Corresponding with International Women’s Day the 6th Annual Vancouver Women in Film Festival is back! Taking place between March 4-6th the festival combines a mix of short and feature length films as well as industry showcases, panels and pitching sessions. WIFF gives prospective female filmmakers and film lovers in general a chance to meet industry players and celebrate female achievement in a male dominated industry. The event is hosted by Women in Film and Television Vancouver and features the work of both experienced and first time directors. Here are some of my top picks:
Danishka Esterhazy’s Black Field kicks off the WIFF Friday night. The film has already won awards in 2010 including Best Canadian Feature at the Female Eye Film Festival. The story is a historical drama situated in the Canadian prairies during the 1870’s and has two sisters compete for the attention of a strange man who comes to live on their farm. While 19th century life in the prairies may not seem like your typical bout of cinematic amusement, the character development and tense interactions are sure to give this film an edge.
Madame Perrault’s Bluebeard
Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned folktale? This short film debuted earlier this year at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival (an international short film festival) in France. Although clocking in at a mere 6 minutes the film rehashes the classic folktale of Bluebeard written by Charles Perrault. The original story tells of Bluebeard, a French nobleman notorious for killing his wives. In AJ Bond’s new film Perrault’s wife finds his original ‘Bluebeard’ manuscript and imagines herself inside of his gruesome tale.
Oriana earns the distinction of being the festivals only animated feature. This 4 minute short is an adapted work by Kara Miranda Lawrence’s, who brings the popular Portuguese fairy tale “A Fada Oriana” to life. The film is about a young fairy who rather than watch over the forest she is asked to protect, becomes mesmerized with her reflection.
Cedar and Bamboo
One of the few documentaries screening at the WIFF this film delves into historical material through a very personal lens. Cedar and Bamboo features interviews with mixed heritage Canadians who speak about their family. The film specifically focuses on the untold story of interactions between new Chinese immigrants and Canada’s indigenous peoples on the West Coast. If you are interested in a personal take on history Cedar and Bamboo is for you!
This feature length film was also presented during the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2010. The story follows several generations of Iranian women trying to connect with each other far from their homeland. It is the first project for writer/director Naghmeh Shirkhan who shot the film in Vancouver. Shirkhan wanted women to have a large role in the creation of her film and as such hired people for their passion rather than experience, leading to first time actors in lead roles. The Neighbor has already scored high ratings among critics as it has traveled the film circuit.
For more information on show times or specific films and events at the WIFF check out their website.