Press Room

Contact: Marianne Lampke

Boston International Festival Of Women'S Cinema Gearing Up For Another Stellar Year: April 3-6, 2003

The Boston International Festival of Women's Cinema, one of the most distinguished film events in New England, is gearing up for its 2003 celebration April 3-6 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline and the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge. Also announced is a special pre-festival "sneak" screening of Lisa Cholodenko's highly anticipated second feature (after High Art) Laurel Canyon starring Frances McDormand. That screening will take place at the Coolidge on Thursday, March 27 at 7:30pm.

Opening the festival on April 3 at the Coolidge is Jane Anderson's provocative family tale Normal, starring Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson. The film will be preceded by actor/director Illeana Douglas' short film Devil Talk, a slice-of-life comedy about Satan and his search for a publicist. Douglas (Good Fellas, To Die For, Grace of My Heart) will be in attendance to introduce the opening night screenings and to conduct a workshop on roles for women in the cinema on Saturday, April 5 at the Brattle. Normal, based on Anderson's popular stage production "Looking For Normal," follows the story of a middle-aged, Midwestern husband and father with raging gender identity issues. As he comes to terms with his jolting and life-altering pangs for a sex change, his wife and two children must contend with an array of complex emotions and family dynamics. The film is being released by HBO Films. An Opening Night Gala will follow the screenings at the Coolidge, starting at 10:00pm and featuring sumptuous hors d'oeuvres from women chefs of Boston and live music from The Cercie Miller Trio.

The 2003 festival line-up offers several highlights which include a sneak screening of Italian director Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game, the newest adaptation from the infamous Patricia Highsmith novels, this time starring John Malkovich. Cavani is scheduled to attend to introduce that film and a revival screening of her controversial 1974 classic The Night Porter, starring Dirk Bogart and Charlotte Rampling. A sneak preview of Lynne Ramsay's (Ratcatcher) second feature, the critically acclaimed Morvern Callar starring Oscar nominated actor Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown), is also on the festival slate. So is the Canadian Marion Bridge, winner of Best Debut Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and starring rising star Molly Parker (Kissed, Six Feet Under). Marion Bridge is the debut feature from director Wiebke von Carolsfeld who will be on hand to introduce screenings. A U.S. premiere makes its way to the festival with Rub and Tug from Canada, directed by Soo Lyu and starring Don McKellar, Lindy Booth, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and Kira Clavell. It is an amusing tale, complete with typical Canadian cinematic charm, set in the fascinating subculture of a full body massage parlor. The Closing Night Selection is Whalerider from New Zealand, the huge festival crowd-pleaser directed by Niki Caro and starring Keisha Castle-Hughes. Whalerider will be shown with the newest short from acclaimed animator Emily Hubley (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Set Set Spike.

The international selection continues with two films from France and another Canadian-produced entry. Claire Denis' Friday Night marks the fifth film premiered by the festival over the past decade highlighting the much-loved French director. Many of her earlier works such as No fear No Die, Beau Travail, and Nenette and Boni went on to high critical acclaim. In the filmmaker's characteristic fashion, Friday Night is intensely erotic and romantic, this time in the context of one spellbound night in a Paris traffic jam. Chaos, also from France, is directed by Coline Serreau and tells the story of a bourgeois couple's encounter with a prostitute in need, and how their lives are changed forever. Serreau is best known as the skilled writer/director of the French smash hit, Three Men and a Cradle. From Canada comes Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity by another festival alumn, director Mina Shum (Double Happiness). The film cleverly interweaves tales of three endearing families, using magical realism to explore the themes of harnessing faith and finding acceptance during rocky times.

As always, the festival showcases a diverse selection of documentaries, shorts, and local independent work. Included this year are Jennifer Dworkin's much-talked-about Love and Diane, an epic masterpiece which tells the story of a woman getting off crack cocaine in New York City, struggling with welfare and reclaiming her children from the foster care system. Yvonne Welbon's inspired Sisters in Cinema traces the careers, lives and films of African-American women filmmakers. Valerie Weiss' debut feature Dance By Design (produced out of Harvard's Dudley Film Program), follows the story of one woman's dream to be a dancer. TV Dreams is a compilation of four shorts which all embrace television and popular culture (from a lesbian Charlie's Angels-esque spoof, to Nicaraguan soaps, action chick flicks, and an unusual obsession with TV homes). Another compilation of shorts, featuring beautiful experimental work from six female filmmakers, make up the program Underground Voices - curated by Cape Cod resident/filmmaker Rebecca Alvin.

Documentary screenings continue with area premieres of several award-winning gems. Flag Wars, directed by Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Portias, is a powerful cinema verite look at the life of a black community as it is being gentrified by white gays and lesbians. That film is being shown with Yvonne Welbon's short The Taste of Dirt. Hand on the Pulse, directed by Joyce Warshow, is the poignant story of Joan Nestle, political and sexual "bad girl" and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City. That will be shown with the short Beauty Parlor Census. Cinemaniacs roaming the moviehouses of the Big Apple are the subjects of Angela Christlieb's and Stephen Kijak's Cinemania, a hilarious look into six very eccentric New Yorkers. Acclaimed art-house director Nancy Savoca (True Love, Household Saints, Dogfight) premieres her newest release in the festival, Reno: Rebel Without A Pause, a cinematic capturing of New York comedian Reno's rapid-fire one-woman show about the events of September 11th and how they affected her personally and the world at large. The festival brings back by popular demand two independent features deserving of more area screen time. Georgie Girl from New Zealand directors Annie Goldson and Peter Wells (screening with the short Give or Take and Inch), is a fascinating profile of Georgina Beyer, a Maori ex-sex worker who became the world's first transgender person to be elected to national office. Reconstruction from Harvard graduate Irene Lustzig tells the bizarre story of a 1959 bank heist in communist Romania, that happens to be connected to the filmmaker's grandmother.

