Women Calling the Shots at HIFF 2016

For many years, HIFF has enjoyed a close collaboration with New York Women in Film and Television, and 2016 is no different.

In addition to our NYWIFT shorts program—Women Calling the Shots—this year we are also partnering on a Winick Talk. Moderated by film critic Thelma Adams, Sunday’s free panel discussion is entitled, WOMEN IN FILM: LOTS OF TALK. ANY ACTION?, and features a number of HIFF 2016 female filmmakers.

Details below, in addition to a number of feature films directed by women, appearing in programs across the lineup. Long live women in film!

nywift-shorts-2016-650NYWIFT Shorts:
We are very pleased to continue our partnership with New York Women in Film and Television for our thirteenth annual showcase of outstanding achievements by female filmmakers. Films include THE END, JOE’S VIOLIN, TRACES, VISIT 57, WIG SHOP (starring Emily Mortimer), and WOMAN IN DEEP (starring Alison Pill). Runtime: 85 minutes.

Sunday | 3:45pm | UA East Hampton
Monday | 3pm | UA East Hampton

winick-2016-women-filmmakersWOMEN IN FILM: LOTS OF TALK. ANY ACTION?
Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall
Though the subject of gender diversity behind the camera has been increased in industry (and public) conversation over the past several years, have conditions for female filmmakers actually improved? What are the challenges women face in getting projects financed, produced and distributed? How do they combat day-to-day bias with strength and fortitude? How can we transform conversation into action?

We’ve invited a selection of HIFF 2016’s female filmmakers for a practical and intimate conversation with Terry Lawler, NYWIFT Executive Director, and Thelma Adams, film journalist, author, and member of the HIFF Advisory Board. Filmmaker panelists include Jessie Auritt (SUPERGIRL), Kat Coiro (WIG SHOP), Chris Hegedus (UNLOCKING THE CAGE), Kahane Cooperman (JOE’S VIOLIN).

Sunday | 10am | Rowdy Hall | No tickets required

Directed by: Jessie Auritt | Documentary Feature | 80 min | English | World Premiere
Few would know it by looking at her, but Naomi “Supergirl” Kutin is the strongest girl in the world. The 11-year-old, 95-pound Orthodox Jewish girl from New Jersey is a competitive powerlifter who can lift three times her body weight, impressing even the largest of bodybuilders. SUPERGIRL follows Naomi’s inspiring journey as she simultaneously trains for national competitions and prepares for her bat mitzvah. In her feature debut, director Jessie Auritt beautifully captures the balancing act of being a teenage girl with religious obligation and fighting to set new records in powerlifting. With many obstacles in her way, Naomi discovers what it truly means to be strong.

Sunday | 2pm | UA East Hampton
Monday | 2:30pm | UA East Hampton

marathon-patriots-day-bombing-650MARATHON: THE PATRIOTS DAY BOMBING
Directed by: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg | Documentary Feature | 106 min | English | World Premiere
Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s powerful documentary recounts the dramatic story of the 2013 terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon through the emotional experiences of individuals whose lives were forever impacted. Following events from the moment of the attack to the sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the film features surveillance footage, news clips, home movies and interviews with survivors, their families, first responders, investigators, government officials and reporters from the Boston Globe, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the bombing. Over the course of three years, the survivors face the challenges of physical and emotional recovery as they and their families strive to reclaim their lives and communities in the wake of terrorism.

Friday | 5:30pm | UA East Hampton
Saturday | 11:15am | UA East Hampton

Sonita 650SONITA
Directed by: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Documentary Feature | 91 min | Farsi/English
Sonita Alizadeh is a young Afghan refugee living in Iran and dreaming of becoming a famous rapper. Her family, on the other hand, has different plans for Sonita, who is worth $9,000 as a bride. But Sonita’s dreams are big and unyielding to the pressure surrounding her. She defies local expectations and fights back with her music by crafting powerful lyrics that condemn a society filled with violence and oppression. Together with Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, who shifts from observer to active participant in Sonita’s life, they form a powerful coalition determined to bring joy and hope to everyone who witnesses their award-winning story.

Thursday | 4:15pm | UA East Hampton
Friday | 7:30pm | UA Southampton

Directed by: Houda Benyamina | Narrative Feature | 106 min | French | US Premiere
Winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, DIVINES is the outstanding debut by Houda Benyamina, the first Arab director to ever win the prize. In the outskirts of Paris, Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) dreams of money, power, and a quick escape from the ghetto surrounding her. Paired with her slightly more cautious best friend Maimouna (Déborah Lukumuena), the kinetic and often hilarious duo become embroiled in a world of crime. With superb performances, Benyamina expertly balances a buddy comedy with a high-paced thriller, all the while offering a raw critique on race and religion in France.

Friday | 4:30pm | UA East Hampton (RUSH ONLY)
Saturday | 2:45pm | Bay Street Theater

southwest-of-salem-650SOUTHWEST OF SALEM
Directed by: Deborah S. Esquenazi | Documentary Feature | 91 min | English
In the midst of the Satanic ritual abuse panic of the early ’90s, four lesbian women from San Antonio Texas, are tried and convicted of sexual assault. Deborah S. Esquenazi’s documentary incorporates home footage and recent interviews with the accused, their families and experts, as it follows their fight for exoneration after spending almost a decade behind bars. SOUTHWEST OF SALEM is a gripping story that challenges the legitimacy of a legal system that allowed bias and prejudice to seep into and corrupt its procedures, amounting to what was called at the time “the modern version of the witchcraft trials.”

Saturday | 1:15pm | UA East Hampton

Directed by: So Yong Kim | Narrative Feature | 85 min | English | New York Premiere
Longtime friends Sarah (Riley Keough) and Mindy (Jena Malone) reunite for a spontaneous road trip in So Yong Kim’s tender and heartwarming drama, LOVESONG. Sarah, who is escaping a loveless marriage, quickly finds comfort in Mindy’s free-spirited and warm nature. After an abrupt incident sends them in separate directions, it’s only years later that they are able to finally confront their feelings. With beautifully understated performances and an evocative embrace of things left unsaid, Kim explores the intimacy at the heart of their relationship and the unique bond pulling them together. Presented in partnership with NewFest.

Friday | 11:45am | UA East Hampton
Saturday | 5:30pm | UA Southampton