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Women front and center at Atlanta Film Festival

It’s been a troublesome few years for American women. On one hand the solidarity of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington provided a second of unity and hope for constructive change in selling issues of pay fairness, women’s health and reproductive rights. But extra just lately, the escalating revelations within the #metoo motion of rampant sexual harassment and office discrimination throughout industries have confirmed a miserable affirmation that there are nonetheless large cultural hurdles left to leap.

And but, for some feminine filmmakers, the #metoo motion has been a strong and vital name to arms, shedding mild on the necessity for feminine tales and feminine views within the business.

“Now is an exciting time to be making films and telling these stories, because there aren’t as many expectations of rejection or pressures to be polite,” says Atlanta author/director Katie Orr, who makes her function movie debut at this yr’s Atlanta Film Festival with “Poor Jane,” a portrait of an lovelorn middle-aged woman dipping a toe into infidelity. “Women are empowered right now and instead of nicely asking for a chance, we’re saying, ‘No, you will listen to our stories and we will be the ones doing the storytelling.’”

In some ways this yr’s Atlanta Film Festival is the #metoo fest, an affirmation of the facility of women’s voices and tales in an business that has typically rejected them. If you’re in search of tales of extraordinary women and movies made by them, the 42nd annual Atlanta Film Festival could be the emotional and psychological balm to a world that may appear wallpapered with setbacks.

Forty-four % of the movies at this yr’s pageant are directed by women, a determine that demonstrates the ATLFF’s dedication to the unbiased movie spirit.

“One of the biggest strengths of independent films, and by extension the film festivals that showcase them, is the ability to amplify voices and perspectives rarely acknowledged by mainstream film,” says programming director Alyssa Armand.

Notable movies this yr embrace “RGB,” administrators Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s profile of a lady able of extraordinary energy and affect, who has develop into a type of unlikely superhero to a era of women, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Women of each class, age and inclination are featured within the 2018 pageant the place filmmakers from China to Belgium supply copious reminders that there are usually not solely feminine administrators all over the world telling impactful tales, however an inspiring array of feminine heroines.

In the powerful documentary with animated elements “Liyana,” directed by Aaron and Amanda Kopp, younger Swaziland orphans create a fierce, courageous storybook heroine as a type of remedy, to assist them confront their very own traumas. And on the opposite aspect of the globe, documentarian Morissa Maltz tells the very personal story “Ingrid,” about an unbiased, self-actualized former trend mannequin dwelling alone in the midst of the Oklahoma forest in a house she constructed herself, the place elevating (and killing) rabbits, making artwork and dwelling a self-sustaining life off the grid defies each expectation of what it means to be a 73-year-old lady.

Assertions of a feminine vantage on the world and completely new methods of wanting at women at totally different levels of their lives, from previous age to coming of age, are courtesy not simply of women administrators, however of males too. Social media star Bo Burnham makes his directorial debut with an already critically heralded story of a 13-year-old woman making the painful transition from center faculty to highschool towards a dangerous panorama of social media self-appraisal in “Eighth Grade,” the pageant’s closing night time movie.

Some of this yr’s movies match inside the parameters of what could be dismissively termed “women’s issues” (should you think about conflict movies and mob films “men’s issues”) like Lebanese-American Noor Gharzeddine’s partaking, considerate movie a few friendship and cultural miscommunication that develops between a younger, progressive American scholar and a Lebanese spouse and mom trapped in a extra conventional world, “Are You Glad I’m Here.” 

But simply as typically, these women-directed movies deal with international material, untethered from issues of gender. Chinese-American director Cathy Yan’s movie “Dead Pigs” is a deliciously entertaining, humorous and poignant story of recent China the place speedy gentrification, company malfeasance and class divide take a vicious toll on strange individuals.

Also centered on topical politics, Geeta Gandbhir and Pakistani-born Asad Faruqi’s “Armed With Faith,” facilities on brave Pakistani bomb-diffusers contending with the day by day onslaught of selfmade explosives of their nation. That movie challenges the usually one-sided, slender depictions of Muslims within the media, but in addition exhibits the distinction in working types when women direct. As with a number of different movies on this yr’s ATLFF, “Armed With Faith” was co-directed and credited to 2 makers, on this case as a result of Faruqi was capable of achieve entry in a male-centric Pakistan tradition inaccessible to Gandbhir. But that type of collaboration additionally demonstrates how feminine administrators are sometimes extra snug sharing credit score and working in tandem, much less married to the standard preferrred of the solitary genius mannequin of conventional filmmaking.

In addition to spotlighting promising newcomers like Atlanta’s Katie Orr and Noor Gharzeddine directing her first function, this yr’s fest boasts the Atlanta debuts of works by famend unbiased feminine administrators together with Lynne Ramsay and Debra Granik. Scottish artwork home phenomenon Lynne Ramsay (“Ratcatcher,” “Morvern Callar,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”) debuts her Cannes Award-winning function “You Were Never Really Here,” described as a “Taxi Driver” redux, which garnered Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and facilities on a PTSD-afflicted fight veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) rescuing trafficked women.

And Debra Granik, the lady who could also be single-handedly chargeable for introducing the world to the movie star tsunami of Jennifer Lawrence (in her debut function “Winter’s Bone”) returns with one other story of a decided, questing younger woman. Granik’s “Leave No Trace” hones in on Thomasin McKenzie and her off-the-grid father, with whom she leads an idyllic if precarious life in a Portland park, till their various existence is threatened. Like different administrators who’ve tackled coming-of-age from a feminine viewpoint, Granik sees a part of her mission to counter the one-dimensionality that has typically occasioned Hollywood portraits of women and women.

“I think roles where girls and teen women reflect their experiences of the world make a difference in a complex way, a way that slowly changes many business-as-usual practices in film entertainment,” says Granik. “I think that these fuller roles mean that a coming of age story or growing up story do not have to heavily sexualize a female character in order to make her interesting. With a central role, the story has the space to depict dimensions of her. Dimensionality is the key change, the progress that comes from telling more diverse stories.”

Like most of the tales directed by women or that includes complicated feminine characters on this yr’s Atlanta Film Festival, for Granik the #metoo impact is upending narrative clichés and the very slender means that women have been depicted in movie, the higher to vary how they’re handled in the actual world. “Time is up on some of these very tired roles and ways for women to appear in stories. We’ve seen them in these predictable roles for centuries, so there’s an opening right now to try out some new practices.”

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