The annual Australian festival that celebrates women filmmakers launches in Sydney next month.
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13 Feb 2013 - 2:07 PM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2013 - 2:07 PM

The 19th annual World of Women (WOW) Film Festival will feature short films by four Indigenous filmmakers as well as two features, Miro Bilbrough's Being Venice and English director Barnaby Southcombe's film noir I, Anna.

The event staged by Women in Film and Television (WIFT) NSW will also include a screening of Show Me the Magic, Cathy Henkel's documentary profiling distinguished Australian cinematographer Don McAlpine, and director Gillian Armstrong in conversation with Margaret Pomeranz.

More than 50 films will screen at the festival, which primarily showcases shorts from Australian and international women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers. Two of the three key creative elements must be female. One new element this year is a 'Vodules for Digi Media' competition, meaning shorts fewer than four minutes designed for the small screen.

Marking her first year as festival director, Tamara Popper tells SBS the fest drew more than 350 entries, including about 150 from overseas. Producer Liz Watts (Lore, Dead Europe, Animal Kingdom) is the WOW Patron for 2013.

The fest runs March 5 to March 15, launching at the Dendy Opera Quays and will also utilise the Parliament House Theatre, Customs House Library, the Australian Film, Television & Radio School, the Vanguard – Newtown, City of Sydney – Surry Hills Library and the University of Technology Sydney.

Being Venice, which played at the 2012 Sydney and Melbourne International Film Festivals, stars Alice McConnell and Garry McDonald in an idiosyncratic father-daughter tale. It'll be released in Australia by Curious Distribution, probably in June.

Celebrating International Women's Day on March 8 at AFTRS, there will be a screening of Show Me the Magic with a Q&A by Henkel, followed by a retrospective of shorts by AFTRS women alumni curated by director Cate Shortland (Lore, Somersault).

I, Anna stars Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne and Hayley Atwell in a thriller about a cop who investigates the brutal murder of a man in his London apartment and encounters the enigmatic Anna. The film premiered at the Sydney festival last year but will bypass cinemas, going straight to DVD via Transmission Films.

The shorts by Indigenous filmmakers are Tracey Rigney's Abalone, the tale of a man who struggles to defeat the phantoms of his mind; Margaret Harvey's The Hunter, which follows two young Indigenous people who encounter a creature from the lakes and the creeks; Tiffany Parker's Scar (pictured), a ghost story/romance about a man in love with a married women, set in the Tiwi islands; and Romaine Moreton's The Oyster Man.

Among the other shorts in competition are Sophie Miller's Spine, the chronicle of a young quadriplegic struggling to come to terms with his injury, starring Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Webber, Sara West, Andy Ryan and Matt Zeremes; Liz Cooper's Grace, which examines a young woman who steels herself to meet the birth mother who gave her up years ago; and Corrie Chen's Bruce Lee, the tale of an awkward suburban teenager who aspires to be the world's greatest badminton player to the dismay of his demanding father, a former tennis champion.

Among the gongs to be handed out on the March 7 awards night at the Dendy Opera Quays are prizes for best Australian fiction (comedy and drama), Australian documentary, animation, Australian woman cinematographer, international short film fiction and documentary, and audience choice awards. Winners will get certificates and in-kind goods
and services from the fest's sponsors.

The WOW Festival will tour selected short films to more than 16 destinations in Australia and overseas.

For more info go to the official website.