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Female Eye Film Festival: Celebrating female filmmakers from around the world

Female filmmakers, this one’s for you! It’s little under two months until the Female Eye Film Festival kicks off – a competitive event dedicated to illuminating the best of debut, emerging, and established female filmmakers from around the globe. Established in 2001 with the tagline “Always Honest, Not Always Pretty”, this badass fest has showcased high caliber indie flicks made by top female filmmakers for nearly 16 years. Attendees can enjoy an eclectic selection of features and shorts in all genres directed by women that are not found in mainstream cinema.

The 2018 FeFF will run from June 26 to July 1, held at the cultural center Daniels Spectrum in Toronto, Canada. Its aim is to bridge the gap between the written, visual, and media arts with an eclectic program of film screenings, script readings, an FeFF photo exhibit, as well as an Industry Initiatives Program of panels, workshops, and pitch sessions. All in all it’s the place to be if you’re a budding or established female filmmaker, scriptwriter, or if you’re a film fanatic looking to network with industry professionals.

The Female Eye also holds a Script Development Program – a three tier program comprised of the Good To Go (a pitch session for screenwriters with scripts that are good to go), the Script Reading Series whereby ACTRA members read main scenes from scripts selected, and a script reading in front of a live audience including industry delegates who provide feedback to the writers.

Handcrafted engraved statuettes are presented for the best selected films at the Closing Awards Ceremony, including Best of Show, Best Foreign Feature, Best Canadian Feature, Best Documentary, Best Debut Filmmaker, Best Short Film, Best Animation, and Best Experimental, while Screenplay Awards are presented for Best Screenplay, Best Reserve, Best Low Budget Feature, Best Fresh Voice, and Audience Choice Award.

Choreographer turned filmmaker Leslie-Ann Coles founded the festival, thus creating Canada’s one and only annual competitive international independent female directors’ film festival. As the FeFF’s executive and artistic director, Coles has also mentored young aspiring female filmmakers and Aboriginal youth at risk, producing 42 short experimental films for The Female Eye that have premiered at the festival.

In an interview, Coles noted the fest’s most notable success is that it introduces films directed by women to the general public, industry members, and stakeholders, and by doing this, helps to dispel the myth that women create films for a femme-centric audience. “In other words, we help break the stereotype that women make ‘chick flicks’. Also, although we present films directed by women, our Script Development Program is open to both men and women. Scripts must feature a female protagonist.”

The FeFF is praised for its intimate atmosphere, great programming, and accessibility, which attracts a hodge-podge of film enthusiasts – from emerging and internationally recognized directors to screenwriters, seasoned industry professionals, celebrities, and decision makers in film & TV. Speaking on the event, screenwriter Mark Daniels mused, “My screenplay was selected for this festival. The entire time I spent there was amazing – great films and workshops. Everyone was wonderfully supportive. I cannot recommend this festival strongly enough.” Meanwhile, filmmaker Eva Colmers wrote, “Amazing films, fantastic workshops and panels, and ample opportunities to network with other filmmakers and industry members. It’s one of my absolute favorite festivals.”

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