Patrice is a Filmmaker and the Co-owner of Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival (ITWIFF). After graduating from the University of Buffalo with a Theatre and African American Studies degree, Patrice realized the process to submit work to film festivals involved too many politics. Most festivals didn’t cater to women filmmakers, low budget films, and films that cast unknown actors. In 2016, Patrice and her mother, Susie Francois, decided to create a festival that did just that. The first ITWIFF received over 150 films from over 35 countries, confirming that Patrice’s platform was more than necessary.
On December 16, the cStuation team sat down with Patrice to learn more about her all women’s film festival, her inspiration for what she does, and her plans for the future of Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival.
1. Why is this your passion?
As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I understood the obstacles that existed for new and up-and-coming filmmakers. I decided it was important to help cultivate an appreciation for a wide range of unique and compelling stories, Especially those from women who have been traditionally underrepresented in film.
2. How do you feel about the state of film festivals today?
More established film festivals have been paying attention to the disparities between men and women filmmakers and are doing more to increase the submissions and films screened by women filmmakers. That’s definitely a positive shift in the state of film festivals.
3. Who/What inspires you?
Honestly, seeing others working so hard on achieving their goals. I love seeing others thriving and succeeding. It makes me want to be better. Oh, and Ava Duvernay.
4. What makes your film festival different from others?
I believe what makes our festival different is succeeding at proving a platform for underrepresented women filmmakers from all over the world. Screening A very diverse selection of films of unique and compelling stories.
5. What do you think a 40-year-old Patrice will be doing?
It’s clear that there is a tremendous female filmmaking talent out there, but there is still so much work to be done to create an inclusive environment that supports women storytellers. I want to continue to grow and expand the festival.
6. What advice would you give young film makers/ film festival directors?
Don’t wait and don’t give up! It’s okay to make mistakes. I know, it’s easier said than done, but at first you may not know what you are getting yourself into or know how hard the work will be, but in the end, it will be worth it.
7. What motivates you when the chips are down?
Knowing that we are providing a much-needed platform for underrepresented women filmmakers. Getting emails from past recipients telling that they have the confidence to submit to other festivals.
8. What are your proudest accomplishments?
Having a successful inaugural Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival.
9. List some of your other hobbies
Going to film festivals, working on film projects, anything creative related, traveling, and shopping.
10. If you weren’t an Art Director, what would you be doing?
My background is in theater. I then transitioned into screenwriting and filmmaking. So, I would probably be working on a script. Definitely, something that is related to films.
11. Anything coming up we should look out for?
We are hoping to integrate smaller events and programs throughout the year to provide more resources for the filmmakers and to keep the community engaged. Definitely, keep an eye out for 2018 ITWIFF.