Olympia Film Festival: A New Perspective

(photo by: Jaima Sadira)

by Jonah Barrett for OLY ARTS

It’s no secret the filmmaking world is male-dominated. With every straight, white, college boy setting out to make the umpteenth homage to The Godfather or Pulp Fiction, it can feel as though the industry is running out of ideas. It doesn’t have to be that way. The 34th Olympia Film Festival will take place over 10 days this year, starting November 10. The Olympia Film Society has set out to make a change by creating a female-centric film festival that only showcases works by female-identifying filmmakers.

“Most female-identifying people are fighting these days for space in a really tough industry,” said executive director Audrey Henley. “This year we’ve decided for the importance of women’s representation in film to really be our focus.” While past festivals focused attention on selecting “cool” films to show, the 34th festival goes deeper to celebrate underrepresented creators. Special guests include S.J. Chiro (LANE 1974), Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffith (Eden, The Night Stalker), Los Angeles filmmaker Gillian Wallace Horvat (Whiskey Fist) and critic Kristen Yoonsoo Kim (GQ, Rolling Stone). The festival will wrap with a panel discussing different perspectives in film, with audience participation encouraged.

“Our goal,” said programming director Rob Patrick, “is to definitely create conversation, to speak up on representation and diversity and the problematic issues of many festivals not booking many women filmmakers.” Henley and Patrick were initially told planning such an event would be impossible, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. “We were told that there weren’t enough (female-created) films, that films were in scarcity and that there wasn’t a great pool of directors to draw from. But there’s a wealth of female-identifying filmmakers all over the world.”

“Now there’s an opportunity,” Henley said, “for this underrepresented group of people to connect with and support one another, and to have an event to find ways to reach out to each other.”

What: Olympia Film Festival

Where: Capitol Theater,
206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

When: Nov. 10-19

How much: $7-$150

Learn more: 360-754-6670 | OFS

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