Laurie Simmons follows in daughter Lena Dunham’s footsteps
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Laurie Simmons follows in daughter Lena Dunham’s footsteps

We’ve seen plenty of film festivals introduce the next generation from an artistic family. But Laurie Simmons is that rare artist making her feature film debut as a writer-director (and star) after her daughter, Lena Dunham, set the path. Not that she’s been waiting. Simmons is one of America’s more successful contemporary artists with works…

Petra Volpe, director of ‘The Divine Order,' takes lighthearted approach to suffrage
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Petra Volpe, director of ‘The Divine Order,' takes lighthearted approach to suffrage

***Update*** The 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival Nora Ephron Prize winner. The Nora Ephron Prize: Petra Volpe, writer/director of The Divine Order (Switzerland). Jurors Dianna Agron, Joy Bryant, Diane Lane, Zoe Lister-Jones and Christina Ricci awarded the film for its “intrepid and compassionate storytelling, beautiful cinematography (by a woman), complex characterization of the female experience, seamless…

Shamim Sarif breaks the mold with anti-le Carré spy thriller
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Shamim Sarif breaks the mold with anti-le Carré spy thriller

Shamim Sarif is breaking the mold as a filmmaker, not only writing and directing her own projects, but adapting her own novels and producing with wife Hanan Kattan. Since 2007, she’s made three dramatically different romantic dramas. Her first two films (both starring Sheetal Sheth and Lisa Ray) were the period drama The World Unseen…

Behind the mask and mirror: an interview with Deborah Kampmeier, director of SPLit
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Behind the mask and mirror: an interview with Deborah Kampmeier, director of SPLit

Lindsy Bissonnette (FF2 Media): Deborah, where did the idea for your new film SPLit come from? Kampmeier: It was about 25 years ago, I took a workshop called “Voices of the Earth,” which was based on the ancient Sumarian myth “The Descent of Inanna.” In the workshop we were creating a space that was a... supportive…

'Cézanne' director calls out ‘strong, new generation’ of female filmmakers
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'Cézanne' director calls out ‘strong, new generation’ of female filmmakers

Hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center, the month-long Chicago European Union Film Festival (CEUFF) featured 15 films directed by women (15 out of 62 = ~ 25% = a record high for this event). Danièle Thompson, French director of Cézanne and I (Cézanne et Moi), recently sat down with FF2 Media Senior Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor…

‘American Fable’ director talks Richard Schiff, politics and directing chickens
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‘American Fable’ director talks Richard Schiff, politics and directing chickens

American Fable, the new thriller from Anne Hamilton, is one of the most visually spectacular indie in years. Made with a big sense of scope, and small budget, she’s turned what could be an intimate family drama into a spectacular fantasy thriller about the end of girl’s childhood. Starring newcomer Peyton Kennedy, and familiar faces…

'The Last Laugh' director encourages humor, empathy in new documentary
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'The Last Laugh' director encourages humor, empathy in new documentary

Are there topics too horrible or controversial to make jokes about? Abortion, slavery, race, 9/11. Should the Holocaust be considered off limits to comedians? According to Director Ferne Pearlstein and the comedians and subjects interviewed for her new documentary The Last Laugh, that’s the wrong approach. Humor can be empowering for survivors, and have a…

Ann Marie Fleming on 'Window Horses,' diversity in animation
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Ann Marie Fleming on 'Window Horses,' diversity in animation

The annual New York International Children’s Film Festival is one of the premiere events to highlight “alternative” animation and family programming. Not only have they regularly highlighted Academy Award contenders in animation, but discovered new talents in independent cinema. Ann Marie Fleming was one of those filmmakers a few years ago when she premiered a…

Siskel Panelists Predict Diverse Oscar Wins
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Siskel Panelists Predict Diverse Oscar Wins

FF2 Media Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor attended the Gene Siskel Film Center Oscars Panel last month, a five-panelist discussion on nominations, snubs and film recommendations. Following up with Pamela Powell of The Daily Journal and Sergio Mims of Shadow and Act, the two panelists reflected on #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoBlue campaigns, as well as the diversity…

‘United Kingdom’ director talks onscreen racial divide, offscreen leadership
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‘United Kingdom’ director talks onscreen racial divide, offscreen leadership

Amma Asante is a UK director on the rise with three highly-praised feature film to her name. The former child actress left acting to pursue filmmaking, and got her start producing for TV, including the BBC drama, Brothers and Sisters. Her first feature, A Way of Life, starring Stephanie James and Brenda Blethyn, earned several…

Filmmaker Q&A: Satoko Yokohama
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Filmmaker Q&A: Satoko Yokohama

By FF2 Senior Contributor Lesley Coffin Interview: Writer-Director Satoko Yokohama For the past 10 years, New York's Japan Society has hosted Japan Cuts; the largest film festival showcasing Japanese films in North America. This year, the film festival closed its program with the new film by one of Japan’s freshest talents, Satoko Yokohama. The Aomori native…