22 Films Celebrating Complex Women Brought To You by the Bluestocking Film Series

Filmmakers, special guests, and lovers of strong female protagonists alike will gather for the sixth annual Bluestocking Film Series in Portland, Maine this July to celebrate women in film. The series celebrates imaginative, well-produced films with multidimensional female characters that propel the narrative.

The film series will present 22 short fiction films from around the world and across a range of genres. This year in particular, Bluestocking added a special Road Movie category in honor of the 25th anniversary of the revolutionary Thelma and Louise. In addition, Bluestocking encouraged as many film entries as possible by waiving the entrance fee for film submissions that were shot with a cell phone.

Below are the official short fiction film selections for 2016:

Bluestocking’s selected films must feature a complex female protagonist and pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test, which has three simple parts: The film must feature at least two women; the women must talk to each other; and the conversation between the women must be about something other than men.

“This year is a total immersive experience of female-driven cinema in every genre,” Artistic Director Kate Kaminski says. “We’ve got wacko comedies, moving dramas, sharp satirical sci-fi and horror films, and road movies that radically reinterpret a narrative often exclusively male. And we’re also dubbing our 6th annual fest as The Year of The Bad Girls, so people can expect women behaving badly too.”

The selected films go beyond one-dimensional female stereotypes so often portrayed in the media. Instead, these films depict more authentic reflections of complex female characters—characters that are just as heroic, interesting, and flawed as their male counterparts.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 2.56.49 PMJuliette Luini is an editorial intern at Ms. and a global youth advocate for The Representation Project. She is also a Comparative Literature major at Middlebury College, where she is a contributing writer for the student-run blog Middbeat, a yoga teacher and a participant in The Consent Project. Juliette is a Los Angeleno (with equal adoration for Vermont), a lover of languages and a travel and road-trip enthusiast.    

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  1. Maeve Barry says:

    Awesome article- this looks like an inspiring, powerful festival!

    • I’m so glad you find it inspiring, Maeve! I sit on the Advisory Board for the Bluestocking Film Series and am the festival strategist. The 2016 fest, Bluestocking’s 6th year, was amazing, inspiring, helped further discussions on women’s roles in the film industry and on screen, and brought so many people together. Next year will be even bigger & more active, so I hope you can come and spend a few days in beautiful Portland, Maine! It’s always a treat to travel from my home in the Midwest to attend.

  2. Natalie Geismar says:

    This festival sounds awesome–wish I could be there. Thanks for letting me know about all these amazing woman-driven films.

    • Hi Natalie, if you’d like to check out some of these films, you can connect with many of the filmmakers on Twitter by following along with the Bluestocking hashtags #DriveSheSaid and #femaleprotag (for “female protagonist”). Jeffery Palmer (twitter: @JBpixel), director of audience favorite Split Costs, is very active as well as Sarah Doyle (twitter: @sarlaughalot), director of You, Me & Her, along with others, such as 2016 “Refocused: Women & Girls On-Screen” panelists Maria Giese (@MariaGiese) — leading the charge with the EEOC to investigate hiring practices in Hollywood, Ariel Dougherty (@mediaequity) a founder of Women Make Movies (in New York), and Yolonda Ross, actress and filmmaker (@YolondaRoss). Also Tema Staig who heads up Women and Media (in Los Angeles) is incredibly passionate about talking about and supporting women in film & women’s stories on screen (@womennmedia) & hosted a networking event in Portland, Maine during Bluestocking this year. Hope to see you on Twitter or FB! Visit http://www.bluestockingfilms.com for more information, and both FB: http://www.facebook.com/bluestockingfilmseries and Twitter: @BluestckngFilm to follow. Thanks! Hope to see you at the fest some year!

  3. Whoa! These look amazing. Hopefully at some point there’ll be female-focused film fests in every state!

  4. Hi Juliette, I was at the Bluestocking Film Series this year (I’m on the Advisory Board and am the festival strategist), and the films WERE amazing! Films were from the U.S., Argentina, Croatia, New Zealand, and other places, and we hosted filmmakers from Oregon, Australia, Massachusetts, New York and elsewhere. It was an exciting time, and I hope you can find a female-focused film fest close to where you are. My site, Her Film Project (http://www.herfilmproject.com/festivals.html) has a list of women’s film fests all over the world, although it’s not a static nor comprehensive list, as women’s film fests are popping up all the time! Also, if you don’t know of it yet, there’s a #DirectedByWomen Worldwide Viewing Party (http://directedbywomen.com/were-throwing-a-worldwide-film-viewing-party-and-youre-invited/) during the entire month of September 2016 which was begun last year by Barbara O’Leary who runs the Directed By Women website/project, an incredible resource through which you can support women in film and women on screen. You can even organize your own #DirectedByWomen viewing parties in your home, at your library, with your friends. I hope you check it out and join us in celebrating female-focused films!

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