GEMS Vancouver Starts Tomorrow

Remember WIFTV? There were plenty of amazing times at those festivals. Of course, if you also remember last year, the name has been changed to Gender Equity in Media Society Vancouver, or GEMS Vancouver for short. The new name just glimmers of excellence and acceptance. So what’s going on for the 19th year? Well like the last years with the old name, a wide selection of content from women, except this year and every year from now on, there will be content from gender-diverse filmmakers as well. Content will include both features and shorts in many different genres, and there’s always the option of attending in-person or online. Even though we live in post-covid times, online festivals and Zoom have made things a major convenience for connecting, and online means more people watching worldwide, which is just the kind of support a festival needs. What’s going on for this year? Here are some highlights:

Opening Night – For the opening feature of the night, we get treated to the film, Analogue Revolution. It’s a documentary that shows the amazing rise and then tragic decrease of a feminist media movement. It started in the 70s and lasted to the 90’s. As someone who wasn’t born in two of those decades and was too young to even understand basic media and news, I know nothing about this and am intrigued to watch this film to see what went on. Feminist storytellers come from all kinds of places like Halifax and Vancouver, where they share stories about technology shifts, racism, cutbacks, and some pretty nasty violence. Plenty of media featured in this doc, including, Our Lives: Black Women’s Newspaper, the first Women of Colour Film Festival in Canada, and even Canada’s first feminist newspaper, Pedestal. Not to mention what happened to media when there were cutbacks during the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of 1989. Maybe someday, this website will be run by a staff completely made of women. That would be impressive.

Shorts Programmes – Short films are easy to make as they are less time consuming, and of course that means so many of them get sent into film festivals. So naturally, there are programmes for hosting these shorts. This year, we get 4 of ‘em: Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night. There’s one screening for each day of the festival, and they aren’t happening at certain periods/times of day. Okay, maybe just the Day Programme. But that’s it.

Cinematography Panel – Happening March 6 at 3:30 PM, this cinematography panel doesn’t only focus on work with a camera, it focuses on work with a camera through the lens of women and gender-diverse perspectives. Gender-diverse cinematographers will have plenty of stories to share about their careers and even explain some of the big challenges they’ve overcome. It’s worth checking out. Whatever your gender may be, you might want to pick up a camera and do some filming yourself.

Closing Feature – There are not too many films or things happening this year, but we do have some great selections. You’ll see them on the official site. To wrap it up, we’ll be treated to The Love Stories of Liv S. which is about Liv Sandor, a woman in her 30’s who takes a long walk after arguing with her boyfriend. This sounds somewhat familiar, to the point where the movie talks more about Liv’s relationships, and she discovers how all her relationships turned out, and from there Liv must handle all her problems. Does she succeed? BTW, this was made by a female director, Anna Luis from Switzerland. It sounds like an entertaining film.

I can’t wait to check out this year’s festival, and you ought to check it out too! Go to Gemfest’s official website today to buy some tickets, or if you’re not in Vancouver, book for the virtual event. It will be worth it.

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