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Netflix orders 'Midnight's Children' adaptation

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Netflix orders 'Midnight's Children' adaptation
The streaming giant has signed on for a multi-part adaptation of Rushdie’s 1981 novel.

Netflix has ordered dramas based on Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and the music of Los Angeles.

The streaming giant has signed on for a multi-part adaptation of Rushdie’s 1981 novel, which follows the life of a boy born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 – the date of India’s independence from Britain.

The drama is among the first series orders from new commissioner Simran Sethi, who joined Netflix’s international originals group last year and oversees content out of India.

Although Netflix has
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'Padmavaat' has emerged out of the mists of legend to divide Indian society

ControversyOne thing’s for certain: it’s not easy being a film director in India. Monia Acciari, De Montfort University Bollywood saga Padmaavat has divided India. The film, by the popular director Sanjay Leela Bhansali – whose epic (and controversial) love stories have earned him popular acclaim in the past – has provoked riots, attacks on cinemas and death threats against the film’s stars. Karni Sena, a pressure group representing the high Rajput caste, allegedly threatened to cut off Padukone’s nose. Padmaavat tells the story of Padmavati, a 14th-century Hindu queen belonging to the Rajput caste and the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji. Such was the fury unleashed by the release of the film in January that some states banned its screening until the Supreme Court ruled that the bans were unconstitutional as they denied free speech. Padmaavat is merely the latest of a string of films released in India over the past few years that have provoked unrest. What these films have had in common is their strong female characters. For example, Fire, directed by Deepa Mehta in 1996, depicted the provocative homosexual relationship between two women and angered the (mainly female) supporters of far-right political party Shiv Sena. Protesters stormed cinema theatres in Mumbai, burned posters and shouted angry slogans. Lipstick Under My Burkha was also initially banned in 2017. The film, directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, portrays the intimate lives of four women. India’s Central Board of Film Certification (Cbfc) ruled that there was too much “abusive language” and “audio pornography” which might offend Indian Muslims. “The story is lady-oriented, their fantasy above life,” said a letter from the board of censors to the film’s producers. The decision was subsequently overturned on appeal. Historically in Bollywood films, women have represented ideas of acceptability, motherhood and – in a complex way – nationhood to the audience. In doing so, they have been carriers of messages revolving around traditions and honour, which had not only to pass muster with the rigorous Cbfc but also – and perhaps more importantly – be acceptable to the various religious and political communities. Stuff of legend The story of Padmaavat goes back to a ballad by the Sufi composer Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1590 – which is when the figure of Padmavati seems to have emerged (although whether or not she really lived or is a character of folkore remains uncertain). It is a fascinating story, which has been adapted by several authors who have reinterpreted the Persian script and stitched elements of pride, honour and, territorial and cultural belongingness on to Padmavati’s character. A simplified version of the story goes like this: Padmavati, a princess of unsurpassed beauty and virtue, is said to have committed “jauhar” – ritual self-immolation – rather than submit to the advances of the sultan, Allaudin Khilji, a Muslim. Allaudin had besieged Chittorgarh and killed her husband, the Rajput king, Maharawal Ratan Singh. But Padmavati’s story has multiple, conflicting versions – often preserved by oral transmission and multiple traditions. The fictionalisation of Padmaavat has raised controversy and indignation among political and religious groups who have criticised and heavily condemned both the amorous story between a Muslim sultan and a Hindu queen (albeit the tension in those times was more about territorial dominance than religion) and damaged Rajput pride. Passing judgement The Cbfc delayed the release of the film reportedly on the grounds of an incomplete application form submitted by the filmmakers. The board also questioned whether the film was fictional or based on historical facts. However, while the Cbfc, as official censor, plays the role of passing judgement on the content of a film and how it is presented, much of Padmaavat’s controversy – like some of its predecessors – is about how it is viewed by various different sections of Indian society. There are several points that can be made about the way these protests have unfolded – at the core of them, a secular tension between tradition and modernity. The first is about censorship in India. The Cbfc is notoriously hard to please. But more important than the Cbfc is another (unofficial) censor – the Indian public themselves. And what makes the public so hard to please is that pretty much any traditional story will offend one section of society while boosting the political self-confidence of another. And, as we have seen, these protests have a tendency to be pretty strident. And with Padmavaat we are not dealing with a straightforward historical epic, but a story which means different things to all the different groups. So while we don’t even know whether Padmavati actually existed, this account of her life – as stirring and beautiful as Bhansali has brought it to life on screen – is still churning up deep and violent passions. One thing’s for certain: it’s not easy being a film director in India. Monia Acciari, Lecturer in Cinema and Television History, De Montfort University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Re-Thinking the Canon

