Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time) may be household names, but the playing field is still not level for men and women in the film industry. A USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that only seven percent of the top 100 films in 2017 had female directors —which means there's a vital need for access, community, and support.
From October 12 to 14 at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles, Passerbuys and Women & Film will host the first annual Female Filmmakers Festival (FFFEST) with Broadly as its official media sponsor. FFFEST will include a mix of screenings and talks dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women in film.
“Our goal is to act as both a learning tool and source of inspiration among filmmakers, both accomplished and budding," Natalie Fält, founder of Women & Film and co-founder of FFFEST, said in a statement. "We want FFFEST to create a sense of community for women in film in the hopes that more stories by and about women get made."
Films showing during the festival run the gamut from So Yong Kim's Treeless Mountain, which is about two South Korean siblings waiting for their mother to come home from a harrowing journey, to Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, a 1988 coming-of-age film set in India.
“Women are responsible for creating some of the greatest works of film in the history of cinema, yet the mass media has rarely depicted or celebrated women behind the camera," Mimi Packer, co-founder of FFFEST, said in a statement. "In response to that, we saw FFFEST as an opportunity for our audience to celebrate the women who’ve made strides in film and continue to today, and to inspire budding women filmmakers to join the industry and share their stories.”
If you're in the Los Angeles area during FFFEST, we highly suggest you check out the following events.
Skate Kitchen Screening and Q&A
Friday, October 12 at 7:30 PM (tickets)
Crystal Moselle created a raw, coming-of-age film about an all-female skate crew in New York City. Charming and blithe, the movie is unique because the actresses are in a real skate crew and worked with the director to act in a scripted, storied version of their lives.
American Psycho Screening and Q&A
Saturday, October 13 at 9:45 PM (tickets)
Screenwriter Guinevere Turner will discuss her classic film set in 1987 about a good-looking, New York professional who works by day and has serial killer inclinations by night. The conversation will be moderated by Vulture editor, Jordan Crucchiola.
Danzon Screening and Q&A
Sunday, October 14 at 7 PM (tickets)
Director Maria Novaro will be taking questions about her 1991 film about a Mexico City phone operator who has a passion for danzon, a Cuban dance popular in Central America. In addition to winning Latino Film Festival's Best Picture Award, the film stars María Rojo —now Senator of the Republic in the upper house of Mexican Congress— as Julia who is searching "for the perfect partner."
"How to Break Into the Film Industry While Still Paying Rent"
Saturday, October 13 at 3:10 PM (tickets)
Creative fields have traditionally been afforded by the privileged and often exclude marginalized communities —especially in filmmaking. This panel discussion with Crystal Moselle (Skate Kitchen), Natalia Leite (Bare), and Meera Menon (Farah Goes Bang) delve into the practical ways to become a filmmaker while also not going broke.
"Redefining Representations of Women on Screen"
Saturday, October 13 at 11 AM (tickets)
The evolution of WOC on-screen is largely in the hands of WOC behind the scenes. Actress Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) and Black Panther casting director Sarah Finn talk about diversity in the film industry and the importance of representation for accurate storytelling.