Savannah Bloch’s Award-Winning AND THEN THERE WAS EVE is Opening Night Selection
Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS is Closing Night Selection
The Women Texas Film Festival presented by Studio Movie Grill recently announced the official selections for the second year of the critically-acclaimed Dallas-based film festival which focuses solely on the work of female filmmakers. Screening exclusively at Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest Highway location in Dallas (10110 Technology Blvd.) on August 16-20, WTxFF has chosen Savannah Bloch’s awardwinning, AND THEN THERE WAS EVE as their Opening Night selection, with Brooke and Doug Purdy’s festival favorite, QUALITY PROBLEMS, taking the Closing Night slot. This year’s edition of WTxFF will showcase 8 feature-length films, 38 short films, and 3 VR projects screening.
WTxFF Founder and Artistic Director Justina Walford, said, “Following the success of last year’s WTxFF, our challenge this year was to grow in the areas where our hopes and ambitions led us, without jeopardizing the things that worked so well in our debut. Of course, that starts with the films, so while we added a dozen or so, including a few that have made a mark at other noteworthy fests, we were very careful to hold fast to our programming vision that people responded so well to during our launch. As the only fullfledged film festival in Texas focusing solely on the work of women behind the camera, the heart of WTxFF is shining a light on women pulling the strings and at the helm of visual storytelling. Once again, we look forward to putting the women responsible for these stories on a pedestal here in Dallas.”
Newly installed WTxFF Executive Director Vanessa Cook added, “As a presenting sponsor, Studio Movie Grill will enhance the viewing and dining experience for our patrons in their state-of-the-art theaters. Their belief in Women Texas Film Festival speaks volumes and will contribute to the success of our mission moving forward. I’m in love with our lineup this year and thrilled that many filmmakers will be in attendance! We have the essential elements in place for a fantastic film festival.” She continued, “The Dallas Film Society, Women in Film-Dallas, Dallas Comedy House, Dallas Comedy Festival, and Texas Frightmare Weekend are co-presenting several of our films, and the Dallas Film Commission and Selig Polyscope Company have returned as sponsors. The support of these incredible organizations is a huge boost for WTxFF and female filmmakers.”
The Opening Night selection is immediate evidence of WTxFF balancing it’s acclaimed programming acumen with the ability, in just its second year, to attract award-winning films from larger fests to Dallas. Winner of the LA Muse Award for Best Fiction Film at the LA Film Festival, Bloch’s AND THEN THERE WAS EVE is a rare psychological thriller/romance hybrid about a photographer, who wakes one morning to find her apartment ransacked and her husband gone. Without anything to offer the police to help find him or investigate, she turns to his colleague Eve, a jazz musician with a flirtatious charm and disarming grace. Eve helps the woman confront her husband’s longtime struggle with depression and to, over time, accept his absence. While getting to know this woman through such unusual circumstances, Alyssa is surprised to find herself falling in love again. AND THEN THERE WAS EVE will screen on Wednesday, August 16, with Bloch expected to attend the screening.
Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS will serve as the Closing Night selection on Saturday, August 19, co-presented by the Dallas Comedy House and the Dallas Comedy Festival. The film has been a popular performer on the film festival circuit thus far in 2016 with appearances at notable regional fests like Cinequest, Bentonville, Harlem, and a scheduled appearance at Woods Hole before screening in Texas for the first time at WTxFF. The husband and wife team co-directed, co-produced, and co-starred in the entertaining film, which skillfully manages to balance both grass-roots humor with “life in crisis” events as the couple deals with a breast cancer reoccurrence diagnosis at the same time her father’s ability to deal with his Alzheimer’s condition deteriorates, and perhaps, most alarmingly – their 8-year-old daughter’s birthday party is fast-approaching.
The film also stars a host of recognizable names and faces in cameo appearances, including Chris Mulkey, Robbie Rist, and Mo Gaffney, among others. Brooke Purdy and co-writer/producer Colette Freedman are expected to attend.
