Willifest film festival gives small-time filmmakers a chance to shine

Indie power

The Brooklyn Paper
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Here’s one for the little guy — and gal.

The Williamsburg International Film Festival is coming to the borough on Sept. 19 — and one of its chief focuses this year is inequality in the film industry. The highlight of the festival is a Saturday panel that hopes to help even the indiest of women filmmakers get ahead in an overwhelmingly male industry.

“Joanna White-Oldham, our panel coordinator, wanted to bring in some really successful female filmmakers to explain their paths of why they got where they are,” said Michael Helman, the director of the film festival, now in its fourth year.

The women have some impressive resumes — from Terra Renee, the founder and president of the African American Women in Cinema Organization, to Annette Danto, a documentarian and two-time Fulbright Scholar in filmmaking. Films with low budgets — or films that are without a budget entirely — are a focus of the festival.

A variety of indie projects — student projects, professional productions, animated films, documentaries, full length features, and shorts — are all represented in the three-day bash. There are even music videos — including “Rappin’ for Godot,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

“We start every film block with a music video because we’re in Williamsburg, the home of the music scene in New York,” Helman said.

Not to mention that it’s the home of ex-Lit Majors who can recognize a good “Waiting for Godot” joke when they see one.

“Getting It Made: Production Tips From Women Who Make Films” at Sandbox in Williamsburg [257 Grand St. near Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 408–9310,]. Sept. 21, 3 pm, free.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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