Reflecting on WIF/A's and WIFTI's Short Film Showcase:
Let me get this out of the way. Whoever Atlantic Station Regal outsourced their A/V services to did a sh*tty job. Half way through A Place Called Home the DVD froze. That would be just the first of several glitches that added at least 45 minutes to the showcase's total running time.
At the cocktail reception afterwards, the Regal manager did give us free passes and graciously credited Sherry Richardson for single handedly keeping the showcase on track. Unfortunately, as the audience, we didn't know that it wasn't WIF/A who wasn't prepared. And since we only found that out after the showcase was over, first timers to a WIF/A event, who skipped the reception, are most likely now wandering the streets of Atlanta with a decidedly false impression about how WIF/A does things. (Let's not fail to mention that I got the notion that Fox Sports Grill was none to happy the reception started an hour late.)
However, who really cares when the shorts themselves were so damn strong. In particular, the 6 local shorts were beyond impressive. They were so moving semi-loyal readers, I've avowed to dial back my bitching and moaning about quality films coming out of the "A" from a 9 to an 8. Unfortunately, I've got to make my total quota, so I'm raising my B&M about why aren't more women behind the camera from a 7 to a right out 10. At sixteen percent, it's appalling that there are so few women writers, directors and producers working behind the scenes.
Starting with Charity Harvey's The Memory of History and ending with Raquel Asturias's Sharing Our Souls, these Women are the collectors of who we are. Their cameras aren't tools they're an extension of themselves. Mechanical appendages that organically allow them to be observers of the intimate and the minute.
Whether it's an oral and pictorial history of Herren's restaurant, a mockumentary about being a "video vixen" or a fairytale about our willingness to destroy the present to recreate a past that no longer exists, these are personal stories. Unflinching stories. Stories that we should be grateful have been added to our collective memory.
Sandra M. Yee's Hoo Hoo - Losing Mother Tongue probably encompasses what these film do best. In the opening frame, we're introduced to Yee's grandmother. Fierce, energetic, witty and willing to scold anyone within earshot, she's a character that you immediately gravitate to. Just as we're beginning to know her, we learn that a month after Yee started the documentary, her grandmother suffered a heart attack and died two days later. It's a sobering moment that only makes you grasp the previous six minutes ever more tightly.
As a part of celeberating International Women's Day, last night's films are a reminder that we must always be actively pursuing memory and creating memory. That we all need to be collectors of who we are.