Monsoon Wedding

My recent tweet storm about the need to re-think the (overwhelmingly white and male) canon led The Guardian to invite me to elaborate on my thoughts. They’ve used my piece as an introduction for a feature that asks writers, directors, producers, actresses, and other women in the industry to imagine a new, more inclusive canon.

The Guardian sourced contributions from women like Lynne Ramsay, Gurinder Chadha, and Amma Asante, whose respective picks are Claire Denis’ “Beau Travail,” Mira Nair’s “Monsoon Wedding,” and Barbra Steisand’s “Yentl.” This is what the canon looks like when women have a voice.

Head over to The Guardian to check out the feature. I’m really excited about how it turned out, but I’m even more excited by the reaction it’s causing. This was intended to be a conversation-starter, and people are talking. I’m receiving lots of tweets about what the canon could and should look like.

Here are some of the suggestions:

The Piano” — Directed by Jane Campion

Pariah” — Directed by Dee Rees

Born in Flames” — Directed by Lizzie Borden

Clueless” — Directed by Amy Heckerling

“Girlhood” — Directed by Céline Sciamma

“Eve’s Bayou” — Directed by Kasi Lemmons

“Raw” — Directed by Julia Ducournau

Middle of Nowhere” — Directed by Ava DuVernay

Black Girl” — Directed by Ousmane Sembene

Strange Days” — Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

The Elements trilogy (“Earth,” “Fire,” and “Water”) — Directed by Deepa Mehta

I’d love to hear from more people and to expand this important list. Please tweet me your picks @melsil. As more titles get added we’ll compile them and make a permanent home for this radical new canon, a celebration of the films that have been undervalued for far too long.

Re-Thinking the Canon was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Shabana Azmi wows Chicago with Signature Move

Shabana Azmi wows Chicago with Signature Move
This week Shabana Azmi was in Chicago for the screening of her new international project Signature Move, about the relationship between a Muslim lesbian wrestler and her conservative Pakistani mother played by Shabana. 20 years earlier Shabana’s lesbian love-making with Nandita Das in Deepa Mehta’s Fire had wowed audiences at the same venue. Signature Move was premiered at the prestigious Music Box theatre on September 29. Speaking fromRead More

The post Shabana Azmi wows Chicago with Signature Move appeared first on Bollywood Hungama.
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Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Molly McGlynn — “Mary Goes Round”

Mary Goes Round

Molly McGlynn is a Canadian writer and director. Her previous short films include “I Am Not a Weird Person,” “Shoes,” and “3-Way (Not Calling).” “Mary Goes Round” is her first feature film. In 2015, she was selected as a Talent Lab Resident at the Reykjavik International Film Festival and as a Samsung Tiff Emerging Director.

Mary Goes Round” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Mm: “Mary Goes Round” is largely about overcoming alienation, both personal and familial, and the relief that comes with the acceptance. The film centers around a substance abuse counselor who returns to her childhood home after a DUI to meet her half-sister but learns that her estranged father is dying of cancer.

It’s about a woman who is forced to take care of a parent who she thinks let her down while simultaneously dealing with her personal demons for the sake of a teenage girl.

In the end, it’s about acts of love and taking care — not in the inane, vague email sign-off way but in a way that involves kindness and self-awareness. I wanted to unravel the sometimes circuitous way of viewing ourselves and assumptions about family relationships.

It sounds super heavy, but there’s a lot of humor and levity as well. Probably has something to do with Irish Catholic roots, but I find the darkest moments in are lives can also be the most morbidly funny as well.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Mm: It was one I needed to tell. I think there’s an old saying about making the film you need to before the one you should? It’s not autobiographical, but in many ways, I drew upon my experiences with self-identity and my relationship to my family. In making this film, I was able to create an alternate reality where I could creatively explore my deepest fears, regrets, and hopes that may or may not play out in real life.

