Women ♀ Directors Roundtable at LALIFF

Women ♀ Directors Roundtable at LALIFF

Top Left to Right: Consuelo Alba, Yvette Ederly, Sydney Levine, Isabel Cueva, Fina Torres
Front Left: Sarah Vaill, Right: Carmen Marron.
(Photo by Veronica Zarate)

Such positive combustible energy ignited both the panelists and the SRO audience when six women directors gathered together to share their experiences in making six very different films. From Cannes Camera d’or winner Fina Torres (Havana Eva), to debuting filmmaker from Chicago Carmen Marron and her perfectly targeted high school dance movie (Go For It), to master puppeteer and NYU film instructor Yvette Ederty and her 4 minuted animated film (Jillian Dillion), to debuting director/ writer/ producer of Iraqi 17 minute drama In the Name of Freedom, and documentary filmmakers Sarah Vaill (Women With Altitude) about victims of abuse facing their greatest fears by conquering mountains in Bolivia and debuting director Consuelo Alba (El Andalon) whose film which makes its audience want to go out help support the Chiapas based healer whose museum of Mayan art and artifacts raises the money he needs to heal, build schools and hospitals for the Mayan peoples of Chiapas, so ignored by the government. An astounding array of voices.

The Female Factor
The festival showcases 73 films, including 37 features (25 narratives of which 5 are by women directors ♀ (25%) and 12 documentaries of which 9 are by women directors ♀ (75%). This is an extraordinary number of films by women and that these Latina voices come out of such macho societies is even more astounding.

Winners included Consuelo Alba for El Andalon, Fina Torres for Habana Eva and Carmen Marron for Go For It!
And Best Director Award went to a woman: the amazing Brazilian director of SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, Anna Muylaert!!! ♀

El Andalón: Portrait of a Maverick Humanitarian by Consuelo Alba (WINNER!)
Consuelo Alba has extensive experience in journalism, education and cultural activism in Mexico and the United States. She was was born and raised in Mexico City and received her BA in communication sciences and journalism from the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). After coming to the US, she worked as professional journalist for the San José Mercury News, where she won the New California Media Award in the Civil Liberties category. She also ran a successful private translation/editing business, and worked as a University of California, Santa Cruz college outreach coordinator for Latino families. With her husband John Speyer, Consuelo created Alma, a Latin America craft store and art gallery that promoted monthly Latino cultural events in Santa Cruz, California. Consuelo graduated from the Digital Media Academy certificate program at Stanford University a course she took in order to make this film. Consuelo and John started Veremos Productions, LLC in 2009. El Andalón: Portrait of a Maverick Humanitarian is their first documentary. View the trailer here.
facebook: el andalón

In the Name of Freedom by Isabel Cueva (Writer, Director, Producer, lead actress)
Isabel Cueva was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Cueva’s dreams of performing and filmmaking began at the age of 4 years old when she experienced tough challenges in her family. She would watch films, such as The Wizard of Oz, and funny Cantinflas films, that would taker her to magical places away from her difficult reality. She was amazed by how actors and films could affect people’s lives, and there began her passion for films. Early in Elementary, fate began to unfold that Isabel was meant to perform; In first grade she was chosen to be the lead of a children’s play, she played the lead “bunny rabbit” and the rest of the kids played vegetables in the garden. Through out elementary and grade school, she performed, and produced in talent shows. She soon auditioned and was selected to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (Acting program). There she performed in many plays, wrote and directed theatrical productions and was trained by highly professional teachers. Before graduating high school, she was awarded the1st Cesar Chavez Leadership Award, by the TELACU organization. She was selected and attended the California Institute of the Arts (Acting program) and then followed Hollywood to pursue her big dreams. Cueva has been working as an actress for the last several years, has appeared in popular t.v shows, starred in indie films opposite name actors, and has received recognition for her performances in theatre and film, such as an Alma Award. In the last couple years she has produced, and consulted on several indepedent films. with Director Chris Cashman; CARTS, a low budget feature film which she brought name talent to, and Goofyfoot, a short film which has been accepted in some of the top film festivals . IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM marks her directorial and her first produced short screenplay. Out of this short, she was was awarded a prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award, an award she now shares with Stephen Spieldberg, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, George Lukas and many other great directors. Cueva is a multi‐talented, driven, passionate woman, determined to make thought provoking films and projects that convey important messages and inspire the world. Currently she is developing her first TV pilot and completing her first feature script “My Brothers, My Enemies”, partially based on the lead characters of IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM” and inspired by the experiences and lives of true combat soldiers who have served in the Iraq war. CAVE Entertainment 818‐378‐6228 caveentertainment AT yahoo.com

