agnès films is named in honor of Agnès Varda, the legendary French filmmaker who for 64 years made daring, whimsical films that placed women at the center of her narratives. In spite of the fact that Varda’s scintillating oeuvre has inspired countless filmmakers to pick up the camera for the first time, she remains largely unknown to mainstream audiences around the world. This is not surprising, since in spite of recent, urgently needed initiatives towards inclusion, the film industry remains a male-dominated space that prioritizes male artists and audiences.
According to the Celluloid Ceiling Report, women comprised only 21% of directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers in the 250 top-grossing films of 2020. This is a 6% increase from 1998 when Dr. Martha Lauzen began keeping track of women’s presence behind the camera. We are encouraged by this improvement and are here to see that it continues all the way to gender parity in the industry.
In order to provide support to emerging and established women, non-binary, and feminist filmmakers, we:
- Publish nuanced and generative essays, interviews, and reviews about film and TV made by women and non-binary artists, as well as work helmed by men that features women in prominent roles.
- Utilize social media to promote the work of women, non-binary, and feminist filmmakers while creating opportunities for them to connect with each other and with audiences. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to be part of our social media community.
- Foster a community of women and non-binary filmmakers, media producers, critics, filmmaking and film studies instructors, and film lovers who support each other. Men interested in our mission are welcome to join us. Our aim is for our community to be diverse in terms of race, sexuality, class, and ability.
Consider becoming a member (it’s free). You can also share your work with us and request that we cover it through reviews and interviews, and you can apply to write for us. If you have any questions, email our editors at agnes.films.publication[at]gmail.com.
agnès films is made possible through the generous support of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of English. Although our editorial board and writing staff come from around the world, a number of them are faculty and graduate and undergraduate students at Pitt. We are immensely grateful for the support they provide to make our publication flourish.
Thank you for visiting!
Alexandra Hidalgo is an award-winning Venezuelan filmmaker, film and TV critic, theorist, memoirist, and editor whose documentaries have been official selections for film festivals in 15 countries and been screened at universities around the U.S. Her videos and writing have been featured on The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, NPR, The Criterion Collection, and Women and Hollywood. She has a PhD in English from Purdue University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and is associate professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and co-director of the Doc Lab at Michigan State University. Her video book Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition received the 2018 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the digital publication agnès films: supporting women and feminist filmmakers and of the journal constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space.
Denah A. Johnston, experimental and fringe film editor
Denah is an experimental filmmaker who received her MFA in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and Ph.D. in Media & Communications from European Graduate School. She teaches film history, studies and theory at San Francisco City College and served as Executive Director of Canyon Cinema Foundation for 3 years. Her academic work lies at the constellation-like intersections of film, music, literature, media and culture. Denah’s first book No Future Now: A Nomadology of Resistance and Subversion was published in 2012 by Atropos Press. A recent essay on the innovation and influence of Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan (The Witch) (1922) can be seen in a special edition of the Abraxas Journal The Luminous Screen edited by Jack Sargeant. Denah’s current research focuses on the female filmmakers of Canyon Cinema.
Heaven Infinity, managing editor, staff writer
Heaven Infinity is a writer and independent filmmaker at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is majoring in Film Production with a minor in Creative Writing. Heaven has made live-action and animation short films that explore her nostalgia for early 2000’s pop culture such as old computer games and Y2K fashion. She has written screenplays and short stories that focus on the coming of age experiences of young boys, inspired by the love she feels for her two younger brothers. She has published Pitt News articles on her film fascinations such as Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Gnomeo and Juliet. Heaven currently works as the Managing Editor of agnès films.
Shannon Seidel, associate editor, staff writer
Shannon Seidel is a student at the University of Pittsburgh where she is majoring in Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics, with a minor in French. As a member of the William Pitt Debating Union, she frequently travels to present and defend public policy arguments within the National Speech and Debate Organization. Being an adoptee, Shannon has spent a great deal of time working with Pennsylvania lawmakers on rewriting and amending adoption legislation to better protect children and prospective parents. She plans to pursue a career in law, but in an alternate universe, she would work in the film industry. In fact, one of her favorite things to do is sit with fellow agnés staff member Alina McMahon and binge every movie A24 has ever produced . She joined agnés films in the Fall of 2022 as an associate editor and staff writer.
