Female Eye Film Festival finds its focus

Women like local light Ingrid Veninger rule at much-needed fest and forum

FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL at the Theatre Centre (1115 Queen West) from Tuesday (June 14) to June 19. femaleeyefilmfestival.com. Rating: NNN

Here’s the thing about female directors: there aren’t enough of them. The current conversation about the paucity of female representation in cinema is an important one, and as in any art form, inspiration requires visibility: more women seen to be making movies will get more women thinking about directing. 

That’s why the Female Eye Film Festival serves an essential function, not just gathering movies made by women, but holding panels, master classes and script readings designed to get people networking and to stimulate creativity.

This year’s festival opens Tuesday (June 14) with He Hated Pigeons, Ingrid Veninger’s atmospheric portrait of a young man (Pedro Fontaine) journey-ing into the Chilean desert. It’s an artful, evocative character study – though it’ll be a different experience from the version I saw last year because this screening will feature Jane Siberry’s live improvised score.

Veninger is also this year’s honorary director, and the festival will salute her with a “Best In The Biz Tribute” at 10 am on June 18, moderated by Carol Whitman. Tickets are free from the Female Eye website.

Other films in this year’s lineup include a pair of BC productions. Melanie M. Jones’s FSM (June 16, 7:30 pm) is an engaging study of a lonely young DJ (Vanessa Crouch) that’s only occasionally brought down by an obnoxious supporting performance by Sean Aiken as the hero’s wisdom-spouting best bud. 

But they can’t all be gems. Siobhan Devine’s The Birdwatcher (June 17, 7:30 pm) traps some very talented actors in a mawkish melodrama about a single mother (Camille Sullivan) who seeks out her birth mother (Gabrielle Rose) after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

On the upside, maybe someone will catch this movie at the festival and decide she can write a great vehicle for the stars.      

normw@nowtoronto.com | @normwilner

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