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Women in Film Grant Winner Update July 2017

The Women in Film Seattle 2018 Professional Grant cycle has begun!

Submission deadline: November 30, 2017

The grant recipient will be announced The Second Tuesday, February 13, 2018, and will receive $1000 to support her project. Application and details for WIF Professional Members can be found here: http://womeninfilmseattle.org/grants.htm

Here’s a shout out to our last three incredible WIF Grant recipients:

2017 - Maryna Ajaja is in pre-production of her short, TOO MUCH HISTORY, a narrative film with Russian flavor. A mother and son breach the gateway to the Stalin era gulags, not knowing where their personal journey will take them.

2016 - Vlada Knowlton’s THE MOST DANGEROUS YEAR is a timely documentary about what it means to be born transgender. The film is in post-production.
A rough cut screened for the Washington Educators Association and received a standing ovation. Fundraising is ongoing; donations are tax deductible: https://www.themostdangerousyear.com

2015 - Rosalie Miller and Jo Ardinger are in post-production of their documentary PERSONHOOD, examining a widely unknown system of laws that treats pregnant women as an underclass, stripping pregnant women of nearly every constitutional right. Fundraising is ongoing and donations are tax deductible. http://personhoodmovie.com

Women in Film Seattle is so proud to sponsor these women and their work.

The idea for The Most Dangerous Year documentary emerged from a parents’ support group meeting and 2015 Anti-Transgender legislation. The film shows us the ugliness of ignorance and the result of a population being in the dark about transgender people. Our 2016 WIF Seattle grant award winner Vlada Knowlton shines a light on transgender kids.

Not so long ago, our society treated even left-handed people as abnormal and gay people as having a mental illness. We have become more enlightened as we mature as a society and this film seeks to continue to educate society and contradict myths surrounding what it means to be born transgender.

Shot mostly in 2016 and now in post-production, a rough cut was screened for the Washington Educators Association early this year. It received a standing ovation.

Fundraising is ongoing with an expected release date sometime in 2017. www.themostdangerousyear.com/donate/

Check here for more information about the Women in Film Seattle Professional Grant




The deadline for the Women in Film Professional Grant is November 30, 2017. Please go to the Grants page for information on how to apply »





For over a decade Women in Film has sponsored films at SIFF as a Community Partner. Here are some local films screening at SIFF that WIF members had a hand in.

Check here for more information as we get closer to the festival, and support your local filmmakers!

Lane 1974
USA, 2017, 80 minutes, director: SJ Chiro 
Based on Clane Hayward’s memoir “The Hypocrisy of Disco” and director SJ Chiro’s own experiences, this authentic diary of girlhood follows a 13-year- old whose 1970s communal life is upended as her mother moves them from one dubious situation to another.
Friday June 2 7:00 PM SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Saturday June 3 2:30 PM SIFF Cinema Uptown Theater

USA, 2017, 67 minutes, director: Webster Crowell World Premiere
THE STRANGER Genius Award-winner Webster Crowell blends live action with animated interludes for the deranged comedic adventures of Seattle’s little-known protectors, The Department of Municipal Rocketry, whose hardware, uniforms, and mission haven’t changed since the Great Depression. World Premiere (d: Webster Crowell c: Alycia Delmore, Basil Harris, Christopher Dietz, Ian Fraser, Ben Laurance, USA 2017, 66 min)
Thursday May 25 7:00 PM SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sunday May 28 3:30 PM Shoreline Community College
Monday June 5 4:00 PM SIFF Cinema Uptown Theater

NW Connections Shorts
From dancing to deviltry, this diverse array of local shorts puts the breadth of our talented film-making community on full display.
Sunday May 28 - SIFF Cinema Uptown




It’s Post Alley Film Festival’s 10th Edition on Saturday, March 25 and as with every year we have found exceptional, provocative, well-crafted, dramatic and funny films from around the block and around the world by creative women filmmakers. PAFF is a full day of short films - some have won many awards and critical acclaim, some have not been seen in America, some will premiere here at PAFF. All have something to say, all are ready to enthrall an appreciative audience.

