Q: What does being named the ACTRA National Woman of the Year mean to you?
It’s hugely gratifying, at once thrilling and humbling.
Q: You won the Broadcasting Corporation Newfoundland Award for playing ‘Ariel Flint’ on the long-running CBC Radio comedy The Great Eastern. Tell us about this.
Playing Ariel Flint — feminazi political panelist— on The Great Eastern is a career highlight. Working with the talent who created such an original, brilliant weekly radio show was dreamy. The reward was showing up in the studio and getting to play with the creators and performers. It doesn’t get any better [than this].
Noreen Golfman with Oscar-winning filmmaker Bridget Berman in 2017.
There can no longer be any running away from or avoiding the subject of gender equity in the industry.
Q: You founded the St. John’s International Women's Film Festival three decades ago. In general, how has the landscape changed for film festivals and cinema over the last 30 years?
The landscape has only recently started shifting, and not quite fast enough, but it is changing. We have been working the festival for 30 years with little sign of improved representation of women in the industry. It’s shocking to be honest. The #MeToo movement has a lot to do with the recent shift, sure, but the industry, with the glorious exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, has been an impenetrable male fortress.
Barbara Doran, Gordon Pinsent and Noreen Golfman at 2017 The River of my Dreams St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival premiere.
Q: You are involved with a number of organizations – how do you stay focused and organized?
Ha! My husband would tell you I usually do four or five things at once, including talking to him, but to be honest, I think it’s critical to make sure all that one does makes sense, is integrated, part of a coherent whole. I came through academia as a film studies student and scholar [at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador], and as a feminist. Public engagement is a big part of Memorial’s identity and it was natural to extend my interest in film and representation into the arts community here. One thing has literally led to another, and all pieces complement each other.
The Grand Seduction opening at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in 2013, L to R: Gordon Pinsent, Noreen Golfman, Valerie Creighton, Barbara Doran, Carole Brabant, C. Grant Machum and Mark Sloan.
Q: How do we continue to advance gender equity in our recorded media industries?
We need to hold each other accountable; move the needle. There can no longer be any running away from or avoiding the subject of gender equity in the industry. And finally, the industry, big and small, is stepping up. It’s now about moral and ethical compliance.
Deepa Mehta’s Beeba Boys was the closing night gala at the 2015 St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.
Q: Do you have any special advice for actors and creators who are just starting out?
Shyness generally doesn’t get you anywhere.
Festival 2018 opening night and provincial premiere of Audience of Chairs, L to R: Marina Cardoni, Nicole Steeves, Martine Blue, Shelley Thompson, Kerry Gamberg, Carol Whiteman, Noreen Golfman, Deanne Foley, Anne Kmetyko, Lori McCurdy and Lulu Keating.