Farewell, Bluestocking — Statement from Founder Kate Kaminski

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December 18, 2018

It’s never easy announcing to the world that your relationship is over. When I think back to the great times we shared, the amazing people we met, and the relationships we will carry forward and forever cherish, there can never be any regrets. But the time has come. It is not without sorrow that I announce that Bluestocking Film Series will not be opening entries for 2019 in January, and there are no current plans to continue the festival in the future.

Most people go into relationships with a mindset that it will last forever, but that wasn’t true for us. With every passing year, we were often filled with doubt about our future, alternately buoyed by hope and dashed against the rocks by despair. We demanded each other’s full attention, yet that was rarely possible because life (and paying the bills) always seemed to get in the way of our good time.

But I will miss you, dear Bluestocking. You introduced me to people and experiences I would not otherwise have had if I hadn’t taken a chance on you. As a self-proclaimed cineanarchist making films in Maine, it has not been so easy for me to fit in, and I have cherished the opportunities you’ve given me to connect with so many talented, independent filmmakers across the globe.

Since I have always been “in it” for the films (and if there is any lasting legacy of our relationship), I hope people will remember their experience of sitting in a theater and watching one female-driven story after another unfold on-screen. My favorite reaction after screenings was always when people pointed out how unusual and refreshing it was to see such a variety of fem-centered stories all in the same program. And I was instrumental in creating that experience. What an honor.

As I contemplate life after Bluestocking, I feel full of optimism. When Bluestocking and I first got together, we were one-of-a-kind, but now we are one of many festivals around the world that bring forward diverse representations of women for audiences to savor. That is beyond heartening when it’s clear that in many ways women remain second class citizens. And having neglected my own work for the past eight years, the idea of some extra time to dream and create is pretty exciting.

I do have film programming in my blood, so I will continue to present my fall popup screening event Fem.Cine.Anarchy for the foreseeable future (stay tuned for details). And of course, we are thrilled that Bluestocking will have a screening block at the first ever Coven Film Festival in San Francisco in February 2019. We will also continue to affordably provide Bluestocking films to nonprofits and other groups who want to bring female-driven work to their cities or towns, whether for fundraising or consciousness-raising. (Inquire here.)

In closing, I want to reiterate that Bluestocking and I had a great 8-year run together. We made a difference. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Yours in solidarity for better on-screen representation,

Kate Kaminski

I want to extend extra special thanks to:

My partner Betsy Carson, who volunteered so very many hours of her time, and held my hand and kept me going in the best and worst of times.

John Gailey and Joellen Berger Gailey Foundation for much needed financial and moral support over the past three years.

Kyna Morgan, Kari Wagner-Peck and Deb Tenenbaum without whom Bluestocking would have surely dwindled and died before her time.

Ellen Tejle (A-Markt) and Aase Högfeldt (LadyBug Festival) for believing in and supporting the festival mission.

All our honored judges and prize jurors who volunteered hours to watch and debate the submitted films.

The filmmakers who honored us by submitting their work.

Marian Evans (Wellywood Woman blog), Thuc Nguyen (Bitch Pack), and Shaula Evans (shaulaevans.com) for being wonderful advocates (on and off social media) and whom I count as friends even though we have never met IRL.

Dear friends (and film school buddies) Wilma Davis and Annie Kelly Cormier who both tirelessly worked with me to put together the best possible program year after year.

Michelle Kantor, Jenna Payne, and all the Cinefemme family for welcoming us and supporting and championing our cause.

Barbara Ann O’Leary (DirectedbyWomen) for unflagging support.

Our devoted Portland audiences who have kept a candle burning in the window for Bluestocking since 2011. We wouldn’t have made it as far as we did if not for you.