Alina McMahon, social media specialist, staff writer
Alina McMahon is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh studying Marketing and Film, with a certificate in Leadership and Ethics. She works at Responsival LLC, a digital marketing agency where she provides advice on how Pittsburgh institutions can revamp their digital presence. Alina loves creating digital content for her university’s chapter of the American Marketing Association across Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. She aims to pursue a career at the intersection of advertising and film. In her dream world she would be able to work and globetrot to live out her fantasy of being a National Geographic photographer (on her own time). Alina loves films that provide unusual and daring women protagonists such as Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Ladybird, Tangerine, and The Florida Project. She joined agnès films in December 2022 as a social media specialist and a staff writer.
Mimi Anagli is a writer and cinematographer who joined agnés films in October of 2018. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Film Studies, Professional and Public Writing, and a minor in French. During her time in undergrad, Mimi had the opportunity to attend the 72nd Cannes Film Festival and the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where she interned for The Hollywood Reporter. On top of writing for agnès films, Mimi writes for Take 2 Indie Review, Made in Shoreditch Magazine, and is a senior video editor for the influencer marketing agency, The Outloud Group. Her biggest passion lies in cinematography, highlighting diverse stories and promoting social change. You can learn more about Mimi and her work on her website.
Mitch Carr is the Graduate Research assistant at The Cube and is a Master’s Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing at Michigan State University. Mitch is also the lab manager and PR strategist for the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition (DHLC) Lab in the College of Arts and Letters at MSU. His research interests fall into community rhetoric and engagement, digital humanities, and narrative healing. He joined agnés in August 2020 as a staff writer. In his spare time, Mitch enjoys creative writing, spending time outside, and cooking. Mitch can be contacted at email@example.com.
Jennifer works as an editor, actor, producer and director and enjoys telling stories of her own and assisting others. She is a board member and resident artist at Undiscovered Works in New York City (undiscoveredworks.org) and with them currently co-curates a monthly series, Mixology, exploring the creative possibilities of presenting theatrical, cinematic and performance pieces in virtual space. After graduating from UCLA with a BA in Theatre Arts, she ran La Vache Enragée Productions in San Francisco. At the City University of New York Graduate Center, she wrote her thesis on the work and advocacy of women directors in the United States and began an ongoing project The 2nd Sex and the 7th Art (the2ndSexandthe7thArt.com). More information can be found on her website.
Izzy Garfinkel is a filmmaker and visual artist at the University of Pittsburgh, where she majors in Film and Media Studies and minors in Studio Arts. Izzy enjoys a wide range of artistic modes including painting, drawing, digital art, and needle-felting to create images that are inspired by pop art, bright-colored and surreal. In the filmmaking world, Izzy combines various media to create animated shorts and experimental documentaries. She draws from her own experiences, which she examines through a practice she calls Junk Journaling, where she gathers the seemingly inconsequential aspects of her life and makes stories out of them. Izzy plans to pursue work in the animation and tattoo industries. Some of her art has been tattooed on people, a big point of artistic pride for her. She joined agńes films in October 2022 as a staff writer.
Shewonda is a Haitian-American filmmaker and a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University. Her research touches on cultural and Haitian/African American rhetorics, representations of black bodies, identity, feminism, and Womanism. As a documentary filmmaker she explores minority experiences/stories in the United States. Shewonda’s first film Fixing The Standard: The Black Women’s Reclamation Of Power explores how black women take risks and learn from their experiences of defining and embodying their own standards of beauty when choosing to embrace their natural hair. Her current projects are a video memoir that tracks her transition from M.A. student to Ph.D. student while learning what it takes to be a filmmaker, and a short film about Haitian-American children passing as African-American in the United States.
Tiffany is a Senior at Michigan State University studying professional writing, English, and women’s and gender studies. She enjoys hiking and anything else to do with mountains, writing poetry, reading any book she sees, and being a summer camp counselor. She currently works at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and Sabana Grande Productions. She is also the marketing intern at the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. She is diving headfirst into the film world and is so grateful for the opportunity to work with a company comprised of talented creators.
Denise is a writer/filmmaker whose first short film “Freckles” screened at Cannes Film Festival. The narrative explores the damaging effects cultural beauty standards have on one lonely, very freckled woman. During her previous work in television, Denise has produced, written and directed television shows such as “Fashion Police” and “Behind the Label” for Style and WE Networks, and was awarded an Emmy for her work on the cult hit, “Subway Q&A.”
Irene Meltzer Richard is a proud recipient of an Honorary Degree for her contributions to promoting Israeli Culture in America, as well as a M.Ed. in the Arts and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her passion for moving pictures drew her into the world of indie film, where her entrepreneurial spirit spurred her to create a consulting enterprise in the areas of audience engagement, event management, and partnership development for film festivals, independent film productions, and distribution companies. For many years, she worked at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, managing ticketing for its year-round programming as well as the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films.
