On the evening of Friday, October 7th I had the pleasure of attending the Herland – Video Production Mentorship for Women Screening. The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and Spring Street Films partnered to host this event at Theatre Junction Grandand the reception took place at Workshop Bar. Five talented female filmmakers were given a project grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. This grant allowed them to put their ideas into fruition and ultimately screen them at this event.
The night started with a guest appearance from Michelle Wong, local filmmaker with twenty-five years of experience. Michelle Wong provided insightful advice and wisdom about the changing landscape of the Canadian film industry. Then there was a forty-five minute screening. The film program included work from Paige Boudreau, Gillian McKercher, Taouba Khelifa, Vicki Chau, and Jessie Short. Perhaps what I loved best about the films shown was how distinct the filmmaker’s voice was in each film. I could see the director so clearly in their film and I really loved that. I think my favourite film was Mallory Memphis directed by Paige Boudreau. This film was a cute and funny story about a group of kids who would hold their breath every time their bus passed by a graveyard. They were afraid to breathe because they believed the ghosts would get sucked up their nose. Everything was all well and good until the ill-fated traffic jam of 2012 and well… I don’t want spoil anything.
Mallory Memphis was definitely my favourite film but I was so impressed with all of the work. I also really enjoyed the film Family Photo directed by Gillian McKercher. This film was shot in the documentary style and examined a Sunday night during the director’s Chinese-Canadian family dinner. I thought this film was a very sincere and authentic portrayal of a family dynamic. The other films shown included: Enough directed Taouba Khelifa, The Perfect Man directed Vicki Chau, and Sweet Night directed by Jessie Short. The program concluded with a short Q&A led by Sandi Sommers with the directors. I really enjoyed this aspect of the evening because the directors were able to shed some light on the unique challenges that surround a mid-level professional female filmmaker. In such a male dominated industry, I feel like the mentorship and encouragement of female filmmakers was really what the evening was about. Filmmaking is about artistic expression and the voice of the filmmaker. It is very easy to forget about the creative aspects of filmmaking when industry/monetary pressure and time constraints begin to take their effect. Herland provides a space for females to mentor one another and create outside of industry pressure. Herland also provides a space for work to be shown that might otherwise not get shown. If you are interested in participating in the next installment for Herland the submission will be due by 5:00pm on November 4, 2016. You can find out more at this link: http://www.csif.org/jobs-calls/herland-video-production-workshop-call-for-participants/
This was such an amazing night. I was honored to be in the presence of so many talented women. I highly recommend attending the Herland screening next year. I will definitely be there!