Creating Space: Kate Kaminski

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Kate Kaminski. Photo courtesy of Reggie Burrows Hodges

One of four Maine women who are making space for performers, artists, storytellers and filmmakers.

“If film is the universal language, it is currently missing 50 percent of its alphabet,” says Kate Kaminski. “[Women] can’t be what we don’t see.”

Kaminski began her career as a screenwriter in the late 1980s, but her graduate studies in filmmaking at Boston University turned her on to directing and producing. She and her partner, Betsy Carson, founded Gitgo Productions in the mid 1990s. They have produced four indie features in addition to fiction and nonfiction short works, which have been screened internationally.

However, being a female filmmaker and a consumer of filmography, Kaminski could not overlook the gender inequality in the industry. She founded the Bluestocking Film Series in 2011 to create space for women in film. In fact, the curated short film festival is Maine’s only film event honoring both female creators and films with strong female representation.

“As a filmmaker, I had primarily received recognition through women’s film festivals,” says Kaminski. “Makers like me, who happen to be women, still struggle to have their work seen at film festivals, [in Maine] and elsewhere. So it seemed like I had to fill that void, step in and create a space for those under-represented voices and stories.”

“If film is the universal language, it is currently missing 50 percent of its alphabet. [Women] can’t be what we don’t see.”

—Kate Kaminski

The annual festival accepts submissions from filmmakers of any gender because the focus of the event is on the variety of ways women and girls can be represented in cinematic stories. Kaminski emphasizes this is not just about having a “kick ass” woman character in the film, but really the development of a complex female protagonist. “[The female character] should be given the narrative drive to be as heroic or craven, complicated or flawed as male protagonists are allowed to be,” she says.

“The bottom line is that the commercial film industry needs to depict more complex characterizations across the board,” Kaminski says. “To be exposed to a single point of view, one that is predominantly white and male, is to lose something vital to the evolution of culture, in cinema, literature and all art making.”

“Bluestocking’s raison d’être is to show global audiences a vision of a world where women’s voices and stories are celebrated and amplified, and we also exist to champion change in the film industry from the outside in.”

Catch the Bluestocking Film Series August 3-4, 2018, in the Talbot Auditorium, University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus. For more information, visit bluestockingfilms.com.

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