Reel Sisters Makes History As First Academy Qualifying Film Festival for Shorts Devoted to Women of Color!
Reel Sisters’ Status Gives Women of Color A Path to Oscar Nomination!
Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series makes history this year by becoming the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival for narrative shorts devoted to women of color! The festival’s new status is a game changer for women’s access to Oscar consideration in the Live Action Shorts category.
“Reel Sisters’ new designation will give women of color a path to getting on the Oscar consideration list and open the doors for all women directors. It is a milestone for women directors who rarely get nominated by the Academy Awards for Oscar worthy films,” said Carolyn A. Butts, Reel Sisters Founder. “We’re proud to kick off our film submissions season with this amazing news and opportunity for women filmmakers.”
In the Academy Awards 90-year history, only five women directors have been nominated for Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow was the only woman to win for Best Director in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.
The list for women of color represented in Live Action Shorts is just as short. Dianne Houston was the first African-American woman to receive a nomination in 1996 for Tuesday Morning Ride and Yuki Yoshida, an Asian-Canadian director, won an Oscar in 1978 for I’ll Find A Way.
In honor of the festival’s Academy Qualifying status, Reel Sisters is raising money to provide cash prizes for award-winning filmmakers and offer other opportunities. Independent film enthusiasts can donate to the Reel Sisters Rules fundraising drive via GoFundMe at Reel Sisters Rules.
Reel Sisters was recently recognized by Film Daily as one of the top 10 best women centered film festivals for its outstanding service to women filmmakers. Reel Sisters has presented over 3,000 films produced, directed and written by women of color. Reel Sisters has awarded more than $25,000 in scholarship money since 1997. The festival has set the agenda for creating opportunities for women in the film industry through advocacy and supporting other organizations with similar missions.
Council member Jumaane Williams, a long term Reel Sisters Ambassador, praised the festival for its commitment to serving women of color in the film industry.
“The Reel Sisters Film Festival has stood for over two decades as an essential cultural event. Film and activism have always been two passions of mine, and this festival brings the two together while elevating the often-overlooked contributions to the field by African-American women, said Council member Williams. “While films like Black Panther are finally awakening the mainstream film industry to the incredible talents and impact of Black filmmakers, the Reel Sisters Film Festival has been championing them for decades.
“We can only hope that Hollywood continues to support the ideals of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival for years to come. I’m proud to support this year’s dedicated filmmakers, actresses, and activism, and excited to celebrate them in the festival’s 21st year.”
The timing of the news is perfect. Reel Sisters is seeking films for its 2018 season. Shorts, web series, animation, works-in-progress, narratives, features, documentaries and experimental works are eligible. Filmmakers will have their films screened in Reel Sisters Film Festival at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Brooklyn from October 20-21, 2018 and other venues in New York City.
Reel Sisters is accepting film entries via Film Freeway at Submissions.
Entries must be submitted electronically on Film Freeway. Entry fee is $21 (Early Bird Deadline: May 7, 2018) or $35 (Extended Deadline: June 22, 2018). Filmmakers are encouraged to submit early! For information call: (347) 534-3304 or (212) 865-2982.
Founded by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn Media Arts Dept., Reel Sisters is dedicated to supporting women of color filmmakers. The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival is supported, in part, by Council members Jumaane Williams (35 C.D.) and Laurie Cumbo (45 C.D.), New York State Council on the Arts and the Brooklyn Arts Council.