What to Wear: 10th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

By: Emily Y.
Did the lack of female nominees (other than lead and supporting actress, of course) at the Oscars get you down? Never fear–the 10th annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is running March 4-8th 2015, supporting female filmmakers in all sorts of roles. 
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Above: Melissa Bergland stars as Lexi Ivy in Relative Happiness. Image found here.


The past couple years I have had the pleasure of volunteering as a judge for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, a local event which is put on by Women in Film and Television Vancouver. I’m really proud of this year’s lineup, and for those of you here in Vancouver, I personally invite you to attend this fantastic event.


The festival runs March 4-8th downtown at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre, and already the screenings for opening night film Margarita with a Straw, and the Highway of Tears documentary block have sold out! Given that the festival runs during March 8th, International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate women’s achievements.


For a film to be eligible for our festival, a woman must fill three key creative roles (director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, music, etc).


Filmmaking for women in Canada has been particularly difficult this past year—in our festival committee, we noticed a distinct lack of feature-length narrative films compared to our 2014 festival. This means in that in an industry dominated by men, women had a harder time than ever getting their films made and on screen at festivals. As such, I really encourage you all to show your support for female filmmakers by spreading the word about the festival, and showing up to watch some really excellent films.


Personally, I would recommend a few films in particular.


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Image above found here.


Relative Happiness showing on Friday, March 6th starting at 9:30 pm has my recommendation for a few reasons. It’s a feature-length dramedy from back East, and it’s actually funny—I watched it twice when I was judging just for fun and laughed out loud all the while. I love the film’s protagonist Lexi Ivy (played by Melissa Bergland), who is a fiery 30-something who runs a bed and breakfast, wears dresses even when she goes camping, and makes jams and preserves for local craft fairs in her spare time. I also love that the film has some body diversity—Lexi Ivy is a ‘plus’ size gal and totally steals the show. Bonus for Closet Feminists–you can read an interview with the costume designer for Relative Happiness, Sarah Dunsworth, here.


Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz showing Friday, March 6th at 6:30 is a great, fun doc. Yes, the music is amazing, and the subject matter fascinating. Even if you don’t like jazz, I can guarantee you’ll get into the ‘swing’ of things. Thoroughly researched, the film covers musicians from the 1920s-1970s, and has tons of interviews with women who were in these bands back in the day. This film also stands out to me as it features the perspectives of many women of colour—a must-see, for sure. In the spirit of things, the festival will also have a jazz reception featuring performer Jillian Lebeck!


Lastly, I want to suggest A 5-Star, an Iranian film showing Saturday, March 7th at 9:30 pm. I didn’t get a chance to see this film while I was judging, but the other judges said its quite funny and unexpected—it’s about a mother and daughter working at a fancy hotel, and all hell breaks loose when a major guest’s watch gets stolen. They didn’t tell me much more than that, but I’m quite intrigued, and we don’t see many films from Iran coming through our festival usually.


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Both images above found here.


Wondering what to wear to a film festival? I personally would take cues from the character of Lexi Ivy in Relative Happiness--her wardrobe was adorbs. I love how super-femme it is, and they totally discuss it throughout the movie, too–her friends make fun of her for wearing a dress and tights when they go camping.


inspired by Lexi Ivy of Relative Happiness

Milly purple dress, 1,075 CAD / Petit Bateau pea coat / Black tight, 21 CAD / Evening shoes, 56 CAD / Red purse, 75 CAD / Henri Bendel black bracelet, 145 CAD / Freshwater pearl earrings, 86 CAD / Deepa Gurnani hair accessory, 85 CAD


You can check out the whole schedule online here. 
You can purchase tickets online in advance here OR you can get them at the box office. All movies are shown at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre downtown.
Be sure to check out the festival Facebook group, and if you attend any screenings or events for the festival, tweet about it using #VIWIFF2015.

Excerpt: On the Conspiracy Against Plus-Size Women



Above: From the JIBRI Spring 2010 lookbook. Image found here.

When well-meaning editors want to feature body diversity in fashion, they run into another set of problems. In order to include items of clothing in a fashion editorial, an editor has to request samples from brands (or their PR agencies) for the photo shoots, which happen several months before the issues are on stands. But for most young indie labels, producing samples a full season in advance isn’t financially viable. And though a major label like Calvin Klein or Michael Kors may create clothing in sizes up to 24, they typically produce just one set of samples each season to lend to editors for photo shots–and they’re created only in a fashion-world-friendly size 2 or 4. So even if an editor books a plus-size model for a story, she’ll have to struggle to find plus size clothing for the shoot or somehow locate the very rare designer who makes editorial samples larger than XS.

-from “The Invisible Woman” by Nicolette Mason in BUST Aug/Sept 2013

Best Outfit Ever: The Mindy Project SE02E13

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Dr. Mindy Lahiri has the best style ever, but this outfit from the episode 13 of Season 2 (“L.A.”) is so awesome–that colour, that print, the sunglasses!

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Note she’s actually wearing navy with the fuchsia–perfect! PS plz ignore Adam Pally/Peter Prentice–don’t much care for how The Mindy Project ends up being The White Bro Project a lot of the time. Her outfit is still amazing though.

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Full-Figure Style Icon: Beth Ditto

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Innocence tribal pocket t shirt, 16 CAD / TaylorSays hot pink suede pumps, 135 CAD / Milly hologram purse, 540 CAD / MAC Cosmetics beauty product, 15 CAD / from Plus Size Panda on Storenvy, 21 CAD

If you were hoping for a classic, sensible style icon a la Grace Kelly, leave this post now. Beth Ditto is amazing, and no boring wallflower or shrinking violet. The lead singer for Gossip, this newlywed (she got married to her gf this past July!) is as known for being outspoken about LGBTQ2S activism, feminism,  and body-positivity as she is got her high-energy stage performances. She’s a total fashionista, having done a fashion collection for Evans, opened Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2011 show (as a model, thanks very much) and has a MAC makeup collection in her name. We love that she wears what she wants and makes no apologies for her body by wearing body-masking ensembles in black or navy, opting instead for eye-popping brights, hot pants, sequins and feathers. Beth Ditto forever, right?

Full-Figure Style Icon: Rebel Wilson

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Rebel Wilson is awesome. She’s talented, hilarious, witty…the list goes on and on. In the November 2012 issue of Lucky (old now but who cares? We want Rebel!), the magazine’s stylists took her shopping (scan from the issue above) for a glamorous makeover after Wilson’s mom suggested she get a new look (it’s in the interview, for reals). Wilson is full of amusing comments in the brief piece (” I could see myself power-dressing in this, but not in this leopard print because…[…] I once got in a cafe with a leopard on a dare.”), and we like that her stylist says, “We don’t want to hide Rebel. We want to show Rebel off.” Amen to that!

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Dress, 29 CAD / Rag & Bone tux jacket, 615 CAD / Embellished shoes, 39 CAD / Nine West metallic handbag, 52 CAD / Jennifer Meyer Jewelry chain pendant, 540 CAD / Rare London beaded cuff bracelet, 16 CAD / LSA Flower Colour Black Cylinder Bouquet Vase – 28cm, 47 CAD

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