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  • 02 Nov 2020 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Féliz


     

    Boston Latino International Film Festival (BLIFF) BLIFF kicked off on September 23, 2020 just in time to commemorate the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event was coordinated by director Sabrina Aviles with the help of volunteers who spent weeks curating a lineup of 32 films created by the Latinx film community for the Latinx community and the world. BLIFF, in light of the unprecedented global situation due to the pandemic, went streaming to accommodate audiences at home. Along with feature documentaries and narratives, the entirely online event showcased a plethora of short film programs, each included four short films in the lineup which were all paid for with a “what you can” fee. These programs were strategically curated, as each had a core message and theme which BLIFF utilized to presented the Latinx community through a wholesome, real, and human lens.

    On opening night, the program“El Pueblo Unido” (“The United Town”) became available for viewing. The central theme in this program of films is “People coming together to support each other with a common goal of improving their communities.” The first film in the roster, Boston’s Latin Quarter directed by Monica Cohen encapsulates the core meaning of “El Pueblo Unido.” The documentary focuses on the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain and we meet folks who have been part of the community for decades:  Eduardo Vasallo, a Cuban immigrant and owner of the MR. V Auto Parts, and Damaris Pimentel, an immigrant hair salon owner. “For more than 40 years the Latin community has come together to plant a seed of unity in Jamaica Plain. It’s a community that is setting an example of co-living,” Pimentel explains. Co-living is the core of this Latin hub in Boston, as immigrants from all over Latin America cultivated the seed that eventually grew into the resilient community that it is today. 

    The documentary also highlights the works of Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), an organization whose mission is to “connect to create a more diverse and equitable Boston.” Celina Miranda, the executive director of HSTF, explains that the program “encourages Latin youth to tap into the Latino music origins and to dive into the history.” The organization creates projects such as the Latin Quarter Fiesta, a celebration of Latin and Afro Latino culture for the Latino youth. Ken Tangvik the Director of Organizing and Engagement at HSTF, explains how he, a white man joined the organization because of the Latin Quarter’s vibe, and culture; growing fond of the community, he actively participates in preserving it.

    However, just as it touches up on the vibrant side of its history, the documentary show audiences much darker realities. Tangvik talks about the drug crisis that arose in the 1980s, and recalls witnessing dangerous drug dealers infesting the community. Eduardo Vasallo adds onto this tale, explaining though the Latin Quarter “became more diverse” many Americans fled from the region, and “[I]t got to the point that Americans didn’t want to live in Jamaican Plain.” Nevertheless, the residents unified and made it a mission to overcome their hardships and become the clean and prosperous community it once was. The documentary ends on a high note, amplifying what the Latin Quarter means to its residents, as expressed by Celina Miranda: “We’re progressing as a community, having a location is so important for the community because it means being seen.” 

    Navigating from the themes of keeping the community alive, and advocating for the rights de la gente we dive into more harsher themes with the "Social Justice" program. This program is divided in two:  reality and fiction, but these are unified with the theme of showing “just how difficult it can be to get out, or change the circumstances one is born into.” One of the most impactful pieces is the documentary A la Deriva (Adrift) directed by Paula Cury Melo. This documentary touches on teen pregnancy in the Dominican Republic.

    It’s a grim topic, as it shows the raw and dreadful side of one of the most prevailing issues of the island. With hard hitting facts such as “22 percent of women in Dominican Republic became mothers by the age of 19,” the audiences are shaken into a rude awakening. We meet young teenage mothers-to-be like Selena, who at only 14 years old is already six months pregnant, and Viazlin, a 12-year-old pregnant from a 21-year-old man. In this documentary, we learn how so many young girls wind up in such heart-wrenching situations: children don’t receive proper sexual education. Selena was a prime example of this, as she struggled to answer the question “Did you use protection?” to which she replied not knowing what that meant. 

