New film festival showcases women's work

· The Pulse

Edmonton has given birth to another festival — the Broad View International Film Festival debuts in November to amplify the voices of female filmmakers.

The festival is the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Geraldine Carr and a board of like-minded women who wanted to create more space in a field that remains male-dominated.

"The fact is that women have had to struggle for a place in the film industry as active participants, and film festivals still tend to be dominated by male creative work," said Beth Wishart MacKenzie, an independent filmmaker and a member of the board. "So this is a festival that seeks to give a platform and a space for women to tell their stories."

Part of the vision of the festival is to create a dedicated space for films directed by women, to appreciate the nuance of the female perspective, and to honour historic, groundbreaking work as well as contemporary films, MacKenzie said.

"In film theory, there's a distinction made between the male gaze and the female gaze, and that there is a qualitative difference in the way women tell stories and nuance and perspective," MacKenzie said. "And so I think by setting aside a festival designated for the female gaze, it allows people to see that nuanced difference. And it's not that women are only telling stories about women, it's how they tell the story that will be amplified in this festival."

MacKenzie's own film, Lana Gets Her Talk, is one of the 10 films being shown at the festival, which runs Nov. 11–12 at Metro Cinema.

The festival will open with distinguished Canadian filmmaker Anne Wheeler's 1981 docudrama, A War Story, an apt choice given that opening night coincides with Remembrance Day. It also shows the festival directors' intention to shine a light on important work regardless of when or where it was made.

"My belief is that year of production will not necessarily be a determining factor for some time, because we are trying to bring forward the work of women who have contributed to the cinematic landscape of our communities and the world over the years and their voices have not been amplified enough," said MacKenzie. "So we are hoping to do that too, to use to showcase both past and present works created by women."

Animated image of a woman walking beside a train track in a snowy winter landscape

Lyana Patrick's animated short documentary, The Train Station, is showing on Nov. 12 as part of the inaugural Broad View International Film Festival. (Supplied)

Broad View will be preceded by at least three other local film festivals.

The Edmonton Short Film Festival is back for its 10th year, kicking off on Oct. 14 with a comedy night hosted by Howie Miller at Pure Casino Yellowhead. Metro Cinema will host the red carpet gala on Oct. 15, and more than 30 short films will screen throughout the weekend.

NWFearFest is debuting this year with three days of bloody great horror films, running Oct. 18 to 20. The festival is a mix of genre classics, such as John Carpenter's The Thing, and modern horror, including Michel Hazanavicius's Final Cut, which debuted at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

This offshoot of NorthwestFest, the annual documentary film festival, isn't yet fully formed, but this year will give audiences a glimpse of what's coming, festival producer Guy Lavallee told Postmedia.

NorthwestFest's other spinoff, the Rainbow Visions Film Festival, is now in its eighth year. It will bring a selection of films with an LGBTQ2S+ focus to Metro Cinema from Nov. 3 to 6, opening with Before I Change My Mind, Trevor Anderson's first feature film.