My introduction to film festivals began with TIFF, a festival I've been going to since 2011. I remember the first movie I saw there: Shame (directed by Steve McQueen). Since then, year after year, my TIFF movie schedule grew. I remember running from one screening to the next. I saw as much as I could. This year, the online experience of festivals will miss a few simple pleasures: meeting new people in lineups that go on for blocks, sitting in a crowded theatre with a very excited audience, rushing to a last-minute packed screening finishing coffee in hand, listening to insightful Q&As, and unexpectedly meeting some great actors, to name a few.
Given that many festivals around the world have now gone virtual, I had the opportunity to learn about some great organizations beyond Canada dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices in media. Here are some festival spotlights:
Vision Maker Media's First Indigenous Online Film Festival
"45 years of empowering the Native narrative"
"Vision Maker Media (@visionmakermedia) amplifies and empowers the works of Native people through storytelling. Since 1976, Vision Maker has showcased Native programming on film, VHS, DVD, and now through online streaming. For the first time, they will be hosting a free online celebration of American Indian, Alaska Native and worldwide Indigenous film.
The festival promotes understanding Indigenous communities and creating a space for learning. Native representation in media not only matters, it is essential.
The First Indigenous Online Film Festival runs from August 31 to October 5. Visit https://visionmakermedia.org/ for information on festival passes and registration.
August 31, 2020"
Imagine This Women's International Film Festival
"Inspired by women storytellers and filmmakers"
"Based in Brooklyn, Imagine This Women's Film Fest (@imagineprods) amplifies the works of independent and aspiring female filmmakers from around the world. The festival also provides helpful resources for equal opportunities, funding, production, and diversity programming. This year's virtual lineup includes over 70 films (all made by women) from 20 countries.
So inspired by just how many great film festivals there are in the world. Representation in media is essential, and with festivals such as ITWIFF, more stories are being heard.
The 5th annual Imagine This Women's Film Festival runs from September 25 to October 4. Visit https://www.imaginethisprods.com/ for more information on tickets and festival passes. Looking forward to checking this out for the first time!
August 20, 2020"
Bentonville Film Festival
"If they can see it, they can be it."
"Co-founded by Geena Davis, the Bentonville Film Festival (@bfffestival) is on a mission to promote underrepresented storytellers in media and entertainment. The festival, held annually in Bentonville, Arkansas, launched in 2015 and has emphasized inclusive programming over the last six years. This year's largely virtual lineup includes more than 80% of features directed by women.
As the Bentonville Film Festival runs from August 10-16, movie screenings will end tomorrow at 11:59pm CDT! Visit https://bentonvillefilm.org/ to check out a movie or two. Already can't wait for next year's lineup!
August 15, 2020"
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