    Dr. Lillian Fondeur an OBGYN and women’s rights advocate, actively advocates for children’s right to receive proper sex education. She preaches about the correlation between proper sex education and many young girls falling victims of teen pregnancies. Dr. Victor Calderon the General Director of Los Mina Maternity Hospital explains “27 percent of maternity wards are occupied by women younger than 18 years old.” He further reveals that the youngest impatient in the maternity ward was just 11 years old.  And as the audience begin to wonder the “why?” to this upsetting situation, the documentary lays down the hard fact: religion. The Catholic Church in Dominican Republic has a very strong presence within congress, and abortions are illegal under any circumstance. Despite the plea of many pro-choice advocates, congress and the church maintain an iron clad on their opposition to the legalization of abortion despite illegal abortions being the third leading cause of death among maternal deaths. From another teenage mom, Mabel, we learn how easily girls start to gamble with their own lives. Mabel became pregnant at 16 with twins and practiced an illegal abortion. At 17 she gave birth to a girl, and shockingly admitted to performing 10 more illegal abortions since. Moment by moment, the documentary echoes the theme of the film program: these young girls are born and live in an inescapable circumstance. Audiences see reflected on the faces of young mothers-to-be such as Viazlin’s, the loss of hope and despair as she expresses that she feels like she failed at life. By the end of the film, audiences are left with a sense of helplessness leaving room for only one feeling, bitterness.

    Clicking on the "Magical Realism" program, the central message for the audience is to utilize the films as a way to give room and “expand the way [they] see [themselves], and the world.” Among the short films, one that stands out is Light on a Path, Follow directed by Elliot Montague. The film tells the story of Joaquín, a transgender man who lives alone in rural 1990s New England. Joaquin is eight months pregnant and in his last trimester, he comes face to face with a mysterious spirit in the forest, an encounter that prompts Joaquín to go into labor early. The subject matter, the tone, the character himself is a true parallel to the message of Magical Realism, that which appears fantastical is normal in this world. It is truly refreshing to watch a film be truthful to the representation of the Latinx LGBTQ community by casting a transgender actor to play a transgender character. For years, members of the LGBTQ communities have voiced their yearning to see themselves portrayed on screen in a humanistic manner, far from the negative stereotypical roles. Finally seeing a film that does just that, gives everyone a sense of being heard. This film also amplifies what it means to be pregnant or, more appropriately who can be pregnant.

    Pregnancy and childbirth have always been associated as a natural occurrence in life for biological women, but watching a transgendered man’s experience is how Light on a Path, Follow becomes a mold breaking phenomenon; it disrupts audiences’ preconceived notions. Lastly, the presence of spirituality and the connection to nature rings closely with many cultures from the Latinx diaspora, which hold close to heart what it means to be one with nature and letting spirits guiding one into the right pathway.

    And for the closing date, on September 27th, audiences could watch the program titled “Familia” (“Family”). The short films presented touched up on the themes of “estrangement, siblings, going "home," and family secrets.”

    Bibi, directed by Victor M. Dueñas, tells the story of Ben Solís, a young man of Mexican descent receiving the tragic news of his father’s passing. Upon hearing the news, Ben hesitates on returning home, but begrudgingly returns to his hometown to handle the final detailing of his father’s funeral. As audiences immerse themselves into this story, the film flashbacks to a young Ben becoming closer with his father after his mother’s death. The film tackles the themes of loss and single parenting, which plant the seed of relatability and humanity. Their close relationship is maintained through the usage of writing letters to one another. This method of communication reflects with many Latinx cultures; as verbal communication and expression of one’s feelings aren’t the norm.

    As the film progresses, Ben’s beginning hesitation on coming home is explained: -with a letter, he confessed to his father that he is gay, prompting immediate rejection from him. The powerful coming-out scene is the most impactful one, as homophobia and machismo are heavily cemented into the Latinx community, especially in the Mexican culture. As Ben and his father become estranged, the viewing public is left with little hope to a good resolution for the young man. However, a refreshing twist hits everyone as Ben’s journey in the film ends as he meets another young, handsome gay man. The exchange of hellos and smiles only mean one thing, the beginning of a love story. Overall, this film was like a breath of fresh air as the main character, a gay man, isn’t shown suffering due to his homosexuality. Throughout modern cinema, gay characters were often seen as lost souls left in a pit of loneliness and despair due to their sexuality. Additionally, many gay characters have been killed on screen sometimes minutes or a few episodes of either coming out or finally being with the ones they love; a trope known as “bury your gays”. Watching a young established and successful, Hispanic gay man have a happy ending sounds almost too good to be true but Bibi is one of those films that lends a hand into painting the Latinx LGBTQ community with more vibrant, truthful, and humanistic colors.

