As the world of politics is still seemingly dominated by men, perhaps it comes as some surprise to know that Vancouver is home to three queer female politicians: MP Libby Davies, MLA Mable Elmore and ex-Vancouver City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth. Filmmaker Angelina Contada gives us a snapshot into their lives in her new documentary short Powerful Out Women (POW!): On the Campaign Trail.
Realizing that Vancouver was represented by these three queer women at all three levels of government, Cantada knew she had a unique story to tell. Getting the three women, who are used to the limelight, was the easy part. Convincing their partners to be part of it was a different story.
“I had no trouble convincing [Libby, Mable and Ellen] to be part of the film. Their partners however, who are very private, I had to work on them,” said Cantada. “Up until the day we were filming the interviews, I wasn’t sure if the partners would agree to be on-camera. They did and that segment turned out to be my favourite part of the film.”
Having worked on the film for three years, in what she calls her long journey for 22 minutes, Cantada says that the idea of the documentary actually came after she worked on documenting Elmore’s 2009 political campaign.
“The idea to produce a documentary came in 2010. That’s when I started shooting purposely for the film. But it was only in 2011, when we thought all three women would be running for re-election in the same year, that I actively filmed and followed the three women,” explained Cantada.
Thrilled to be premiering her documentary short at this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Cantada hopes that audiences will find inspiration from the role models she didn’t have growing up in the conservative and predominately Catholic Philippines.
“In the Philippines my sexual orientation was carefully guarded at work for fear of being ridiculed or not taken seriously. I grew up with no queer role models – not in school, not in business and certainly not in politics,” she explained. “I want people watching this film, particularly young queer women, to feel empowered, knowing they can achieve great things without fear or shame and knowing they can be whoever they want to be without compromising or hiding who they really are.”
Powerful Out Women (POW!): On the Campaign Trail
A look into the lives of three amazing women who are making noise, making change and making a difference. World Premiere on Sunday, August 19th at 5pm at the Cineplex Odeon Theatre as part of a double-bill that includes Lesbian Factory. Visit https://queerfilmfestival.ca for tickets and information.