Who inspires our finest filmmakers?
Vancouver is more than just a service town for American productions; we’re also an indie filmmaker’s paradise.
Consider this list of names and associated filmographies: Mina Shum (Meditation Park), Anne Wheeler (Loyalties), Marie Clements (The Road Forward), Nettie Wild (Koneline: Our Land Beautiful), Karen Lam (Evangeline), Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses), Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still), and Ana Valine (Sitting on the Edge of Marlene): these daring and visionary filmmakers create work that entertains audiences, all the while driving change and conversation – and for the most part, they're practicing movie magic right here in the 604.
But who inspires these inspiring filmmakers? Whose films capture their imaginations?
Enter Her Stories: Women Call the Shots. Presented by and at the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Vancity Theatre, this monthly series features films directed by women located anywhere in the world, selected and presented by our homegrown contemporary women filmmakers.
Her Stories: Women Call the Shots launched in April with a screening of Ann Hui’s A Simple Life, a poignant film that was selected by Mina Shum, and continued in May with Orlando, Sally Potter’s remarkable film starring Tilda Swinton that was the first choice of Sitting on the Edge of Marlene director Ana Valine.
The series is hosted by yours truly (YVR Screen Scene editor-in-chief Sabrina Furminger), and supported by the Director’s Guild of Canada and Women in Film and Television Vancouver.
The magic of Her Stories: Women Call the Shots is most evident in the post-screening Q&As, when the audience, yours truly, and the local filmmaker discuss the substance of the film, and the filmmaker shares why and how the film has influenced their work (or haunted their dreams). The conversation doesn’t end there: a social mixer follows each screening, during which more insights are explored and connections are made.
The next edition of Her Stories: Women Call the Shots takes place on June 28. Evangeline director Karen Lam will introduce Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire film, Near Dark. Long before Bigelow was an Academy Award-winning director (for The Hurt Locker), she dazzled fans like Lam with her fresh (for 1987) take on the vampire genre, in which a man named Cabel (played by Adrian Pasdar) is inducted into an outlaw gang of roving vampires.
Her Stories: Women Calls the Shots continues in July with Kathleen Hepburn’s selection, Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. Tickets here: https://viff.org/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=fc9800-fish-tank
What I – your valiant host – love most about Her Stories: Women Call the Shots is the rare peek behind the curtain that it provides. I love the work that is produced by our local filmmakers; I love this opportunity to understand where they come from, and to discover what might have lit a fire within them years before they were lighting those same fires in audiences around the world.
For tickets to the June 28 screening of Near Dark, visit https://viff.org/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=fc9783-near-dark
Karen Lam photo by Carlo Ricci