EKAJ, MAYA DARDEL
Another highlight in the 2017 WTxFF lineup is Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s sexually charged drama, MAYA DARDEL. Co-presented with the Dallas Film Society, the film, which screened earlier this year at SXSW, features Lena Olin as the title character, who issues a challenge to male writers to visit her in an effort to compete to be executors of her estate. A Samuel Goldwyn Films release, MAYA DARDEL also stars Rosanna Arquette. Other highly anticipated features include Cati Gonzalez’s EKAJ, and the Brazilian duo of Monica Demes’s LILITH’S AWAKENING, and Luciana Canton’s PUBLIC INTIMACY. EKAJ is a love story between two young male drifters, a naive teenager and a sarcastic hustler. The film has been described as a cross between the infamous KIDS and MIDNIGHT COWBOY. LILITH’S AWAKENING, which is co-presented with Texas Frightmare Weekend, is a psychological horror art film that tells the story of Lucy, a sexually repressed woman trapped in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job at her father’s service station in a small Iowa town. Until the appearance of a female vampire in her dreams and her world changes everything. PUBLIC INTIMACY deals with sexuality and love on public and private levels via four stories touching on profound themes, like homophobia, prostitution, transsexuality and madness.
I AM EVIDENCE, IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS
A pair of feature-length documentary selections demonstrate WTxFF’s desire to not just zero in on filmmaking skill, but also to explore subjects and issues that women in this country face. Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s I AM EVIDENCE, which is produced by Mariska Hargitay and includes the Emmy-award winning actress’s appearance in the film, looks at the alarming backlog of unprocessed rape kits and the enduring issues and trauma that survivors must deal with due to their cases hanging in perpetual limbo. Signe Taylor’s IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS (which will be co-presented with Women in Film – Dallas) explores the plight of incarcerated women and the economic and social divide it highlights and exacerbates through a program where inmates connect with Dartmouth College students.
The shorts programs include themes of “Liquid Lunch,” “Comedy,” (which is also copresented by Dallas Comedy House and the Dallas Comedy Festival), “Dark Minds, Dark Worlds” (also co-presented by Texas Frightmare Weekend), “Strong Female Characters,” and “Wonder Women.” Like last year, the shorts programs skew toward darker and edgier material highlighting “WTF” moments, with the added emphasis this year of emphasizing strong, dynamic female characters put in the forefront of the storytelling.
The Women Texas Film Festival will also, once again, offer virtual reality (VR) programming, free to any festival attendee, in the lobby of the Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest Highway location. The three female-created projects include; Kelsey Sante’s FAMILY PORTRAIT, which puts the viewer inside a family’s home as they deal with the repeated cycle of tragedy caused by drug addiction; Susana Gibb’s HOMELESSNESS 360, which explores the immediacy of the homeless lifestyle in Dallas through a 360 degree viewing experience; and for a lighter VR experience – Maggie F. Levin’s VAIN: THIS PARTY SUCKS, which places the viewer in the middle of a warehouse rave as it is being attacked by a bunch of hungry vampires.
Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. Trailblazer VIP passes are $95 and allow access to all films, parties, and events, Film passes are $75, and Student passes (including access to all WTxFF parties and events) are $50. Individual Tickets are $10. For more information on the Women Texas Film festival go to WomenTxFF.org. To purchase VIP passes, the special Shorts Programs package, or tickets to individual screenings go to: https://prekindle.com/event/58319-women-texas-film-festival-badgesales-dallas.
PUBLIC INTIMACY, LILITH’S AWAKENING
The 2017 Women Texas Film Festival official selections: OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
AND THEN THERE WAS EVE Director: Savannah Bloch Country: USA, Running Time: 97min Alyssa, a successful photographer, wakes one morning to find her apartment ransacked and her husband mysteriously missing. Left without even a photograph to offer the police, she turns to his colleague Eve, a talented jazz pianist with a flirtatious charm and disarming grace. Eve helps her confront her husband’s longtime struggle with depression and to, over time, accept his absence. While getting to know this woman through such unusual circumstances, Alyssa is surprised to find herself falling in love again.
CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION QUALITY PROBLEMS Directors: Brooke Purdy, Doug Purdy Country: USA, Running Time: 106min Bailey and Drew are a 40-something couple much like other couples: They have two kids, two jobs, one dad with Alzheimer’s and one boob with cancer. Toss in planning a birthday party for an 8-year old, and the only thing you can do is laugh.
EKAJ Director: Cati Gonzalez Country: USA, Running Time: 80min A love story between two drifters, a naive teenager and a sarcastic hustler. EKAJ is a film packed with real life drama and raw sense of humor. The film capture’s a runaway journey to New York City. After a few rude awakenings, Ekaj (Jake Mestre) meets Mecca (Badd Idea) who takes him under his care. Mecca is a foul mouthed character who has AIDS and multiple problems of his own. He is high all day but still manages to be the only voice of reason in Ekaj’s hopeless world. They cruise the city together looking for money and places to stay. The core of the movie is Ekaj, who thinks he will become the lover of a rich man and be taken care of for life but ends up finding his dreams quickly shattered. Although he makes some money as a prostitute, he finds he is disposable, replaceable and lacking what it takes to survive in the city. Mecca shows him how to endure and not lose hope. As the film progresses, their relationship develops into true friendship and love as they lean on each other for survival.
I AM EVIDENCE Directors: Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir Country: USA, Running Time: 87min I AM EVIDENCE exposes the shocking number of untested rape kits in the United States today. Despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes, hundreds of thousands of kits containing potentially crucial DNA evidence languish untested in police evidence storage rooms across the country. Behind each of these kits lies an individual’s unresolved sexual assault case. Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I AM EVIDENCE follows stories of survivors who have waited years for their kits to be tested, as well as the law enforcement officials who are leading the charge to work through the backlog and pursue long-awaited justice in these cases. The film reveals the high cost of the lingering lassitude surrounding rape investigations in this country, and the positive effects of treating survivors with the respect they deserve and an opportunity for justice.
IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS Director: Signe Taylor Country: USA, Running Time: 78min IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS is a powerful critique of the economic and social inequities that divide the United States. Featuring incarcerated woman working with Dartmouth College students, the film shows that empathy is a powerful force in bridging the divide.
LILITH’S AWAKENING Director: Monica Demes Country: Brazil, Running Time: 80min. LILITH’S AWAKENING is a psychological horror art film that tells the story of Lucy, a sexually repressed woman trapped in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job at her father’s service station in a small Iowa town. The highlight of her existence comes at night, when she dreams of a mysterious and beautiful woman who haunts the woods outside her modest home. One night, a mechanic who works for her father forces himself on Lucy, awakening in her an uncontrollable dark force. When he makes her promise to meet him later at his hideaway in the woods, it may be the girl of her dreams – not his – who shows up for the fateful rendezvous.
MAYA DARDEL Director: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak Country: USA, Running Time: 104min The film depicts the final weeks leading to the ambiguous disappearance of Maya Dardel, an internationally respected poet and novelist, who lived until 2016 in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Maya announces on National Public Radio that she intends to end her life and that young male writers may compete to become the executor of her estate. They are challenged intellectually, emotionally, erotically, until one of them begins to fathom Maya’s end game. The film stars Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette.
PUBLIC INTIMACY Director: Luciana Canton Country: Brazil, Running Time: 71min PUBLIC INTIMACY is a movie about how we deal with sexuality and love on public and private levels. The four stories within the film deal with urgent and profound themes, like homophobia, prostitution, transsexuality and madness. PUBLIC INTIMACY proposes a cinema that is focused on its characters. They struggle to become who they really are.
