Women filmmakers bring a dynamic range of topics and points of view to the 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival this year. Forty full-length narratives, documentaries and short films directed by women will be featured, making up a third of this year’s offerings. In addition there are three female focused panels, as well 2 female actors featured in the Actors Dialogue.
The North American premiere of Bette Gordon’s The Drowning, comes to the festival with an all-star cast, several of whom will attend the screening. A successful filmmaker since the 1970s, Gordon has remained a driving force in an industry dominated by men, making her own mark exploring themes of sexuality, violence and power. She teaches filmmaking at Columbia University.
Paint it Black , directed by first-time director Amber Tamblyn, is a study in grief from the points of view of youth and age, handled with the subtle finesse of a poet, which Amblyn also rightfully claims as the author of three books of poetry. This is the East Coast Premiere for the film. Tamblyn is well known as an award-winning actress for her television and film work, including leads in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Joan of Arcadia. Her most recent best seller “Dark Sparkler” (Harper Perennial), explores the lives and deaths of child star actresses and features artwork from such luminaries as Marilyn Manson and David Lynch.
The World Premiere of Women of Maidan, directed by Olha Onyshko, bears witness to how ordinary women in the Ukraine became the sustaining heart of the fight against a corrupt regime to win a better future for their children.The struggle, now known as the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014, is a stirring meld of generations, striving toward a free Ukraine. On the last Saturday of November 2013, documentary filmmaker Olha Onyshko received a tearful phone call from her mother in Ukraine, saying “the girls on the square were beaten so badly.” Onyshko left home and family in Bethesda, MD, and returned to the Ukraine to capture the historic moment and stayed for much of the political backlash, forming the core of “The Women of Maidan”. Onyshko captured the nonviolent resistance against brutal government forces, the musical pleas for peace, and Ukrainian people’s unconditional ability to bond and endure.
MARATHON: The Patriots Day Bombing, directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg tackles the personal aftermath of the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, following the lives of innocent victims recovering physically and psychically. The directors walked purposefully into the darkest moments of torn lives and compassionately captured the heroic journeys of ordinary Americans in extraordinary circumstances.
This is just a sample of the high-impact topics addressed by women filmmakers showing their work this year at Woodstock.
The festival has a long reputation of nurturing both accomplished and emerging women directors. Whether filming from the heart of the Ukrainian uprising or exploring the history of recorded music in America, the work of these women defy any gender categorization other than “fiercely independent.”
More than a dozen women directors will be on hand to introduce their work, discuss current trends in the industry and compete for awards, including the fourth annual Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award for Best Female Feature Director.
As an aside, of all of the films screening this year, 90 percent of the filmmakers will attend in person and present their work.
Catherine Hardwicke will present this year’s master class “Fix it in Prep” at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Kleinert James Arts Center in Woodstock. Hardwicke won the director’s award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and went on to award-winning success at numerous additional international film festivals in the ensuing years. She is best known as the director of the blockbuster film Twilight.
Directors coming to Woodstock will take part in two outstanding panels.
*Women in Film and Media takes place at 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Kleinert James Arts Center in Woodstock. The panelist discuss how women are gaining ground this year in an industry traditionally dominated by men. The panelists, who are accomplished in their field, will illuminate what has changed and what remains the same for women entering the field. Moderated by Thelma Adams with Bette Gordon, Mary Stuart Masterson, Catherine Hardwicke, and Amber Tamblyn.
*Insiders and Outsiders: Feminism in the Middle East, slated for 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Kleinert James Arts Center, brings together a panel of female artists, academics and activists from, or working in, the Middle East to discuss the rising tide of feminism that’s changing the conversation in the region. Feminists have made progress but face opposition, sometimes violent. The panel will have a frank conversation about how things have been, and where, with continued accessibility, they may be going. Moderated by Dr. Holly Shaw with Martina Radwan, Olga M. Davidson, Lina Qadri, Viki Ausender, and Jen Heck.
Woodstock Film Festival’s 2016 films made by women are:
ABC of TRAVEL,THE, directed by Signe Baumane-WORLD PREMIERE
ADAM, directed by Evelyn Jane Ross
BABY TEETH, directed by Stephanie Ellis-NEW YORK PREMIERE
CACOPHONY, directed by Melody Aihsuan Shih
COOKIES, directed by Leah Shore
DROWNING, THE, directed by Bette Gordon-NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
GET IN THE WAY: THE JOURNEY OF JOHN LEWIS, directed by Kathleen Dowdey-NEW YORK PREMIERE
GIRL FLU, directed by Dorie Barton-EAST COAST PREMIERE
HALFWAY TO ZEN, directed by John Adams and Toby Poser-WORLD PREMIERE
HE, SHE, directed by Maia Liebeskind
HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, directed by Wendy Seyb
KIVALINA, directed by Gina Abatemarco-EAST COAST PREMIERE
MARATHON: THE PATRIOTS DAY BOMBING, directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
MARQUIS, directed by Maya Suchak
MONSTER IN THE MIND, directed by Jean Carper-NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
MY FERAL HEART, directed by Jane Gull-EAST COAST PREMIERE
NASTY, directed by Prano Bailey-Bond
ONE DAY ON CARVER STREET, directed by Azure Allen-NEW YORK PREMIERE
OPERATOR, directed by Logan Kibens-EAST COAST PREMIERE
PAINT IT BLACK, directed by Amber Tamblyn-EAST COAST PREMIERE
PERFECT HOUSEGUEST, directed by Ru Kuwahata-NEW YORK PREMIERE
PICKLE, directed by Amy Nicholson
PLAY THE DEVIL, directed by Maria Govan-NEW YORK PREMIERE
POTATOES FOR PADO, directed by Joy Buran and Noelle Melody-WORLD PREMIERE
THE PROMISED BAND, directed by Jen Heck-NEW YORK PREMIERE
RAIN COLLECTOR, THE directed by Isabella Wing-Davey
REAL BOY, directed by Shaleece Haas-NEW YORK PREMIERE
REBEL CITIZEN, directed by Pamela Yates
SENSITIVITY TRAINING, directed by Melissa Finell-EAST COAST PREMIERE
SERENDIPITY: THE GENIUS BEHIND ELECTRIC LADY, directed by Alyssa DeRosa, Catherine Kaczor, and Meagan Sullivan
SPIRAL, directed by Tatum Lenberg-EAST COAST PREMIERE
STORY, THE, directed by Carolyn Pender and Cameron Dingwall-EAST COAST PREMIERE
STRIKING A CHORD: INSTRUMENTS OF HEALING, directed by Susan Rockefeller-NEW YORK PREMIERE
SUFFERING IS THE EASY PART, directed by Jaime Ekkens
THEY PLAYED FOR THEIR LIVES, directed by Nurit Jugend-WORLD PREMIERE
THIRSTY, directed by Margo Pelletier
TO KEEP THE LIGHT, directed by Erica Fae-NEW YORK PREMIERE
WAKE O WAKE, directed by Hilary Brougher-NEW YORK PREMIERE
WATER!, directed by Yi Zhong-NEW YORK PREMIERE
WOMEN OF MAIDAN, directed by Olha Onyshko-WORLD PREMIERE