The Sarasota Film Festival has a long history of supporting women in film. For the past several years, the festival has hosted the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women’s Through Women’s Eyes program. Last year, the inaugural Impact Award was given to Geena Davis and her See Jane Foundation for their efforts in improving gender representation in media.
So it comes as no surprise that the Impact Award this year again will celebrate the impact of women on film. Women Make Movies, a nonprofit media arts organization that facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films by and about women, will receive the honor at this years Filmmaker Tribute, April 21 at 6pm at the Sarasota Opera House. UN Women US National Committee Board Member Carol Poteat Buchanan will make the presentation to Women Make Movies Executive Director Debra Zimmerman.
“Women Make Movies is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and we are excited to be partnering again with the Sarasota Film Festival and Through Women’s Eyes on such great programming and with the Side by Side mentorship program,” Zimmerman also announced. “This program is one of 40 worldwide events spanning the globe that will celebrate the organization’s work in transforming the landscape for independent women’s films and filmmakers.”
Additionally, Zimmerman will be part of a special panel In Conversation With Women In Film, to be hosted at State College of Florida on April 20 at 5:30pm. Other filmmakers, including director Ingrid Veninger, are also expected to participate.
Why this organization right now? Besides the perfect timing with an anniversary, SFF Women Director Holly Herrick said the longtime partnership with festivals made the award especially prudent. “Working with filmmakers of diverse ethnicities, races, and socio-economic backgrounds, Women Make Movies has made tremendous strides for all women, ensuring a plurality of voices on screen and behind the camera,” Herrick said.