Following a successful 2018 festival, Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) has announced the winners of this year’s awards at a ceremony at Depot in Lewes on 23 September. WOFFF celebrates women over 50 in film, in front of and behind the camera, and the awards recognise the greatest achievements in cinema that gives a voice to older women.
The key criterion for a WOFFF short film is that it features a woman over 50 in the starring role or has a woman over 50 in the core creative team (writer, director or producer). The Festival aims to combat the discrimination older women face in the media, to start conversations between generations about ageing and to help end older women’s isolation.
During this year’s festival 20 events took place over four days (20– 23 September), including 58 short films made by filmmakers from across the globe. The award winners were the films and filmmakers that best achieved WOFFF’s goals to empower older women through cinema.
The award categories were ‘Best Animation Film’, ‘Best Documentary Film’, ‘Best Drama Film’, ‘Best Experimental Film’ and ‘Women’s Media Studies Network Best Student Film’, and the all-important Emerald Life Audience Choice Award. With over 50 short films being screened at the Festival from all over the world, the judges said choosing the final winners was a difficult decision.
The winners of the awards were:
- Best Animation Film – ‘Tough’ by Jennifer Zheng
- Best Documentary Film – ‘I’m Fine’ by Lucretia Knapp
- Best Drama Film – ‘The Matchmaker’ by Leonora Pitts
- Best Experimental Film – ‘Edek’ by Malcom Green
- Women in Media Studies Network Best Student Film – ‘Grandmother’ by Heather Dirckze, Charanpreet Khaira and Melina Campos
- Emerald Life Audience Choice Award – ‘Edek’ by Malcom Green
On Tough being awarded ‘Best Animation Film’ the judges said: “Stylish and beautiful with a great use of merges between well framed shots, this film is engaging from start to finish with a good atmospheric score.”
On Edek being awarded ‘Best Experimental Film’, the judges said: “A refreshing and original approach to creating a visual portrait of an historical figure. A very moving, raw, exciting heroic tribute to a polish man, Edek. The cuts were energetic, as was the message. A fantastic editing rhythm. A great sympathetic flow through the generations of a universal message of tolerance and understanding, relevant for us all today.”
On ‘Grandmother’ being awarded ‘Best Student Film’, the judges said: “A very timely documentary, which gives us an intimate look at a generation of female immigrants who have seemingly integrated themselves into British society, but still bear the scars of being a foreigner in their adopted homeland. The subject is handled confidently and with humour, depicting a variety of experiences and giving each woman enough space/time to express their individuality.”
On ‘The Matchmaker’ being awarded ‘Best Drama Film’, the judges said: “This film confronts dignity, female friendship and empowerment for the elderly when the world outside has forgotten them. The film asks how to turn away from the conventional and find love where it lands rather than where society think it should. For us this film had it all. The acting and storytelling is real, humorous and fearless. The art direction and cinematography, sublime and quirky. Rare in its honesty and its unpatronising view of old age. A look into what the future might hold for us all and a tip off in how to still be true to yourself even when the world outside wants something different for you. This is a touching hilarious portrait of the lives of women (and a few silent men) in a retirement home in the USA.”
On I’m Fine being awarded ‘Best Documentary Film’, the judges said: “A simple, direct and brilliant ‘world’ film that is in one respect a niche subject from an unexpected part of the world but manages to be universal in its telling of an unusual and wonderful story.”
The director (Lucretia Knapp) and producer (Lynne Yamamoto) of ‘I’m Fine’ attended the festival from America. Lucretia Knapp said after receiving her award: “The festival was really amazing – the energy, the spirit, meeting the other filmmakers. I’ve been to a number of festivals but this one in particular is very deeply felt because of being a woman filmmaker and the difficulty of being recognised. My collaborator Lynn and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves”
Festival director, Nuala O’Sullivan, said, “WOFFF18 screened films from France, Israel, Lebanon, Germany, Iran, Taiwan and many other countries. We welcomed filmmakers from Lewes and Brighton, as well as from all around Britain and Ireland. Filmmakers travelled from further afield too – from Italy, the US and Canada. It’s fantastic to see what international destinations both WOFFF and Depot are and how many filmmakers want to come here to be part of this amazing, vibrate celebration of older women’s work.”
For more information about the Women Over 50 Film Festival 2018, visit www.wofff.co.uk