It's the first weekend in November, which can only mean two things: 1) the Major League Baseball playoffs are finally over, and 2) it's time for the annual Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival.
Forget Telluride and Park City, folks. In case you didn't know, the RMWFF is the longest continuously running women's film festival in the world.
It started in 1988, when film connoisseurs Jere Martin and Donna Guthrie, inspired by the Telluride Film Festival and looking to "celebrate the drive, spirit and diversity of women," showed 10 films at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Twenty years later, the RMWFF has grown into a Friday-through-Sunday event attended by Academy Award-winners and Academy Award-nominees showcasing their latest works.
It's unique not only because it's in our own backyard, but also because of how organizers pick its lineup. The six-member selection committee attends eight to 10 festivals each year and whittles down the 250 films they see to roughly 20.
"We primarily solicit most of the films that we preview, as opposed to other film festivals that put out a call for entries," says RMWFF executive director Linda Broker. "With a call for entries, you're going to pick the best of what's submitted to you; we hand-pick what we think, and hope, is going to be the best possible films to be considered for the lineup."
The two-and-a-half day, two-venue format of the RMWFF also gives cinephiles the intimacy that other festivals lack. And it's hardly filled with a competitive atmosphere, which is something the filmmaker entrants say they especially appreciate.
"It's the only women's film festival I've ever been to," says director Jessica Yu, over the phone from Los Angeles where she's directing an episode of Grey's Anatomy, the lauded TV drama. "We had a great time the first time, and I just like their approach. You come out of it with friendships and see some fantastic films. Directors have to be kind of calculating about their time, but this [festival] allows you to be a festivalgoer as well."
That's another perk of the RMWFF: The filmmakers are present for the screenings.
"Often, the filmmaker is a subject in the film, or it's about a family member," Broker says. "By the conclusion of the film, everyone feels like they know that person and the journey they have been through. Having the filmmaker present allows you to hear the backstory on the making of the film. It's just great closure."
But if you're not ready for closure, the Madelyn Osur Film Library at the Fine Arts Center offers film fans the chance to check out and take home some of the festival's best showings for free.
Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center,30 W. DaleSt., and Colorado College's Armstrong Theater, 14 E. Cache la Poudre St.
Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4, various times
Tickets: $25-$90; call 634-5583.
At the movies ...
20 films that will be shown at this year's Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival (source: rmwfilmfest.org)