This year the festival received a prestigious grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the first New England film festival to receive funding from the AMPAS's six year old Festival Grants Program) to present workshops on roles for women in the movies. Funding for the Roles For Women program was matched recently by the LEF Foundation, one of the leading supporters of independent film in Massachusetts.

On Saturday, April 5 from 12:30-3:00pm the festival presents From Screenplay to Screen: Developing Multi-Dimensional Roles For Women, conducted by actor/director Illeana Douglas and director/writer Tamara Jenkins (The Slums of Beverly Hills). On stage at the Brattle, Douglas and Jenkins will engage in a lively and highly personal discussion about the depiction of women in film. On Sunday, April 6 from noon-1:30pm , the festival presents a special "Filmmaker Dialogue" with Patricia Cardoso (director, Real Women Have Curves), and actor Lupe Ontiveros (Real Women Have Curves, Chuck and Buck) entitled Roles For Women in the Movies: Indie and Beyond. Cardoso's and Ontiveros' distinctive dialogue (also at the Brattle) promises a unique opportunity for audience members to witness how a multi-dimensional female character is developed from first-hand experience. Participants are encouraged to come early for a 10:00 am screening at the Brattle of Real Women Have Curves prior to the special event. Complete information on the filmmaker workshops will be announced shortly on the festival website

In addition to funding from the AMPAS and the LEF Foundation, the festival has also received invaluable support from Major Sponsors: J. Jill The Store, Sundance Channel, The Boston Phoenix, WBUR Public Radio, 92.5 The River, The Charles Hotel, and Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines. The festival is presented in association with The Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and The Brattle Film Foundation. Numerous community-based businesses have also contributed support.

The complete festival line-up and information on advance tickets to individual screenings and festival Patron Packages (offering a variety of full festival benefits, including all-access to festival screenings) are available on the festival website, Ticket prices for individual screenings range from $8-$10. The cost of the Saturday workshop with Douglas and Jenkins is $45. The Sunday "Filmmaker Dialogue" with Cardoso and Ontiveros is $12 ($15 includes the 10:00 am screening of Real Women Have Curves). Both include complimentary snacks and beverages. Advance Tickets are available through the website and through TicketWeb by calling 1-866-468-7619. Festival information can also be picked up in the Brattle and Coolidge lobbies. Screenings at each theatre can be purchased in advance at the respective box office. The Brattle Theatre is located at 40 Brattle Street in the heart of Harvard Square, Cambridge and The Coolidge Corner Theatre is located at 290 Harvard Street in Brookline.

Contact: Marianne Lampke

Boston International Festival of Women's Cinema Receives Prestigious Grant
From Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

Special Sneak Preview of "Real Women Have Curves" to Benefit Festival

Boston, MA -- Producers of the Boston International Festival of Women's Cinema are pleased to announce that the festival was awarded a grant from the Festival Grants Program of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The annual event, now going into its eleventh year, is highly regarded nationally as a leading showcase featuring Boston-area premieres and "sneak previews" of art film releases, independent features, documentaries, and short films by prominent and emerging women filmmakers. The award-winning festival is slated for April 36, 2003 and will be hosted at Boston's two revered independent moviehouses, The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline and The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. The funding received from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be used to help support special workshops and a panel discussion on "Roles for Women in Movies: Indie and Beyond."

To celebrate the grant award the festival will present a special sneak preview screening of the upcoming release Real Women Have Curves on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Director Patricia Cardoso's heartwarming debut feature celebrates the spirit of all women. Inspired by co-writer Josefina Lopez's personal experiences, the film examines the struggle of a young Latina as she attempts to strike a balance between her mainstream ambitions and her more traditional cultural heritage. The film stars America Ferrera (Gotta Kick It Up), Lupe Ontiveros (Chuck & Buck) and Ingrid Oliu (Stand and Deliver). Real Women Have Curves has already developed an art-film following, winning the Dramatic Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Acting (to Ferrera and Ontiveros) at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. The film is being released by Newmarket Films.

The Boston International Festival of Women's Cinema has a long list of impressive visiting directors which have included Susan Seidelman (Gaudi Afternoon, Desperately Seeking Susan), Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing, Walking and Talking), Jill Sprecher (13 Conversations About One Thing, Clockwatchers), Christine Lahti (My First Mister), Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry), Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Sugar Town), Lisa Cholodenko (High Art), DeMane Davis (Lift), Rose Troche (The Safety of Objects, Go Fish), Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho), and Claire Denis (Chocolat, No Fear No Die, Beau Travail).

The sneak preview screening of Real Women Have Curves on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 pm will benefit the film festival, with donations accepted at the door. The Coolidge Corner Theatre is conveniently located at 290 Harvard Street in the heart of Coolidge Corner, Brookline. For more information on the screening call the theatre at 617-734-2500.