Probably the most powerful moment on set for me was seeing a scene that was quite difficult for me to write emotionally and watching Aya Cash, who plays Mary, bring something that was totally hers to the performance. It is an amazing thing to see an actor take your words and transform them to something that belongs to them. There is comfort in how unoriginal the narratives of lives really are.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Mm: I want people to be moved and hopefully have laughed a bit, but maybe they will think about the parts of themselves or their history that they’ve avoided and what it would look like to confront those dark corners.

It ends on a beginning of sorts so I’d like the audience to think about beginnings. There is always time for a new one, I think.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Mm: I’d never made a feature before, so naturally it was overwhelming from a logistical and mental standpoint. The film had a very, very small budget — around a quarter of a million dollars — and the script called for about thirty locations and thirty speaking roles. With a team of absolute heroes behind me, we got it done.

Second to the logistical stuff, it can be overwhelming as a first-time director. I just kind of told myself I can do it and put one foot in front of the other until it was done. Fear is a powerful motivator but can really inhibit you once you’re in it.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Mm: Telefilm Canada has a Microbudget Programme supported by the Talent Fund that awards emerging filmmakers from certain accredited institutions — in my case, the Canadian Film Centre — with a grant to make their first feature. Additionally, we were supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund both in development and production. I also had additional investment from Wildling Pictures, the production company that produced the film. Yay, Canada!

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?

Mm: It was my absolute goal and dream to premiere here. About ten years ago, I started out as an intern before leaving to pursue my own work in a roundabout way, and there is no way I thought I’d be on this side of things. And here we are. Coincidentally, in my backyard.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Mm: Best advice: I went to a Film Fatales talk with Catherine Hardwicke last year and she said that whenever she does a big group scene, she writes out seating cards beforehand to save time. It’s a little thing that I think people can appreciate and keeps everyone moving. You easily alleviate cast and crew asking you multiple times where people are.

Worst advice: “It’s probably fine.” Whenever anyone says that, including myself, I have to take a second look. The devil is in the details.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Mm: I’m still learning, so I give the following advice to myself as well. Be a director in a way that makes sense to you. Drop the need to “perform” director. Everyone has shown up and is waiting for you to tell them what to do so find a way to make them want to do their best. For me, that means treating people with respect and apologizing when you’re wrong.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Mm: Gah! So many. Most recently, Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann.” It was so singularly bold, original, and no one could have done it but her. I don’t know if I would ever make a film like that, but I have so much respect for Ade and was moved deeply by it. Deepa Mehta’s “Water” and Jane Campion’s “The Piano” are two of the most beautifully directed movies I’ve ever seen. Last Tiff, I watched Houda Benyamina’s “Divines” and I thought it was so tender and impactful.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Mm: Personally, I have been given a huge amount of opportunity lately — largely from projects helmed by women — so I feel very optimistic. So much has been eloquently said on this matter, but I feel like the best thing I can do is just be the best director I can be so that other people don’t see hiring a woman as a risk. A good example is Ava DuVernay hiring all these women on her series “Queen Sugar” with the philosophy that she cannot be the sole change. It’s her job to help bring other women up with her. I think that is the most powerful and useful way to make real, meaningful change.

https://medium.com/media/f36d0b524b1112bd7abc0e8ca9fa0322/href

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Molly McGlynn — “Mary Goes Round” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

The Best Movie Trilogies Ever Made — IndieWire Critics Survey

The Best Movie Trilogies Ever Made — IndieWire Critics Survey
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: In honor of “The Trip to Spain,” what is the best movie trilogy?

Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker

Far be it from me to choose between Antonioni’s non-trilogy “L’Avventura,” “La Notte,” and “L’Eclisse” and Kiarostami’s explicitly-denied “Koker” trilogy of “Where Is the Friend’s Home?,” “Life and Nothing More,” and “Through the Olive Trees” (and I’m tempted to make a trilogy of trilogies with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Day of Wrath,” “Ordet,” and “Gertrud”), but if I put Kiarostami’s films first, it’s because he puts their very creation into the action. Reflexivity isn’t a
See full article at Indiewire »

Apply Now: New Tiff-cbc Screenwriting Grant for Underrepresented Storytellers

Indo-Canadian writer-director Deepa Mehta: Strombo/YouTube

Canada is taking another step towards a more inclusive entertainment industry. A new, $10,000 Tiff-cbc Screenwriting Grant has been launched to recognize and support underrepresented Canadian storytellers.

Applicants will be asked to submit a 85–120 page feature length screenplay. The grant recipient will be offered assistance in developing their project. Screenwriters who are female, Indigenous, belong to visible minorities, and/or identify with a disability are eligible to apply. The grant requires some previous experience: Applicants must have received a writer or director credit on a feature film which has screened in Official Selection at the Tiff.

Just yesterday Tiff, best known as the organization behind the Toronto International Film Festival, launched Share Her Journey, a program that will spotlight women in film from now until the end of this year’s festival. Tiff 2017 runs from September 7–17. Tiff also recently announced “Kathryn Bigelow: On the Edge,” a retrospective of some of the Oscar-winning director’s biggest hits that kicks off July 12.

Canada is making a number of significant, positive steps towards achieving gender parity in the film and television. In March the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television introduced an apprenticeship program for female directors, and the National Film Board of Canada expanded its gender-equity plan by advocating for more women cinematographers, composers, and screenwriters.

In November Telefilm Canada, the country’s biggest film financier, introduced measures to ensure half of the movies it finances will now be directed or written by women. And the public broadcaster CBC announced last summer that at least half of the episodes of its popular scripted programs like “Murdoch Mysteries” and “Heartland” will be directed by women.

See submission requirements for the Tiff-cbc Screenwriting Grant for Underrepresented Storytellers below, courtesy of Tiff. The deadline to apply is midnight on Monday, August 21. The recipient of the grant will be announced in November. Check out more details and apply on Tiff’s website.

Submission Requirements

Submissions must be original works in English, written solely by the Applicant. Adaptations of books, theater, or magazine articles are eligible, provided the applicant has secured the necessary legal rights. There is a limit of one submission per applicant,

In order to be considered for the grant, the Applicant must submit all of the application materials listed below via the online application by midnight on Monday, August 21, 2017.

1. A completed online application form, with digital signature

2. A completed online submission Release form, with digital signature

3. The project you are submitting for consideration. Submissions must be in the form of a 85–120 page feature length screenplay in “script format standard.” Cover page should include only the project title and no other identifying markings.

4. A logline that encapsulates the story in one line and does not exceed 50 words (the “Synopsis”)

Apply Now: New Tiff-cbc Screenwriting Grant for Underrepresented Storytellers was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Toronto Film Festival launches $3m scheme for female filmmakers

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Share Her Journey campaign targets C$3m within five years.

The Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) hierarchy announced on Monday a five-year mandate to expand its talent development programmes to champion and empower women.

The initiative aims to raise C$3m (Usd $2.3m) in five years – C$500,000 (Usd $388,200) in the remainder of 2017 – and kicks off on July 10 with a donors’ event to mark the launch of the Share Her Journey campaign.

The campaign will run from July 10 through the end of the 2017 festival on September 17 and is designed to celebrate successful and inspirational women behind and in front of the camera whom Tiff has championed and supported over the years.

Former PotashCorp vice-president Betty-Ann Heggie (pictured below), founder of the Womentorship programme at the University Of Saskatchewan, and philanthropist and longtime Tiff donor Anne-Marie Canning, will match the first C$80,000 (Usd $62,100) donated to the campaign in 2017.

Tiff has appointed ‘ambassadors’ to relay the campaign’s message. They include:
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Toronto Film Festival launches $3m scheme to boost female filmmakers

  • ScreenDaily
Share Her Journey campaign targets C$3m within five years.

The Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) hierarchy announced on Monday a five-year mandate to expand its talent development programmes to champion and empower women.

The initiative aims to raise C$3m (Usd $2.3m) in five years – C$500,000 (Usd $388,200) in the remainder of 2017 – and kicks off on July 10 with a donors’ event to mark the launch of the Share Her Journey campaign.

