In just five years, the Nevada Women’s Film Festival has gone from a small gathering put on by a few dedicated organizers to one of the major events on the Las Vegas film festival calendar. This year’s festival at Downtown’s Eclipse Theaters had strong attendance at every screening I went to, including a few with audience members sitting on the floor or standing in the corridor because every seat was filled. And more importantly, festival organizers (led by founder and executive director Nikki Corda) helped foster a sense of community, drawing a large number of filmmakers for a relatively small festival, including Vanguard Award recipients Jordana Spiro and Angelica Nwandu, whose film “Night Comes On” was a winner at Sundance last year.
“Night Comes On” is a sensitive coming-of-age drama about a teenager just released from juvenile detention, reconnecting with her younger sister and coming to terms with her troubled family history, including a violent father who was responsible for her mother’s death. Stars Dominique Fishback and newcomer Tatum Marilyn Hall both do great work, and the screenplay by Spiro and Nwandu tackles weighty concerns without being heavy-handed or manipulative. Although there were technical difficulties that marred the screening, that didn’t dampen the audience enthusiasm for the hour-plus of conversation with the filmmakers afterward.