On Sunday, August 20, the Women Texas Film Festival presented by Studio Movie Grill announced the award winners for the 2nd edition of the film festival during an awards brunch held at the Elegante Hotel. Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS took home the award for Best Feature Film, Maja Aro’s HOODS received the nod as Best Short Film, and Siena Pinney, the director of the short film, POSSIBILITY, was honored as this year’s Filmmaker to Watch. Awardees were determined by board and the Artistic Director of WTxFF, the first and only full-fledged film festival in the state of Texas to celebrate and promote the work of women behind the camera (producers, directors, screenwriter, editors, composers, and cinematographers).
Women Texas Film Festival Founder and Artistic Director Justina Walford said, “Our awards presentation this year was the culmination of a particularly emotional and affecting edition of WTxFF. Our narrative features, our documentary features, as well as several short films touched the audiences with gripping and personal stories. We had many in the audience share their feelings about seeing their lives on the big screen, some for the first time."
The award presentations were made by Walford, Executive Director Vanessa Cook, and WTxFF publicist John Wildman during a ceremony presented by the Dallas Film Commission. All three filmmakers were on hand to accept their awards during a morning that fittingly alternated laughter with tears, much like the duration of the film festival that preceded it.
The second annual Women Texas Film Festival stated off with a bang on Wednesday, August 16 at Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest HWY theaters with what is now a signature red carpet-laden party, featuring the Opening Night screening of Savannah Bloch’s award-winning film, AND THEN THERE WAS EVE. Following a special presentation of an Official Citation from Councilman of the 6th District, Omar Narvaez to Walford and Cook, the screening of AND THEN THERE WAS EVE, which focuses on a mystery and a budding relationship between a woman and the trans woman trying to help her find her missing husband, was enthusiastically received by a sold-out house which included several appreciative trans women in the audience, before everyone made their way to a “Speakeasy” themed party produced by Red ID, representing the jazz themes in the film.
Other festival highlights included an appearance by Texas State Congresswoman (District 107) Victoria Neave, who participated in the Q&A following a screening of Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s documentary I AM EVIDENCE about the crisis of unprocessed rape kits throughout the nation, and the screening of Signe Taylor’s documentary, IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS, about a special Dartmouth College program which brings students together with incarcerated women. Following an appearance by Taylor and documentary subject Charlotte Gunderson of WFAA (ABC)’s news, a representative for a Dallas-based organization that works on placing recently released female parolees in jobs, contacted WTxFF, which resulted in the film festival treating more than 30 women and their family members to the screening.
The festival wound up with a second red carpet to celebrate the Closing Night screening of festival-favorite QUALITY PROBLEMS, which again, played to a full house. Co- director/writer/star Brooke Purdy was on hand along with producer and cast member Colette Freedman to discuss the film, which again was an emotionally cathartic experience for the WTxFF audiences, laughing and crying at the story of a woman and her family dealing with a recurrence of her breast cancer at the same time her father is experiencing the downside of his Alzheimer’s, and the pressure of throwing a birthday party for their 8-year-old daughter. Then, as required by the unspoken law of film festivals throughout the world, everyone convened afterward to sing karaoke.