SHORTS PROGRAM #1: LIQUID LUNCH (TRT: 43min)
ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO Director: Jennifer Ford Country: USA, Running Time: 2:09min A study in objectification of the male form on film
BANANA FILM Director: Emily Miller Country: USA, Running Time: 1:15min The product of a beard, a banana costume, and some bored teenagers in the summer.
CALL OF CUTENESS Director: Brenda Lien Country: Germany, Running Time: 4min Whilst we remain safe and sound, watching the highest grossing cat fail compilation – all that is kept out of sight gets back to us in this consumerist nightmare. On a global playground, without bounds, the cat’s body is devoured, exploited and controlled – its fear of pain being stronger than its longing for freedom. Objects are fetishized and subjects made into things that are quantifiable and ready for use. They are the natural resources of a luxury they will never know. We are here because you were there – and waste is dumped in the ocean. In the end, bodies reveal the causes and effects of power, pleasure and hate.
COLOR Director: Emily Miller Country: USA, Running Time: 5:40min A young woman tries to create a piece of art.
THE CONTEST Director: Aimee Morgan Country: USA, Running Time: 7:54min A darkly comic horror film about an annual cherry pie contest in a small town where one – or more – of the contestants is a murderer
GONNA GET ALONG WITHOUT YOU Director: Saylor Ley Country: USA, Running Time: 2:20min A love story with creepy masks and dancing.
HI STRANGER Director: Kirsten Lepore Country: USA, Running Time: 3min The story is about 50 shapes of you drawn by a cute nutty human being that stares directly into your soul.
IMAGINARY LOVE Director: Beatrice Bellino Country: USA, Running Time: 4:20min A story of objects, shadows of possibility, processing that, and letting go. A burlesque fantasy of objects buries a memory of childhood trauma until it can no longer remain hidden.
THAT’S MY BOY Director: Rudy Cervantez Country: USA, Running Time: :30min A baby is fed his favorite dish. (Producers: Rudy Cervantez, Nicole Pence, Director of Photography: Director of Photography: Nicole Pence)
TROLL: A SOUTHERN TALE Director: Marinah Janello Country: USA, Running Time: 11:30min An eccentric artist navigates self-expression through his experiences living and growing up in the South.
SHORTS PROGRAM #2: COMEDY (TRT: 91min)
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER Director: Atheena Frizzell Country: USA, Running Time: 4:09min A teenage girl must figure out a way to keep a secret from her devout family.
BLOOD SISTERS Directors: Caitlin Koller, Lachlan Smith Country: Australia, Running Time: 10:30min Amateur witchcraft conjures up bloody consequences.
DUMPED Director: Desiree Nash Country: USA, Running Time: 8:52min Dee gets dumped while sitting on the toilet. Mostly based on a true story.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION Director: L. Elizabeth Powers Country: USA, Running Time: 14:57min In 1976, a 12-year-old girl tries to unravel the mysteries of sex ed.
NATHERINE: FUTURE EXPERIENCE Director: Rachel Wilson Country: USA, Running Time: 21:15min Nat and Kat – the world’s worst drug dealers – are cut off by their parents right at the cusp of their experimental band’s rise to internet infamy. They’re thousands of dollars in debt for their bad business investment – a huge brick of skunk weed. On top of all that, they are being fined $25,000 by the US government (a real thing!) for their use of real eagle feathers in their radically offensive culturally appropriative music video, shot by a fake shaman in a fake sweat lodge in Joshua Tree. When the rent is due on their luxury loft in DTLA, they must take in roommates to be able to stay: Gideon, an aspiring musician/comedian from Illinois, and Chloe, a successful Instagram model/philanthropist. Will they pay their rent and save their band and their pet hedgehog Kiki?
SERVICE ELEVATOR Director: Sarah Adams, Maggie Reith Austin Country: USA, Running Time: 8:30min On her way to a life-changing meeting, Claire takes a moment of meditation in the quiet solitude of the service elevator. Her focus is interrupted when she is abruptly joined by a manic stranger. Claire struggles to regain her calm, finding peace in the knowledge that elevator rides don’t last an eternity. Then, between floors, the elevator stops. The next few minutes feel like eternity as Claire unexpectedly finds herself at a crossroad. She did not plan for this.
