I had the absolute pleasure of participating in the 2020 HER International Film Festival with my short film J-1. This festival was the most organized, smooth-running, and robust of all the virtual film festivals in which I participated during this pandemic festival season.

The screenings and events were all extremely well-organized by the enthusiastic and helpful festival staff. The highlights for me included the filmmakers networking Zoom event as well as the workshops with filmmaker Katie McNeice and producer Leona Duff. The networking event was productive and fun and even ended in the creation of a Facebook group to keep us all connected. It was so valuable for us as young creatives to be able to meet and share our experiences from all over the globe.

The talks with McNeice and Duff were lively and wonderfully insightful. The virtual nature of the talks perhaps even made them feel more intimate. Each woman spoke directly to us and answered questions. They were both so open and willing to impart us with their knowledge from the field. The inclusion of talks with these impressive film professionals exhibited to me the truly well-connected nature of this festival and the dedication of the programmers. 

I can share without hesitation that the HER International Film Festival was entirely worthwhile. If the festival was this exciting in a virtual capacity, I can only imagine how extraordinary it will be when they get back to an in-person event in Killarney. I hope that I have the opportunity to attend once again. I can’t wait to watch this festival continue to grow with the same energy and commitment to elevating young, diverse voices.