Julie Casper Roth is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator interested in hidden histories and representation. She is a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Video, a NYSCA Individual Artist grant recipient, a two-time finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and a College Art Association Fellowship awardee. Her work has been screened nationally and internationally at film festivals, in galleries, and on television. Her work embraces experimental, fictional, and documentary storytelling. Casper Roth has a BA from Smith College and an MFA from the University at Albany.
Moira Sullivan is a feminist film scholar, lecturer, film critic, promoter, and experimental filmmaker based in San Francisco and Stockholm. She teaches at City College of San Francisco in the Cinema Department and has a PhD in cinema studies from Stockholm University. Sullivan is one of the world’s experts on the work of the avantgarde and ethnographic filmmaker Maya Deren (1917-1961). She is a staff writer for agnesfilms.com named for Agnès Varda since 2013, filmfestivals.com Paris, since 2000 and the weekly radio program Movie Magazine International in San Francisco since 1995. Her focus is on feminist film criticism and covering women and film events. She has interviewed directors such as Julie Dash, Agnès Varda, Anna Karina, Laurie Anderson, Margaretha von Trotta, Jane Campion, and Lizzie Borden at Créteil Films de Femmes in Paris and other festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Frameline and QWOCMAP (Queer Women of Color Film Festival) in San Francisco.
Sabrina Vetter is a freelance writer based near Frankfurt, Germany. She joined agnés films in late 2020 as a staff writer. After finishing her MA studies of American and English studies at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, she worked as an editorial assistant at a German publishing company and was able to garner experience as Social Media manager. Currently, she is part of the feminist film magazine Filmloewin and also writes for FemFilmFans, a site focusing on feminism, feminist theory and female empowerment. Besides her freelance work, Sabrina is busy finishing her PhD on marginalized bodies in media, including film, TV and social media.
Danielle Winston is a Manhattan writer/director, creating complex female antiheroines, who expand perceptions of women in film. As a filmmaker and playwright, Winston has written and directed a web series, short films, and plays; as well as directed multiple solo shows about historical women. Driven by what lurks beneath the surface, Winston enjoys working with actors to explore psychological barriers, and hidden character motivations. Recurring elements in Winston's works include artists, suspenseful twists, dark quirky humor, and supernatural themes. In addition to film and theater, Winston works as a freelance wellness and arts/entertainment writer.
Former Editors and Staff Writers
Iliana Cosme-Brooks, managing editor, 2021-2022
Julia Stroman, social media specialist, staff writer, 2021-2022
Chrystel Lopez, staff writer, 2021-2022
Claire Bahorski, staff writer, 2021
Allison Simpson, staff writer, 2020-2022
Naomi Johnson, assistant editor, 2020-2021
Jennifer Bell, managing editor, 2020-2021
Kara Headley, social media specialist, staff writer, 2019-2021
Sophie Schmidt, assistant editor, 2019-2020
Olivia York, staff writer, 2019-2023
Aimée Knight, staff writer, 2018
Megan Elias, managing editor, 2018-2020
Mo Ozdych, web editor, visual designer, 2019
Rebecca Raymer, staff writer , 2018-2019
Allison Costello, web editor, visual designer, 2018-2019
Jared Milburn, social media specialist, staff writer, 2018-2019
Katie Grimes, assistant editor, staff writer, 2014-2019
Hannah Countryman, web editor, visual designer, 2016-2018
Claire Destrampe, staff writer, 2018
Jessica Kukla, social media specialist, graphic designer, 2016-2018
Samantha Fegan, assistant editor intern, 2017
Elena Cronick, assistant editor, staff writer, 2016-2017
Sabrina Hirsch, assistant editor, graphic designer, 2015-2017
Lindsey Spitzley, video team producer and cinematographer, social media specialist, 2015-2016
Sarah Shaw, video team audio recorder and mixer, social media team, 2015-2016
Savannah Smith, video team director and editor, social media team, 2015-2016
Kim Labick, social media intern, 2015
Shell Little, web editor, graphic designer, 2015-2016
Rebecca Zantjer, reviewer, 2014-2015
LeeAnn Connelly, web editor, 2015
Les Hutchinson, reviewer, 2014-2015
Laura Gonzales, staff writer, 2013-2015
Dawn Davis, staff writer, 2014-2018
Shannon Roe-Butler, web editor, 2014
Ruth Novaczek, staff writer, 2013-2015
Caitlan Spronk, co-founder and web developer, 2010-2014