The campaign will run from July 10 through the end of the 2017 festival on September 17 and is designed to celebrate successful and inspirational women behind and in front of the camera whom Tiff has championed and supported over the years.

Former PotashCorp vice-president Betty-Ann Heggie (pictured), founder of the Womentorship programme at the University Of Saskatchewan, and philanthropist and longtime Tiff donor Anne-Marie Canning, will match the first C$80,000 (Usd $62,100) donated to the campaign in 2017.

Tiff has appointed ‘ambassadors’ to relay the campaign’s message. They include:
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Tiff launches female-oriented diversity drive

  • ScreenDaily
Share Her Journey campaign targets C$3m within five years.

The Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) hierarchy announced on Monday a five-year mandate to expand its talent development programmes to champion and empower women.

The initiative aims to raise C$3m (Usd $2.3m) in five years – C$500,000 (Usd $388,200) in the remainder of 2017 – and kicks off on July 10 with a donors’ event to mark the launch of the Share Her Journey campaign.

The campaign will run from July 10 through the end of the 2017 festival on September 17 and is designed to celebrate successful and inspirational women behind and in front of the camera whom Tiff has championed and supported over the years.

Former PotashCorp vice-president Betty-Ann Heggie (pictured), founder of the Womentorship programme at the University Of Saskatchewan, and philanthropist and longtime Tiff donor Anne-Marie Canning, will match the first C$80,000 (Usd $62,100) donated to the campaign in 2017.

Tiff has appointed ‘ambassadors’ to relay the campaign’s message. They include:
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Toronto Film Festival Kicks Off $3 Million Campaign to Support Female Filmmakers

Toronto Film Festival Kicks Off $3 Million Campaign to Support Female Filmmakers
The Toronto International Film Festival is kicking off a $3 million campaign to support female filmmakers.

The film festival, which unfolds every September, is a key stop for Oscar hopefuls.

The five-year funding push will support a three-month residency program for female creators, develop a speaker series about gender equity and gender identities in film, and design classroom resources to help educators interested in the subject of women and gender in cinema. The move comes as women trail men in terms of representation behind the camera — only 7% of all directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases in 2016. That was a decline of two percentage points from the level achieved in 2015.

Related

Success of ‘Wonder Woman’ Could Pave Way for More Female Directors

There have been some gains, however. Patty Jenkins directed “Wonder Woman,” a big-screen smash that is the highest grossing film ever overseen by a female filmmaker. The festival has also made strides to increase the representation
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Toronto International Film Fest Launches Share Her Journey Campaign

Share Her Story Ambassador Omoni Oboli: Red Carpet News TV/YouTube

This year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) is still about two months away, but the fest is already introducing Share Her Journey, a program that will spotlight women in film from now until the end of Tiff 2017. Share Her Journey is the beginning of Tiff’s five-year plan to “grow its Talent Development programs with female-forward programming to increase participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera,” a press release details.

This long-term commitment to gender diversity will include the introduction of gender equity initiatives, a three-month residency program, a producers’ accelerator program, speaker series, and “comprehensive resources” for educators on the topic of women’s representation in film. All of these offerings are designed to “champion diversity of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical and cognitive ability.”

Tiff has also brought on women in the film industry to participate as Ambassadors for Share Her Journey events. Actress and “Okafor’s Law” director Omoni Oboli will serve as Ambassador as will shorts filmmaker and Tiff award-winner Carol Nguyen (“How Do You Pronounce Pho?”), “Manufactured Landscapes” director and documentarian Jennifer Baichwal, and Deepa Mehta, whose feminist drama “Water” received an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Inclusion, accessibility, and diversity are central to our work at Tiff. We acknowledge that gender inequity is systemic in the screen industries, so change has to happen at every level. That includes getting more women into key creative roles,” stated Cameron Bailey, Tiff Artistic Director.

“We plan to seek out, develop, and showcase top female talent in the industry through our Festival and year-round initiatives,” Bailey continued. Our mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. One of the most powerful ways to do that is to foreground the perspectives of women.”

