#VIWIFF2015 Award Winners

Pauline Egan with the Legacy Awards trophy

Pauline Egan with the Legacy Awards trophy

The 2015 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is a wrap! It was a wonderful, five-day event filled with film screenings, workshops, parties and an award show.

Congratulations to all participating festival filmmakers for their magnificent work, many thanks to all sponsors, community partners, media partners, volunteers and organizers for the hard work and the social media shoutouts, which made all the difference!

The following awards were announced on Closing Night, March 8, at the Vancity Theatre. Continue reading

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#VIWFF2015 screening of Kay D. Ray’s Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz marks Canadian premiere of jazz doc

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Women instrumentalists have made major contributions to American jazz, and this film captures many of the lost stories, from the early 1920s to the 1970s, including the development of numerous all-female jazz ensembles. Join Peggy Gilbert, Marian McPartland, Carline Ray, Quincy Jones, Jane Sager and many others in this important remembering of our musical past.

Using historical photos, provocative and often wildly humorous interviews with musicians, big band leaders, jazz authors and historians, this textured film by documentarian Kay D. Ray from Seattle is balanced with rare recordings and forgotten footage, both television and film. Like the stories of those who made it, the music is always engaging, often uplifting, and sometimes heartrending.

Kay recently drove all the way from Seattle to drop off her film copy. We took the chance to ask her a few burning questions: Continue reading

Love, a tragicomedy –– Canadian rom-com Relative Happiness to premiere in Vancouver at #VIWIFF2015

Johnathan Sousa and Melissa Bergland

Johnathan Sousa and Melissa Bergland in Relative Happiness

The Nova Scotian rom-com Relative Happiness, directed by Deanne Foley, charmed festival audiences with its fabulous lead (Australian actress Melissa Bergland) and the right mix of humour and emotion. Bergland stars as Lexie, plus-sized and 30 years old, a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Co-starring as Lexie’s love interests are Aaron Poole (Strange Empire, The Animal Project) and Johnathan Sousa (The Animal Project, Rookie Blue). The film is based on the bestselling novel by Lesley Crewe.

Continue reading

Belgian short comedy Taxistop to screen at #VIWIFF2015

taxistop A5-200dpiOddly, comedy was a somewhat underrepresented genre in the years when I volunteered for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival programming committee. As a former story editor, I know how difficult it is to write and edit comedy and how unrewarding producing comedies can be – at least if you aspire to win any significant awards. The audience, however, tends to love comedies and for a festival programmer it is a welcome relief to watch a comedy now and then amongst a wide range of social and women’s issues films.

Belgium is a funny country per se. Did you know the tiny Western European nation with only 11 million inhabitants has three different official languages (Dutch/Flemish, French and German), three regional governments (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels-Capital), more than a dozen political parties and the dubious distinction of hosting Europe’s most traffic-congested cities? Continue reading

WIFTV 25th Anniversary Retrospective presents encore screening of Brishkay Ahmed’s daring doc Story of Burqa

burqa photo 2Afghan-Canadian director Brishkay Ahmed‘s daring tale of the origin and future of the burqa, a garment tied to the image of Afghanistan, was one of 17 films handpicked to celebrate the creativity of BC women filmmakers in a matinee retrospective on January 17 and 18. Continue reading

Q & A with screenwriter and former VIWIFF programmer Roslyn Muir

RoslynRoslyn Muir is a Praxis-award winning screenwriter, novelist, story editor and instructor, with a recently produced feature, The Birdwatcher, and two produced MOWs, Anatomy of Deception and Reluctant Witness, and a third in pre-production. She has a MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and is a member of the WGC and Women in Film + Television Vancouver. In fact, Roslyn was the festival programmer for four years.

We speak with Roslyn about her upcoming feature The Birdwatcher and her work as a writer. Continue reading

500 days without a shower – Documentary filmmaker Dianne Whelan preps her new adventure

Dianne Whelan with her 18-year old Jack Russell, Lily, on Granville Street. August 22, 2014. Photo by Katja De Bock

Dianne Whelan with her 18-year old Jack Russell, Lily, on Granville Street. August 22, 2014. Photo by Katja De Bock

If you’re experiencing the moviemaker blues it’s time to get inspired by local WIFTV member, journalist and photographer-turned-filmmaker Dianne Whelan. If you know Whelan’s former work, you’ll remember her expeditions to the Canadian Arctic and Mount Everest’s base camp, both turning into award-winning films.

“I made 55 days without a shower on Everest, and might break the record on the next project,” says Whelan, whose next expedition may well lead to 500 days in the dirt. “I’m trying to be the first person in history to do the [entire] Trans Canada Trail.”  Continue reading

Behind the bright façade – an African ménage à trois in Marie Kâ’s L’Autre Femme

 L'Autre FemmeWhat strikes one right away in this erotic tale written, directed and produced by Vancouver filmmaker Marie Kâ, are a wide pallet of bright colours and ubiquitous sunshine.

Clothing, interiors and street life really are that colourful in Dakar, the location for the story, said Kâ, who grew up in Senegal and studied film in France and the US. So much so that the set design and wardrobe teams did such a good job of setting up the shop window with some of the costumes that local women were coming onto the set to inquire about the clothes.

The story of Madeleine, who finds unconventional ways to get to terms with her husband’s new, young, second wife, did not strike Kâ as an unusual constellation.  Continue reading