SOCIAL HOUR Director: Leelila Strogov Country: USA, Running Time: 10min Nora only wants two things for her 72nd birthday: the demise of her patronizing retirement home orderly and some reefer. A Columbia College Chicago senior thesis film created by an all female team (director, editor, production designer, producer, and director of photography). This film about women by women features music from the female punk rock group, The Coathangers.
WELCOME TO MY WORLD Director: Ching Wang Country: USA, Running Time: 12:06min The ideal world of a compulsive alienated young man shatter as a spontaneous woman shakes up his everyday routine. A sparkling adventure between Bob, Alex, and Kiddo.
SHORTS PROGRAM #3: DARK MINDS, DARK WORLDS (TRT: 75min)
A BIRD’S NEST Director: Christine Chen Country: USA, Running Time: 14:41min A lonely boy hides from his troubled life in his secret hideout, until the day he befriends the girl next door.
JAPANESE LEGENDS: SLIT Director: Pablo Asento Country: Japan, Running Time: 8:57min The film tells about a part of a famous urban legend, which is believed to be based on true events. A strange character walking around the empty streets was terrifying locals in 70s-80s of the last century. Rumors of alleged sightings began spreading around the Nagasaki prefecture, then spread throughout Japan and caused panic in many towns. (Producers: Pablo Absento, Satoru Fukuyama)
JULES D Director: Rodolfo Cervantez Country: USA, Running Time: 10:40min A woman bullied by a clique of bake sale mean girls takes action. (Producer: Sierra Robinson, Producer and Cinematographer: Nicole Pence)
MIMI’S MISADVENTURE Director: R.D. Womack II Country: USA, Running Time: 12min This tongue in cheek dark comedy follows Mimi, a former prostitute and heroin addict who is down on her luck. While working at her job in a strip club, Mimi overhears a conversation that can change her life forever. (Producer/Screenwriter/Cast: Ashley Atwood)
REAL ARTISTS Director: Cameo Wood Country: USA, Running Time: 12min Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios — who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged. Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, Real Artists asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that?
SOMBRAS Director: Alycya Magaña Country: USA, Running Time: 9:30min Ana, a broken, young woman, must choose between living in the past or finally overcoming it.
TWO TEXAS Director: Emilie Biason Country: Brazil, Running Time: 7min Isabella is an 18-year-old girl who collects knives waiting for an intervention of destiny to use them. The Intervention occurs when her grandmother, watching a TV show, recognizes the bride of the son of Denis, the man who abandoned her at the altar. Suddenly, two armed boys arrive in the house, and she finds a reason to use the knives.
SHORTS PROGRAM #4: STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER (TRT: 79min)
DRIVER’S ED Director: Chase Norman Country: USA, Running Time: 14:34min A shy, overweight young woman leaves the safety of her home for an unwelcoming high school classroom.
EASY GIRL Directors: Adam Goldhammer, Katie McMillan Country: Canada, Running Time: 10:48min A young woman struggling to come to terms with a traumatic sexual experience finds herself in competition with her roommate over the same man. Over the course of one night, a startling discovery forces her to confront her past and re-evaluate her relationships. EASY GIRL is a reflection on patriarchy, rape culture and female relationships, that seeks to challenge representations of “cattiness” as a natural or inevitable relationship between women.
EMMI Director: Andrew Carslaw Country: UK, Running Time: 10:08min EMMI is a powerful drama about a teenager living in a tower block who has a dark secret. One evening she crosses paths with Sarah the kindly but nervous resident living in the flat below. The events which follow later in the night will change both of their lives forever. (Producer/Screenwriter: Susan Stead)
FREEZE Director: Nelicia Low Country: Singapore, Running Time: 15min When her husband cannot give her the love she desires, the lonely and insecure Hui will do anything to feel loved.