PAFF is a boutique festival that prides itself on finding great short films and attracting talented filmmakers. Short film festivals are a proving ground of sorts, a fertile place to plant a seed that grows into a bigger idea and becomes a full fledge movie. Filmmakers can float an idea or belief and hone their talent with a well-crafted short. Dozens of our filmmakers have gone on to creating features, and we get to herald them on PAFF’s facebook page. www.facebook.com/PostAlleyFilmFestival/

This year we have 30 films from 16 countries, PAFF is served up in 7 thematic sections:
BEGINNINGS & ENDINGS, FAMILY AFFAIRS, DOCS ROCK, TOUGH BABES; HARD LIVES, MS ELLANEOUS, and CRUSH. A full schedule is here: www.postalleyfilmfestival.com 

TICKETS: www.siff.net/cinema/visiting-programs/post-alley-film-festival

We have amazing silent auction items to bid on and a raffle to benefit WIF and PAFF 2018:
PAFF is NOT in the Alley where it was born in 2003 so don't get confused. It’s at SIFF Film Center, Seattle Center, USA on March 25, 11am to 7:30pm. Reception until 9pm.
Like us please! www.facebook.com/PostAlleyFilmFestival/

To raise funds for PAFF 2018 we have a cornucopia of silent auction items donated by: MoPop, SAM, On the Boards, Seattle International Film Festival, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Grand Central Baking Company, Elliot Bay Book Company, Elson Cellars, Beneath the Streets, Chinook Books, Norwest Film Forum, Herloom, GlassyBaby, and more. We also have a fun raffle.

Women in Film and Post Alley Film Festival send a big thank you to our sponsor friends who offer cash awards for PAFF filmmakers:
Bad Animals Seattle: Audience Award http://badanimals.com
Canine Productions: Best Comedy, Emerging Filmmaker www.canineproductions.com
VonPiglet Productions: Best Director www.vonpiglet.com
Laughing Dog Pictures: Curator’s Pick http://laughingdogpictures.com

…and our sponsors Women in Film Seattle, Knordic Productions, and Laughing Dog Pictures. Thank you SIFF Cinema, our hosting venue at SIFF Film Center.

See you at the movies!



How Ava DuVernay's 'Queen Sugar' Is Boosting Female Filmmakers

by Michael O'Connell, www.hollywoodreporter.com

"Television is where I'm seeing brave storytelling," says the director as she explains why she chose to follow up 2014's Oscar-nominated 'Selma' with a cable drama on OWN (and Oprah's influence on her decision).

Ava DuVernay can't stop fiddling with the lights. She's in a production trailer on the New Orleans set of Queen Sugar, her new family drama for OWN, waiting for a flash thunderstorm to pass so she can finish shooting the last scene for the 13th and final episode of the show's first season. But the lighting in the trailer has her noticeably annoyed. "This is awful," she says, flipping off the fluorescent overheads and switching on a couple of vanity lamps. "Just horrible." She looks up. "This isn't bothering you?"

These days, DuVernay wears so many hats: writer, producer, distributor, activist it's easy to forget that she is first and foremost a director. Even for a print interview, the lighting must be just so.

Queen Sugar, about siblings who inherit a sugarcane farm in contemporary Louisiana, one of the only shows on television helmed entirely by female directors, is something of an unexpected follow-up for a filmmaker of DuVernay's stature. After all, her most recent major project, 2014's civil rights movement film Selma, was nominated for a best picture Oscar (a first for a film directed by a black woman) as well as a Golden Globe (the same) and made the former publicist who once pitched movies for Steven Spielberg and Michael Mann, an in-demand filmmaker. Once you reach those heights, a basic cable drama (on a network better known for Tyler Perry soaps) starring three relatively unknown actors (Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe) hardly seems the logical next step. But then, it's hard to say no to Oprah Winfrey.

