|Desiree and Yael|
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Sunday, June 24, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
|Zia Mandviwalla at work|
Four thousand five hundred short films were submitted to the Short Film Competition at Cannes this year. Ten were selected. Women wrote and directed three, and New Zealander Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift was one of these.
Zia was born in Mumbai. She's a Zoroastrian–a small religious and ethnic group who went to India to escape the Islamic invasion of Persia several hundred years ago–and came to New Zealand in 1996, at the age of 18, via Dubai. She went to university here, and then reached filmmaking following a scriptwriting course. Night Shift is Zia’s fourth short film, following Eating Sausage (2004), Clean Linen (2006) and Amadi (2010).
Zia’s represented New Zealand at the Berlinale Talent Campus and at the prestigious Accelerator program at the Melbourne International Film Festival. And in 2008, she spent four months in India working alongside Nandita Das on her directorial debut, the award-winning, multi-lingual feature film Firaaq. Zia has received many awards including New Zealand’s New Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2009. She also makes commercials, and has been represented by Curious Film in Australia and New Zealand since 2010.
Because women directors’ participation in the Cannes Film Festival is so controversial, my initial questions for Zia focused on Night Shift and her experience with Cannes. I hoped that, as with my podcast with Destri Martino, Zia’s story might help demystify Cannes. But when she emailed her responses from Denmark, and we Skyped during her visit to Berlin, I expanded the interview a little.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Ever wondered what the Cannes Film Festival is like for the women directors who get there? Destri Martino, based in Los Angeles, was one of them this year, when her animation The Director screened at the American Pavilion. I love her UNGLAM CANNES blog, which she calls ‘A place to track my growing list of neuroses as I prepare to attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’ and where she’s still adding useful info from her experience.
Destri’s typical of many very hardworking and serious women filmmakers in the second decade of the 21st century. She’s highly educated (USC, UCLA, London School of Economics) and highly experienced—in commercial, music video and film production teams in a variety of roles, from p.a. to production manager. She’s been exposed to an array of directing styles and aesthetics from the likes of the late Phil Joanou, Mika Kaurismaki, Mike Nichols and Michael Bay and has also worked for the prolific John Wells Productions, makers of programmes like ER and West Wing.
Destri currently writes and directs the award-winning webseries Mixed Blooms, a ‘fresh-cut comedy’, distributed on YouTube and BlipTV, partially funded—of course!—through Kickstarter. She’s very active in social media. And in her day job—feeding her filmmaking in more ways than one—she produces marketing, recruiting and training videos in-house for law firm Sheppard Mullin. In this podcast, Destri talks about The Director, her Cannes experience, Mixed Blooms, and her practice. She is now scripting a horror feature.
Please note: the link was fine and then it broke and now it's fine again. If you have a problem, you can always access the podcast through the Wellywood Woman Wellington Access Radio link, over there in the sidebar.
Destri Martino filmmaker on Facebook
Destri on Twitter
Mixed Blooms on Twitter
Mixed Blooms on Facebook
Thursday, June 7, 2012
|Solidarity with Russian LGBTI seeking human rights, Berlin, in February|
Discrimination against women storytellers and against single mothers inspires most of my activism, and I tend to take my comfortable place on the LGBTI spectrum for granted. But this morning's emails brought a disturbing press release from Manny de Guerre at the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, currently in Novosibirsk. I acknowledge that I have become complacent, and am spurred to action. Here's the press release in its entirety.