Last Thursday, I attended a screening of “The Gaze” as part of Fem.Cine.Anarchy in Portland, Maine. Fem.Cine.Anarchy is a free popup screening event celebrating "diverse, intersectional, edgy, female-driven, short narrative films, directed by female-identified persons." It’s run by Kate Kaminski, the founder and festival director of the now discontinued but well-remembered and recognized Bluestocking Film Series; and it was born out of the #DirectedByWomen celebration every September. I had such a great time at Bluestocking last year (screening “Enough”), that I knew I wanted to submit “The Gaze” and attend anything affiliated with it and Kate. I was really honored to be one of only 9 selections for the event.
It’s not an official festival, really just a single night out for locals to discover and enjoy some films that they’d probably never see otherwise. None of the other filmmakers were planning to attend, so I knew it wouldn’t be the kind of screening with a Q&A or for-filmmakers feel (though Bluestocking definitely was). It’s ultimately for film-lovers in the community, which I was totally down for because, Bluestocking aside, I also really loved the vibe in Portland last year and wanted to go back. So, I figured Justin & I could just make a min-vacation out of it with the mindset of getting a break from NYC at a time that happened to coincide with this little screening. Considering that, it really exceeded my expectations. The venue, on Slab’s outdoor patio, was great. They have excellent pizza (with an amazing vegan special), which was a surprise for us New Yorkers. And the space was really well equipped for the screening. The picture quality was solid and the sound was really good upfront where we sat. And best of all, despite it being a very chilly evening, people really turned up! There were over 50 people there who stayed through the end even though it was basically freezing below 60 degrees by the end of the evening, which is a real testament to the quality of the lineup and the communal atmosphere Kate has created over the years through Bluestocking and this pop-up. Overall, in spite of a bit of shivering, we had a wonderful time. It was so lovely to see Kate and her partner Betsy again, and to get such fun reactions from the audience as a whole.
Our short time in Portland after the screening was also a treat. Our one full day there had great weather (it’s a little unfortunate that the evening before wasn’t as warm - but at least it didn’t rain), so we were able to walk around a ton. Some highlights were seeing the local passion for progress and change during the Climate Strike at Portland’s City Hall, grabbing delicious donuts at The Holy Donut (they’re made from potatoes yet so light and fluffy), spending some time by the water, and happening across an unexpected concert in the little park outside our hotel where a community dance class showed off their skills. It was a fun trip. I definitely recommend checking out Fem.Cine.Anarchy next year if you’re in the mood for a breather by the water in a cool little city with a night out featuring an entertaining and thoughtful selection of shorts.
Local Vegan Treat:
As mentioned, The Holy Donut!
Catch the film next at: