Earlier this month, Female Voices Rock Film Festival was available virtually to attendees across the USA and abroad. The festival line up featured filmmaker panels, creative conversations and workshops, digital networking, and a selection of short films showcasing womxn voices from across the globe.
I had the privilege of attending several of these panels, conversations and workshops. This is a short recap of my first experience attending this very important and well planned film festival.
Panel: Building a Career in Animation
This panel was in-depth conversation with Alison Mann on creating and navigating a career in animation.
Mann provided some excellent pointers for anyone looking to work in this field. She was extremely honest in describing her experience working at various places (incl. Nickelodeon) prior to her current position as VP of Creative/Strategy at Sony Pictures Animation, and as the Co-Founder and CEO of the BRIC Foundation.
I truly like the sincerity in Mann’s sharing her experience, her insight into the animation industry. She is such a boss, also the mother of twins, who has created a path for herself that allows her to continue to impact others upcoming in this field from animators to executives.
Panel: Shifting the Narrative & Responsible Storytelling
This conversation with film and television producer and narrative change activist Heather Rae focused on efforts in creating more authentic stories that shift the culture narrative and appeal to a global audience.
Rae is a veteran filmmaker who is a passionate advocate for Native American and Indigenous storytelling. She also ran the Native Program at the Sundance Institute for six years. Rae spoke about her start in the industry, her wish and vision of Indigenous voices bringing authenticity to the screen. Truly inspiring talk; Rae was also very generous with her answers to panel attendees.
Cinematographers: Close up
An excellent conversation with leading women cinematographers, which featured Quyen Tran, Carolina Costa, and Ava Benjamin Shorr.
Tran’s latest film, PALM SPRINGS, starring Andy Samberg and J.K. Simmons, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to critical and commercial success. Costa most recently worked on WANDER DARKLY, starring Diego Luna and Sienna Miller, which also premiered this year at Sundance. Shorr’s work can be seen in the documentary DISCLOSURE; also a Sundance premiere this past year.
Another candid conversation about their career journey and trajectory. I quite liked how genuine each of the panelists were in sharing their experiences as well. Another highlight of the conversation was hearing them talk about their process while working on any given project.
Panel: Stuntwomen – In Action
This panel included choreographer and martial arts master Jing Li, actor and stunt performer Tamiko Brownlee, and DGA director / stunt coordinator Kathy Jarvis.
Stunt work has evolved over the years to include many more womxn in the field. Hearing from each of these stunt professionals was a delight. They also spoke about the challenges they have experienced in the field, yet offered insight for younger generations for stuntwomxn.
Panel: Women in Film and TV Criticism
A delight to see a panel with female film and TV critics. Panelists included Catalina Combs, Melissa Silverstein, Morgan Rojas, Kay-B.
Combs is a writer and critic for BlackGirlNerds. Silverstein is the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood; she is also the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of The Athena Film Festival. Rojas is the founder of Cinemacy with the sole purpose to champion independent films and contribute to the growing number of female voices in film criticism. Kay-B writes for Collider and The Beat, she’s also the co-host/co-producer of her brand new YouTube show Super Lady Hero Hour.
A very relatable discussion for yours truly, given the very open discussion about the presence of womxn critics in the world of film. Listening why some of us with/in alternative media outlets push through to provide new and different perspectives, made for a lively discussion among the panelists. This panel was outstanding and quite inspiring.