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Sundance Welcomes the Women A Rise of Women Filmmakers

This year a record number of women filmmakers are making their mark in this prestigious American Festival. With many first time women feature and short filmmakers, Sundance has supported the growth of women in film. Sundance Film Festival now its 24th year in the past has not had such a balance of ratio’s, of course there are just more men making films than women too. But the openness to women filmmakers is still a struggle and the acknowledgement of Geoff Gilmore and Robert Redford at this Festival is a positive step for the creativity in cinema.

Hopefully the trend will enable more women to be encouraged to tap into their dreams and contribute to the visual of cinema. The support is certainly out there with groups such as Power Up. Power Up is an organization based in Los Angeles whose mission is to support and sponsor various women filmmakers. Their influence is well represented during Sundance at the Queer Lounge as they are seeking application to filmmakers for grant to support their next film projects.
So far it’s been called the place to be for emerging filmmakers both lesbian and straight as the amount of networking is well supported at this location on Heber Street.

With close to 60 works of film made by women this year at the festival many features are having a buzz. Of those now being mentioned, of who are women is an exciting time. Here scouting films is Women Make Movies out of New York whose mission is to feature films made by women about the lives of women. They were heard to say that there is an abundance of films they are working to contact he various filmmakers. Also a big support from Women In Film, whose awards program earlier this week went out to Lisa Kudrow and Laura Dern for their outstanding contribution to the focus of Women In Film.

The documentary made by a woman filmmaker that is catching many peoples ear is THE FALL OF FUJIMORI directed by Ellen Perry. Ellen delved into the story of the dictator Alberto Fujimori the past Peruvian President who came into power in 1990. This finely developed documentary shares with us Fujimori's rise to power and his now exile in disgrace living in Japan. Perry had an open access to the most private areas and had captured a true story of crime and political passion of a man whose parents were immigrants to Peru. Ellen’s dedication as a filmmaker and her contribution to filmmaking is sure leave a positive mark for the other women who have the talent and drive to create films such as this.

A feature film that was picked up by Sony Pictures is Alice Wu’s SAVING FACE a fresh story with a Chinese American cast and a story that is told with insight and heartfelt humor. This film will sure to peak the interest of so many social groups across the board as Wu’s delivery of the “Older Woman Younger Man” and “Asian Women Lesbian Lover” genre are portrayed in this delightful piece. Lead by admired actress Joan Chen, the cast blended together a fantastic portrayal of life in New York with these story lines.

Here are some of the many fine films being screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year: STEAL ME Melissa Parker, LOVE LUDLOW Adrienne Weiss, SAVING FACE Alice Wu THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX Marion Lipschutz, TRUDELL Heather Rae, THE FALL OF FUJIMORI Ellen Perry, FROZEN ANGELS Frauke Sandig, AFTER INNOCENCE Jessica Sanders, MURDERBALL Dana Rubin, ME YOU AND EVERYONE Miranda July, HOW the GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER Georgina Garcia Riedel, THE JOY OF LIFE Jenni Olson, FOREST GROVE Maya Churi, HOW TO BOW Nora Krug, STAND BY YOUR GUNS Jillian McDonald, THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE Rebecca Miller, PURA LENGUA Aurora Guerrero, LOVE AND LAUNDRY Barbara Alvarez, STRONGER Debra Felstead, THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY Hanna Polak, EATING Rebecca Cutter, TAIKA WAITITI Tama Tu, PLAINS EMPTY Beck Cole, WASP Andrea Arnold, ON A CLEAR DAY Gaby Della, BROTHERS Susanne Bier, THE FOREST FOR THE TRESS Maren Ade, ODESSA ODESSA Michale Boganim, THE ACT Susan Kracker, and THE THREE ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA Pirjo Honkasalo.

This year with so many of the best films being directed by women the possibilities for next year and more women filmmakers on the rise is a reality. The Sundance Film Festival is the premiere showcase for American and international independent film. Highlighted by the Independent Feature Film Competition, which screens films in both Dramatic and Documentary categories, the annual Film Festival screens more than 120 feature-length films and 70 short films. Visit the Sundance Institute website at www.sundance.org. For more information on the Sundance Film Festival January 29th to the 30th, 2005.
Keiko Beatie


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