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Arizona Film Festival Highlights Women In The Industry

Arizona is home to a lot of film festivals, and just this month there are four you can check out. But there’s a relatively young festival opening this weekend that is unique for the Valley. It’s called the Worldwide Women’s Film Festival.

It’s only in its second year, but it’s bringing in films from nearly 22 different countries.

"We've got short, we've got documentaries, we've got music videos and we've got features," said Kim Huenecke, the festival's founder. "So you name it, we've got it for everybody."

The festival’s mission is to educate, support and empower women to make films. And while the festival’s focus is women, the only requirement to submit a film is that at least one key creative role behind the camera is filled by a woman — so anything from director, to editor to composer.

In an effort to foster the next generation of female filmmakers, Huenecke said they work with the film workshop “Made In Her Image,” which teaches young women how to make movies. And a selection of these will be shown at this year’s festival.

"And this is our way of giving back because, you know, my co-founder, Eva Lewis and I, we really believe in helping, you know, to support people and this is our way of doing it," Huenecke said.

And on top of that program, Huenecke said they also put on panels where people can learn everything from what’s happening in the industry to practical skills on and off the camera.

"Last year we did, you know, the state of women filmmakers," she said. "And then this year we're gonna work on fight choreography."

Huenecke said that there needs to be a platform that female filmmakers can use to showcase their work.

"We have men filmmakers but we need women and their voices to be heard because I think women as filmmakers they have a little bit of a different take on maybe a topic or situation that a man does."

The festival runs Friday through Sunday at Harkins Shea in Scottsdale.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.