Last weekend was the Bluestocking Film Series, and it was truly amazing! It's now one of my favorite film festivals. On the first night, 8 films were screened in a nice college-campus theater to an audience of 115 people. Then on day 2, I spent much of my day teaching (one of the perks of my job with Seed&Spark is offering to teach about crowdfunding at festivals where my work gets in, in order to have some expenses covered - it's a great way to experience a fest as a filmmaker & get to help other filmmakers while I'm there). Then I was on a really thoughtful panel titled "The Director's Craft & Female Representation," with the other attending filmmakers and representatives from Cinfemme & Tanji. And then my film "Enough" screened with 6 others to another crowd of over 145 people! The audience was really engaged, both during the film and the Q&A; and many came over after the screening to tell me how much they loved the ending!
The women who run the festival are just so supportive. You can feel the care put into organizing every detail. And the festival made it a point to get the community & filmmakers connected by having free afterparties each night at warm & welcoming local spots. The programming was simply excellent. It's wonderful as a filmmaker and fan getting to see such diverse works by women. I often feel like I'm supposed to represent my entire gender at most (typically male-dominated) festivals. At this one, I got to just be me, and appreciate the many perspectives and styles of women directors out there. And I don't think I've ever attended a festival with as much inclusion, not just in terms of gender, but also in race, class, age, and sexual identity across the entire lineup. The films were memorable & moving. It's a prime example of how meritocracy and diversity are not separate aspirations, and when you commit to the latter, nothing needs to be sacrificed with the former. It was truly beautiful to witness. The conversations both on and off stage were motivating & insightful. And I walked away with new friends and potential collaborators. There was a lot of positivity and inspiration packed into two days. I found it completely rejuvenating & hope to attend next year, even if I don't have a film screening.
Anyone who reads my festival recaps knows that I'm very candid about my experiences and don't recommend all festivals that I attend. This is one I definitely recommend submitting to if you have a film that meets the qualifications. And even if you don't but happen to be near Portland, Maine, you must make the trip to experience the festival & people behind it as an audience member, at least!
Local Vegan Treat:
- The delicious vegan Cinnamon Sugar donut at The Holy Donut has inspired me to start adding any local vegan treats I come across in all the festival traveling I do now. These donuts are made from mashed potatoes & they're super fluffy. A must try.
Catch the film next at:
- Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival on September 29th
- Shocktober Film Festival on October 3rd
- Women in Horror Film Festival on October 6th
P.S. Film Inquiry reviewed the whole fest, and our little review within the piece was positive! Read it HERE.