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St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival begins today

Director Latonia Hartery puts the finishing touches on a scene from “Hopeless Romantic,” the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival closing-night feature.
Director Latonia Hartery puts the finishing touches on a scene from “Hopeless Romantic,” the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival closing-night feature. - Contributed

29th annual event starts with opening night gala screening of “An Audience of Chairs”

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival gets underway today for its 29th year.

Workshops, panels, and of course, film screenings, will kick off tonight with the ExxonMobil Opening Night Gala and feature film, “An Audience of Chairs” at ScotiaBank Theatre.

The five-day festival concludes Sunday evening with the closing-night feature, “Hopeless Romantic.”

Even for a women’s film festival, “Hopeless Romantic” has a lot of talented female directors – six women, all from Atlantic Canada – Martine Blue, Stephanie Clattenburg, Deanne Foley, Latonia Hartery, Ruth Lawrence and Megan Wennberg.

It stars Lynda Boyd as Anna, who meets a series of people at a wedding and learns about their romantic pasts through a series of flashbacks – each flashback is directed by a different director, and those segments are held together with the overarching story of the wedding in the anthology-style film.

Hartery said directing with such impressive company was “one of the best experiences” of her life.

“The film industry still can benefit from having more female directors, and with all of us being part of this film together, it’s just further launching our careers – some people also now have their own features, which they didn’t have before.”

While “Hopeless Romantic” is a romantic comedy with a dramatic edge, Hartery said it’s not the typical boy-meets-girl story.

“This is a little more insightful, I think, than that, and a little more truthful about what relationships are like.”

While she’s excited to see a film that she directed close out the festival, she said she’s also looking forward to the Indigenous Women in Film panel.

“Every year they have a number of workshops, panels, and industry forums where we can go to be trained that just makes us better and better every year, and in that way, (the festival) is really one of the key cornerstones of the film industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Those panels and workshops focus on funding advice, diversity in film, a pitch session and more.

For audiences, there are about 50 films, ranging from shorts to features. They’ll be screened at a few different locations, including The Rooms, the LSPU Hall and ScotiaBank Theatre.

For tickets and a full schedule of this week’s events, visit www.womensfilmfestival.com.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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