otherwise is $20.

We are willing to waive fees under certain circumstances. If you would like to inquire about fee waivers, please email us at Please note that online screeners must be available for us to consider fee waivers.

Click to submit your film via Withoutabox! 

Guidelines for Submission:

==> Short films of all categories not exceeding 45 minutes in length will be considered. We prefer shorter films – in the 10 minutes or less range.

==> The director of the film must self-identify as a woman and any co-director must also be a woman.

==> The film must pass the ‘Bechdel Test for Women in Movies (FMI, click link below). We are most interested in fiction films that portray women as complex, intelligent human beings.

==> If not submitting through WAB, your submission fee of $20 must be included with your screener (checks made out to: Gitgo Productions). To pay submission fee via Paypal with credit card, please email for instructions.

Submissions will be accepted on DVD (Region 0 or 1) by mail to Gitgo Productons, 161 Fort Rd., South Portland, Maine 04106.

Again, the new extended deadline for submissions is September 30, 2012 for the October screening. We look forward to seeing your film!


Cross-posted with permission.

The Bechdel Test: get to know it!

Never heard of the Bechdel Test?

Heard of it, but don’t know exactly what it is?

It’s about movies. And women. And what they talk about. And to whom.  But watch the video below to get a full explanation!

The inspiration, author and cartoonist Alison Bechdel:

File:Alison Bechdel at Politics and Prose.jpg

Check out this video from Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian which brilliantly explains what the test is and why it’s important.

Also, be sure to take a look at the Bechdel Test Movie List site to see which films do and do not pass.  You can even submit your own reviews of films!

Frozen River (2008), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), The Descent (2005) and Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994) are a few Bechdel Test-passing films I like.

Which are some of your favorite movies that pass the Bechdel Test?

Have you MADE a film that passes the test?  Send me a link to your website!

‘Wadjda’ by Haifaa Al Mansour, first film made by Saudi woman and first film made in the KSA

Wadjda is a new film by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first Saudi woman filmmaker.  She is writer and director of the film.  To add to the enormous responsibility of representation she now carries, the film is also the first to be filmed completely inside Saudi Arabia.  While movie theaters are illegal in the country, producers have stated they plan to distribute it through “DVDs and TV channels” (Telegraph). You can watch two clips of the film below.

I’ve been excited about this film since I read about earlier this week, and am looking forward to seeing it (somehow, some day).  It screened at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, and has received quite a bit of press.  Check out the links below for more articles on Al Mansour, plus this week’s Her.Stories post.

From Al Mansour’s “Director’s Statement”:

I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia where there are many girls like Wadjda who have big dreams, strong characters and so much potential. These girls can, and will, reshape and redefine our nation. It was important for me to work with an all-Saudi cast, to tell this story with authentic, local voices.  (Read more.)

Have you see the film?  It’s a Saudi Arabia-Germany production, with most of the crew being German, but Al Mansour still had to deal with the exigencies of directing as a woman in Saudi Arabia where gender separation is required.  Without being able to direct the male cast or work with the male crew face to face, what did she do?  Worked from a van and used a walkie talkie.

Wadjda screened at La Biennale on August 31 and September 1.  Visit the film’s page on the festival’s website.

Watch an interview with Al Mansour at the Doha Film Institute’s website.

Read a review of Wadjda in Variety.

Watch clips from the film:


Her.Stories: First Saudi woman filmmaker, Julie Dash’s ‘Tupelo ’77’, Detropia, Mollywood, Telluride, Baghdad, TIFF, Abortion Rights Trilogy

Woman beats the odds to make first Saudi film
at Arab Times

First Saudi Female Director, Haifaa Al Mansour and her Film ‘Wadjda’ in Venice (with video interview)
at Euro News

Julie Dash’s 1970s-Set Drama ‘Tupelo 77’ Gets A Boost – Selected For International Financing Forum
at Shadow and Act

What Can Detroit Teach the Nation? Heidi Ewing on Detropia
at the Huffington Post
(Read Lotus’s recent review of DETROPIA.)

Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman’s Taking The Abortion Rights Trilogy on the Road
at OpEd News

‘Battle of the Sexes’ docu portrays women’s fight for equal pay in sports
at the Chicago Tribune

Amma Asante’s ‘Belle’ Moving Full Speed Ahead, Adds To Cast, Shooting Start Date Set
at Shadow and Act

The rising matriarchs of Mollywood (Malayalam film industry)
at DNA India

New Zealand Film Commission Shorts Films Announcement
at Wellywood Woman

First Look Pic, Official Synopsis For South African Thriller ‘Layla Fourie’ Starring Brit Rayna Campbell
at Shadow and Act

3-time Oscar-winner Thelma Schoonmaker wins 2nd Gucci award for women in film for ‘Hugo’
at The Washington Post

TIFF 2012: Female filmmakers in Toronto spotlight
at the Toronto Star

Women Filmmakers Ready to Rock Toronto
at the Huffington Post

TIFF Programer dishes on film roles for women, George Clooney and saying no at CityTV
at CityTV

Baghdad International Film Festival Selections + Arab Women Filmmakers Competition

La Femme Telluride
at Awards Daily

Venice: ‘Fill The Void’ Looks At Hasidic Community (film by Rama Burshtein)
at the Huffington Post

Labor Day 2012: Women’s labor in the movies

It’s Labor Day here in the U.S., and while it’s a day that never held a particularly strong significance for me growing up (because like most kids, I was happy that it was the first day off of school after the beginning of the new school year), as an adult, I’ve come to understand it as something quite significant.  Although American Labor Day provides a day off of work for many people which is often filled with barbecues, family get-togethers, big sports games, or even powwows and other festivals, its history holds quite a profound importance, and the struggle to represent labor holds enormous benefits for most people.

American Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 and became a national holiday in 1894, celebrated on the first Monday of September every year.  Like most countries, labor has played a major role not only in politics, but in the business world here in the U.S.  Because of organized labor action, we have the eight hour work day, the right to organize unions, on the job safety standards, and much more, including organizing actions surrounding domestic workers.  These are results of labor action – and continued labor actions – which affect the daily lives of American workers.  One of America’s most famous labor organizers is a woman by the name of Mary Harris Jones (called “Mother Jones”), an Irish-born woman who co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World, helped mineworkers to organize, and was at one time called “the most dangerous woman in America.”

We see labor everywhere – on commercials, on sitcoms (often domestic comedies which incorporate housework – washing dishes, picking up after the kids, picking kids up from school, making dinner), and on hour-long dramas (often workplace dramas, most popularly medical or law enforcement – doing surgery, dealing with a patient’s death, nabbing the bad guy, doing a stakeout).  Through film, though, there can be more of an exploration of labor and the types of labor that we provide.  It can be a theme of a film in a way that it can’t (or can, but with difficulty) be a theme of an ongoing series.

This Labor Day, I want to honor some films from my own life which I feel celebrate, explore, and represent the labor of women in its many forms.  Sometimes it’s domestic, sometimes it’s on-the-job, sometimes it’s political.  In doing this, I like to think I’m not only honoring these films as important contributions to the discussion of women’s labor, but also as important contributions by filmmakers.  (Along the lines of domestic work, my friend, Marian Evans, of the fantastic Wellywood Woman blog and podcast, has recently started a project of her own on Pinterest called “Keeping an Eye on ‘The Washing'” in which she explores how the act of doing laundry is represented in writers’ and artists’ work, and how it affects their lives.  Visit the project here.)

What are some of your favorite (or even not so favorite) films that show women’s labor?

What do you think the best women’s labor film of all-time is?

Leave a reply below!