PAPARAZZO Director: Angelika Bräuml Country: Austria, Running Time: 16min The encounter between a devoted fan and his big idol, a popular professional athlete, is changing both lives. Whilst the course will be set for a perfidious act in this drama, the question, who is using who for his own ends, is spotlighted more and more.
POSSIBILITY Director: Siena Pinney Country: USA, Running Time: 12:54min A young woman takes a pill that changes the course of her life. Dreams and memories blend into reality as she faces herself and her relationship in a new light.
SHORTS PROGRAM #5: WONDER WOMEN (TRT: 90min)
CHRISTINE Director: Jessica Adler Country: USA, Running Time: 10:03min With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.
DAYDREAM Directors: Genevieve Kertesz Country: Australia, Running Time: 14:15min Mitch is a man who lives a controlled life with a self imposed strict set of rules and boundaries. One night he is dragged against his wishes into a fantasy strip club called “Daydream”. He sees himself above the debauchery and depravity displayed by his work colleagues but then struggles to cope with his own hypocrisy and desires when he becomes obsessed with an exotic dancer named Scarlett.
HOODS Director: Maja Aro Country: Canada, Running Time: 20:14min Upon finding her beloved Grams dead, Scarlet must unravel truths about Grams torrid past in order to carry on her legacy.
IF YOU ONLY KNEW Director: Allison Unger Country: USA, Running Time: 8:40min
An accomplished law student must endure her graduation party as she struggles to hide her obsessive compulsions that threaten to expose her.
IRON Director: L. Gabriel Gonda Country: USA, Running Time: 16:59min During the First World War an unflinching young woman determined to defy traditional roles, travels west to pursue a job working the rails.
MAMA KIM Director: Jaime Wilken Country: South Korea, Running Time: 11:48min MAMA KIM is a short film based on the life of a 77-year-old Korean woman who owns one of the oldest standing bars in Seoul. Mama is a tough, funny and charismatic woman who has lived through the Korean War and has dealt with insurmountable hardships. However, her silver lining has been her husband and the happiness he has brought her. The film briefly takes you through Mama Kim’s ups and downs and eventually highlights the unique coping mechanisms humans develop and adhere to.
SEARCH PARTY Director: Tesia Joy Walker Country: USA, Running Time: 7:39min SEARCH PARTY is a short film about a lower middle class mother living in the projects, hosting a surprise party that is interrupted by an uninvited guest—the police. The police are on a manhunt looking for an unidentified suspect in the area, but she fights hard to keep them from ruining her son’s special day.
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) PROJECTS
FAMILY PORTRAIT Director: Kelsey Sante Country: USA, Running Time: 4:53min A family falls victim to the vicious cycle of addiction in a children’s drawing brought to life. This virtual reality experience depicts history repeating itself through the lens of a young child. Featuring the live art of GSN SkinWars winner Natalie Fletcher and the choreography of Los Angeles dance duo The Psylence. FAMILY PORTRAIT is a collaboration between young filmmaker Kelsey Sante and We Are Famous.
HOMELESSNESS 360 Director: Susana Gibb Country: USA, Running Time: 6min In 360 seconds and 360 degrees, homelessness is explored in Dallas, TX.
VAIN: THIS PARTY SUCKS Director: Maggie F. Levin
Country: USA, Running Time: A warehouse rave makes a colorful snack for a coven of hungry vampires.
ABOUT THE WOMEN TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL
The Women Texas Film Festival (WTxFF) promotes established and emerging female storytellers in film, TV, and VR, celebrating the grit and range of women’s voices. WTxFF screens qualified films that have women in at least one key creative role: Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer. The WTxFF also organizes a host of activities for the festival and year-round focused on the craft and artistry of filmmaking, including moderated Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, networking events, and a gala night with filmmaker red carpet. For more information about Women Texas Film Festival, visit www.WomenzTxFF.org.