Presenting the Female Eye Film Festival

April 15, 2016

What is the Female Eye film festival’s mission?

Our Mission is to showcase films directed by women.  We present high caliber, independent films in all genres directed by women.

Female Eye Film Festival

All the directors, and industry guests who participated in the 5th Edition Directors Round Table. Facilitated by Leslie – Ann Coles, FeFF Founder & Executive Director and Carol Whitman, President and CEO, Creative Women Workshops Association and Producer, The Women In The Director’s Chair (WIDC) program.

What role does your film festival play in supporting your film’s community?

We are competitive, we are one of the only international competitive women’s film festivals in the world.  We present awards for best films in all genres and we give prominence to women directors by providing an exclusive showcase for their work.

What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?

They look forward to the films, and to the industry sessions.  We have a really robust number of programs that are industry related so there is a lot of networking, formally and informally.  We bring out funders, producers, all kinds of people who work in the industry on different levels; it offers opportunities for other independents.  Although we are a women director’s film festival we also have a script development program that is open to both men and women.  We do have a large male audience, and we have a program whereby they’re involved.  Every year we present scripts that are written by men, the caveat is that the screenplays have to feature a female protagonist.  The initiative is really twofold; one is to show films directed by women to help dispel the myth, or the stereotype, that women create films for women audiences.  It would be like saying that men direct films for men.  The other is that we want to see women in key roles in the context of film.  In films the director is the person with the most creative control and we want to see more women presented on the big screen, not so much in a gratuitous roles or when they are on the arm of a lead male protagonist.  We find that women who direct films also tend to write them and they write roles for women that are complex. They’re not monochromatic or one dimensional characters, they are fully realized characters.  That’s what is really exciting about films that are directed by women.

Female Eye Film Festival

Imogen Whist, Volunteer , and emerging filmmaker

How long has your film festival been around?

We held our inaugural event in the fall of 2001. This is our 14th year; we missed one year due to other things going on outside of the festival.  We were doing a lot of community outreach and mentoring.

Female Eye Film Festival

Photographer, Anna Lupien. Her Photo Series of 52 Quebecois Women Directors was featured at the FeFF 2015 Photo Exhibit

How did your film festival come into being?

I’m a filmmaker and I had just finished a debut film, which I wrote, directed, and starred in. It was winning a lot of awards and it was screening in about 35 film festivals.  I was hitting the film festival circuit and I noticed that there weren’t a lot of women directors.  There were predominately male directors and it raised a question for me, and the question was,  are there so few women directors? Or are there films not getting programmed?  So that question begat the initial film festival.  It wasn’t supposed to be a film festival; it was just going to be 3 days of showing films directed by women.  We showed 42 films over the course of a weekend and then it just sort of happened, the next year I found myself launching an open call abroad to the international film community.  So here we are now, a 6-day film festival, competitive, and we still show films directed by women.

What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?

I want them to be entertained and engaged.  We want to show them films they will not necessarily see in the mainstream blockbuster cinemas.  I hope that they see some films that they can walk away from and say “Wow!”  We want to open their eyes to films that are directed by women, they’re are not all rom-coms and they’re not all what would be, (I hate the term,) ‘chick flicks.’  Our early tagline in the early years of the festival was ‘Female Eye Flicks Not Just For Chicks.’  Then it became, for the last 8 years, ‘Always Honest Not Always Pretty’ because those are the films that women tend to make.  One year we had a marketing person say, “How would you describe in one sentence, films directed by women,” and I said, “Well, are you talking about features, documentaries, animation, or what are you talking about,” and he said all genres.  So I said that they are always honest, but there not always pretty and that has been our tagline to this day.

Female Eye Film Festival

Melinda Barlow moderating the Best In The Biz Tribute to Kay Armature, recipient of “OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD” 2015

Anything else you’d like to tell the audience about your festival?

It is really accessible to everyone.  Our panels, workshops, script reading, all of our industry insensitive, and our best of the business tributes are all open to the public and free.  We really encourage cinephiles to come out and meet the directors and participate in the festival as much as possible.  We are very inclusive of the community at large, and I’m proud that we have been able to maintain that.

Check out the Female Eye Film Festival website.

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