International Feature Film Competition for Women Directors

International Feature Film Competition for Women Directors

Awkward women who don’t have to go under

Women directors winning prestigious awards (BAFTAS, Oscars) – this is something new. One-off events, or »the first of many«, as the first woman Oscar award winner Kathryn Bigelow hopes; the coming years will tell. The works of the women who are introducing their first films here gives reason for hope. There were more submissions this year for the International Debut Feature Film Competition for Women Directors than ever before. The pre-selection for the competition for the prize of 10,000 Euro comprised of 90 films from more than 40 countries. These range from moving narrative cinema to fractious low-budget
The characters developed by these directors, who are mostly the autheurs of their films as well, reveal a strength and the greatest moment of surprise. They create female figures that are non-conformist, bothersome or disagreeable. Life does not always mean well with them, their strategies are not always crowned with success, but they are allowed to stay the way they are. Some of them have partners who tolerate and want such characters, female awkwardness is no longer automatically admonished with an absence of personal relationships.
Sophie Deraspe sends her young protagonist in Les signes vitaux on an inner search for meaning after the death of her grandmother. This leads, through working on a palliative ward, to an obsessive analysis of issues of life and death, leaving her on-and-off lover on the outside for a long time. Sarah Leonor shows great promise as an actor and director in Au Voleur. With Florence Loiret Caille, she partners the intensive Guillaume Depardieu in his final role as a petty criminal with an actress who makes the leap from a middle-class teacher to the brief dream of Bonnie & Clyde happiness with playful ease.
Léa Fehner, who has already won awards for the screenplayof Qu’un seul tienne et les autres suivront, brings together the lives of three characters in the visiting room of a prison in her brilliantly nested episodic film. A prison in the Lebanese desert is also the destination in Dima El-Horr’s film Every Day Is a Holiday. Unforgettable images portray the story of the uncomfortable and dangerous journey of three women in a country in a continuous state of unrest. The coming-of-age comedy Cosmonauta takes us to Italy in the 1960s. Her passion for the Russian space mission and the Communist Party makes 15-year-old Luciana anything but a popular ragazza. But she sticks it out. In the best traditions of British cinema, Sallie Aprahamian describes in Broken Lines a love story that is only possible due to the state of emergency in which the lovers find themselves for a short time. Agua fría de mar, on the other hand, by Paz Fábrega, seems to be very surreal. The winner of the Tiger Awards mysteriously entwines the lives of a 7-year-old runaway girl and a young middle-class woman on the beach of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Eine flexible Frau (The Drifter) is about unemployed Berlin architect Greta, 40, who is anything but flexible, but she is determined not to let things get her down. The German contribution from Tatjana Turanskyj is a statement on feminist positions as has not been seen for a long time.

What will eventually make it into the cinema from this impressive range of women’s film creativity is a different, less pleasing story. But whatever the case, there are many of them: women directors whose next works will be awaited with great anticipation.

_Stefanie Görtz


Dr. Jessica Eisermann

Dr. Jessica Eisermann studied sociology, theatre, film and television studies, art history and political science in Cologne, Florence and Berlin. From 1993 to 1997, she had a scholarship to the European University Institute in Florence, where she gained her doctorate in 1999 with the thesis Media violence: the social control of the portrayal of violence in television. Jessica Eisermann was a research assistant at the Institute for Theatre, Film and Television studies of the University of Cologne. She worked as a media researcher for multimedia agency Pixelpark and was an editor at Grundy Light Entertainment. Since 2001, she has worked for the WDR, including a spell as acting director for Company Planning and Strategy, and since 2009, Jessica Eisermann has been head of the editorial department of Einsfestival.

Mirjana Karanović

Actor and lecturer Mirjana Karanović was born in Belgrade in 1957 and made her film debut in 1980 in the film Petrijin venac. She became internationally known with Emir Kusturica‘s film Otac na službenom putu (When Father Was away on Business). In 2003, she took on a role in the Croatian film Svjedoci, making her the first Serbian actress to film again in Croatia after the war in Yugoslavia. Under the direction of Jasmila Žbanić, she played in the Bosnian Film Grbavica (Esma’s Secret), which in 2006 won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale. For Here and There by Darko Lungulov she won the Critics‘ Prize for Best Actress at the 2010 Belgrade film festival. Most recently Mirjana Karanović appeared in Jasmila Žbanić‘s new film Na patu, which had its world premiere in the competition of the 2010 Berlinale, and which is opening this year’s Dortmund | Cologne International Women’s Film Festival.

Films with Mirjana Karanović (Selection)

Na patu (On the Path) 2010 | Here and There 2009 | Memory Full 2008 | Das Fräulein 2006 | | Grbavica (Esmas Geheimnis | Esma’s Secret) 2006 | Go West 2005 | Das Leben ist ein Wunder 2004 | Underground 1995 | Otac na službenom putu (Papa ist auf Dienstreise | When Father Was Away On Business) 1985 | Petrijin venac 1980