An engaging presentation of short films directed by three women filmmakers drew a packed crowd of women and men to The Arts at the Armory Cafe on September 30th. Co-sponsored by Women in Film and Video New England (WIFVNE) and Harvard Square Script Writers (HSSW), the event featured films by Marie Emmanuelle Hartness, Sara X Robin, and Sari Gagnon, founder of the Women Only project.
Hartness’s film After Ella used stark black and white imagery to examine how an artist might struggle to reconstruct her life after the death of her beloved sister and artistic partner. It was the New England finalist in the International Women in Film competition for 2015 and was selected for the Short Film Corner at Cannes. A surrealistic look at grief and denial, the film was designed to create “a near-autistic world” according to Hartness. The heroine grows increasingly isolated from her environment as she simultaneously works to heal herself through the tools of both photography and sculpture.
Robin’s Am I Not Your Girl? examines what can go horribly wrong on your wedding day, even when you might expect it. Urged on by a friend after they failed to tell the “the same story in a 99-second film competition,” Robin cast her friend as the bride-to-be and the rest became history. Working on a micro-budget, they shot entirely in her tiny apartment with a mix of professional and non-professional actors. The film, originally recorded in Wiesbaden Germany, has been shown in festivals all over the world and its surprise ending drew loud applause from the audience.
Gagnon’s film Skin and Bones, directed, shot, and cast through the Women Only project, explores the question of body image in a society where even young girls are taught that one “can never be too thin,” a quote originally attributed to the Duchess of Windsor. Gagnon explained how this collaborative of women filmmakers, founded in January of 2015 by Counterfeit Cow Productions in western MA, chose five shorts to make from a pool of 64 submissions. Skin and Bones stars young actress, Rebecca Klein as she starves herself toward success, aided and abetted by a cast of weight-obsessed professionals.
“These three filmmakers were a true inspiration. They showed how determination and creativity can result in a fantastic product,” observed Harvard Square Script Writer moderator, Genine Tillotson. “With very little money but true vision, they each created a powerful story that spoke to issues near to women’s hearts.”
The excitement in the audience was palpable, with women and men equally appreciative of the opportunity to view and discuss stories with a female focus made by female directors. “I think we take for granted that, at their core, so many stories are about men or are told from a man’s perspective,” remarked Tillotson, “For me, personally, I found this change in focus completely refreshing.”
Upcoming events include an informational evening with entertainment lawyers discussing key legal aspects of filmmaking; a Crowdfunding presentation; and a completely unique film contest called “Flicks4Chicks” which will launch on Valentine’s Day, 2016.