13th Annual Women of African Descent Film Festival!

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The 13th Annual Women of African Descent Film Festival brought to you by the Brooklyn Chapter of the Links, now opens its call for entries. If you would like to see an example of the lineup from the previous festival, click here. You may either contact us, or wadff2014@gmail.com, with questions regarding the festival.

MISSION & OBJECTIVE To showcase films which are centered around the theme of Linkages: Women, Their Families, Neighborhoods, and the Global Community, and to support the artistic development of Women filmmakers of African Descent by providing a supportive exhibition platform, offering stipends to participants, and seeking industry opportunities that will help to expose the filmmakers’ works and further their careers.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL The Women of African Descent Film Festival (WADFF) is celebrating its 13th Anniversary in 2014. In 2002, to mark the milestone of its 50th anniversary, and to continue its legacy of showcasing the talent and accomplishments of artists of African descent, the Brooklyn Chapter began sponsoring the WADFF. This tradition has continued annually since then, and takes place on the first Saturday in May each year.

Formed in 1952, The Brooklyn Chapter of The Links is dedicated to the support of educational, civic and cultural activities in Brooklyn. It is a chapter of The Links, Inc. an international, not-for-profit corporation, whose membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 276 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The Brooklyn Chapter works under the guidelines of its national organization in providing services to its Brooklyn Community in five mission areas:  The Arts, Services to Youth, National Trends and Services, International Trends, and Health and Wellness. A focus of the Chapter’s arts programming is to empower women and youth by lending support and encouragement to emerging artists – with a particular focus on filmmakers for the past 13 years.

The foundation for all of the chapter’s programs and services is rooted in the African American tradition of giving and volunteerism. Members share a deep sense of communal responsibility, and for the past 50 plus years have been committed to actively initiating and supporting educational, cultural, and civic programs, that positively impact the lives of people of African descent residing in Brooklyn.

GENERAL RULES & SUBMISSION GUIDELINES All films must be produced, written or directed by a female filmmaker of African descent, and must have been completed on or after June 1, 2010. Submission deadline is Wednesday, April 2nd. Jurors Choice Awards and stipends will be presented to the participating filmmakers.

Filmmakers are encouraged to submit both a DVD screener as well as a digital screener*. Please note: there is no submission fee, and films will not be returned to you unless you include a self-addressed padded envelope. With your playable DVD submission, please include a synopses, crew list, press kit and any stills you would like to appear in the program and/or advertisements.

Please send all films to:

The Brooklyn Chapter of The Links Inc.
P.O. Box 50013
Brooklyn, NY 11205-0013 
Attn: WADFF

THE EVENT The festival will take place Saturday, May 3, 2014 at LIU Brooklyn Campus (corner of Flatbush and Dekalb Avenues), in the Media Arts Department Spike Lee Screening Room 10am-6pm.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

*If you have an online version of your film on a site such as Vimeo or YouTube, please submit that link to wadff2014@gmail.com.

Women in Arts: Look What’s Possible

It is hard to believe it has been an entire week since I attended the launch of Women in Arts in London, England. This amazing three-day festival was presented by the inimitable Sarah Berger of the So & So Arts Club, in association with The Tristan Bates Theatre and the Actors Centre. I was utterly thrilled and quite honored to have been a part of such a marvelous event, and I can hardly wait until next year. (Which brings us to another point–events of this scale can only be had when we all pitch in and help. So please, members, PAY YOUR DUES! Yes, I am totally calling you out. For if I, a member ALL THE WAY in America can make sure I’m all paid up, so can you. It is not fair to the glorious Sarah, or the rest of the group if you don’t do your part)

Women in Arts was possibly one of the most amazing celebrations of women and gender equality across the disciplines that I have been to yet. It was full to the brim of rehearsed readings like “Tree of Seeds” by Kayhan Irani, “Doing Well” by Chandeep Uppal and “Character” by Florence Vincent. Interactive panel discussions focusing on Role Models for Women (this was probably my favorite event!) and Writing for Women in the arts. The one woman show, “What’s My Age Again?” performed by the hilarious Merry Ross. Plays like “Frozen Heart”, “Win or Die”, the renowned “Request Programme” starring Cecilia Nilsson, and “LuLu 7” directed by the one and only Ms. Berger (where and how this woman finds the time and energy to direct a play AND run a three day festival I’ll never know).

