SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE, SISTER Win EDA Awards At 2012 St. Louis International Film Festival
After 11 days of glorious and galvanizing cinema-going, the 21st Annual St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) concluded on Sunday evening. At the closing ceremony the International Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) presented awards to four women filmmakers. AWFJ President Jennifer Merin and myself were on hand to announce our winners – chosen by a panel of AWFJ members.
Ursula Meier’s SISTER received the EDA for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature, while Debbie Lum’s SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE took the EDA for Best Female-Directed Documentary. The narrative feature FOUND MEMORIES, directed by Julia Marat, and the documentary THE WORLD BEFORE HER, directed by Nisha Pahuja, received Special Mentions from their respective juries.
SLIFF Executive Director Cliff Froehlich said, “Dating back to the silent era, women have been vital contributors to film art, but they have long been underrepresented and underappreciated in the industry. Thankfully, that situation is changing, and the number of women filmmakers has grown exponentially in recent years. SLIFF believes it’s important to shine a spotlight on their increasing role, and the EDA Awards are an excellent means of acknowledging the diverse works that contemporary women filmmakers are directing.”
Set at a luxurious Swiss ski resort, Ursula Meier’s SISTER is the story of a woman supported by her 12 year-old brother’s petty thefts, until the child starts to lose his bearings in the company of a dangerous stranger. It is a gripping drama about children who have to grow up fast. With surprising plot twists, an exceptional lead performance by the young Kacy Mottet Klein and excellent hand-held cinematography by Agnes Godard, the film is original, timely and beautifully-observed.
In SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE, documentarian Debbie Lum goes in pursuit of “yellow fever,” following a middle-aged Caucasian man who lives out his fantasy of marrying a younger woman from China, with surprising results. The film is an engaging look at the objectification and stereotyping of women, with revelations that defy expectations. Lum’s funny, charming movie showed this year at the 13th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival and the South by Southwest Film Festival.
According to AWFJ President Jennifer Merin, “SLIFF is one of the country’s top regional showcases for independent and international film, and it has been a delight to collaborate with them and to honor them for presenting such an exciting slate of films by and about women.”
This year, AWFJ expanded its outreach to audiences by presenting EDA Awards at select festivals. The St. Louis International Film Festival is the third such partnership, following programs at the Salem Film Fest in Massachusetts in March, and at Sheffield Doc/Fest in England in June. AWFJ, an organization of top women film journalists and critics from across the U.S, Canada and UK, will distribute in December a full slate of EDA Awards recognizing the year’s best (and worst) films by and about women.
Click HERE for the full list of winners. Special thanks to Sharon Kahn for all her tireless work on behalf of the AWFJ.