Female Eye Film Festival: The Business of Story and Dirt

The Female Eye Film Festival, Ontario’s only competitive film festival featuring works by women ranging from students to established film makers.  Now in its ninth year, the festival runs from March 25 to March 29 in various venues across  Toronto.  Advance tickets are $8, while regular admissions are $10 at the door ($2 for students and WIFT staff).  Two of the films featured in the festival are The Business of Story and Dirt.

Rebecca Ormond’s The Business of Story is no “chick flick” in the traditional sense.  In fact, far from it.  Rather than exploring the romantic relationship between a man and a woman, it looks at the relationship between mother and daughter.  The story centres around a young professor, “Em,” who is about to publish a set of stories based on her childhood on the condition that she not only include her perspective, but her mother’s as well.  The trouble is, her mom’s perspective is not exactly what Em was looking for – they are, to Em, dillusional.  The story also deals with career-related issues which many women face.  Em is seeking tenure and senior faculty often pay more attention to a male professor.  The trouble is, Em does not bring this issue up, nor does she seem to make herself known to senior staff.  The Business of Story is an interesting look at female behaviour both from a domestic perspective (Em’s view of her mother) and from a professional one (how Em behaves at the university where she works).  The Business of Story is playing at the Rainbow Cinemas at 80 Front Street East from 7 to 9:30 on Thursday, March 26.

Dirt, a documentary by Megna Hadar journeys across North America and Kolkata, India discussing what “dirt” is and how we, as humans often associate being “dirty” with otherness.  For example, in India, her middle class relatives talk about their disgust of those who live in the slums.  A woman who works in sanitation lies to her parents, telling them that she works as a server at an office (a more acceptable career).  Meanwhile back in North America, Ms. Hadar speaks with a woman who is a sex worker, who says that even her clients often think of her as dirty, preferring to put condoms on themselves.  By comparing both the Indian view and the western view of dirt (and them being essentially similar), she is really showing that despite cultural differences, most humans, regardless of culture, are conditioned in similar ways – we are taught that dirt is something which should be avoided.  Dirt will be playing at the Rainbow Cinemas at 80 Front Street East from 6:30 to 9 pm on Friday, March 27.

In addition to screenings, the Female Eye Film Festival also offers panel discussions as well as script readings.  For more information on the Female Eye Film Festival, please visit its website.