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On Sunday, August 20, the Women Texas Film Festival presented by Studio Movie Grill announced the award winners for the 2nd edition of the film festival during an awards brunch held at the Elegante Hotel (2330 W. Northwest Highway). Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS took home the award for Best Feature Film, Maja Aro’s HOODS received the nod as Best Short Film, and Siena Pinney, the director of the short film, POSSIBILITY, was honored as this year’s Filmmaker to Watch. Awardees were determined by board and the Artistic Director of WTxFF, the first and only full-fledged film festival in the state of Texas to celebrate and promote the work of women behind the camera (producers, directors, screenwriter, editors, composers, and cinematographers).

Brooke Purdy with her shiny, new WTxFF award for 2017's Best Feature Film (QUALITY PROBLEMS) (Photo by John Strange)

Brooke Purdy with her shiny, new WTxFF award for 2017’s Best Feature Film (QUALITY PROBLEMS) (Photo by John Strange)

 

Women Texas Film Festival Founder and Artistic Director Justina Walford said, “Our awards presentation this year was the culmination of a particularly emotional and affecting edition of WTxFF. Our narrative features, our documentary features, as well as several short films touched the audiences with gripping and personal stories. We had many in the audience share their feelings about seeing their lives on the big screen, some for the first time.”

Siena Pinney (POSSIBILITY) was named WTxFF's 2017 "Filmmaker to Watch" (Photo by Steve Duffy)

Siena Pinney (POSSIBILITY) was named WTxFF’s 2017 “Filmmaker to Watch” (Photo by Steve Duffy)

 

The award presentations were made by Walford, Executive Director Vanessa Cook, and WTxFF publicist John Wildman during a ceremony presented by the Dallas Film Commission. All three filmmakers were on hand to accept their awards during a morning that fittingly alternated laughter with tears, much like the duration of the film festival that preceded it. QUALITY PROBLEMS’s co-director Purdy, was both laughing and crying as she described listening to Walford’s build up to the announcement of her award where Walford talked about admiring both the central character in the film as well as the woman that created her, thinking “I need to find out who that woman is she is describing, so I can secretly idolize her too,” before discovering that it was Purdy herself that Walford was praising.

John Wildman, presenter, watches as Maja Aro, Director of HOODS, accepts the 2017 WTxFF Best Short Film award (Photo by John Strange)

John Wildman, presenter, watches as Maja Aro, Director of HOODS, accepts the 2017 WTxFF Best Short Film award (Photo by John Strange)

 

The second annual Women Texas Film Festival stated off with a bang on Wednesday, August 16 at Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest HWY theaters with what is now a signature red carpet-laden party, featuring the Opening Night screening of Savannah Bloch’s award-winning film, AND THEN THERE WAS EVE. Following a special presentation of an Official Citation from Councilman of the 6th District, Omar Narvaez to Walford and Cook, the screening of AND THEN THERE WAS EVE, which focuses on a mystery and a budding relationship between a woman and the trans woman trying to help her find her missing husband, was enthusiastically received by a sold-out house which included several appreciative trans women in the audience, before everyone made their way to a “Speakeasy” themed party produced by Red ID, representing the jazz themes in the film.

Q&A after screening of I AM EVIDENCE with Libby Woolverton (Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center), texas State Representative Victoria Neave, WTxFF Artistic Director Justina Walford (Photo by Wildman)

Q&A after screening of I AM EVIDENCE with Libby Woolverton (Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center), texas State Representative Victoria Neave, WTxFF Artistic Director Justina Walford (Photo by Wildman)

 

Other festival highlights included an appearance by Texas State Congresswoman (District 107) Victoria Neave, who participated in the Q&A following a screening of Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s documentary I AM EVIDENCE about the crisis of unprocessed rape kits throughout the nation, and the screening of Signe Taylor’s documentary, IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS, about a special Dartmouth College program which brings students together with incarcerated women. Following an appearance by Taylor and documentary subject Charlotte Gunderson of WFAA (ABC)’s news, a representative for a Dallas-based organization that works on placing recently released female parolees in jobs, contacted WTxFF, which resulted in the film festival treating more than 30 women and their family members to the screening.

IT'S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS has a brand new fan base in Dallas. (Photo by Signe Taylor)

IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS has a brand new fan base in Dallas thanks to a timely interview with director Signe Taylor and documentary subject Charlotte Gunderson on WFAA (ABC).

 

The festival wound up with a second red carpet to celebrate the Closing Night screening of festival-favorite QUALITY PROBLEMS, which again, played to a full house. Co-director/writer/star Brooke Purdy was on hand along with producer and cast member Colette Freedman to discuss the film, which again was an emotionally cathartic experience for the WTxFF audiences, laughing and crying at the story of a woman and her family dealing with a recurrence of her breast cancer at the same time her father is experiencing the downside of his Alzheimer’s, and the pressure of throwing a birthday party for their 8-year-old daughter. Then, as required by the unspoken law of film festivals throughout the world, everyone convened afterward to sing karaoke.

 

Vanessa Cook (Executive Director, WTxFF), "Filmmaker to Watch" Siena Pinney (POSSIBILITY), "Best Feature Film" award recipient Brooke Purdy (Director of QUALITY PROBLEMS), "Best Short Film" award recipient Maja Aro (Director of HOODS), Justina Walford (Artistic Director, WTxFF), John Wildman (WTxFF Publicist) (Photo by Steve Duffy)

Vanessa Cook (Executive Director, WTxFF), “Filmmaker to Watch” Siena Pinney (POSSIBILITY), “Best Feature Film” award recipient Brooke Purdy (Director of QUALITY PROBLEMS), “Best Short Film” award recipient Maja Aro (Director of HOODS), Justina Walford (Artistic Director, WTxFF), John Wildman (WTxFF Publicist) (Photo by Steve Duffy)