China’s $400 billion wedding industry. An Indian non-profit that aims to raise a generation of boys who will respect women. A ball where people dance for seven days and eight nights. A Jesuit Priest in Los Angeles who works with gang members to reform their lives. The event that leads Astrid Lindgren to become a celebrated children’s author. They’re all subjects of this year’s films from CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival coming to the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, WA, April 11-14, 2019.
Now in its third year, CASCADIA is announcing its official selection of 37 films for the 2019 festival, including one U.S. Premiere.
The festival is currently one of only a handful in the nation that exclusively shows films directed by women, says CASCADIA Executive Director Cheryl Crooks. And the limited number of films the festival invites and accepts through its submission process makes it a competitive festival for filmmakers.
“CASCADIA ’s mission is to showcase and celebrate exceptional films by women directors and make Bellingham a destination for both lovers of film and filmmakers from around the world,” she says. “The festival promotes women, supports local and global ideas and creates opportunities for community members, as well as filmmakers, to participate in the collaboration of the art that is film.”
2019 Film Selections
This year’s line-up includes feature-length and short documentaries, narratives and animated films that will take audiences around the globe with issues and questions that will stir thoughtful discussion. It will also present two-panel discussions that are free and open to the public. CASCADIA’s Opening Night feature will be “Becoming Astrid” by Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen. Her film tells the story of author Astrid Lindgren’s teenage years and the event that led her to become the world’s third most-translated children’s writer.
CASCADIA is honored to present the U.S. Premiere of the documentary “Le Grand Bal” on Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. made by French director Laetitia Carton. The film is set at the Grands Bals de l’Europe, a 29-year-old folk dance festival in Gennetine, France where 2,000 people come to dance for seven days straight. As the director says: “It’s a magical place…Folk dancing allows us to enjoy being together again, and to indulge in community activities which are falling into oblivion. By sharing this party, we rediscover that unity exists and that we do belong.”
The festival received nearly triple the number of short film submissions over 2018. As a result, nearly double the number of short films over 2018’s festival are slated in the program. Among those selected this year is a film by 2016 CASCADIA director More Raca. Her film, “Ajo,” which was up for an Oscar nomination this year, follows a young woman who makes a courageous decision to escape an early marriage arranged by her father.
The Festival’s Indigenous Film Program will include the short film “OchiSkwaCho” directed by Jules Koostachin—a three-time returning CASCADIA director and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation. “OchiSkwaCho” is a sacred being, known to many Indigenous people as a spiritual messenger. The program will also feature “Edge of the Knife (HAIDA: SGaawaay K’uuna),” a groundbreaking film featuring an entirely Haida cast and a script written entirely in the largely forgotten language of Haida.
2019 Special Events
On Friday, April 12, CASCADIA is partnering with Western Washington University to present “China Love” directed by Australian Olivia Martin-McGuire. The documentary will play at 10 a.m. at Western Washington University and explores China’s new position as a globalized country from its restrictive and highly traditional past all through the window of its booming wedding industry. The film is open to the public free of charge as well as university students.
Film fans will also have a chance to rub shoulders with Academy Award-winning director Freida Lee Mock on April 12, during a special evening of food, film and discussion with the director at the historic Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham. Mock is this year’s Honored Guest, best known for her films “Anita,” “Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision”, for which she won the Oscar and “Rose Kennedy, A Life to Remember” Her forthcoming film is “RUTH: Justice Bader Ginsberg In Her Own Words.” As a Chinese American woman and a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she has done much to encourage and promote women and people of color in the film industry.
CASCADIA will present a special screening of “Anita” followed by an audience discussion with the director. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 12 at the Mount Baker Theatre with a catered reception by Krewe Catering followed by “A Conversation with Freida Lee Mock” moderated by Tom White, editor of Documentary magazine, the print and online publication of the International Documentary Association. He also oversees the editorial content on documentary.org and has written for several publications, including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and IndieWire. “Anita” will start at 8 p.m. Tickets for both the entire event or the film only are on sale through the Mount Baker Theater website or box office. CASCADIA will also screen her documentary, G-DOG on Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m., a story about second chances and the charismatic Jesuit Greg Boyle who launched the most successful gang intervention and rehabilitation program in the world.
CASCADIA has partnered with ARC Film Festival, of Mainz, Germany this year to show a selection of films from that festival. ARC will show a selection of CASCADIA’s films at its festival in 2020. The ARC films represented are:
- Abandon directed by Georgia Parris (U.K.). Shot in one take, Abandon follows an ambitious dancer in her early thirties when she finds out she’s unexpectedly pregnant.
- Being Ernest directed by Victoria Fistes (U.K.) . This short animated film grants us the opportunity to feel life from the perspective of nine-year-old Ernst, blind since birth.
- Abjective directed by Marie-Therese Hildenbrandt (U.K.). Abjective is a fashion film exploring abject and abjection through the ambiguous object of hair, seen on the one hand as object of desire but in this case leads to a break out of crisis triggered by the disgust.
- Einstein-Rosen directed by Olga Osario (Spain). A short sci-fi comedy in which Teo claims he has found a wormhole. His brother Oscar does not believe him … at least not for now.
- Doors of Perception directed by Caroline Schwarz (Germany). In a world where everything is black infinity, a nameless person has to overcome the temptation of the visible to be free.
- Mouras directed by Olga Osario (Spain). A few hours before the summer solstice, a mother speaks to her daughter of the Mouras guardians of the forest that only exist in the legends. Or maybe not.
In addition to the films, CASCADIA will also present two-panel discussions that are free and open to the public. On Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m., CASCADIA’s visiting short film directors will talk about their genre in “The Art of the Short Film” to take place on the Western Washington University campus. Four of CASCADIA’s first round reviewers from Hong Kong, Paris, Washington D.C. and Rome will share their observations in a second panel and provide the audience with insight into the challenges of the festival submission and selection process. “Festival Front-Line: Inside the Mind of the Reviewers” will be at noon, Saturday, April 13 at the Pickford Film Center.
The public is also invited to attend CASCADIA’s Script Studio on Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for an inside look at the scriptwriting process. Four pre-selected short film scripts will be read by an ensemble of actors while the audience follows along with the projected scripts. Afterwards, a panel of film industry professionals will provide each screenwriter with feedback. This year’s panel will include Emmy and Oscar nominated director Mel Damski and Los Angeles literary agent Marilyn Atlas. This year’s Script Studio will be at the Sylvia Center for the Arts Studio Theatre; admission is free.
Tickets for all the films, except for “Anita,” can be purchased individually through the Pickford Film Center website or box office. Tickets are $12 for general admission; $9 for students with ID.
A complete list of CASCADIA’s 2019 official selections including updates are now available on CASCADIA website. The complete festival schedule and ticketing information will be available on the website, as well as on the CASCADIA’s Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram.
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of women filmmakers, was formed in Bellingham, Washington, in 2015. CASCADIA will host its second annual independent film festival in Bellingham April 12-15, 2018. The organization also works year-round to provide film production, exhibition and distribution education. More information about CASCADIA may be found on their website at www.cascadiafilmfest.org.