Women filmmakers from Emerson College will head to the Sundance Film Festival in late January. Left to right, Mitsuko Nakagawa, Asher Coffield MFA '15, program director Anna Feder, Nerissa Williams Scott MFA '15, and Sofia Caetano.
In late January, nine women filmmakers from Emerson College will attend the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to network and learn how the festival operates.
The trip, now in its second year, didn’t start out as a women-only program, but when no men signed up for it the first year, part-time Visual and Media Arts Director of Programming Anna Feder saw an opportunity.
“We accepted everyone who applied—six women in total. It went so well and was such a success in terms of getting a lot of access that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, because we were a group of women,” Feder said.
Once the trip was over, Feder went back to Interim School of the Arts Dean Robert Sabal, asking to keep the program exclusively for women.
“Currently there is no opportunity for a [film] program specifically for women at the College,” Feder said. “At Emerson, we are educating more female filmmakers than male filmmakers, and somehow between classroom and the industry, something happens and women aren’t getting these opportunities. So I thought it was a good step for the College to take in terms of signaling support for female filmmakers.”
Feder created the program at the urging of Sabal, who was eager to send more students to film festivals. In addition to being open only to women, it is only open to MFA candidates, due to the “21+” nature of Sundance.
Kori Feener, an Emerson alumna who works in the Visual and Media Arts Department as affiliated faculty, is one of the women attending the festival.
“I applied to be in the program because it is an excellent opportunity to network, as well as experience expert panels,” Feener said. “I had a feature that played at festivals in 2013 and 2014, and am working on some projects that I will be submitting again in the next few years. This is a tremendous opportunity for me to pitch these projects at a tier one festival.”
Feder says that the trip will include breakfast talks, during which a filmmaker, producer, or critic will talk to the women about what they do at the festival. Video music directors Daniels (Daniel Scheinert '09 and Daniel Kwan '10), who are premiering their feature film, “Swiss Army Man,” at Sundance this year, will again be part of the lineup. Last year's speakers also included Thom Powers and Bobcat Goldthwait.
In addition, Alumni are invited to a reception at the festival on January 25, at 8 pm, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations.
The festival runs January 21-31. Follow the group on Twitter; they're using #ECSundance.