From April 4 through 9, Denver welcomes back the Women+Film Festival at Sie FilmCenter. We chatted with the festival’s director, Britta Erickson, about what to expect from festival, what films she is most excited for and more.
303 Magazine: What is the Women+Film organization and in your own words, what is its mission?
Britta Erickson: The Women+Film is a program of the non-profit Denver Film Society organization. The program was founded by and is generously supported by Barbara Bridges, a former board member of the Denver Film Society. The mission of the program is to educate, inspire and cultivate community through the showcasing of films by, for and about women.
303: I understand that the festival is simply one part of Women+Film. How does it differ from your year round work, and why is a festival like this important?
BE: The Women+Film program began as a monthly screening program. The success of those monthly screenings coupled with [an] audience eager for more, we expanded to the program to include the Women+Film Festival, an annual six-day celebration of the best in women-centric programming. The Festival includes documentaries, narratives, short films and panel discussions along with in-person guests and receptions all highlighting thought-provoking inspirational stories of women from around the world.
The year round, once-monthly Women+Film screenings are important as a way to keep the conversation up and current. Those screenings always have a filmmaker in person and reception.
Women+Film is almost a major component program of the region’s largest film festival, the Denver Film Festival, which occurs every November.
303 Magazine: How are the films featured in the festival chosen?
BE: The films are chosen by a programming team led by DFS Artistic Director, Brit Withey, in consultation with Bridges. We do not do an open-call for entries for this festival, instead it is curated through coverage of other festivals and through tracking of the trades. We also have a good network of alumni filmmakers and panelists that keep us informed of new relevant projects. We look for important stories along with good filmmaking for every film we chose for the final program. We consider hundreds of films before narrowing it down to the 22 features and shorts that are included.
303 Magazine: What can people expect from this festival?
BE: They can expect to be inspired by powerful stories and powerful women. Highlights include our Opening Night presentation of Dolores, which just premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Iconic activist Dolores Huerta herself will be in attendance and participate in a post-screening discussion. Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, will participate via Skype following a screening of The City of Joy, which is a film about a community for women survivors of violence in the Congo that Eve helped found. Hard-hitting in another way is our fun, retrospective anniversary screening of A League of Their Own.
303 Magazine: What films are you personally most excited for?
BE: I haven’t seen the shorts package yet, so I’m most excited for that. Programmer Matt Campbell always does a great job putting our shorts programs together. I’m also excited to see Men: A Love Story again. It was one of my favorite [documentaries] I saw at the Telluride Film Festival.
Find out more about the festival here.