Her.Stories: Women filmmakers in Abu Dhabi, Fact sheet on women in the U.S. film industry, Ava DuVernay, Little Miss Jihad and more

Women Filmmakers Perfect Roles in Abu Dhabi
at Gulf News

Women’s Leadership Fact Sheet: A Project of Women Leaders Count
“Women in the U.S. Film Industry” (Fall 2012 Report by the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)
Download the PDF report

Digital Hollywood Women highlight ‘What Women Want’
at Examiner.com

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course
Listen/read/watch at NPR

Seven Islands International Film Festival in Chennai; focuses on women in 2012*
at India Education Diary
*Good news!  My friend Stephanie Law’s short film, Little Miss Jihad (previously featured as a HF.Spotlight), has been invited to screen at Seven Islands! Congrats, Steph!

AWFJ To Present Special Awards To Women Directors At Cinema St. Louis SLIFF 2012
at We Are Movie Geeks

Women still a minority in film, figures show (in Canada)
at the CBC

Rehovot film festival to focus on women and religion
at Haaretz

‘Mrs. Judo’ Featured in U.N. Association Film Festival
at The Rafu Shimpo

Who will follow Rama Burshtein to the Oscars?
at Haaretz

Naples International Film Festival to host “Women Calling the Shots” panel on November 3
at the NIFF

The UK Jewish Film Festival: The Women To Watch Out For
at Female First

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Review: “Spork” (2010)

A Film by J.B. Ghuman Jr.

“Spork,” played by Savannah Stelin, is a 14 year old girl trying to fit in and survive junior high.  She has a lot of things stacked up against her.  And let’s be honest, junior high isn’t exactly a walk in the park.  She’s a hermaphrodite (the reason she is called Spork), has crazy ratty hair, is a social outcast, and to top it off the mean girls are out to get her.  She’s also being raised by her brother in a rundown trailer, and her mom is buried in the backyard because they couldn’t afford a proper burial.  Fortunately, Spork gets some help from her neighbor, “Tootsie Roll” (the hilarious Sydney Park), who tries to teach her some booty boppin’ dance moves.  They get a little creative with the help of the classic game twister.

First, and foremost, I was sucked into the movie by the awesome music.  I was transported back in time to a little dance club in our dinky Wisconsin town when I heard “Tootsie Roll.”  There are some fun dance scenes as well. The movie revolves around a dance competition that Tootsie Roll is sure to win until she injures her ankle.  She wants Spork to win so they devise a plan to get her to learn some dance moves.  Betsy Beyotch and her posse are her main competition and are after Spork for rearranging Betsy’s nose with a basketball.  I’m sure most of you have dealt with some Grade A Beyotches.  And luckily for us they usually get what is coming to them.

The core of the movie is about fitting in and being okay with being different.  Junior high can be a daunting time so I love that “outcasts” are shown as the truly cool people.  This is the first film I have seen from J.B. Ghuman Jr., and I am definitely hooked.  The film was fun and full of nostalgia that will have you dusting off your old CD’s to have a 90’s dance party.  Now if you’ll excuse me. . .I gotta go and bust a move.  “To the left, to the left, to the right, to the right, to the front, to the front, to the back, to the back, now dip baby dip, dip baby dip. . .”

Check out the Spork website here.

Follow the film on Twitter @SporkMovie and Facebook at /SporktheMovie.

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Lotus Wollschlager is the official Her Film movie reviewer.  Find her bio on the HF.Reviews page.

Her.Stories: Sexism rife in drama world, Aida Begic’s film chosen for Oscars, Gaylene Preston to direct NZ drama, Shola Lynch’s new doc

Gainesville Latino Film Festival Kicks Off, Produced by the Latina Women’s League
at Gainesville.com

Sharon Lawrence: “Listen to Your Own Heart and to Another Woman’s Story”
at the Huffington Post

Parade’s End director says sexism is still rife in drama world: Directors’ group to investigate after Cannes film festival snubs women for Palme d’Or prize
at The Guardian

Bosnia selects ‘Children’ for Oscar race: Aida Begic’s film premiered at Cannes
at the Chicago Tribune

‘The Headless Woman’ Director Lucrecia Martel To Return With ‘Zama’
at The Playlist

Patricia Riggen Directing Chilean Miners Film, The 33
at Women and Hollywood

Magnet Releasing Embraces Xan Cassavetes’ Erotic Vampire Film ‘Kiss of the Damned’
at Indiewire

Gaylene Preston to Direct New Zealand Earthquake Dramatic Series, Receives $5M from NZ on Air
at the New Zealand Herald

On Screen & On Scene: ‘Somewhere Between’ (documentary by Linda Goldstein Knowlton)
at Hyphen Magazine

 

S&A In Conversation: Shola Lynch Talks ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’
at Shadow and Act

Toronto: ‘Inch’Allah’ Director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette On Her Politically Charged Drama
at Indiewire

Audio: Behind the film Dreams Of A Life on Detour
at Triple R

New film: “The Light in Her Eyes” tells story of Muslim woman who teaches the Quran to women & girls

“A woman is a school. Teach her and you teach a generation.”

Muslim preacher Houda Al-Habash teaches women and girls the Quran at her mosque in Damascus, Syria, something she’s been doing for 30 years.  This is the story of “The Light in Her Eyes,” a new documentary film from Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix.  The film will be screening on September 19 in Austin, Texas, and will have several other screenings around the country this fall.  Take a look at the Screenings & Events page on the film’s website for dates, times and locations, or to host a screening yourself.

I missed the film’s premiere, unfortunately, as I was out of the country most of July.  Maybe some of you caught it on PBS on July 19?  If not, you can watch a trailer below, or just catch a screening in your town!

Check out an interview with Meltzer and Nix in The Austin Chronicle by clicking here.

Follow the film on twitter @lightinhereyes.
Read more about the film on the official website.

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

Bluestocking fall deadline extended to September 30!

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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 gitgoproductions@gmail.com. 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 gitgoproductions@gmail.com 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!

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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: