Thursday, April 11, 2013

Austin Film Organizations Panel

Ladies and Gents, the school semester is almost over but we still have a great Women In Cinema Panel lined up!  Mark your calendars for our final Women in Cinema Panel: AUSTIN FILM ORGANIZATIONS.  We have some awesome ladies talking with us so don't be late. Come learn about what's happening in your community and how to get involved!


Kristen Bell has served as the Director of Programs for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas since fall 2011. Prior to this role, she was the General Manager of one of the largest and most profitable Alamo Drafthouse location, the South Lamar location from 2006-2011. Here she oversaw the stores day-to-day operations in addition to all major events that took place at any Austin Alamo venues.  In addition to her role at the Alamo Drafthouse, Kristen also serves as the Festival Director of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, since 2008. Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the United States and was recognized as “one of the 10 festivals we love” by Variety president Charlie Koones.

Rebecca Feferman joined the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference & Festival to head up their Media Relations in Fall 2008.  In her role, she cultivates key relationships with major film studios, talent and media, and serves as a Programmer for both festival and conference content.  Additionally, she strategizes timing of all announcements and facilitates targeted placement, generates national and local press opportunities for the festival and its filmmakers, and produces Red Carpet premieres during the event.  She also leads the corporate Marketing Team for all three events (Music, Film & Interactive), and serves as a Contributing Editor for SXSWORLD Magazine. Before her work at SXSW, she spent four years as a publicist representing actors at ID Public Relations in Los Angeles, where she shepherded the long-term publicity goals for her clients.  In addition to tailoring and implementing project-based campaigns by working directly with top-tier media, Feferman handled crisis management and devised specialized positioning to secure major award nominations and wins for her clients.  Prior to joining ID, Rebecca worked in the National Publicity department of Warner Bros. Pictures.  A graduate from the University of Michigan, Feferman is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Laura Kincaid is the Directory & Marketing Coordinator at the Texas Film Commission, a division of the Governor's Office that supports the media industries of Texas. She manages the Texas Production Directory, a free online resource for Texas-based crew and vendors, and markets the state at trade shows, film festivals and events across the country. Laura is a native Austinite, graduated from UT in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Radio-Television-Film, and serves on the Advisory Board of the ATX Television Festival. She loves movies and trashy TV, is a spontaneous world traveler and has co-edited numerous short films (and one very long documentary in French, Arabic and Portuguese, none of which she speaks). On rainy days, she dreams her life is a musical.

Sarah Ann Mockbee began her tenure with AFS in 2008 and became deputy director in 2011. Before joining the team, she worked in the development department at KUT and in the communications department at WNYC, the premiere NPR affiliate in New York City. She has served on the board of the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architects and been a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a producer of CITIZEN ARCHITECT, a documentary about her father, Samuel Mockbee, and the architectural design/build program Rural Studio that he created in Alabama.

Wednesday, April 17
7pm - 9pm
CMA 3.120, UT Campus (Corner of Dean Keaton & Whitis)
Free admission and open to the public
Facebook Event

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Women @ SXSW Panel Recap

We have to give a huge thank you to all the phenomenally talented and fascinating filmmakers who took the time out from their busy South by Southwest schedules to honor us with their vibrant presence at our SXSW panel. With a slew of award-winning films under their belts and three of their SXSW films premiering at Sundance, it was an awe-inspiring group who were remarkably forthcoming, funny and brilliant. In addition to our six scheduled female panelists, we also were graced by surprise guests and honorary “woMeN” in cinema: Jeremy Hersh, director of the short Natives and Ruben Amar, co-director and writer of Swim Little Fish Swim.  

The lucky audience members were treated to what felt like an intimate, convivial gathering - akin to the “salons” of early 20th century France – with the panelists more genuinely interested in each other than in selling themselves.  Despite the thousands of film related conversations I’m sure they had during their SXSW stints, it seemed like our panel was a unique opportunity for them to commune with fellow filmmakers in a calm and casual atmosphere – without the pressure to self-promote and power-network.

Kat Candler - Women in Cinema’s godmother and director of a SXSW/Sundance short film for the 2nd year in a row - moderated the panel with her usual charm, creating an inclusive conversation that went in depth into a handful of pertinent topics such as inspiration, process and navigating the complicated relationships that films are dependent on.  Each director made unique and insightful contributions on every topic.  Here we have included one insight from each.

Celia Rowlson-Hall was a serious dancer before delving into directing, and her films - including her TWO films in SXSW this year - often feature herself as she employs her dance and choreography skills.  Celia is a strong advocate for honesty as the foundation of filmmaking: “the work that I make is just me trying to figure things out,” she confided.
 Lauren Wolkstein revealed that she also manifests honesty in her work and is given to explore the unexpected circumstances that life throws at you.  She was staying with her producer in the south of France in order to write a different script, when she had a strange experience being the only American at a French party which inspired her film Social Butterfly. 

And Julia Pott too recounted thriving on the self-expressive aspect of filmmaking – even when adapting someone else’s material.  The narration of her animated film The Event was a poem by Tom Chivers, and Julia was surprised and slightly anxious when he gave her complete freedom to interpret the poem as she wished – but she ultimately found the experience to be exhilarating. By entrusting her with the text of his poem, Chiver was clearly a key contributor to Julia’s film. Other panelists, however, described working with crucial contributors who were not so unquestionably amenable.

Jillian Schlessinger was the only panelist with a documentary in the festival: Maidentrip, a feature documentary about Laura Dekker, a 14-year-old girl who sails around the world by herself.  Jillian conveyed the emotional delicacy involved in securing the participation of her adolescent subject who was at first reticent about being the subject of a documentary.  Now she and Laura are fast friends and collaborated closely throughout the filmmaking process.

Frances Bodomo had a narrative filmmaking version of Jillian’s experience while making her narrative short Boneshaker.  She still hadn’t found an appropriate actor to fill the African immigrant father role, until already on location in Louisiana when she came across a local man in a coffee shop who she had to coax to be one of her principal actors as his first ever acting experience.  Frances also recounted her flipside experience: the kismet of discovering Quvenzhané Wallis, the astounding starlet of Beasts of the Southern Wild, through her NYU connections to the crew of that film.

And Lola Bessis provided an unusual perspective on the process of working with actors – since she not only directed but acted in the feature she co-directed with Ruben Amar, Swim Little Fish Swim.  Lola opened up about facing certain backlash from the other actors who at times resented that as an actress she was exempt from the critiques she would give them as director.  But she clearly overcame this and ultimately Lola evinced the passionate perseverance that radiated from all of the panelists: she has at least 3 other feature scripts she is working on.  “We want to explore as many worlds as we can,” she said.