There is a special place for women who help each other, and this week it will be at Moore College of Art & Design.
In conjunction with Women’s History Month and the coming festivities surrounding its first graduates majoring in Animation & Game Arts, the college this weekend will host the 2017 MooreWomenArtists: Women in Animation Film Festival – its first fest dedicated to female animators.
Programs like this are necessary for female filmmakers, who face backlash from a male-centric industry, says Latvian filmmaker Signe Baumane. She will be screening her work Rocks in My Pockets at the festival at 7 p.m. Sunday.
“As a woman filmmaker, I started to realize that there was a psychological expectation for what a woman’s place is, or what people would want to watch a woman do,” Baumane said. “When I was making [Rocks], I had male friends come to me and say, why would you make this film? Nobody wants to watch a feature film about a bunch of depressed women.”
As a young filmmaker, Baumane could not understand why women’s film festivals were necessary. Men and women were equal, she thought. “But there was a women’s festival in Vienna I attended. I spent the whole day sitting in a chair watching films exclusively done by women, and it blew me away that the programming was so different," she said. "Women do have a different way of telling the story. I didn’t realize there was another way.
“It opened my mind to what was so different, to have a film festival done by women,” she said. "It shows you what women storytellers are up to, and this is what I’m looking forward to, more women in festivals and more women in art. I just want to experience it again.”
This year will also feature the work of the first graduating class of women in the game arts. Gaming, a male-dominated industry that was besieged by the Gamergate movement, was decried as misogynistic. The Moore program will offer a panel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on women in video games, featuring Kat Webster from BioWare, Lauren Brown from EA Games, Harley Dwortz from Rooster Teeth Productions, and Melissa Soest from BioWare.
Other festival highlights will include Emily Hubley presenting the work of her mother, the late Faith Hubley — winner of festival honors from Cannes, Venice, London, and San Francisco, as well as 14 CINE Golden Eagle awards (1 p.m. Saturday); Paper Red founding member Jessica Ciocci’s Animation Mix Tape — a fully integrated video collage of work by female animators whom she admires (8:30 p.m. Saturday); and independent Asian Canadian filmmaker, writer, and visual artist Ann Marie Fleming's Window Horses (7 p.m. Friday).
Junior Katherine Woods, who designed the artwork for the festival, believes that while it’s important for her and her classmates to push themselves out into the industry, it’s even more critical for women to “reach out to each other and team up to tell the story.”