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In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Women & Film Festival, founder, scholar, and former programmer Kay Armatage joins us for a special onstage discussion with director Madeline Anderson, preceded by a special screening of Anderson’s short film I Am Somebody.
In 1973, women were allowed on the floor of
the London Stock Exchange for the first time.
The US Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade.
One of Canada's first women's studies departments
launched at the University of British
Columbia. And in Toronto a group of feminists
organized the Women & Film Festival.
A groundbreaking event born from extensive
research into the history of women's
filmmaking, and inspired by New York's
First International Festival of Women's
Films a year earlier, Women & Film screened
an ambitious programme of Canadian and
international films that included recent
work by Liliana Cavani, Mai Zetterling,
V?ra Chytilová, Sarah Maldoror, Mireille
Dansereau, Penelope Spheeris, Elaine
May, and Alanis Obomsawin (whose new
documentary Hi-Ho Mistahey screens in
this year's Festival). Retrospective screenings
included films by Maya Deren, Ida
Lupino, Dorothy Arzner, Agnès Varda, and
others. Experimental art icon Joyce Wieland
screened eight films, and also helped program
a sidebar devoted to Canadian home movies.
To commemorate the fortieth anniversary
of this watershed event, we are proud
to gather some of the organizers, including
Lydia Wazana-Tompkins and Kay
Armatage, who went on to work as one of
our key programmers for more than twenty
years. Armatage will be joined onstage by
Madeline Anderson, who will screen her
1969 civil rights documentary short I Am
Somebody, which screened at the original
event and injected a crucial discussion of
the role of African American women into
the feminist debate of the 1970s.
Four decades on from the height of
second-wave feminism, some question the
continued need for dedicated women's film
festivals. In this Mavericks conversation,
we hope to bring to life an exciting chapter
in film history, and to spark a conversation
on what films by women need today.