Europe! Voices of Women in Film
It's a long way to travel but Dutch filmmakers who've taken part in the Sydney Film Festival's Europe! Voices Of Women In Film programme have relished their time down under.
The initiative was launched three years ago by European Film Promotion to create more awareness of female filmmakers - and to boost their profile outside Europe. "It has become a very well received and well known event within the Sydney festival," EFP MD Sonja Heinen enthuses of the programme, which is managed by colleague Andreas Struck.
Thirty-seven nations currently make up the EFP network. Each is allowed to nominate a single female filmmaker to take part in the Europe! Voices Of Women In Film event. Ten are eventually chosen - so competition is tough. The final decision as to who goes and what is shown is made by Sydney Festival director Nashen Moodley, a man who knows his audience. The films he chooses tend to play very well with the Sydney festival goers.
Producer Stienette Bosklopper of Circe Films attended this year's event alongside her regular director collaborator, Nanouk Leopold. (Leopold's film Cobain, was one of the ten titles presented at the festival alongside Dutch co-production Holiday by fast-rising Scandinavian talent Isabella Eklof.) Bosklopper and Leopold were an experienced team next to many of the first or second time directors who travelled with them to Sydney. "Nanouk and I were like the grannies of the event," Bosklopper jokes.
When filmmakers attend festivals, they generally introduce their own features and exist in a bubble. In Sydney, the EFP delegates were drawn together by the festivals' carefully tailored programme. They bonded socially and went to each other's films. They took part in panel discussions and industry programmes together.
Accompanying them to Sydney was Struck, who managed the visit, EFP President Martin Schweighofer and EFP Board member Marten Rabarts of EYE international who adds, "it was an honour for us to be entourage to such a formidable line up of talent."
"We could feel this year that the group was fantastic and it meant so much for them to be together. This is a very nice side effect of the programme," says Heinen. "They get strength from each other and a lot of encouragement in what they are doing."
"The idea of being there together in a European delegation of female filmmakers was very attractive to me," Bosklopper agrees. "We were very well looked after and we had nice social events...the female filmmaker topic is now on the agenda all the time. The funny thing is that you notice there is a change - there is something very interesting going on."
As boss and founder of Circe Films, Bosklopper has been producing films with female directors for years and has noticed a more progressive attitude across the industry. "For me, it is not such a hot topic as we have been doing it already but what you see is that among festivals, press and audiences, this is a positive moment for female filmmakers."
The widely respected Australian producer Jan Chapman (best known for her work with Jane Campion) has been "ambassador" for the Sydney programme for the past three years and is considered one of the best connected figures in the Australian film industry.
Chapman (whose credits include Palme D'Or and Oscar winner The Piano) was on hand to meet the European filmmakers and to help them hook up with local producers and distributors. "If I want to do something in Australia, I can easily reach out to her and try to make something happen," says Bosklopper. The leading Dutch producer adds how she underlined to several of the European directors that she would be very willing to co-produce their future films, such was the level of talent among the Voices of Women group. GM
SEE NL Magazine #32 September 2018 / Venice, TIFF & NFF Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.