Listen Up: Super Important Announcement
I've been trying to think of an eloquent, glorious way to start this but goodbyes are never easy and since that's what this is and I've already ruined the reveal (dammit), I'll guess I'll just keep going: MUFF will not be continuing with screenings in 2018 and our last screening will be Little Women in December.
This was not an easy decision to come by, as MUFF is my baby and I thoroughly enjoy getting to put together phrases like "MUFF is my baby." However, after three incredible years of fun and sparkles, it is time to say "goodbye."
Events are hard work, pals; monthly events even more so. Putting on events also costs money. I don't mention these things as the sole reason why MUFF events are ending. I went into this fully embracing the commitments because it was something that I saw as a valuable use of my time and money and myself and the team have happily poured in both over the past three years. But that combined with other factors (yay, life) made me realize that for me, personally, it was time.
It's only slightly ironic that our last two screenings have been our first ever sell-outs. Would I be writing this goodbye letter if all of our screenings were sell outs? I honestly have no idea. Film screening events are tricky in that regard too: trying to stay true to your mission whilst also giving the public something they want to see. We had our hits and misses over the past three years, of course. We also had an incredibly varied program which admittedly made it hard for us to develop a core audience but at the same time I completely stand by because women make all sorts of movies—comedies, horror, dramas, rom coms—and we wanted to screen them ALLLLLLLL. We always poll our audiences to see who has been to a prior MUFF event and generally only a few people would raise their hands. So, I guess the "glass half full" there is that each month we were tapping into an entirely new crowd of people and sharing with them the power of women in film. Cool? Cool.
Overwhelmingly, this adventure with MUFF has been one of the greatest I've ever embarked on. It's helped me to find my feminist voice and a platform I believe in. It's introduced me to incredible works by incredibly talented women. It's made me more aware of and challenged my cis white privilege and bias. I've met the most incredible people through working on MUFF: teammates who became friends, rad women running equally rad organizations , industry powerhouses.
MUFF was a teensy idea I had because I really like photobooths. And in three years it grew into this big, beautiful beast that included branches in NYC and SF, a short film program highlighting local female filmmakers, a documentary screening series, a conversation series, and a blog. And it absolutely wouldn't have been possible without our team, so thank you, thank you, beautiful MUFFians of present and past: Lisa, Jenn, Emily, Andrea, Nicole, Ariadna, Tracy, Ali, Brandy, Richelle, Sydney, Nicole, Andree-Anne, Acacia, Chelsea, Tia, Lindsay, Natalie, Aubrey, and Kate.
And of course, we had many incredible sponsors over the years, including our long-time pals The Candy Bar, Beguiling, Condom Shack, and of course our loving home The Carlton. We also had the pleasure of working with some incredible organizations like Christie Pits Film Festival, Goethe Institut, TIFF, and Inside Out. (See here for a full list of sponsors and co-presentations.)
You may have noticed I've been carefully saying that MUFF "events" are ending. And that is because MUFF is only partially saying goodbye. (Finally, some good news!) Our events are coming to an end, yes, but MUFF will continue to live on via the magic of the internet. Swoosh! (That's the sound the internet makes.) We've built such a great online community and I want to continue to use it as a platform to champion women in film. Our social media handles and newsletter will live on, where we will continue to promote other awesome local female-centric events as well as topical news and stories. We will also keep partnering and co-presenting with incredible organizations that align with MUFF's mission. Our blog will continue to highlight female filmmakers. And, who knows, maybe there's even a one-off event in our future. (But only after I take a super long nap.)
I asked the team if they wanted to share some parting words, which you can read below. (You should probably grab some tissues first.) Keep an eye on these powerhouse women as they move on to their next adventures. THEY ARE FORCES TO BE RECKONED WITH. Otherwise, please come to our final screening of Little Women or else. I mean, please!
Lots of love,
ANDREA: The MUFF Society combined two of my favourite things, female friendship and women in film. It was a joy to work with the intelligent and passionate MUFFians and to meet fellow film-lovers in the community!
TRACY: I joined the MUFF team just this past summer and sorely regret not having joined earlier! The amazing team who run The MUFF Society do so with passion, and lift all female filmmakers, and each other. It’s clear how much the screenings meant to its attendees, and how much fun was had. I’m sad to see the screenings go but have no doubts of the positive impact MUFF will continue to have online.
ALI: I remember going to the first MUFF screening for Clueless and fell in love. However, I moved out of Toronto and missed so much of their growth. When I finally decided to come back and live in the city I knew I had to be apart of this amazing group in any way that I could. Working with these stunning and captivating ladies these last few months has been inspiring. Seeing women thrive and support each other in the boys club that is the film world, it was truly an honor to be apart of this team. While, we might be closing the theater doors, we still be staying strong online. In light of everything that is happening in Hollywood and in the industry, we, as women, need to stay strong and support each other. Together we can make a change. Together we can all be MUFFians. I am so privileged to know these beautiful and courageous women. It has been truly life changing.
JENN: The MUFF Society was a club where we could all come together and curate events that celebrated all the filmmakers we find inspiring. It was wonderful to see films I’d never seen before and to relive old cult classics from my youth. Thank you to everyone who made this happen! Celebrating women in film is so important and I know as we go our separate ways, we are all going to champion female filmmakers!
BRANDY: I've been diving into MUFF since the very first screening, and I'm so sad it ended! I'm glad that I got to be a part of the team in a small way, even if it was just the last few screenings. MUFF may be leaving, but I'll cherish the muffories forever.
LISA: Joining The MUFF Society and helping it to grow has been one of the most important and most fulfilling things I have done in my life thus far. It is here that I discovered a cause I care deeply about and joined the fight for women in film, and for women everywhere. It is here that I grew leaps and bounds as a person, a woman, and a feminist. It is here that I connected with so many incredible women and made lifelong friends that I love and admire more than I can explain in words. It is here that I gained the skills and the confidence to take on new challenges and to start up projects of my own. MUFF has taken up a lot of space in my heart these past three years and I will never, ever forget all that we have done, everything I have learned, and all the people I have met. Although the end of the MUFF screenings has made me incredibly sad, I do look forward to contributing to the continuation of MUFF’s online presence and to keeping the MUFF name alive.
EMILY: I started out simply as an admirer of the MUFF Society, interviewing founder Siân for a former project focused on women in online film criticism. I have to admit I was kind of afraid to ask to be a part of MUFF at first, simply because I wasn't so confident in my actual voice and unsure how to take up space in the film community, where women and other marginalized groups are still not always welcomed. That all changed when they invited me to partner on a screening Ginger Snaps, and then trusted me to launch a new MUFF spinoff, Reel Girl Talk. Through MUFF and Reel Girl Talk, I found the support I needed to be comfortable to speak out (in real life, not just online!) and do what I'd always been hoping to do: elevate other women's voices, both in film and other mediums. I'm sad to see MUFF go, but look forward to supporting the team's new projects, as I know they will continue the good fight wherever they are.