Posted by Susannah Blair February 27, 2012 10:00 AM
Beginning Thursday, March 1 through Thursday, March 8, the Salem Film Festival’s week long event includes documentary films from around the world. Screenings are open to the public and will take place at Cinema Salem,
A graduate of Harvard, Ducat, 56, now lives in
Ducat’s experience as a woman filmmaker hasn’t always been easy. “When I first began in TV, it was a hierarchy of entirely men, and I never had a mentor,” said Ducat. “But I’ve learned that it [filmmaking] is very much an interpersonal game. It’s all about how you interact with people and gain trust.”
Paul Van Ness, 60, of Beverly and co-owner of Cinema Salem, has been involved with the Festival since he helped organize it in November 2007. He said that the purpose has always been to bring “the world to
“We didn’t set out to bring women filmmakers, but it’s a reflection of the evolution in the film community that leads to a more balanced view of the world,” Van Ness said.
The Salem Film Festival is distinctly invitational and requires no submission fee for the filmmakers. A committee—led by award-winning filmmaker and Festival co-founder Joe Cultrera—chooses films that have done well at other festivals and represent a variety of cultures.
“The selection committee has a high criteria for quality films,” said Van Ness. “True stories told beautifully; some (films) are gripping and you have to wrestle with them, but they all challenge you to grow.”
Freelance director and producer from Chicago, Xan Aranda, 36, will also be showing her film Andrew Bird: Fever Year at this year’s Festival. Indie singer-songwriter Andrew Bird commissioned Aranda to make a concert documentary and she followed him during what became one of his most challenging years of touring. Fever Year premiered October 2011 at the
“In film school there could have been a ratio of fifteen guys to one girl and I was the girl,” said Aranda. “An increased number [of woman filmmakers] is exciting, and if the quality of work has improved that’s even better.”
The Festival traditionally presents two awards: an audience award and a juried award voted on by six members of the
Erin Trahan, 37, of
“Part of what we try to do as a group is to have people pay closer attention to women’s roles in front of the camera,” said Trahan. “One important aspect about the Salem Film Festival is they treat filmmakers with respect, and the
Aranda agrees. “Choosing to engage in the issue of gender as a woman filmmaker would be a preoccupation for me,” she said. “I would rather command success by the strength of what I do rather than demand it on the basis of my gender. It’s really about the creative process igniting others to creativity.”