The Women in Film Foundation's criteria for applying for its Film Finishing Fund may be the shortest we've ever come across. Submissions must simply be films "by, for, or about women." Works for us.
Founded in 1973, the Women in Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization "dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media."
Way back in 1985, the foundation launched its Film Finishing Fund, which provides cash grants of up to $15,000, as well as additional in-kind services. This year, 36 features, 11 shorts, and 84 documentaries were reviewed by a panel of judges and the results are in. The panel selected one winner in the "narrative feature" category, seven documentaries and one experimental short. Let's take a look at some of the winners, shall we?
The sole winner in the narrative features category was I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced, directed and produced by Khadija Alsalami. The film looks at 10-year old Nojoom, who is forced to marry a 30-year old man.
Brushstroke in Hollywood, a documentary by director, writer, and producer Pamela Tom, explores the life, art, and enduring impact of pioneering Chinese-American painter Tyrus Wong.
The Mask You Live In, meanwhile, written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, notes that, compared to girls, research shows that boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives. The film asks how we're failing our boys as a society.
Interestingly, the only submitted experimental short film also scored a grant. That would be Zoetrope, directed by Margaret Singer. The film was inspired by the work of the Surrealist writer, photographer and activist Claude Cahun, and is a "haunting... disconcerting... celebration of a fearless, avant garde artist and her enduring influence."
The broad scope of the winning films can be attributed to the foundation's broad eligibility criteria. It's a point that wasn't lost on judges and grant program co-chairs Betsy Pollock and Nancy Rae Stone, who, in a joint statement, noted, "It's always interesting to see what subjects are attracting women or what female-oriented topics are being explored... It reminds you that women are interested in a lot more than female-oriented stories. They explore the topics of art, personal freedom, independence and bravery.”
The next funding cycle will open early in 2015.