GEMFest announces film picks for 19th festival championing women and gender diverse stories

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      The 19th annual international GEMFest is bringing works from over a dozen countries to Vancouver this March.  

      “This year’s festival marks a collective triumph over challenges and serves as a testament to our industry’s resilience,” says programs and events manager Patrycja Mila Kamska in a statement. “GEMFest is not just a festival; it is a resonant platform amplifying voices that insist on being heard, carving an indelible space in the ever-evolving narrative of cinema.” 

      Organized by the Gender Equity in Media Society (GEMS), the annual film festival provides a platform for creatives from around the world to showcase their work that pushes back on gender imbalance in cinema. Celebrating women and gender diverse people, GEMFest is set to screen 37 films between March 5 and 9 that explore the breadth and depth of experiences often sidelined by mainstream productions. 

      Canadian-Ukrainian filmmaker Marusya Bociurkiw is showcasing her new documentary, Analogue Revolution: How Feminist Media Changed the World, as the opening night feature. The documentary dissects Canadian feminist media from the ’70s to ’90s and traces its impact. Meanwhile, Inuit directors Carol Kunnuk and Lucy Tulugarjuk craft a genre-blurring tale of domestic violence and recovery in TIFF favourite Tautuktavuk. 

      A robust shorts program includes plenty of Canadian highlights, like Hair or No Hair, The Light Is My Birthplace, and Heat Spell, while Indigenous filmmakers have their moment with Redlights and Our Grandmother The Inlet.

      From further afield, The Tuba Thieves explores Deafness through the theft of musical instruments from Southern California high schools; and Blue ID follows the story of Turkish trans man Rüzgar Erkoçlar, who accidentally ends up at the forefront of his country’s understanding of trans rights. 

      “This year’s GEMFest is an immense labour of dedication and care on the part of the GEMS team and our community,” says GEMS executive director Anaïsa Visser in a release. “I could not be more proud to have had a hand in it.”

      Besides screenings, other events such as a panel for International Women’s Day on March 8 are planned. Additionally, a digital festival will take place from March 12 to 26.

      Find the full schedule and film guide here

      GEMFest 2024

      When: March 5 to 9

      Where: VIFF Centre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver

      Tickets: From $8, available here