Norma Rae (1979) explores the struggle for a small town to organize a labor union for its textile workers.  Sally Field plays “Norma Rae,” a single mother who takes it upon herself to work with a union organizer from New York to persuade her fellow workers in the local textile mill to stand up for their rights and to demand protections, which can only be achieved by organizing a union.  The most famous scene from the film, and perhaps the most powerful, is when Norma Rae storms onto the floor of the plant where she, her aging father, and most of her friends have worked all their lives, writes “union” on a piece of cardboard and stands up on one of the tables.  She slowly turns around, showing the sign to all workers on the floor, as her bullying and union-busting bosses stand around her ready to haul her off the floor.  Slowly, but surely, Norma Rae’s fellow workers begin to shut off their machines in support of organizing a union.  Even writing this is making me tear up, and it’s one of a very few scenes in any movie that never fails to make me cry.  (Not to ignore the domestic side of the film, the story also shows how difficult Norma Rae finds it to balance her union organizing work, her day job in the mill, and her homelife where she has a lot of demands placed on her by her kids as well as her boyfriend, played by Beau Bridges.)

Waitress (2007) is written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly.  It tells the story of “Jenna,” played by Keri Russell in what I think is her best role ever.  She’s a master pie-maker, and serves tables in a diner in a small town with two of her best friends (one of whom is played hilariously by Shelly).  With an abusive and domineering husband at home, who controls her every move, she suddenly finds herself unhappily pregnant.  Unsure of her life – she wants to leave it all behind – she ends up having an affair with her doctor, played by the awesome Nathan Fillion (who is also married).  Faced with a crisis of conscience, she’s able (with some urging by the late, great Andy Griffith who plays a regular in the diner), to face her fears head-on and make the best decision for her and her newborn baby girl.  I like this film not only because it’s wonderfully written; not only because it stars Shelly (who I fell in love with when I first saw Hal Hartley’s masterpiece, “Trust”); not only because it’s funny, sweet, sad and painful, but because it mixes both “workplace” and “domestic” work.  Jenna does very domestic work – she’s the resident pie-maker (and invents some outrageous flavors, and everyone loves her pies – but she does it outside of the home.  There have been many films that deal with the lives of waitresses, but rarely, if ever, have I seen a film that does it so respectfully.

(Note: following the murder of Adrienne Shelly in 2006, her husband, Andy Ostroy, founded the wonderful Adrienne Shelly Foundation which is dedicated to helping women filmmakers. Visit the Foundation.)

Household Saints (1993) is directed and co-written by Nancy Savoca, and based on the novel by Francine Prose.  The film follows three generations of Italian-American women in New York – the mother-in-law of Tracey Ullman (married to Vincent D’Onofrio), Tracey Ullman herself, and Ullman and D’Onofrio’s daughter, played by Lili Taylor.  It’s based both in the home and on the job (D’Onofrio works in a butcher shop).  Taylor’s character is followed from a young age; she is a girl who becomes very religious and enamored of the “Little Flower,” St. Therese of Lisieux, who was a devout Catholic who died at quite a young age.  Taylor commits to prayer and a life of domestic service, both activities which consume her life.  At one point, her parents fear she may be having a mental breakdown and she ends up in a hospital where she does her best to continue to give her life in service.

Jane Eyre is a story written by Charlotte Brontë which has been adapted time and time again for the big screen (and is one of my favorite stories).  Its most recent adaptation, directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Mia Wasikowska (as “Jane”) and Michael Fassbender (as “Rochester”), was released in 2011.  Jane is a young girl who is being raised by her aunt, a woman who despises her and favors her own children over Jane, despite the fact they constantly torment and bully Jane.  She is soon sent off to a cruel situation at a boarding school from which she eventually graduates, then moves on to a role as a governess for a dour yet aggressive man, Mr. Rochester, who cares for a young ward, the daughter of a former friend of his.  Needless to say, Rochester is quickly won over by Jane, with whom he falls in love, but there are a number of twists!  Throughout the film we witness Jane in her daily activities with Adele (the young ward), as well as with Rochester, who demands her presence during most of his activities as he wants to be near her.  Jane’s life is filled with quite a bit of silence and down time in the large, virtually empty house – this was her job, like it or not, filled with satisfaction or not.  During the time period, being a governess was one of a very few jobs for women, and it was a highly circumscribed position.

The Huffington Post did a piece on the “7 Best Working Women Movies,” which focuses on the workplace.  Take a look at the story and clips here.