Bluestocking volunteer Khaney Muyderman. Photo by Dovid Muyderman.
Dedicated to the complex female protagonist, the Bluestocking Film Series in Portland, Maine showcases short films that pass the Bechdel Test. It is the only festival of its kind and the only one in the United States to earn an A from Sweden’s Bechdel Test Rating System.
The Series began in 2011 when Kate Kaminski, a writer and director, and partner Betsy Carson, the camera and technical half of GitGo Productions, decided to create a much-needed venue to mentor and promote narrative filmmakers who honor women’s voices in film. This year, directors are not required to be women, says Kaminski, “We want to reward all artists who take the risk of telling the stories of complicated women who push boundaries. And it is a risk. We have to. We are looking for the great commercial filmmakers who will bring Bechdel protagonists to the big screen.”
Admitting that there has been a lot of pushback lately about the validity of the Bechdel Test, as in this article at Salon, Kaminski says, “It is the lowest possible bar. Passing it doesn’t make a feminist film, or a good film, but it does measure the presence of women. It is a start, and that is why it’s important.” Citing this very insightful Girls on Film piece, she said, “The Bechdel Test is about elevating the importance of women’s conversations.”
This year’s Series will take place at the Space Gallery in Portland, Maine, July 18-19, 2014. Its judges include Amanda Trokan and Ellen Tejle. There will be an opening night reception and Q&A after the slate of short films, currently set at 12, over two nights. The festival features the world premieres of Hanna, by Joel Stockman and Rawhead and Bloody Bones, by Merry Grissom, and will screen Crystal, by Chell Stephen, which debuted at SXSW.
“Something big has to shift. I look at what’s out there and I don’t want to see any of those movies,” says Kaminski. “If Bluestocking can be a small cog in that shift, we will be happy.”
You can shop for their signature, Made in the USA, hand-screened tee here.