Featured image from “Morvern Callar”

Female directors are the focus of a new film series hosted by The Opalka Gallery starting this Thursday, March 5 at 7 PM. Series organizer Jamey Stevenson, a video game designer and co-founder and interim executive director of Tech Valley Game Space, says he was both inspired by the film clubs he attended while living and working in London and Dundee, Scotland and the larger discussion sparked by this year’s Oscars that failed to recognize any women in the Best Director or Best Film categories. 

Stevenson, who is originally from the area, spent time in London and Scotland in the last few years for work, returning to the region this April. Hoping to find a screening series not unlike one he attended in Dundee, a city with about 50,000 more residents than Albany, Stevenson was disappointed. So he reached out to The Opalka Gallery.

Photo of Jamey Stevenson by David Howard King

“There was this series run by a local film studies professor there. And you know, it was just a great vibe. Like not just to be able to see the films but just to get together in like a communal environment and sort of have a discussion about the film and, and just hear what other people think about it,” Stevenson says. 

The first three films in the series feature female directors telling powerful and provocative stories that focus on female characters. “Morvern Callar” directed by Lynne Ramsay will kick off the series March 5, “Wendy and Lucy” by Kelly Reichardt will screen April 16 and “Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade will screen May 7. 

Stevenson has a vision for the series but he’s also interested in fostering community and discussion. To that end he expects to take film recommendations from attendees. 

“That’s the kind of thing that I’m interested in, not just making it about my selections. I think for this initial set, it was just a little bit easier to get it off the ground and pick a good theme,” Stevenson says. 

In addition, he says, “If people have a certain theme and they may not even have particular films in mind, but they just want us to try to figure out and curate a few things around that, then we’d love to do that as well.”

Opalka: Female Auteurs has screenings March 5, April 16 and May 7 at 7 PM. Entry is free.