Bluestocking Films Celebrates Women in Film July 18 & 19 in Portland ME

bluestocking-logoSet in the beautiful and culturally vibrant city of Portland, Maine, Bluestocking Film Series is an exclusive showcase for films that pass the Bechdel Test and feature fascinating, multifaceted female protagonists who drive the story and lead the action. Artistic Director Kate Kaminski says she founded the series in 2011 because she wants to see more films produced that explore women’s lives, experiences, and relationships with each other.

Think about the last movie you saw. Now ask yourself:

1. Were there two or more (named) women characters in it?

2. Did they talk to each other?

3. Did they talk about something other than a man?

Kimbap edited
Alex Kyo Won Lee’s KIMBAP

These three simple questions are called the Bechdel Test. Once you start applying the test to the films you watch, you will notice that even in the year 2014, there is still a long way to go to see as many women characters in movies who are portrayed as strong and complex as their male counterparts.

By introducing these international shorts to cinema-loving audiences, the Bluestocking also promotes and nurtures talented, emerging filmmakers who, Kaminski says, “have the potential to influence the future of entertainment.” This year’s selections ‘in competition’ range in genre from dark to light comedy, intense drama to heartwarming coming of age stories. “The female characters around whom these films are centered are as various in age and type as they could be,” Kaminski says, noting that there are films in the program that touch on themes of ageism, racism, and gender questioning as well.

Bluestocking Film Series is the very first festival in the United States to receive Sweden’s ‘A’ rating. The brainchild of a consortium of Swedish cinema activists, the rating is intended to inform consumers that a particular film passes the Bechdel Test. According to leading A-Rating activist Ellen Tejle, “the goal of the [Swedish] ratings project is to encourage the telling of more female stories and perspectives.” The Bluestocking shares A-Rating status with blockbuster Hollywood films like VERONICA MARS, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, DIVERGENT and CATCHING FIRE.

View a trailer for the 2014 festival on Vimeo

Dear Santa
Maura Smith’s DEAR SANTA

The Bluestocking (formerly biannual) has been steadily growing since it began in 2011 and has gained visibility and support by initiating and developing connections with others who are working for better representation of women in film in front of and behind the camera, such as Marian Evans of Wellywood Woman blog ( Seed&Spark (, and many others.

Of seventy-five entries received for the 2014 season, eleven films were selected by Kaminski with able assistance from two discerning judges. One of the judges was Ellen Tejle, Director at Cinema Rio in Stockholm, Sweden, who says, “I get so inspired by The Bluestocking Film Series and their work to highlight films with complex female characters – I’m so excited to be a judge this year.” Joining Tejle was Amanda Trokan, Director of Content at the crowdfunding site Seed&Spark. Trokan has worked at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and is also a screener for the Hamptons International Film Festival.

This year, two filmmakers will walk away with cash prizes for winning the Audience Choice award by blind ballot and one filmmaker will be chosen to receive a Best in Show award.

By providing a place where films about women and girl characters can be celebrated, Kaminski hopes to fuel and encourage writers and filmmakers to invest in complex female protagonists at least half the time. But with regard to the Bechdel Test , she cautions, “it’s not enough to make a film that passes unless the impetus is to express a deeper understanding of what it implies about the importance of women’s conversations.”

The 2014 Bluestocking Film Series Official Selections are:

HANNA (Joel Stockman, Sweden – World Premiere)

CABBIE (Brian C Miller Richard, Louisiana – Maine Premiere)

THE RUN AWAY (Penny Eizenga, Canada – World Premiere)

CRYSTAL (Chell Stephen, US/Canada – Maine Premiere)

KIMBAP (Alex Kyo Won Lee, New Zealand – US Premiere)

GRACE (Liz Cooper, Australia – Maine Premiere)

RAWHEAD AND BLOODY BONES (Merry Grissom, Los Angeles – Maine Premiere)

STICKS AND STONES (Chloe Dahl, Los Angeles – New England Premiere)

GRETCHEN (Carin Bräck, Sweden – US Premiere)

DEAR SANTA (Maura Smith, Massachusetts – Maine Premiere)

THE RAPTURE AND GRAMMY GWEN (Brittany Reeber, Texas – East Coast Premiere)


Also playing, out of competition, will be Madeleine Olnek’s award-winner COUNTERTRANSFERENCE and two surprise shorts to be unveiled at the screening.

