5 Films To See At The St. John's Women's Film Fest

Our top picks for the 22nd annual St. John's International Women's Film Festival (October 18-22)

Photo by TIFF

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF) kicks off today, and as per usual, the five-day long affair is crammed with offerings from talented lady auteurs. These five femme-focused films have already captured our curiosity:
1) Miss Representation, Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom (U.S.A.)

The grossly inadequate portrayal of women in media sometimes seems like an old hat topic, but Newsom’s engaging and genuinely heartfelt doc reminds us that the message bears repeating and re-repeating until things begin to change.

Featuring a dazzling array of feminist icons—Gloria Steinem, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, and Katie Couric, to name only a few—the film is a powerful testament to how far women have come, and how far we have yet to go.


2) i am a good person / i am a bad person, Directed by Ingrid Veninger (Canada)

Veninger stars in her own black comedy as Ruby White, an indie filmmaker trying to promote her latest project in Europe. Ruby’s 18-year-old daughter Sara (played by Hallie Switzer, the director’s real-life daughter) has tagged along for the ride, but their respective anxieties lead them to clash and eventually go their separate ways. When it premiered at TIFF, good person—Veninger’s third feature—earned kudos for blending the poignancy of a mother-daughter drama with a sharp satire of the independent filmmaking process.


3) Oliver Bump’s Birthday, Directed by Jordan Canning (Canada)

This whimsically morbid short film introduces Oliver Bump, a 12-year-old genius fated to die on his 13th birthday like his siblings before him. On the eve of his supposed final day, besides coffin shopping with his parents, he desperately works on a plan to avoid his gloomy destiny. Supersaturated colours and a fanciful plot make Canning’s short feel like a children’s book that’s jumped off the page.


4) Little Theatres: Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage, Directed by Stephanie Dudley (Canada)

Stephanie Dudley’s loving stop-motion animation tribute to cabbage is bound to draw appreciation from even the most stubborn of veggie-phobes. Layered over with a lyric poem by Erin Moure, the eerily lit and meticulously crafted short forces us to take a long, hard look at the little things.


5) Decoloured, Directed by Allison White (Canada)

White is the inaugural recipient of the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, granted to female directors living in Newfoundland and Labrador for the creation of a short film. Decoloured, the first product of the award (and the festival’s closer), is a six-minute movie about a colour-blind man whose life bursts into vivid Technicolour when he meets his dream woman.

For film times and ticket information, please refer to the festival’s web site: http://www.womensfilmfestival.com/index.php


-Allison Friedman