St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
by Sarah McLeod
The 22nd year was another successful one for the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF). Local, national and international broadcasters, producers, distributors, writers and other film industry professionals attended this internationally recognized event.
5-days of over 80 films made by women began with local love Deanne Foley’s homegrown debut feature Beat Down; a comedy about a determined young girl dreaming of becoming a professional wrestler and her father who stands in her way.
As well as films, SJIWFF offered workshops with award-winning filmmaker and former Sundance Programmer Roberta Munroe, pitching expert and author Mickey Rogers and script consultant and author Dr. Linda Seger; a conversation with writer, producer, actor, author and all-around delight Ingrid Veninger; and seminars, breakfasts, networking opportunities and receptions.
WIFT-Atlantic presented a sold-out screening of Sundance gem, Miss Representation, Jennifer Seibel Newsom’s smash-hit documentary which explores the effects of the media’s increasingly limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls. Audience members participated in a Q & A after the film moderated by filmmaker and newly elected NL MHA, Gerry Rogers (My Left Breast, Pleasant Street, Ferron:Girl On A Road) and featured special guests: Lynda Boyd, star of CBC’s Republic of Doyle; Newfoundland award winning producer-director Barbara Doran (Random Passage, Still Rowdy After These Years, Hard Rock & Water), formerly of Studio D at the NFB, University of Toronto Professor of Women’s Studies and Cinema Studies Kay Armatage and Natalie Beausoleil, body image expert and Associate Professor of Social Science and Health at MUN.
With so much packed into only one week, it’s inevitable that you will have to make some tough decisions about what to see and do at SJIWFF. However you choose to experience this outstanding festival, you are guaranteed to be inspired by the program, people and the city of St. John’s.
The 23rd St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival will take place October 16 – 20, 2012.
(As first appeared in Tidings Issue 14, Nov. 28, 2011)