Jillian Dillion by Yvette Edery
Due to the support of New York Univerity, Princeton University, Institut International de la Marionnette Charleville-Mezieres, France, Feria Internacional Del Titere Sevilla, Spain, Union Internationale de la Marionnette (PIF) Zagreb, Croatia, Internationales Institut fur Marionetten, Stuttgart, Germany, Accademia dell’Arte, Arezzo, Italy, Manigances, Jonquiere, Canada, and the Women’s Commission in Puppetry UNIMA, Nahon, Japan; Yvette Edery has traveled the world, teaching her methodology of puppetry performance and filmmaking, and has become the face of the emerging generation of puppetry artists on a global scale. A puppeteer well accustomed to serving in ambassadorial position, teaching students at ivy league universities, and as a children’s entertainer who devotes her free time to performing at no cost for children in New York City such as the children at the Ronald McDonald House for children with cancer and the survivors of domestic violence at the Safe Horizons Shelter, Yvette works for peace and new consciousness every day. Before starting her production company, Yvette worked in radio, feature film, television, and Off-Broadway with Mabou Mines, Basil Twist, Peter Schumann, Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and Between the Lions. She is the current artist in residence at the Historic Flushing Town Hall, Smithsonian Affiliate, NYU’s Tisch School of Arts Professor of Puppetry and Filmmaking, and Yvette has recently completed her first feature length dramatic animated film, which she wrote, directed, designed, and produced, based on her grandmother’s true story (a film made in Spanish with English subtitles, very near and dear to her heart). Watch the trailer here, endorsed by Darren Aronofsky. www.artistrye.com

Women With Altitude by Sarah Vaill

Sarah Vaill is a documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, climber, and activist. Her work to end violence against women began at age 17 canvassing door-to-door for the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women. She soon combined her activist work with documentary filmmaking when she co-produced the short documentary “Where The Road Ends and The Walking Begins” (2000) for the Global Fund for Women, where she served as the Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean for four years. Next came producer and director roles for “Women With Altitude: Mind Over Mountains” (2007) a short documentary about the all-female mountaineering expedition of domestic violence survivors and activists from the US and Bolivia, which screened at the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner, Whistler Film Festival, Malibu International Film Festival, and Southside International Film Festival. The short has become the one-hour film, “Women With Altitude,” debuting in 2010 at the DocMiami International Film Festival, Dances With Films, and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. In her upcoming film work, Sarah is developing a documentary about Arab women’s pursuit of equal laws in the Middle East and North Africa. She is producing the comedic feature documentary “My Evil Twin” for Evil Twin Films, and has designed the social engagement strategy of “The Stories Women Tell,” a feature documentary by Linda Harrar Productions with the firm Cause & Affect, an innovative agency operating at the nexus of social change & media. Sarah continues in activism as the Director of International Advocacy for Karama, a movement to end violence against women in the Arab world. An author of three award-winning feature scripts, two television pilots, nine produced monologues, and three one-act plays, she is a graduate of the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA’s School of Film and Television and earned a BA with Distinction at Duke University. As a student in North Carolina, she served as Climbing Director of Wilderness Initiatives for Learning at Duke, followed by five seasons as a Field Instructor for Outward Bound in Montana and Mexico. Today, Sarah continues bringing young people into the wilderness of the Southern Sierras as an educator for WildPlaces.net.

Go For It! by Carmen Marron (WINNER!)
Carmen Marron is a filmmaker and the founder of Sparkhope Productions, a company dedicated to creating films that bring awareness to women’s issues and support cultural diversity in relationships.
Carmen grew in the inner-city of Chicago as one of ten children from Mexican immigrant parents. She earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from DePaul University and a Master’s in Educational Psychology from the University of Arizona. Carmen began her filmmaking aspirations in Arizona while a guidance counselor for high-risk elementary school children in South Phoenix. It was then that Carmen began writing the screenplay, “GO FOR IT!” as a response to the disparity in role models for minorities and their reverence for violence on TV and in film. “GO FOR IT!” represents the reality of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and addresses the societal issues they face while integrating the cool underground world of street dance. After completing her screenplay, Carmen moved to LA and relentlessly worked on turning her script into a feature film. Carmen wrote, directed and produced the feature in Chicago and Los Angeles. Completing her goal in 2010, “GO FOR IT!” is now doing the festival circuit and has recently won two Audience Awards! Carmen is a member of the Latino organizations: Nosotros, NALIP, Film Independent and Women in Film.
Now focusing on future projects, Carmen’s goal will always be to create inspirational & multicultural works like “GO FOR IT!” which targets women and their societal struggles. Her personal goal is to support educational programs in inner-cities and spread the word on pet adoption and animal welfare.

Habana Eva by Fina Torres (WINNER!!)
Fina Torres is currently a director/writer/producer who brings experience from all areas of filmmaking to the role. After studying design, photography and journalism in Venezuela, Torres moved to Paris, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in cinematography from the Institute de Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques, IDHEC. She worked as a film editor, camera operator, and script supervisor after graduating, making short films and documentaries on the side. In 1985, Torres won the Cannes Festival Camera d’Or, among other twelve international prices, for directing and producing her debut feature “Oriana”. She co-wrote, produced and directed her second feature, a comedy, “Celestial Clockwork”, in 1993, winner of four international prices. She directed and was the executive producer for Fox Searchlight romantic comedy “Woman on Top”, Official Selection “Un Certain Regard” in Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Director at the 2001 Alma Awards. On 2007 she co-wrote the romantic comedy “Prada To Nada” produced by Odd Lot and Lionsgate, now in postproduction, and she just finished Habana Eva, film she co-wrote and directed, and was fully shot in Cuba.

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Alex Garcia

Best Director Award went to a woman: the amazing Brazilian director of SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, Anna Muylaert!!!

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