UCLA Launches International Women's Festival
by Mark Rabinowitz
From June 2-7, the UCLA Film and Television Archive will present the
inaugural Los Angeles International Women's Film Festival (LAIWFF), the
first festival celebrating the work of woman directors in Southern
California, according to organizers The opening night film will be a
screening of American director Randa Haines' ("Children of a Lesser God")
new film, "Dance With Me," starring Vanessa L. Williams ("Melrose Place")
and pop star Chayanne, while the remaining seven films hail from seven
different countries, including Switzerland, Tunisia, France and Hong Kong.
"We saw a lack [of films by women], especially in Southern California," said
spokesperson for the UCLA Film and Television Archive Elizabeth
Greenbaum. "Women get mixed in with the crowd."
The idea for the fest began to take shape about two years ago, with the
guidance of UCLA Film and Television Archive Head of Programming Andrea
Alsberg and Cynthia Felando, along with a grant from the National
Endowment for the Arts. Greenbaum was careful to point out that this
year's fest is "definitely not a one shot," with plans in the works to
keep the event "small, but not necessarily this small," referring to the
scant eight films in this year's edition.
All of the films in the festival are Los Angeles premieres, and several
of the directors and stars will be on hand for the screening of their
work. Among those making the trip are Randa Haines, director Carine
Adler and star Samantha Morton ("Under the Skin"), director Samantha
Lang and star Pamela Rabe ("The Well"), director Walburg von Waldenfels
("Gesche's Gift") and directors Odette Springer and Johanna Demetrakas
and B-movie stars Julie Strain and Maria Ford ("Some Nudity Required").
In addition to screenings, the festival will also present a seminar with
festival filmmakers, moderated by director Betty Thomas ("Private
Parts", "Dr. Dolittle").
The other seven films screening are Carine Adler's "Under The Skin" (U.K.),
Samantha Lang's "The Well" (Australia), Ann Hui's "Eighteen Springs" (Hong Kong),
Walburg von Waldenfels' "Gesche's Gift" (Germany), Yolande Zauberman's
"Clubbed to Death" (France), Odette Springer's "Some Nudity Required" (U.S.),
and Nadia Fares' "Honey and Ashes" (Tunisia/Switzerland).
[For more information on the Los Angeles International Women's Film
Festival, call 310/206-3456]