Hello and welcome to the Her International Film Festival blog. We are ready to stir up a buzz for submissions for the second annual Her International Film Festival, which is based in Killarney, Kerry, Ireland.

Submissions opened on the 30th of April, the Early Bird deadline is June 30th, and the Regular deadline is July 20th, and late submissions are accepted up until the 29th of August, so get working ladies!

In spite of it all, 2021 has been a pretty good year for women in film so far with Chloe Zhao becoming the second woman and first woman of colour to win the Oscar for Best Director with Nomadland and Emerald Fennell being the twelfth woman to win Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman (and the first since Diablo Cody won for Juno in 2007). Add to that the release of Cruella, also known as “the female joker”, things can only get better and better.

So let’s keep that momentum going. Last year saw some incredible films from young women filmmakers at home and abroad, and we thought a quick recap would be the best way to remind potential submitters of the variety of themes, styles and genres of film we accept.

To start, we will look at the winners in the First Time Filmmaker and Young Filmmaker of the year categories:

Connie Chiume and Malibongwe Mdwaba in Umama

First Time Filmmaker: Umama (19:58), directed by Talia Smith of South Africa. “Promises are clouds, Ma. And only rain is fulfilment” Thabiso (Malibongwe Mdwaba) tells his mother (Connie Chiume) about five minutes into this twenty minute short film. The film looks at violence and its inevitability using foreshadowing and a sense of foreboding; the audience knows almost from the beginning that something bad is going to happen that effects the lives of Thabiso and his mother.

Themes include: Class, identity (pride), the relationship between mother and son, death and loss.

The title screen of Alona Shylova’s Mavka

Young Filmmaker of the Year: Mavka (5:00), directed by Alona Shylova of Ukraine, is a coming-of-age story. Shylova uses brief flashes of horror-inspired imagery to suggest the sense of fear associated with womanhood/adulthood for the central characters, two young girls on the cusp of adolescence.

Themes include: coming of age, womanhood, fear, violence against women.