"She was the only person I ever had to convince to come to Maui," recalls Winfrey of DuVernay. After production had wrapped on Selma, the film's executive producer and supporting actress invited her director to take a break at her Hawaiian vacation home. Left to her own devices, DuVernay would have dived right into the editing bay. "I know that if you don't give yourself time to be with yourself, then you end up imploding," says Winfrey. "I've been in that imploded stage." Before long, the two friends were sitting on the porch of her tropical farmhouse. That's when Winfrey slyly slipped DuVernay a copy of Natalie Baszile's 2014 novel Queen Sugar, hoping it might appeal to DuVernay for a small-screen adaptation. "Coming out of Selma, I just wanted people in the here and now," says DuVernay of the book's pull. "I saw a lot of echoes between the novel and my own life."

Of course, DuVernay does have big-screen projects in the works, too. After passing on a directing offer for Marvel's Black Panther tentpole, "It just wasn't the right alchemy for me," she says, she signed on for Disney's long-gestating spin on the young adult classic A Wrinkle in Time. The fantasy, which centers on a young girl traversing the universe in search of her lost father, will make DuVernay the first woman of color to direct a film with a budget north of $100 million. And shortly after Queen Sugar's Sept. 6 premiere, the director will release The 13th, a documentary about America's mass incarceration rates (it opens at the New York Film Festival before streaming on Netflix). And then she's back to Queen Sugar, which was granted a preemptive second season renewal in early August.

Still, DuVernay is no stranger to episodic television. In fact, she credits her first TV job, a 2013 episode of ABC's Scandal, as a turning point in her career. Says Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, who caught wind of DuVernay's work after her 2012 Sundance win for feature debut Middle of Nowhere: "I really wanted to have women directors and directors of color, really just different people doing our shows. Because if you only hired people who directed television before, that's really just a giant list of white men."

From there, DuVernay recalls, offers began flooding in. "So I know what one episode of television can do for someone who hasn't had it before," she says. The medium's power to change viewers' attitudes as well as launch new careers, is one of the reasons DuVernay decided to focus her energy there rather than jump right into her next film, as other hot new directors would. "Television is where I'm seeing brave storytelling," she says. "Certainly I'm seeing the most inclusive storytelling."

It's a far more inclusive medium behind the camera, as well, which is how Queen Sugar ended up being helmed entirely by women, most of whom never had directed for TV before. The show already is turning into something of a Hollywood pipeline: Six of its novice directors have booked TV gigs off their experience on the show (see sidebar). And it's not the first time DuVernay has gone to bat for female filmmakers. She founded independent distributor Array in 2010 to get films made by women and people of color in front of bigger audiences. "It's paramount to me and the people who are like me that their films get seen," she says. "The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag doesn't end when you guys stop reporting on it."

Not surprisingly, the directors DuVernay has hired for Queen Sugar are an intensely loyal and highly motivated lot. "People tell me this show, a female-led and minority-led show, on camera, behind the camera and in the writers room is a unicorn," says Tina Mabry, who has directed two episodes (and before that released her 2009 feature, Mississippi Damned, through Array). "But for me, the goal now is that this not be a unicorn. Let's tear off the damn horn and make it a horse."

DuVernay is more cautious when talking about how her first TV show will be received by audiences. In a climate where melodramas like Empire, Scandal and Power thrive by ending each episode with a cliffhanger, she likens the slower burn of Queen Sugar to Mad Men and Six Feet Under. "I don't know how this is going to be received in the context of current shows with African-American protagonists," she says, having finally found agreeable lighting and now fiddling with the controls of the production trailer's wheezing air-conditioning unit. "We're just watching these women, and that's fantastic. But will that be allowed for black characters?"

Winfrey thinks she knows the answer. "I'm telling you," she promises, "black Twitter is gonna blow up."


Bye Bye Krisha,
the Movie, not
the Woman

Editorial by Virginia Bogert

A new Seattle International Film Festival season begins and it reminded me that only a year ago Krisha Fairchild was in Seattle with the screening of a film that had audiences squirming in their seats awaiting the train wreck that was Krisha to unfold. It may seem strange to write about a film that was here a year ago, but I do this because I’m acknowledging its amazing trajectory and specifically the female lead. This stunning eponymous film is nearing the end of its theatrical release and what I love about this film most is that it starred my colleague/friend from long time passed.

