That’s the consensus from a conversation with Judy Laster, founder of the Woods Hole Film Festival (WHFF), which kicks off on Cape Cod next week, marking its 20th year as a showcase for independent films by first-time and (especially) New England filmmakers.
Laster says this year’s selections include lots of documentary films made by women, such as “Circus Dreams” by Vermont director Signe Taylor, “Windfall” by Laura Israel, “Connected” an “autoblography” by Tiffany Shlain about love, death and technology, and “We Still Live Here (Âs Nutayuneân)” by the prolific and award-winning director/writer/producer Anne Makepeace.
There are also several short films by women on the schedule, and Laster says more women are submitting scripts for the festival’s screenplay competition.
For the second consecutive year the festival’s filmmaker in residence is a woman, Heidi Ewing, the Academy Award nominated director/producer behind the documentaries “Freakonomics”, “Jesus Camp” and “12th & Delaware”.
The WHFF will also feature a retrospective of the animation of Karen Aqua, the award-winning independent animated filmmaker who died last month after a ten year battle with cancer.
Finally, out of the ten narrative features that will screen at Woods Hole this year three are by women, including “Losing Control” by Harvard alum Valerie Weiss, “As If I Am Not There” by Juanita Wilson, and “Stranger Things” by Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal.
“That’s probably more than we’ve ever had,” Laster said. “I still think feature films are still more of a male domain, maybe because the system directors come up in is more geared towards men. It’s harder for women to get experience directing, so maybe they don’t direct as many shorts and don’t go on to direct as many features.”
Laster believes there are fewer barriers for women to making successful documentaries, but she adds that these days getting from script to screen is a challenge for any filmmaker, regardless of gender or genre.
The 20th annual Woods Hole Film Festival runs from July 30th – August 6th, 2011. For tickets and the full schedule of films, visit http://www.woodsholefilmfestival.org/.
July 30th – August 6th, 2011