When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman in the 80-year history of the Oscars to win the Best Director award in 2010, it highlighted just how marginalized women are in the world of cinema – every film has its female star, but comparatively few are written and directed by women.
In the same year, a group of Chilean women working in the audiovisual industry decided to set about doing their part to change this scenario.
The result: Chile’s first major women’s film festival, the Festival de Cine de Mujeres de Santiago (“Santiago Women’s Film Festival”), or Femcine.
The inaugural 2010 edition of the festival was a success, with 60 screenings held in five different locations in Chile’s capital, drawing a crowd of around 4,000 spectators.
“We think that the success of the first edition of Femcine demonstrated that there is a lot of richness in audiovisual productions by women,” said festival director, Antonella Estévez. “The public is interested in learning about it, enjoying it and thinking about these issues.”
And this year’s edition, launched at the Gabriel Mistral Center March 20, is set to be bigger on all accounts: 115 entirely free screenings will be held in eight venues across the city. Awards for Best National Fiction and Best National Documentary will be added to the Best Latin American Fiction and Documentary awards, and a host of talks and special screenings will be added to the mix.
Films are winging their way to Chile from around the world, including works from: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico; the United States and Canada; France, England, Germany, Switzerland and Poland; Japan, India and Cameroon.
A series of related forums will be held from Wednesday to Friday in the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) over some of the issues raised in the films, such as sexual diversity, reproductive rights and public politics. Journalists, academics and film-makers will be present to engage the public.
Films will be screened at GAM, the Cineteca Nacional in the La Moneda Cultural Center, the Sala Pablo Neruda in the Quinta Normal Metro Station, Lastarria 90, Café Literario Bustamante, the Chilean National Theater, Huérfanos Cinema and the National Library.
The festival runs until Sunday, March 25. For a list of screenings, see the official website.