20th FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL, "Always Honest, Not Always Pretty"


Supported by Encore+

The Honorary Director Award and Best in the Biz Tribute signifies innovation, creativity, and perseverance in the film and television industry.


Valerie Buhagiar is no stranger to FeFF. She is an award-winning independent filmmaker and is beloved and much-celebrated by the Female Eye. Over the years, we’ve had the great privilege of presenting all of her films at FeFF, where Valerie has garnered several Best Film awards for her work. We are delighted to announce her film “Carmen” as this year’s opening gala feature on Thursday, June 9, at 7PM. “Carmen” is nominated for Best of Show and Best Canadian Feature at FeFF.


Join us for an engaging and enlightening program with Valerie Buhagiar as we highlight her films and discuss her work and the trajectory of her career – as actor, screenwriter, and director!


Moderated by

Leslie-Ann Coles, FeFF Founder/Artistic and Executive Director.


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Valerie Buhagiar is an award-winning Toronto-based actor and filmmaker.

She first gained international recognition playing the leading roles in Bruce McDonald’s “Highway 61” and “Roadkill.” She has been a host for “The Showcase Revue” and has appeared as a guest star in various TV episodic series and in several independent features.

“The Passion of Rita Camilleri” was Valerie’s writing, directing, and producing debut. The film has won several international prizes. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, in the Czech Republic, held a retrospective of Valerie’s work as an actor and filmmaker. Other filmmaking credits include “One Day I Stood Still”; “L’amour L’amour Shut the Door Por Favor”; “Tell Us the Truth Josephine: A Bitter Immigrant Story”; “Small, Stupid and Insignificant” (both “Tell Us the Truth Josephine” and “Small, Stupid and Insignificant” won the Best Experimental Film award at the Female Eye Film Festival); and “The Fall of Grace,” a short film for the National Theatre School of Canada.


Valerie’s second feature film, “It’s Hard to Be Human,” has finished its festival run and won Best Canadian Feature at FeFF; it has worldwide distribution. Her first feature film, “The Anniversary,” won Best Narrative Comedy at Cinequest; Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Honorable Mention Best Feature at the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival; and an ACTRA nomination for Best Actor for Colin Mochrie. Her third feature film, “Carmen,” is a Maltese/Canadian co-production, shot in Malta and starring Natascha McElhone. It won Best Feature at the Canadian Film Fest.


Valerie has two feature films in development.

Honorary Diretcor FEFF Honorary Director Award 2022

When I answered Leslie Ann Coles’s call about receiving the Honorary Director Award at this year’s Female Eye Film Festival, I felt a warm embrace, along with the accumulation of years sitting at my kitchen table writing, organizing, and envisioning project after project – and soon after, a heavy door opened to deeper and more fearless paths.

FeFF has presented four of my films since 2008. This year, the festival will open with my fourth feature film as writer/director: “Carmen.” It is communities like FeFF and the WIDC [Women in the Director’s Chair] that have propelled me forward to reveal my true voice in cinema.

The greatest gift you can give someone is inspiration, and the team at FeFF has done this over and over again.

I am truly grateful and honoured.

Thank you.






(Only VIP Pass-holders can enter)

Q&A with filmmakers and special guests followed by a reception in the Founders Lounge.

Directed by Valerie Buhagiar.


“Carmen” is a charming story, inspired by true events, set in a village in Malta. Carmen has looked after her brother, the priest at the local church, ever since she was 16 years old. Now almost 50, Carmen is suddenly left to start a new life. Facing her past, Carmen brings colour to the lives of the villagers in this compelling story about a woman finding her voice.


(2021, Drama, 1:39:00, Canada)


Supported by



She Walks in Beauty: Valerie Buhagiar’s CARMEN Presents a Maltese Cinderella Tale With A Twist

Article by Nikita Helewa.


Opening the 20th Annual Female Eye Film Festival for its Feature Gala evening on June 9th, 2022, Valerie Buhagiar’s latest release of Carmen, brings to the screen a charming and quietly beautiful film. Portrayed by the iridescent Natasha McElhone, this leading