It's highly contagious. Anyone could have it. It starts with a high fever. There isn't a known cure. It threatens mankind as we know it. You may be inclined to believe that what I am describing relates to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I am actually describing the condition that takes place in Neasa Hardiman's debut feature film, "Sea Fever". The film follows the crew of a fishing trawler who succumb to a strange infection, their only hope is the apathetic and analytical-minded marine-biology student Siobhán, played by the memorizing Hermione Corfield. This timely well-crafted science-fiction thriller is definitely one to seek out for Corfield's powerhouse performance alone. It's also a riveting story which builds on tension and suspense, proving that genre storytelling is very much alive and kicking.
Upon doing research for ITOL's Animated April, a month dedicated to women in animation and female representation in animated films, I came across a name that I had never heard before: Bianca Majolie. As a fellow Bianca, I decided to research into this woman whose work with Walt Disney in the 1930s has pretty much been forgotten about by the history books. At a time where many women were working in the Ink and Paint Department, Majolie was the first woman hired for the Walt Disney story department and helped developed story ideas for some of Disney's most beloved classic animated films such as "Peter Pan", "Bambi" and "Cinderella".
Walt Disney Animation Studios has dominated the animation industry and set standards, expectations, and provided joy for audiences for almost a century. An industry mostly controlled by men was shook up by an extremely influential woman, who would eventually become a legend in the animation world. Her name was Mary Blair. Mary Blair started as a watercolour artist before she became one of the most influential colourists and stylists of all time.
Laurentia Genske is a German Documentary Filmmaker and Cinematographer. She attended the Academy of Media Arts Cologne from 2010 to 2016, with an exchange year studying documentary film at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión, Cuba between 2012 and 2013. She received several awards for her documentary "AM KÖLNBERG", co-directed with Robin Humboldt, amongst others the German Documentary Film Award 2015. Her most recent project “Im StÄdtle” is currently in post-production. This feature documentary follows two Syrian brothers who are caught in a constant struggle between their own transsexual identity and different cultures. Finally, they can live freely in Germany, but at the same time, they face struggling with feelings of sin in the face of their Muslim environment. Bianca Garner caught up with Laurentia to discuss her career, the challenges of being a documentary filmmaker and the project that saw her living in a Cuban jungle without electricity for three months.
“Buffaloed” (2020) is a tricky beast to categorize. It’s a dark comedy with some truly stark social commentary about debt in America and socioeconomics. Peg Dahl (Zoey Deutch) is a hustler. She always has some form of income stream to try to get her way out of poverty in Buffalo, NY. After her father’s death, her family are plagued by debt-collection calls. Her mother (Judy Greer) is resigned to this way of life, but Peg is not. Peg is crass, determined, smart, cunning. She will rope her brother (Noah Reid) into her endeavours. But it is her hustle that gets her time behind bars. Once out of the clinker, Peg runs into the same issues as most re-entering: employment. Peg finds herself in debt thanks to legal fees and the scam she ran. She finds herself being called by a collector and smooth talks her way into becoming a debt collector herself for a local professional hustler, Wizz (Jai Courtney).
"The Other Lamb" is the English language debut from filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska. You may not be familiar with Szymowska's work, but she is an auteur with a distinct voice and style, her previous films have been divisive "Elles" (2011) a sexually explicit drama which followed Anne (Juliette Binoche), a journalist in Paris for French Elle who is writing an article about female student prostitution, the 2013 film "In the Name Of" which told the story of a closeted gay Catholic priest living in rural Poland and the 2018 film "Mug", a strange comedy that told the story of fun-loving Jacek (Mateusz Kościukiewicz) who is disfigured in an accident at work, and becomes the first person in Poland to receive a face transplant, which leads to his status as a national hero and martyr. As a filmmaker, Szumowska isn't afraid to take on unusual and challenging narratives which push boundaries and are designed to make the viewer think.
One can almost guarantee that NASA, along with the filmmakers and subjects of this documentary, “Red Heaven” (2020), would have never guessed how relevant the content they captured would be during these quarantine times the world is currently facing. Right now, almost the entire population is experiencing—at the very least—anything from social distancing or full isolation due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. People are staying in their homes away from the rest of the world to try to stop the spread of the virus. “Red Heaven” is a different type of isolation story: imagine if MTV’s The Real World took place next to a volcano in Hawaii: six scientists picked to live in a small dome, work together and collect data for NASA to help send astronauts to Mars someday.
The first Mexican actress to work in Hollywood during the silent era was Dolores Del Rio. Born on August 3, 1904, in Durango, Durango, Mexico, Dolores was born into an elite family raised surrounded by expensive gifts, grand haciendas, where she was treated like a princess. At a very young age, she would be nicknamed "Lolita" by close family and friends.
Many women have been called “The It Girl” throughout the past century, but it’s Clara Bow that the term was created for. The actress who helped define what it meant to be a flapper in the 1920s played a shop-girl who wins the heart of her employer in the 1927 box office hit “It” and soon was being called “The It Girl.” Bow had “It” in spades: that sex appeal and vivacious charm that defined the modern woman. And yet, for all her success, Bow had a challenging life and struggled with mental health problems. She once said: “All the time the flapper is laughing and dancing, there’s a feeling of tragedy underneath. She’s unhappy and disillusioned and that’s what people sense.”