The past year has seen Canada leading the charge for gender equality in the film industry. Canada’s Women In the Director’s Chair (Widc) initiative launched an online directory of its filmmakers in May. The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television introduced an apprenticeship program for female directors, and the National Film Board of Canada expanded its gender-equity plan by advocating for more women cinematographers, composers, and screenwriters in March.

In November Telefilm Canada, the country’s biggest film financier, introduced measures to ensure half of the movies it finances will now be directed or written by women. And the public broadcaster CBC announced last summer that at least half of the episodes of its popular scripted programs like “Murdoch Mysteries” and “Heartland” will be directed by women.

Fundraising for Share Her Journey begins tonight with a screening of Ida Lupino’s “Outrage,” which follows a young woman in the aftermath of an assault. For more information about the Share Her Journey campaign, go to Tiff’s website.

Tiff 2017 will take place September 7–17 in Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto International Film Fest Launches Share Her Journey Campaign was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Women in Cannes

Women in Cannes
Anna Serner, Filminstitutet. Foto: Fredrik Sandberg/ScanpixAnna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute (Sfi) has been leading the way for gender equality on a global scale for at least the past five years and has become a sort of godmother to all the woman striving and thriving in Cannes.

She not only encouraged the collection of statistics of women filmmakers in Sweden and abroad which could then be used to calculate public funding to create parity but as been the preeminent global lobbyist. In 2016, 64% of the Sfi’s production funding when to female directors which means that from 2013–2016, Sfi funding was 50% female and 50% male. In 2017 the Sfi funding is expecte to be 40% for female directors.

50/50 by 2020 — Global Reach was held in Cannes for the second year, hosted by Sfi, Wift Nordic and the Marche and included talk with such filmmakers a Agnieszka Holland and Jessica Hausner, a presentation by
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Hot Docs 2017 Women Directors: Meet Marie Clements— “The Road Forward”

“The Road Forward”

Marie Clements (Métis/Dene) is an award-winning writer, director, and producer of film, television, radio, new media, and live performance. Her work as a filmmaker includes the 2015 docudrama “Number 14” and the 2013 short drama “Pilgrims,” which screened at Tiff. Her short documentary “The Language of Love” screened at Hot Docs in 2012. The film production of Clements’ screenplay “Unnatural and Accidental” premiered at the MoMA Film Festival in New York and also screened at Tiff.

“The Road Forward” premiered at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on April 30.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Mc: “The Road Forward” is a musical documentary that pays tribute to the political, social, and legal civil rights movement led by First Nations activists in Canada.

The Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood of BC formed a newspaper called The Native Voice in the 1930s, where news stringers from across Canada and the U.S. sent in stories that unified a Native reality across nations and borders. Our story is told through this history and through the voice of leading First Nations activists, musicians, and vocalists.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Mc: I was researching and came across The Native Voice newspaper and was drawn to the idea that leading First Nations activists formed a newspaper in the 193’s that spoke to and from a First Nations perspective — that this history was not only documented by First Nations leaders but that The Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood fought for human rights movements that we are still benefiting from today, and in some cases, still fighting for.

It became clear that First Nations activism in the Americas has a long history, and movements such as Idle No More and Standing Rock come from a long tradition of activists coming together in a unified vision towards change.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Mc: I want people to think that our history is their history — that everyone who lives in Canada and U.S. shares a history that is still alive, and that this history has a real influence and impact on what our present situation is and what our future will be.

I also want people to feel as inspired as I do witnessing these early activists who came together to create a world view that included everyone at the table: Native and Non-Native, men and women, families. I also want them to feel inspired by contemporary First Nations artists who are giving voice to activism in their own work and in their own right.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Mc: There were a lot of moving parts in creating and weaving a story that fuses music, documentary, and dramatic sequences told over seven decades and featuring over 27 subjects with a large ensemble. Time was a challenge but that is hardly original.

I would have to say that I loved the challenges that “The Road Forward” demanded. It felt epic and yet forced me to see and re-see, hear and re-hear every single detail in a cellular way. It was a beautiful challenge.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Mc: “The Road Forward” was produced by The National Film Board of Canada. I met with executive producer Shirley Vercruysse from the BC & Yukon Studio to pitch the idea of a hybrid documentary.