Filmmaker Maura Smith will be making her second appearance at the Bluestocking. “As a filmmaker, [the series] is a favorite of mine,” she says. “Attending the festival is a creatively invigorating experience, and one that offers viewers the chance to see the work of talented filmmakers from across the globe. I am thrilled to be a part of the Bluestocking Film Festival once again this year.” Smith’s film BETTER DAYS screened at the spring 2012 Bluestocking.

Faren Humes whose award-winning film OUR RHINELAND screened at the fall 2013 event, says, “The fest features programming with female protagonists by some of the industry’s best up and coming filmmakers. I was honored to be a part of the lineup.”

The Bluestocking Film Series is happening on July 18-19 at Space Gallery (, 538 Congress Street, Portland, Maine. Come for the weekend and enjoy the best days of summer in Maine and and two memorable evenings of short films featuring complex female protagonists.

For more information about the Bluestocking Film Series, contact Kate Kaminski (bluestockingfilmseries@gmail. com). Watch trailers for past and upcoming events at

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Maine International Film Festival: July 11-20, 2014

Brings Films, Filmmakers and Film Lovers to Waterville

The 17th Annual Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) will be held July 11-20 at the historic Waterville Opera House and the iconic art house theater, Railroad Square Cinema. The ten-day cinematic celebration offers around one hundred films that represent the very best of new American independent, international, and locally made movies as well as new restorations of past cinema masterpieces.

BOYHOOD: by Richard Linklater
BOYHOOD: by Richard Linklater

The festival will open on July 11 with Richard Linklater’s much-anticipated BOYHOOD, which will be opening in New York that same evening. Filmed over twelve years with the same cast, BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before.

Ernest Thompson, screenwriter of "On Golden Pond"
Ernest Thompson, screenwriter of “On Golden Pond”

More than just movies, MIFF also offers visitors a chance to interact with directors, actors, producers, musicians, and other special guests through intimate Q&As, panel discussions and parties. Each year, MIFF brings around fifty filmmakers from around the world to the festival, and this year is no exception. Special guests will include Brazilian filmmaker Claudio Marques, returning guest Oscar winner Ernest Thompson, indie filmmaker Sara Driver, and the 2014 Mid-Life Achievement Award honoree Glenn Close.

Glenn Close, this year's Mid-Life Achievement honoree
Glenn Close, this year’s Mid-Life Achievement honoree

A six-time Academy Award nominee, Close will receive the festival’s highest honor on Sunday, July 13 after a special screening of ALBERT NOBBS, a film that she co-wrote, co-produced, starred in, and composed the lyrics for the Golden Globe and World Soundtrack nominated song, “Lay Your Head Down.” Additional films to be shown as part of the festival’s tribute to Close include COOKIE’S FORTUNE, DANGEROUS LIAISONS, and LOW DOWN, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year.

This year’s festival will also include a special section of sixteen films from the Martin Scorsese presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema collection and will once again feature a selection of “Re-discovery” films, classic films that have been newly restored, including THE CONFORMIST, A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, GUN CRAZY, and TOO MUCH JOHNSON, Orson Welles’ first film. MIFF 2014 will also feature a special section entitled Leonard Mann and Eurocrime: Found in Translation with American actor Leonard Mann, who at the age of twenty in the late 60s and early 70s, became a star of “Spaghetti westerns” and Italian “Eurocrime” thrillers in Italy.

In addition to featuring films from around the world, MIFF also showcases some of the best films made within the state of Maine. Each year, one day of the festival is named as Making It In Maine Day, where audience members have the opportunity to see a Maine-made film in any time slot during the festival. New this year, MIFF will be co-hosting with MPBN, the Maine Film Office, and the Maine Arts Commission a brunch for Maine filmmakers to provide opportunities for them to network with the presenting agencies as well as each other. Making It In Maine Day 2014 will be held on July 12th and the brunch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the Hathaway Creative Center.

MIFF 2014 will also include Volume 2 of MIFFONEDGE, a new initiative of the festival that was introduced last year. Featuring exciting and innovative work spanning decades of moving image history, MIFFONEDGE explores the intersection of film and art and pushes the boundaries of commonly accepted notions of cinema. This year’s program features a drop-in exhibition, a cameraless film workshop, and a special Found Films event, all hosted at Common Street Arts, as well as a live performance by the Psychedelic Cinema Orchestra at the Waterville Opera House on Saturday, July 19.

The full MIFF schedule will be available on the festival’s website in mid to late June. Passes are now available for purchase through the website. The Maine International Film Festival is a project of the Maine Film Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to enrich, educate and entertain the community through film and art.

For more information visit

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