    BLIFF, and other Latino Film Festivals, are showcases that deserve more appreciation, as they hold the key to opening the doors for many Latino filmmakers into the world. Conversely, this door works both ways, as it’s a door that offers a peak into Latinx community. By attending Latino film festivals, viewers receive the honor of watching and learning how the Latinx community is doing from its own point of view. Supporting film festivals that celebrate and highlight the Latin community is integral and important because it waters the Latin roots and keeps them alive. Additionally, attending festivals such as BLIFF as members of the Latin community itself means stepping into memory lane as it serves as a tool to remind one of one’s origins. When watching documentaries such as Latin Quarter, audiences will know of how resilient and powerful la cultura can be. With films such as A La Deriva, we step back and remember that the world is still in need of repair. And films such as Light on a Pathway, follow and Bibi show that the voices of the underrepresented communities don’t just echo, they shout clearly and are heard.  

  • 30 Oct 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by JoAnn Cox



    The 32nd annual Boston Jewish Film Festival of virtual screenings and events takes place November 4-15, including their Midfest Event: Behind the Scenes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with screenwriter Noah Gardenswartz.

    For the film program, listing of events, and to purchase tickets, visit their website by clicking here.

  • 30 Oct 2020 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by JoAnn Cox


    The Boston Asian American Film Festival shorts program closes NOV 1!

    The Boston Asian American Film Festival continues at ArtsEmerson through Sunday, November 01 with a series of incredible short films, each divided into five categories: Alternative Realities, Queer and Here, Beneath the Surface, Ties That Bind, and Finding Your Way. Click to get tickets here, and check out this handy guide—where one film from each category is highlighted—over on their blog.

  • 22 Apr 2020 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Logo

    PLEASE CONSIDER SUBMITTING FOR THE 2020 MOFF

    FILM REQUIREMENTS:

    Must be an outdoor film. Films can be from anywhere in the world. See length-requirements under categories below. Please use FilmFreeway to submit a 4K or HD (720p minimum) .mov or .mp4 file delivered via vimeo or dropbox or google drive. You must have legal rights and/or permission to use all music. No exceptions. Please read and understand all terms and conditions on the MOFF website or Film Freeway page before submitting.

    CATEGORIES:

    Feature (40 minutes or more)

    Short Feature (12:00 to 39:59)

    Short (0:00 to 11:59)

    AWARDS:

    Best Maine Film, Best Film From Away, Best Young Filmmaker, Inspiration Award, Conservation Award, Best Feature, Best Short Feature, Best Short

    WHERE YOUR FILM WILL BE SHOWN IF IT IS ACCEPTED:

    During the 2020 Maine Outdoor Film Festival in Portland, July 30 to August 2, 2020.

    It will also potentially be shown during the MOFF Selects Tour which travels the northeast in late summer/early fall, with a schedule of 10 to 12 screenings.

    PRIZES

    Award-winners receive a plaque and a prize from a MOFF sponsor.

    TO SUBMIT: 

    Visit the MOFF page on Film Freeway

  • 13 Apr 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF), a BAFTA-Qualifying event, will be celebrating 10 years! The 2020 competition is looking for filmmakers who are pushing boundaries and telling bold, innovative stories in new ways.

    ASFF is a landmark destination for talent discovery and independent filmmaking, sitting amongst the UK’s most prestigious film festivals.

    Entries are now open for their 10th anniversary. Open to Shorts, Features, VR & 360 films, they’re looking for innovative, cutting-edge and bold stories from around the world.

    ASFF also accepts works across multiple genres including: Advertising, Animation, Artists’ Film, Comedy, Dance, Documentary, Drama, Experimental, Family Friendly, Fashion, Music Video and Thriller. VR and Feature Projects.

    Submissions close 31 May 2020. They are still planning on delivering the 2020 festival: 4-8 November, York, UK.

    ASFF Prizes Include:

    • £1,000 awarded to the Best of Festival Winner
      Category winners are all nominated, but only one can take home the prestigious title.
    • Best in Category Awards
      Each film in the Official Selection is eligible to win the best film in its category.
    • BAFTA Eligibility
      ASFF is officially recognised by BAFTA, which means short films that are screened may be eligible for a BAFTA award in the future.
    • HIJACK Visionary Filmmaker Award
      This award celebrates the achievement of directors with exception vision and offers a generous post-production package.
    • People’s Choice Award

    All festivalgoers are invited to vote for their favorite film. This award is chosen by audiences throughout the festival’s five day run.

