Special Report: Working Women in Film in Europe Conference, Paris March 19-21, 2004

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
During the 26th Creteil International Film Festival held in Paris March 19-21, festival director Jackie Buet hosted "Working Women in Europe"(www.womenfilmnet.org), for organizers of womenís film festivals and events in Europe with representatives from Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Germany, and France. The womenís film festival is a specialty in the world of film festivals featuring a showcase of work by women behind the camera. Womenís film events developed in the 1970ís in conjunction with the aims of global feminism. Today several festivals are held yearly although some festivals are threatened by lack of cultural funding.

Some of the developments from the "Working Women in Europe" conference was the establishment of a European database of womenís films, and a soon to be rotating program of shorts sponsored by the European council of film festivals. The parent organization, (EEIG) is a network of 200 audio-visual festivals within in Europe.

Some examples of womenís festivals represented at the conference at Creteil include "Donne - Seguardi Altrove" in Milan, Italy which promotes female movies and directors from all over the world , a yearly festival with one day dedicated to Italian movies. As is standard with womenís festivals, seminars are conducted with directors, actresses and producers after the screenings.

The Lesbian Film Festival "Immaginaria" has been organized since 1993 and takes place in Bologna (Italy) the last week of February every year. The Festival promotes productions by feminist and lesbian independent cinema from around the world directed and produced by women. This woman only event is designed to stimulate the creation and production by lesbian directors, in order to counteract stereotype images produced in "heterosexist" cinema.

From Barcelona Spain comes "Drac Mŗgic" which takes place every year in June. It features a retrospective of films created by women directors, script writers and producers, with experimental and first film short films.

There is also an annual womenís film festival in Ankara, Turkey-- "The Flying Broom Women's Film Festival" held in May. The objective of this festival is to introduce Turkish and international women directors to Turkish audiences, to consider cinema through a feminist perspective and create a forum for the discussion on womenís experiences and problems reflected in cinema.

In Germany are two biannual established festivals which stress the significance of womenís work in the world of film. "Feminale" in Cologne, is held in October with the latest in shorts and feature-length films of all genres made by female directors. "Femme Totale" in Dortmund held in April is the only film festival in Germany centered on a topical theme. Another special feature about the Dortmund Festival is its non-competitiveness. Films are selected solely in relation to the festival theme.

Finally there is Creteil in Paris now in its 26th year, which generally features a look at a global region of cinema such as the Nordic countries, the Antipodes and the Mediterranean countries. This years theme was the cinema of exile. There are cinema lessons by directors, and a retrospective of work and a visit by a major international female actress such as Catherine Deneuve, Irene Pappas, Charlotte Rampling and Jean Moreau.

Judging by the work of the women who organize these events womenís festivals will continue to transform cinema with accomplishments in the moving image. They are a must see for other festivals which do programming to counteract the generally small percentage of work by women screened at festivals , and should be consulted for the best in womenís work in cinema

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Paris FRANCE:

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Working Women in Film in Europe Conference, Paris March 19-21, 2004