I was extremely fortunate that “The Road Forward” was developed and produced by the National Film Board. Miracles do happen.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Hot Docs?

Mc: It’s a great honor to have our world premiere at Hot Docs. It also feels humbling to be in such great company. There are just so many extraordinary filmmakers and films being screened here from all over the world. It is inspiring.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Mc: Best advice: During “The Road Forward” we often used George Manuel’s quote “Take It. You don’t ask for it, you take it.” It’s a great piece of advice because everything demands that you be present and believe the time is now. Our stories need to be seen and heard now.

Worst advice: It’s hard to choose what might be the worst advice I’ve ever received because it usually depends on the day. For the most part people will tell you over and over again your project will never get produced, or you will never direct it, or both.

There is also a whole lot of other advice you will get which will challenge you to decipher what is good advice and what is bad advice. Ultimately you will come to understand bad advice is how people reveal themselves and their intentions. So in that way it is very useful.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Mc: My sister used to say “I decide.” I think it’s important to remember it’s okay to take a chance, to risk everything because in the end you will be responsible for it either way — whether you benefit from it, or whether you pay for it. You decide and your decisions have to stay true to the vision of the story because that is the only reason you are there.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Mc: This is more than one, the why of it being they are master storytellers who executed their vision: Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” and Deepa Mehta’s “The Beeba Boys.”

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Mc: “The Road Forward” was produced by the National Film Board of Canada, which has always been committed to representing women directors and their stories, and has publicly stated that this is an important part of its mandate and a part of its practice.

Other main Canadian funders and broadcasters have come on board this year with initiatives and mandates that are looking to address equality in a real way. It might be too early to be optimistic but I am feeling that there is a real change galvanizing across different institutions and platforms.

https://medium.com/media/28f5ed8bf1f5b1536cc813f7a35487a0/href

Hot Docs 2017 Women Directors: Meet Marie Clements— “The Road Forward” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Telefilm Canada issues statement as directors voice merger fears

  • ScreenDaily
Telefilm Canada issues statement as directors voice merger fears
April 21 Update: Executive director of film body ‘touched by support’.

Carolle Brabant, the executive director of Telefilm Canada, has released a statement in light of a protest letter by leading Canadian directors voicing concern over rumours the body will merge with the Canada Media Fund.

Denis Villeneuve and David Cronenberg are among 51 signatories who wrote to the government this week as it conducts a review of culture policy in the digital age.

Brabant’s statement issued late on Thursday night said: “We’re touched by the support expressed by Canadian directors and producers for Telefilm Canada’s mandate. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, Telefilm’s commitment to developing and promoting Canadian filmmaking talent is as strong as ever.

“As reflected in our 11-year partnership with the Canada Media Fund, we constantly seek to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of funding program delivery, especially in today’s multiplatform environment.

“We understand the industry wanting to be part
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Canadian directors protest Telefilm Canada merger rumours

  • ScreenDaily
Canadian directors protest Telefilm Canada merger rumours
Denis Villeneuve, David Cronenberg among signatories in letter to government.

Fifty-one Canadian directors have written to prime minster Justin Trudeau and heritage minster Melanie Joly protesting what they believe to be a government proposal to merge Telefilm Canada with the Canada Media Fund (Cmf).

The Liberal government is reviewing culture policy in the digital age and the signatories to the letter believe a merger is on the table.

Toronto-based Globe And Mail ran an excerpt of the letter, whose signatories include Denis Villeneuve, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Denys Arcand, Deepa Mehta, Xavier Dolan, and Sarah Polley.

They wrote: “We are deeply concerned that if feature film investments are subsumed within a larger agency with a competing and unsympathetic mandate, its independence and efficacy will quickly erode.

“Merging filmmaker-driven Telefilm with broadcaster-driven Cmf would deal a devastating blow to Canadian cinema.”

Telefilm Canada administers public funds to support cinema and its involvement on a project triggers the release
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian films

  • Cineplex
Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian filmsCelebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian filmsAdriana Floridia4/19/2017 11:42:00 Am

Today is National Canadian Film Day and there's no better way to celebrate than by watching Canadian movies!