It was so refreshing to be in an environment where everyone, both women and men, were supporting each other, and standing up for the fact that gender inequality in the arts needs to be examined, questioned and challenged; and in its place, a new vision needs to be set forth. A vision in which women are not the minority. A vision in which texts include women as actual main characters and not just the supporting lover mother sister aunt grandmother best friend objectified hot totty. A vision in which women can and willing and eagerly identify. While powerful roles for women do indeed exist, they are all too rare an occurrence. More often than not these representations of strong, powerful, self-actualized women are relegated to the seldom known independent sector; the grassroots underground projects. The unfunded. The never (hardly ever) seen/supported/recognized. And it should not just be left up to women to write, direct and produce these roles and texts. Men need to participate as well. It is absolutely crucial that visual mass media (Here I’m including all forms of visual media and art), change the way women are viewed and presented.

During the Writing for Women panel, author, journalist and mentor Susan Grossman put a very interesting question to all of us, “Do you write for your audience?” The general consensus in the room was ‘no’. However, I beg to differ; when writing, be it a blog post, screenplay, short story, I most certainly do write for my intended audience. And just because I write for/to a certain group, does not mean I wish or intend to exclude others. The best part of writing and presenting work is its ability to reach the masses. So I put the same question to all of you that may be writers/producers/creators: Do you write (create) for your audience? And if you do, what does that mean for you? How do you ensure women are essential to your storyline and are not outnumbered? Are they presented in a fashion that would challenge the status quo? Until we can challenge (and change) our previously held notions about women’s roles in the arts, and answer these questions on a positive note, there is much work to do. And it is our belief, here at Black Chick Media, that The So & So Arts Club Women in Arts is just the beginning.

Love,

BCM

P.S. Check out another article about Women in Arts on the Female Arts website! xx

Submit Now for the 6th Annual Women In Comedy Festival!

The 6th Annual Women in Comedy Festival has announced it’s dates and is opening submission for entries!

The official dates for the 2014 Women in Comedy Festival are Thursday, May 8th – Sunday, May 11th. You don’t want to miss this festival!

The Festival in past years has included many celebrated women in the field of comedy, including Maria Bamford and Rachel Dratch. The festival includes stand-up, musical comedy, sketches and improv, but you can submit to any field.

Submission Deadlines:
Early Bird, November 18th: 25$
Regular, December 16th: 35$
Extended, January 6th: 45$

Check It Out!: http://www.womenincomedyfestival.com/apply 

New Show Alert: Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”

Netflix is on a role with their original series. The first to triumph is “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, which just got nominated for a few Emmy’s. The political drama is, by far, one of the smartest shows to watch, and if you aren’t, you should be. Triumphing in second is the return of “Arrested Development,” which Netflix picked up for a fourth season, to the delight of their fans (new and old, thanks to Tumblr). And last but not least, “Orange is the New Black.”

Created by Jenji Kohan, the birth mother to the Showtime hit “Weeds,” OITNB hails from the memoir of Piper Kerman, played by Taylor Schilling, a privileged, blonde haired, happily engaged to a great guy, “Let’s do a cleanse!” anxious girl whose past catches up to her when she is trialed and charged up to 15 months in prison for smuggling drug money ten years ago with her then lover/drug dealer, Alex, played by “That 70s Show,” Laura Prepon. The show goes through her triumphs and failures of the jail life, and the person she realizes she is while in there.

The series is great, in that it’s comedic and dramatic in the right places, sexy and scandalous in other places, and down right interesting in that the ensemble cast, which includes an effortlessly badass Russian chef, Red (Kate Mulgrew), Sophia, a transsexual hairdresser (Laverne Cox), Dayanara, whose mother also happens to be an inmate and obviously wants nothing to do with her daughter (Dascha Polanco), Tasha, the hilarious loudmouth troublemaker (Danielle Brooks), Lorna (Yael Stone), the girl engaged to the love of her life but getting her sexual favors from Lyonne, and Nicky, the sexually engrossed druggie (Natasha Lyonne).

Of course, there are numerous characters, each with archetypes we never knew could exist in one small universe such as this one, and that’s the beauty of the show. It’s extremely diverse, with a multitude of women, from different races to different sexualities, and its ensemble, as a whole, keeps you watching. You think you know them, each and every character, based on what is broadcasted in the first few episodes. As you go on, though, you see that you are extremely wrong, and glad that you are, because the surprises are worth the surprise.

Lucy O’Brien of IGN calls it “Brilliance behind bars,” Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker says it’s the “…love child of ‘Oz’ and ‘The L Word’,” and The Guardian deemed it in their list of one of the Best Shows of 2013.

Do us a favor? Watch it. It’s not one to regret.