Interview with Festival Founder/Director Kate Kaminski
Why did the Bluestocking Film Series begin?
I started Bluestocking Film Series because I wanted to see more complex female protagonists on-screen and because there aren’t enough film festivals that focus specifically on female representation in narrative films. Every Bluestocking screening is intended to prove a) that women and girls deserve to take their rightful place front and center in the narrative and b) that it is imperative that this occur for the continued evolution of cinema. We encourage and promote the production of films that push the envelope in terms of what women and girls are “allowed” to be on-screen.
This year was the sixth year of the film festival. What were some of the highlights?
The highlights of this year included our Refocused: Women and Girls On-Screen panel event with Maria Giese, Yolonda Ross, Ariel Dougherty, Alison Beyea, and Loren King (see here for bios: http://www.bluestockingfilms.com/filmmakers-and-special-guests/) ; our special afternoon screening of historic, radical films from Women Make Movies with distinguished guest Ariel Dougherty; and our 19 films in competition, each of which were markedly different from each other and each of which offered our audiences stories filled with unlimited possibilities for on-screen representation of complicated, diverse women and girls.
Can you discuss your involvement?
I’m Bluestocking’s lead curator (Artistic Director) and its founder.
How many submissions were received?
This year we received about 140 short film submissions.
What type of feedback have you received so far about the film festival?
We’ve gotten incredibly positive feedback from our special guests, the press, and our audiences this year. We also had a woman post on our Facebook page who was quite upset that we showed films where the female characters didn’t fit her expectations of nobility.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
From the beginning, Bluestocking has specifically sought to find films in which the female characters are portrayed in surprising ways. We want to provoke discussion about expectations around women and girls, so we must see any disquiet felt by the audience as us doing our job correctly.
What are you looking to achieve by having information about the film festival more visible on We Are Moving Stories?
We’re always hoping to reach more filmmakers, of course. But we also know from experience that there is strength in community. Any opportunity we get to put the Bluestocking story out there is a chance to create that community. So, thank you!
Who do you need to come on board (audience, publicity, media) to amplify this film festival’s message and audience?
Our goal is to become a destination festival where audiences come to Maine, during our most beautiful time of year, to see films they would not see together, in one program, anywhere else. Of course, we’re always looking to add strength to our Advisory Board to help us with outreach and fundraising as well, so if any of your readers are that person, hit us up!
What type of impact would you like this film festival to have?
We want to continue to prove that female-driven films have unlimited commercial potential. We want to continue to introduce audiences to those filmmakers who have the potential to impact and evolve cinematic art and the industry at large. And we want to continue to bring people together who care about film and want to see positive change in an industry that has become stagnant and tone deaf to gender equality on-screen and behind the camera.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate about your film festival?
Is there a limit to the types of characters women and girls should be “allowed” to play? Can we go beyond the idea of women needing to be good, pretty, kind, and noble? (I guess that’s really two questions. Sorry!)
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Bluestocking Film Series
When and where: Annually in July, Portland, Maine
Founders: Kate Kaminski
Looking for (audience, publicity, media) All of the above
Funders: For full list of funders/sponsors — http://www.bluestockingfilms.com/partners