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fOUR fOUR
SIL-NYIN CAMERON, DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD OF WOMEN FILM (WOW) FESTIVAL IS KEEN TO GET THE WORD OUT—WOW’S GOAL OF “GIVING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR INDEPENDENT, USUALLY LOWER BUDGET FILMS TO HAVE PUBLIC EXHIBITION—IT’S UNLIKELY THAT THE FILMS WILL GET WIDE RELEASE UNLESS THEY ARE ‘NOTICED’ PERHAPS AT OUR FESTIVAL. OUR AIM IS TO GIVE PUBLIC EXHIBITION TO MAINLY SHORT FILMS WITH KEY CREATIVE INPUT BY WOMEN—AND THIS CAN HELP FILMMAKERS FURTHER THEIR CAREERS.”

Each year, filmmakers are invited to enter works in the categories of Fiction, Documentary, Animation, Music Videos and Student films of less than 55 minutes duration. New this year is a prize for the best Vodule. A growing arena for women producers of digital media content, Vodules make use of the emerging market of mobile technology and internet distribution.

Says Cameron, “The festival promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in the Australian film industry and in Oceania. It is a unique festival that offers emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to screen short works giving a thematic perspective of ‘seeing the world through the eyes of women’.”

Director of last year’s hit feature The Black Balloon and this year’s festival patron, Elissa Down, acknowledges WOW as an important part of her career trajectory. In 1991, the festival screened and toured her short, HMAS Unicorn, presenting the film to a broad audience and Down was on her way up.

Among the films screening this year are Four of a Kind, the debut feature from Melbourne-based Fiona Cochrane, a director with an extensive filmography of award-winning documentaries, music videos and producer credits to her name, not to mention a medical degree which might account for the forensic feel of her film. Though showing signs of its beginnings as a stage play, Helen Collins’ script is sustained by some intriguing plot turns and good performances on the whole. The film premiered last year at the Montreal World Film Festival and was nominated Best Feature at the 2009 ReelHeART Film Festival in Toronto and Best Feature at 2009 SkyFest Film & Script Festival, USA.

I Wish I Were Stephanie V, produced by Laura Sivis, directed by Jon Cohen and written by Chloe Traicos, who also stars in the film, combines immigrant experience, teenage angst and tennis in what is described as “a vibrant romance, comedy and drama in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham mode.” Meanwhile, in fOUR directed and written by AFTRS student Erin White, “it’s 1974 and two couples with troubled marriages meet in a quiet Australian suburb and suddenly find themselves embroiled in a sexual revolution.” fOUR won best short film at the 2008 IF Awards.

Misconnect, directed and written by Aloura Charles from the USA, was filmed in Sydney and Los Angeles: “A mis-dialed phone call connects Mei, a Chinese woman with Will, a boy in Sydney, each isolated and trapped in different ways.” Charles will be a guest at the WOW Film Festival and will introduce her film on the festival’s Opening Night. She’ll also take part in the Filmmakers Forum, “Director’s Vision Through the Cinematographer’s Lens” with her cinematographer, Ming D’Arcy, on Sunday October 18 at the AFTRS Theatre.

Among the documentaries are the wonderful Maverick Mother produced, written and directed by Janet Merewether who, in her fiercely honest film, turns the camera on her own perilous journey into solo motherhood.

Experienced Canberra-based filmmaker Lara Van Raay offers what sounds like a a curious feature-documentary in her Palestine, Beer & Oktoberfest: Under Occupation: “Meet the father and daughter team who created Palestine’s first brewery…Filmed at the Oktoberfest in the Christian town of Taybeh on Palestine’s West Bank.”
Jacob Jacob
The shorts program includes the animation, Huriyya & Her Sisters made by a group of young Muslim women in Western Sydney working with director Paula Abood. Jacob is a promising new indigenous drama set in the 1940s produced by Rhea Stephenson for Blackfella Films and directed by Dena Curtis with some lush cinematography by Murray Lui. This one has the makings of a more substantial feature. There’s also the cleverly succinct Be My Brother by Genevieve Clay (Best Film, Tropfest 2009).

As well as these and many more screenings, there’ll be Q&As, chance meetings and all the celebration that comes with events like WOW that offer a diverse group of filmmakers and their audience the chance to share, for a time, the intensity of immersion in mulitple female views of the world.


16th WOW Festival, Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney Oct 14-18; www.nsw.wift.org/wow. For updates go to the WOW blog: http://wowfilmfestival.wordpress.com

RealTime issue #93 Oct-Nov 2009 pg. 27

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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