    ASFF supports its alumni before, during and after the festival. Official Selection filmmakers receive extensive coverage across all our print and digital platforms.

  • 19 Feb 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CALL FOR ENTRIES! Submit your film (short film, feature narrative, or feature doc) to the 2nd annual Nevertheless Film Festival!

    Called “the first of its kind,” and featured in a video created by NowThis Her x TIME’S UP, Nevertheless elevates the work of womxn in film, as each film must have at least 50% womxn in designated leadership roles behind the camera in order to qualify.

    Find out more about our submission guidelines and submit your film today at www.filmfreeway.com/neverthelessfilmfestival

  • 18 Sep 2019 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Athena Film Festival has opened submissions for the Lab at the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. This three-day lab consists of intensive script development with seasoned mentors. It is designed for women writers who have not yet had a feature-length fictional script produced. Screenplays must include one or more strong woman character(s) in leadership roles at the center of the story and must be feature-length narratives.

    The 2020 Lab is February 26-28, 2020, in New York City.  Submissions accepted September 15 – October 15, 2019.

    For more info, please visit:  https://filmfreeway.com/AFFWISTLab

  • 14 Feb 2019 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Calling filmmakers: The @BAFTA-Qualifying @ASFFest is looking for those who are driving film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Enter your film: www.asff.co.uk/submit

    Celebrating innovation and excellence in filmmaking, ASFF is looking for emerging and established practitioners who are pushing the boundaries of filmmaking forward to showcase their talent and innovative work to wider audiences at the 2019 event.

    Filmmakers can submit their Short Films, Feature Films or VR & 360 works for consideration. ASFF also accepts works across multiple genres including: Advertising, Animation, Artists’ Film, Comedy, Dance, Documentary, Drama, Experimental, Fashion, Music Video and Thriller. Entries close 31 May.

    Previous festival winners have accrued international acclaim, achieving further nominations and prizes worldwide – most recently, ASFF’s 2018 Best of Festival Winner, Black Sheep, which has since been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. 

    Prizes Include:

    ·         £1,000awarded to the Festival Winner

    ·         Northern Film School Award for Best Screenplay (£1,000)

    ·         Screenings at a BAFTA-Qualifying festival

    ·         Editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine (readership of 400,000)

  • 18 Mar 2013 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now how does that saying go…”In like a lion and out like a lamb?” – Well, not this March as we are finishing off the month with a bang!

    Saturday, March 23rd 12:30-7:00pm WIFV/NE board members will have a table at the Massachusetts Production Coalition’s first ever Industry Expo.  The Expo is jam packed with amazing panelists, workshops and screenings.  Go here to register and make sure to stop by and visit us!

    Sunday, March 24 from 5:00-8:00pm join WIFV/NE board members at an evening networking event presented with WAM! Film Festival at Park in Cambridge. Everyone is welcome to attend the networking event, but only WIFV/NE current members receive a discount to the film festival.  For the discount code, please email us at info@womeninfilmvideo.org.

    Wednesday, March 27, 7:00-8:30pm  WIFV/NE and Barry Brodsky, Director of Screenwriting Certificate Program at Emerson College present “Crowdfunding Demystified”, an industry night panel with Boston based producers Kevin Tostado and Elaine McMillion, who both managed successful kickstarter events. The panel will be moderated by WIFV/NE board member Shannon Mullen. This event is only available to current WIFV/NE members and is free. Please RSVP by Monday, March 25 to shannon@womeninfilmvideo.org. For more information, please click here!

    Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 the WIFV/NE screenwriting competition begins accepting submissions. There are discounted rates for Early Bird submissions and for WIFV/NE members. The competition is open to everyone and full guidelines will be available starting April 2nd. We have great prizes lined up as well as a panel of five judges who will chose the winning script. Barry Brodsky, Director of Screenwriting Certificate Program at Emerson has generously accepted one of the judges seats! We will announce additional judges closer to April 2nd.

    And finally….we have revised and restructured the levels and benefits in our Membership Section and encourage everyone to take a look!

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