The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is a force among Canadian film festivals. In addition to being a well-curated annual film festival, they run multiple initiatives all year long, benefit many local and Atlantic filmmakers through PD opportunities, and promote the work of vibrant female filmmakers from all over the world.

But next week is their big week: Oct. 20-24th. There is much to do, and much to see. Far too much to capture it all here, so go here and read more:, and if you want a free festival pass, we’ve got one for you. Enter to win below. Here is a list, in date-chronological order, of 10 highlights:

#10 – Tuesday: Opening Night Feature Film & After Party

[wpdevart_youtube]T4ZNHTJhfoo[/wpdevart_youtube] Tuesday’s opening night gala is at the Arts and Culture centre, and will show the feature film, Into the Forest, by Patricia Rozema, and starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Woods.

“In the not too distant future, two young women who live in a remote ancient forest discover the world around them is on the brink of an apocalypse. Informed only by rumor, they fight intruders, disease, loneliness & starvation.”

After the movie, stick around for the party, powered by the intoxicating music of St. John’s most original and dance-inspiring band Ouroboros, who pack not 1, but 4 saxes to blow you away.

#9 – Wednesday: Creating Experiences with Vice Canada & Secret Workshop

This is a workshop, so it’s mostly of interest to local media and filmmaker types, though also of interest to consumers of media and film. It takes place from 2:30-4pm at NIFCO (40 King’s Road). It’s $20; $15 for students/seniors.

Nina Sudra from VICE Canada, an industry leader in producing and distributing “the best online video content in the world,” and Noora Abu Eitah from Secret Location, winner of a Digital Emmy Award, a Gemini Award, and several marketing and Webby awards, to discuss how to create entertaining and unique experiences for our changing media landscape.

#8 – Wednesday: Lunch Time Shorts, 12-1 @ LSPU Hall

[wpdevart_youtube]42YFUwCnWzE[/wpdevart_youtube] Pack a lunch this Wednesday, and head to the hall for a diverse trio of promising short films:

I Kissed a Girl (11 minutes): “Katy Perry claimed she did and she liked it, but the women in this documentary really mean it. Listen to the voices of all those happy women. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.”

Home (18 minutes): “A tiny masterpiece of exquisite pace and composition, at once a lyrical expression of longing and a parable of the new China. Set in an abandoned post-Olympic resort park, the film tracks the subtle relationship between an old man and a young girl whose curiosity has carried her towards this site.”

My Brother, My Enemy (17 minutes): “One of the most topical films in the festival, this well delivered documentary is all about Zahed and Najah, two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life. The battlefield levels everyone, so why do men fight?”

#7 – Wednesday: Mavis!, 7-9pm @ Avalon Mall

[wpdevart_youtube]-orbaWz5yRQ[/wpdevart_youtube] You got any soul, reader? Head out and hear the story of one of the strongest voices — in social movements and music — in recent history. It’s part of MUN Cinema Series. They don’t play no junk.

“Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.”

#6 – Wednesday: Radical Grace, 7-9pm, @LSPU Hall

[wpdevart_youtube]cFyLKlpVvYk[/wpdevart_youtube] Religion has halted progress for many causes, feminism included. And as the trailer above proves, you will love the three outspoken nuns this film features.

“A terrifically powerful documentary about a trinity of Catholic nuns, Radical Grace brings us close to their drive and commitment to social justice. These are no ordinary women. Fearless, undaunted, and totally irrepressible, they take on the whole damn (sorry) patriarchy. It’s a miracle, indeed, to see these articulate women traverse the country to do the right thing.”

#5 – Wednesday: Drone, 9:30pm, @ LSPU Hall

[wpdevart_youtube]mNdxhnjAvug[/wpdevart_youtube] Warfare has never been so wicked. This doc defines disturbing truths about modern war. Its honesty is essential watching for anyone alive in today’s increasingly scary and morally shaky world.

“An absolutely riveting doc about the nature and power of our current high-tech weaponry—the armed drone. How did we go from video games to this? The film looks closely at the CIA’s use of drone warfare, particularly in Pakistan. Astonishing truths are revealed here, inviting us to consider our own complicity in the collateral damage. This is a superbly made documentary, eye-poppingly interesting.”

#4 – Thursday: The Anima Profile, 9:30-11pm, @ LSPU Hall

[wpdevart_youtube]JSMKXg0qSpU[/wpdevart_youtube] There is no simple summary of this piece other than: powerful, ambitious, and one the festival is really pushing. Sold? Watch the whole trailer, and you will be.

“Wow, does this doc ever take us someplace new. We begin with Montrealer Sandra Bagaria who goes deep into an online relationship with an American woman, Amina Arraf, living in Damascus. Timely as ever, this adventure is set against the Syrian conflict as the world reads the “gay girl” in Damascus’s blog pages, apparently disclosing the truth of the uprising.”

#3 – Friday: My First Doc (a Workshop), 10-11:30am @ NIFCO

This is a workshop, so it’s mostly of interest to local media and filmmaker types, though also of interest to consumers of media and film. It takes place from 2:30-4pm at NIFCO (40 King’s Road). It’s $20; $15 for students/seniors.

“Documentary filmmaking has its own set of unique challenges. Join filmmakers Marcia Connolly (Strange and Familiar), Sophie Deraspe (The Amina Profile) and Rhonda Buckley (Terranova Matadora) as they share their experiences and lessons learned since their first documentary projects. They’ll discuss story development, and the creativity and resources needed to deal with issues along the way.”

#2 – Friday: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, 1-3pm @ Holy Heart Theatre

[wpdevart_youtube]6sUsLn7v_wI[/wpdevart_youtube] An aptly titled, awesome documentary on the feminist fight.

“It’s all about the women of the ‘sixties who shaped a movement—feminism, that is, the movement for women’s equality. Many familiar and famous voices are heard here, often recalling their younger idealistic selves and the forces that shaped them. Fashion might have changed but ideas and principles persist. This is truly an inspiring, important, and highly watchable documentary—made by women for everyone.”

#1 – Saturday: He Hated Pigeons, Live scored!, 12-3:30pm @LSPU Hall


A film about “a young man pushed to the borders of sexuality, sanity, and to the edge of the earth, where he must step into his future,” that will be scored, live!, by local musician Rozalind MacPhail.

“Our favourite indie filmmaker Ingrid Veninger has created yet another deliberately low budget feature, this time a remarkably well-measured tale of love and loss. We are never sure just how she does it but it’s clear that this drama, just like her others, reveals a gifted filmmaker with undying respect for her actors.”

And Of Course the Closing Night Gala: 8-10pm @ the Arts & Culture Centre

[wpdevart_youtube]WpNDKj4Cg3w[/wpdevart_youtube] The closing night will feature the screening of last year’s Michelle Jackson award winner’s short film, “The Tour,” by Jenina MacGillivray. And then a feature film, Beeba Boys, from acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta, whose next film is the adaptation of local author Kathleen Winter’s Annabel!

“Festival favourite Deepa Mehta turns her talent to something entirely different. After a career spent making gorgeous, thoughtful, and provocative studies of women, Metha tries her hand at a genre film. BEEPA BOYS might belong to the formulaic tradition of street gang dramas, but in her hands we get something entirely original. Be prepared: this is no film for sissies.”

Wanna win a pass the festival? Enter below.  We will notify the winner Saturday.

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