2009 Women in Film Festival Recap

The 4th annual WIFF is over… the curtains are drawn… and Vancouver sits in a thin blanket of snow. It’s a great day to rest and recuperate.

I know I’m totally biased… but I think the WIFF is one of the best film festivals around. It’s not just the great films, it’s the networking/socializing, community-building, commraderie. That and just plain nice people attend the festival. The venue is great for hanging out in between screenings.

Some highlights (too many to mention!):

I mentioned The Baby Formula in my last post, which was quite fun. I also enjoyed Carl Bessai’s Mothers and Daughters. In it, six of Canada’s top actresses improvised their lines using only skeletons of stories to portray the interwoven lives of three mothers and daughters. What a gift to have Gabrielle Rose, Babz Chula, and Tantoo Cardinal all in one film.

This gem was a true collaborative creation. Instead of having a writer, it had six actors who worked with Carl to shape the narrative. They also used real places of business and real people to interact with while filming. It was quite the guerrilla operation, and apparently an editing nightmare because each take was different. They put it together beautifully, though, and the stellar acting is worth it alone.


The fascinating film The Girlfriend Experience directed by Ilianna Pietrobruno follows (in mocumentary style) a man obsessed with prostitutes. When he falls for one, his life behins to unravel. As one would imagine, his exploits destroy his relationship with his girlfriend. The actor David Lewis is totally convincing in this raw film Sexually graphic, in case you couldn’t guess.

Short films that caught my eye:

Liminal: Ina and Joy are naked and locked in a battle of elimination. Intense and theatrical. (I met the director, Stephen Mills, he was quite lovely and had come up from L.A.)

My Name is Pochsy – What a treat. Director (and cult comedienne) Karen Hines’ first film is getting critical acclaim. Totally original, dark and funny. Shot beautifully on Super 8. Basically, it’s a character sketch… but so much more.

Roast BeefWhat is it with the Quebecois? As filmmakers, they always come up with something off center. I would never say I’m a huge fan of “dance” films. They have to be something really original. This one takes place in a butcher shop… where a customer gets down and sexy to the tune of the meat being chopped and wrapped. So well done.

Another dance film, 30-Love (but you don’t even realize it’s a dance film… it’s a dance disguised as a tennis match), chronicles the demise of a long distance relationship. Quirky, just like the writer/director Alison Beda.

Bummed I missed: 50 Dead Men Walking by writer / director Kari Skogland. I was volunteering that night and missed the opening, and I didn’t want to go in late. I heard from the audience that it was excellent, so I’ll put it on my list.


  1. art predator
    Mar 15, 2009

    so would love to see this be

    women in film extravaganza–WIFE

    and reclaim the word…

  2. openchannel
    Mar 15, 2009

    lol. i’ll have to send that note to the board.

    the first year I wanted t-shirts that said “WIFF THIS!” but the board didn’t like the sexual connotation… the point, to me, was to be overt about it and own it.

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