MWFF Festival Reflections

As we’re heading ever closer towards our 3rd festival in Feb 2019, something that we’ve been thinking about is how far we have already grown and the ways we want to develop the festival in the future.

For those of you who may not be aware, the Melbourne Women in Film Festival officially began with a small “mini-festival” in March 2017 at Melbourne’s Treasury Theatre. Held over a Friday night and Saturday, we were intent on putting together a program of screenings and conversations that would hopefully illustrate the kind of festival we wanted to be - one that celebrates past and present Australian women’s filmmaking, but also one that wants to do its part in making the future brighter women storytellers in the industry. 2017 was modest, funded predominantly through crowdfunding support, and certainly did not run perfectly (switching between 16mm projection and a temperamental HDMI cable was almost heart attack inducing). But we were happy with how it turned out and the team felt it was a definitely the start of something that could grow and evolve.

 2017 Opening night screening of ‘The Cheaters’ (Paulette McDonagh, 1930) with live score by Zulya and the Children of the Underground. (Kishka Phillips Photography 2017)

2017 Opening night screening of ‘The Cheaters’ (Paulette McDonagh, 1930) with live score by Zulya and the Children of the Underground. (Kishka Phillips Photography 2017)

 2018 Best ‘Next Gen’ award winner, Leticia Caceres (left) at MWFF 2018 closing night.

2018 Best ‘Next Gen’ award winner, Leticia Caceres (left) at MWFF 2018 closing night.

Then 2018 happened. MWFF went from a 2 day to a 4 day event. From one venue to three! One of the biggest differences between these two festivals was that we established a submission process for filmmakers. This lead to 3 sessions of short films, 2 for established and emerging filmmakers and 1 for students. These were some of our best attended sessions with filmmakers, their friends and family, cast and crew, and Melbourne’s film loving audience, coming together to see the highly diverse stories being made by Aussie women. What really hit home though, during these sessions and at the closing night party and shorts awards ceremony, was that there is such a vibrant community of women practitioners out there. We already knew this to an extent, but it was so wonderful seeing and meeting all this talent. The MWFF team was left with a feeling that we wanted our festival to be an ongoing place for this community to come together and celebrate one another. Our fingers and toes are crossed to continue this for next year.

One of the filmmakers we were so privileged to meet and blown away by was Sydney filmmaker, Bina Bhattacharya, who travelled down with her short film Wild Dances. Such an amazing energy! She also recently shot a little video for us to help support our ACF campaign and so here it is! Thank you so much Bina, and we hope to screen more of your films in the future!