Thursday, March 17th and Friday, March 18th, some of the Female Eye Film Festival filmmakers were here at Weengushk Film Institute (WFI) editing their super 8 short films in preparation of the event, happening June 14-19, 2016 in Toronto.
With a mandate to promote female directors from around the world, Female Eye provides a dedicated showcase for Canadian and Aboriginal Filmmakers as part of the Canadian Series. This year, with funding from Canada Council for the Arts and a community partnership with WFI and Dr. Shirley Cheechoo, these 10 short films are being produced.
Dr. Shirley Cheechoo recruited the female directors, and assisted in mentoring them throughout the process. She is “thrilled that young female Indigenous filmmakers are going to be given recognition at the Female Eye Film Festival in June 2016. [She believes] these young women really deserve it, as they created such amazing videos in such a short period of time.”
WFI found local caterers, and provided editing suites and a facility for the workshop. Zhiibaahaazing First Nation provided transportation and food during shooting in their community.
“The community has been great, fantastic! Enthusiastic women, enthusiastic community! The Zhiibaahaasing film location was great! In the sense of the productions, l am very proud of them. I think they will be really great,” Leslie Ann Coles, Founder and Executive Director of the Female Eye Film Festival, said Thursday.
This was their third and final editing session here at WFI. They would like to come back to Manitoulin Island to do a community screening. There is a tentative plan to screen the films at the Zhiibaahaasing Community Centre sometime in the fall, or perhaps sooner, for the family and friends of participating filmmakers.
This is the fifth edition of the Filmmaker Development Workshop. The first workshop took place in 2009. Each year, the workshops are predicated on funding. Female Eye applies and finds a community partner. “In the past, there has been a focus on inner-city youth. This is the first year where rural youth were really involved, and it was great,” Coles explained.
“The participants’ stories are generally social and political in context. Some really work on conveying truths and dispelling stereotypes and myths. Chelsea’s story of a father’s love shows how the dads on her reserve are really great – warm, loving, and supportive. Through the use of vignettes of dads with their kids, she communicates her truth to a wider audience. These films support a fresh perspective, and really resonate with a wider audience,” Coles went on to say.
In a digital age, shooting with film and learning about light are new to some of the participants. Coles explains that participants “had a limited amount of space and were restricted to only 2 rolls of film. They had to really think about their story. Their films were then processed and digitized using Final Cut Pro. They picked up on the editing basics rather quickly, and gained a lot of hands-on experience through this workshop.”
Leslie Ann Coles suggests that interested filmmakers “get out and do what [they] can in terms of filmmaking. Look at films made by women. Often times, these films are independent in nature and have much to offer inspirationally.”