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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change

I wrote a little while back about the Sarasota Film Festival and their kick-ass education and outreach program, which I’m looking forward to seeing up close when I’m at that fest next month.

I’m also going back to Dallas IFF this year — I’ve been going to that fest every year since it started, and I’m continually impressed with how this fest has grown and shifted and survived in spite ending their co-branding with AFI and losing some sponsors and gaining others. Somehow, they always pull off a hell of a fest for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

So I just got this press release about a new initiative Dallas IFF is starting this year for the first time ever — programming a section of films and panels on social issues and partnering with health organizations to put on panels on WHY you should make a film about your cause, WHAT kind of film you should make and HOW you can get it made. I won’t go into all the details you can get from the press release, but it’s pretty cool.

Getting information out there and engaging audiences and filmmakers in the whys and wherefores of social-issue filmmaking as a genre is a worthwhile endeavor for a regional fest to be promoting, but they’ve also partnered with The Embrey Family Foundation to award a $10,000 cash prize to an individual or film related to fighting injustice or creating social change.

I wish I had a family wealthy enough to hand out $10,000 cash awards, but since I don’t, I’m at least glad that someone else does … and that they’re using that wealth in the service of BOTH art and social issues. So good for them, and good for Dallas IFF for working to make this happen. This is exactly the kind of role regional film fests need to be playing in the community, and the kind of creative partnerships other regional fests should be looking at for their own fests. Right on.

One Response to “On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change”

  1. Really? says:

    You have to be kidding. This festival is embarrassing to the people of Dallas, who deserve much more. Bring back the American Film Institute and some dignity to this effort.

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“This is momentous. I think it is the true beginning of the crumble of the patriarchy. We’ve been living under it for centuries, and I don’t think this would’ve been possible in any earlier period in history. I think all of the baby steps that we’ve taken toward getting more women in positions of power — cinematographers that are women, and actresses who develop their own projects, and studio heads that are women — I mean, it was always one at a time, but it’s been slowly building. I think what’s happened now, it’s like, “Okay, the jig’s up, folks. You’re not going to get away with it. I’m not going to protect you if you treat me badly or disrespectfully.” We now have a woman cinematographer nominated for an Oscar, finally, in 2018. Finally. We’ve had a woman director win an Oscar. So it’s baby steps, but now I think it’s going to change drastically. Plus, I mean, look at Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was a great movie. It was beautiful and it made a lot of money, which is what talks, of course, in this industry. So I think we’ll be seeing more women in positions of power.”
~ Ellen Burstyn

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