Canadian films are largely underrated, but there are tons of filmmakers, both new and old, that are resurrecting the Canadian film scene. While Quebec has always had a strong presence in the film-making world, with directors like Xavier Dolan, Denis Villeneuve and Jean Marc Vallee constantly doing us proud, there's also a lot of great efforts from the English-speaking Canadian film realm, that we often forget about. Legends like David Cronenberg, Deepa Mehta and Guy Maddin have always made distinct, challenging work, and there's a new emerging scene--from the more established filmmakers like Jason Reitman and Sarah Polley, to a new crop of directors like Matt Johnson and Andrew Cividino.
See full article at Cineplex »

Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian films

  • Cineplex
Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian filmsCelebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian filmsAdriana Floridia4/19/2017 11:42:00 Am

Today is National Canadian Film Day and there's no better way to celebrate than by watching Canadian movies!

Canadian films are largely underrated, but there are tons of filmmakers, both new and old, that are resurrecting the Canadian film scene. While Quebec has always had a strong presence in the film-making world, with directors like Xavier Dolan, Denis Villeneuve and Jean Marc Vallee constantly doing us proud, there's also a lot of great efforts from the English-speaking Canadian film realm, that we often forget about. Legends like David Cronenberg, Deepa Mehta and Guy Maddin have always made distinct, challenging work, and there's a new emerging scene--from the more established filmmakers like Jason Reitman and Sarah Polley, to a new crop of directors like Matt Johnson and Andrew Cividino.
See full article at Cineplex »

“Lipstick Under My Burkha” to Open Indian Film Fests in La and NY

Lipstick Under My Burkha

Lipstick Under My Burkha” has been subject to censorship in India, but the feminist film is being received warmly at festivals in the U.S. In fact, the Alankrita Shrivastava-directed movie will open the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and the New York Indian Film Festival.

According to a press release, “Lipstick” will make its U.S. premiere at the Indian Film Fest of La (Iffla) on April 5. Shrivastava will be in attendance alongside directors, producers, and actors from the fest’s other films as well as Iffla President Christina Marouda.

Iffla “is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora,” the release explains.

“Lipstick” will follow-up its U.S. premiere by kicking off the New York Indian Film Fest on April 30, Variety writes. “44 docs, features, and shorts will unspool at the fest in not only Hindi and English but also Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, and Gujarati languages.” The fest is organized by the Indo-American Arts Council and features films from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Other notable screenings include centerpiece film “An Insignificant Man,” co-directed by Khushboo Ranka, Deepa Mehta’s “Anatomy of Violence,” and Konkona Sen Sharma’s “A Death in the Gunj.”

Lipstick Under My Burkha,” is an “ambitious narrative set in Bhopal,” the film’s synopsis reads. “Rehana is the titular burkha wearer who sings at open mics in defiance of her father’s warnings; Shirin is a superstar saleswoman, but must keep this triumph a secret from her faithless husband; Leela is trying to juggle a Muslim lover, a Hindu fiancé, and her dream career as a bridal consultant; and Auntie Usha secretly reads racy novels and lusts after her swimming instructor. Two of the women are Hindu, two are Muslim, but all their stories come together when they attempt to challenge the sexual and social norms of Indian patriarchy.”

About a month ago news broke that India’s Censor Board of Film Certification decided “Lipstick Under My Burkha” is not “clean and healthy entertainment” and deemed the film unsuitable for theatrical release. The Board cited the movie’s “sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography,” and “sensitive touch about one particular section of society” in its verdict.

Shrivastava — who also wrote the film with an assist from Suhani Kanwar and dialogue from Gazal Dhaliwal — told us that the film’s “feminist pulse” is what offended the Board.

“The film explores the lives of women in a way that has perhaps not been done before in India,” she observed. “And confronting those stories and that perspective has somehow rattled them. The Censor Board, it seems, is more comfortable dealing with popular mainstream cinema. Cinema that is more often than not created through a male gaze, where women are objectified and play very peripheral roles. But more than anything the Board is not used to dealing with films where women want to have agency over their own bodies and their own desires.”

For tickets and more information about the festivals, visit the Iffla or Indo-American Arts Council websites.

Lipstick Under My Burkha” to Open Indian Film Fests in La and NY was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »
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