An Ann Arbor film festival spotlighting womxn filmmakers will be available to viewers across the nation in its second year, as the event goes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nevertheless Film Festival takes place July 9-12, again featuring all films that have at least 50% womxn in behind-the-camera leadership roles. (The term "womxn" is used as a more inclusive variant of "women," particularly emphasizing inclusion of trans and non-binary people.)
The event was originally scheduled to return to Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater, where the festival debuted last July. Organizers decided to move to an online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're offering the same amazing festival, but in a different way," says Meredith Finch, the festival's founder and director. "The twist is that this year people from all across North America can enjoy the festival, without traveling and from the safety of their homes."
The festival is showcasing six feature films and 20 short films from eight different countries. Event participants can choose to view the films they purchase at any time during the festival. Tickets also include access to corresponding livestream Q&As with the filmmakers.
Finch says the filmmaker Q&As last year were so popular that participants enthusiastically continued their conversations with filmmakers outside of the venue after the prescribed Q&A period wrapped up. She is anticipating the same positive reception this year and says the real-time discussions will be an added bonus.
"We're expecting the same liveliness again," Finch says. "Last year, we didn't have the budget to bring in as many filmmakers. With a virtual platform, that's not an issue, and people are going to love that it is still going to be super-interactive."
Finch adds that while the festival has pivoted to virtual programming, the heart of the event remains the same.
"I very actively don't call this a womxn's film festival, because it's not. They're films made by womxn, for everyone," she says. "They're for anyone curious about independent films, who enjoys seeing things that are a little bit unusual and who enjoys films dealing with current events and social justice."
Finch has also announced that 25% of ticket sales will be given to nonprofits. Most of the organizations slated to receive donations are Michigan-based in an effort to honor the support the festival received in its inaugural year.
"The state of Michigan and the town of Ann Arbor gave us so much when we started out," Finch says. "Now we want to pay it forward."
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Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Nevertheless Film Festival.