Beyond Bigelow

San Francisco Women’s Film Festival founder and executive director Scarlett Shepard might have yelled, “You go, girl!” when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to receive an Academy Award for Best Director last month. But she assuredly did not say, “My work here is done.” Anointing a queen for a day won’t change the gender imbalance in Hollywood’s directing ranks, nor should it be allowed to overshadow all the women working in genres other than male-oriented action movies. The festival sticks to its guns with April 7’s opening tribute to the crusading East Coast filmmaker Judith Helfand, featuring her powerhouse 1997 first-person doc, A Healthy Baby Girl. (Helfand stays around to lead a master class and a grants workshop Thursday in Berkeley before moderating a panel of local filmmakers.) On the back end, Joan Braderman’s The Heretics, a kinetic feature-length history of a pioneering '70s Manhattan feminist art collective, receives its Bay Area premiere April 11. The heart of the five-day program, however, consists of short films — including April 10’s Lunafest compilation — showcasing the talent, themes, and, above all, the voices of the next generation of distaff moviemakers. Their work is just beginning.
April 7-11, 2010

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