For back story’s sake, here’s a tiny capsule of Krisha Fairchild’s CV. She didn’t get much acting work in LA, moved to Seattle, got a bunch of acting gigs in “corporate image shows” (my preferred label for “Industrials”); much of that work was elevated by her talent, like the S&M parody of Wheel of Fortune, the media production agency I worked for concocted circa 1990. No really, there were masks and whips involved - yes, and a lot of body-hugging black leather. This is however a tale for another day.

Krisha also got many gigs doing fairly lucrative voiceover work because she has that gift. You can tell the moment she utters a word. (Lots happened in between here.) Then she wound up moving to Hawaii with a beau and never made me the necklace she promised, a hobby of hers, putting together bits and icons on a necklace that told a story about the person wearing it. Not that I hold a grudge or anything, but she still owes me. (More happened in between here.) I lost track of her, learned she moved to Mexico where she now resides, and the next thing I heard was a movie by her name was storming festivals.

Things happen not exactly when you want them to but when they are meant to, I guess. I say that because that’s the philosophical BS we opine, because how else can you explain that it took a lifetime for Krisha Fairchild to become a star? But here’s what I love most now - spoiler alert this is about praise of older women - what I love most is that Krisha has become a star as a woman of a certain age. She is rich with history of life and it seeps from every pore and onto the screen. She is a triumph.

The writer/director of Krisha is her nephew Trey Edward Shults, who also plays her estranged son in the film. Is that what it takes - a family member to recognize a human treasure trove and create an extraordinary unforgettable authentic character? It certainly takes an incredible actor like Krisha to play a woman who carries the baggage of mental instability, addiction and hurt, a character so unlike the real Krisha.

I thank the talented Trey Shults and his family and the other gifted actors for this film, and all writers who craft these rich and beautiful characters; directors who partner with complex female actors; and producers who have the brains and guts to help tell stories like this one: a story anchored by a woman who is decades past her twenties or thirties.

Krisha hasbeen heralded as a tour de force, won the Grand Jury prize at SXSW 2015 and a boatload of other awards and nominations. Trey Shults won the coveted John Cassavetes Award in 2016 at the Independent Spirit Awards. Check out the film’s many glowing reviews. You may have to wait until it’s delivered over the whateversphere, however, do see this film. But first, screw your courage to the sticking place.

A little more about Krisha and Krisha:


The Greatest Films Directed By Women

From Apocalypse Now: 50+ interesting folks give their top 10 choices

Criminally unfair.

Those are the two words that spring to mind when I consider the fate of female directors throughout the short history of the cinematic medium. Not enough opportunity. Appalling sexism. Terrible chance and circumstances, coupled with biases, slander and mistrust. When I began asking for these lists from all the critics below many replied reluctantly. Their reasoning that so many of their films would be modern, that so many of the classics would be homogenous, is not without justification. But it's no one's fault that we all fall back on the same seven classics. It's a worldwide shortage of support and funding for female artists. It's a lack of distribution of more esoteric work by women. It's many major film industry's refusal to hire women. It's a system of neglect and disenfranchisement that can only be called criminally unfair. But that's not what this poll is about. It's about celebrating work by brilliant, unique voices in cinema. It's about encouraging viewers who recognize some of these titles to seek out the rest. It's about reiterating that some of the greatest art of all time is made by fearless, amazing women who deserve more opportunity, more gratitude and more support in whatever form we can give it. So without further ado, here are some of the best films of all time as chosen by some of our most amazing critical minds. If you haven't seen them, get watchin'. Everyone was asked for ten, but a few of us cheated. 

Find the lists (with some very familiar movie titles), and the contributors of those lists here:

For a video of the most popular films, go here:

Reprinted from www.punkeinfilm.blogspot.com

NOTE from WIF editor: I wish the names of these women directors had also been listed as a reminder. All these names must become well known in the lexicon of filmmaking.