There has been many films that have covered female fighting in one form of another for the past fifty years; from documentaries to major motion pictures.
The new millennium and the increase of female participation in combat sports has saw growth in to many of these stories being told.
The Artemis Film Festival is looking to highlight these stories as they are currently working their first event for April 2015.
They have started an Indie Go Go campaign to help get the event going.
We talked to the organizers Sean Newcombe and Melanie Wise about their inspiration for the festival and how women’s combat sports have been a big part of it.
Wombat Sports: How did the idea of the Artemis Film Festival come about?
Artemis Film Festival: The idea came about through inspiration, really. We have all been devoted to female action films from the standpoint of the sheer joy we have for physically strong female characters, but also from the standpoint of our passion for having a positive effect on the image of women in film and culture. We’ve all been completely focused on writing and creating female action films. We thought that having a film festival focused on female action heroes would allow for people who share our passion for strong female characters to celebrate this genre. We also felt it would be an opportunity to spotlight the power of women in our culture.
We wanted the festival to be a place where the legions of fans who love female action heroes could go and enjoy a array of great films in one place and at one time. (Female action films are a $3 billion industry, so this is not a niche.) The fact that such a festival had never been done before boggled our minds.
By showcasing such films, we could also draw attention to women as heroes, fighters and leaders, rather than as long-suffering wives, dutiful assistants and victims. We hope that we could help change the narrative of how women are portrayed in film.
Lastly, film often reflects and influences how we see ourselves, and celebrating these films, we hope, will help positively influence how women and girls perceive their power and status in culture.
Wombat: Can you tell us about the festival?
Artimis: We plan to show both classic female action films such as “Aliens” and “Kill Bill” and also showcase new films by unknown filmmakers in our festival competition. We want to be a venue that encourages new and unknown filmmakers to make female action films. If there’s an outlet for such films, they are more likely to be made.
We are also going to have an awards ceremony for films in competition and give awards to the women who are both pioneers and stars in female action films made by Hollywood. We have sent many invites to well-known female action stars and expect to hear from them soon. Also, we want to honor stuntwomen, athletes (women’s mma, of course) and female first-responders, such as military women.
W.S.: The culture has shifted in both entertainment and sports in term of female roles. What are you thoughts about the societal change?
AFF: There’s has been a shift in reality, in our everyday lives, but there has not necessarily been a shift in how that reality is portrayed in the media. While Hollywood has recently realized the power of the female action film market, they’ve been slow to broaden their portrayals of women to reflect the dynamism and power that can be seen in women in every aspect of our culture. We hope that our festival will help prod a faster shift to not only more roles for women in film (right now less than one out of every three speaking characters in a Hollywood movie, on average, is female), but to stronger, better roles for women.
W.S.: What kind of reaction have you seen among the female fight community?
AFF: The response from women, generally, has been extraordinary! The women we’ve heard from both in social media and in daily life has been completely positive, passionate and vocal.
With respect to the women’s mma community, we have not heard a lot, unfortunately. We’d love to hear more from them because we are huge supporters of womens mma! We love the sport and we’d love to celebrate it at our festival. Women’s mma is at the forefront of positively shifting societal images of female physical power. (Invicta FC and Tuf 20 are just two examples of that positive shift.) We want to honor that.
W.S.: You have an indie go-go started to make this event happen. What benefits can people expect for supporting the festival?
AFF: They can expect to see a festival which will properly honors the female action genre in a manner it deserves. We’d like our festival to have as broad a reach as possible so that we can include as many of the great films and as many of the women who are part of this cultural gender shift as possible.
Our crowdfunding is intended to allow us to show more classic films, more films from new, unknown filmmakers in the competition and offer a chance to honor the kind of women we mentioned above. We’d also like to make sure that the experience of the people who attend the festival is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
By crowdfunding we feel that we can offer a broader, bolder festival.
W.S.: Anything you want to add?
AFF: We want this festival to be fun, but we also want to open minds. The empowerment of women is at the center of what this festival is about. It’s the soul of it, in fact.
Also, we’d like to say that we love your blog and are big supporters of women’s combat sports!
Thank you for allowing us to talk with you about our festival!