They were definitely the women of the moment. For one thing, they made a $400,000 film. For another: last year, it played the Cannes Film Festival, and last night it opened a festival at the Kennedy Center.
"I think you just get a bee in your bonnet," said Dina Silver, the producer of "Old Enough," a charming film about two New York girls coming of age and their unlikely friendship. "We just decided we wanted to make this movie. I'm not saying it was a cinch. But we were not willing not to let it happen."
Marisa Silver, the writer and director of this film and sister of the producer, added, "We were not willing to not make it."
"That's what I meant," said Dina. Marisa rolled her eyes.
Last night, their film and their willingness were praised at the gala opening of Women Make Movies IV, the fourth international film festival of works by women sponsored by a group called Women in Film and Video. "Old Enough" was the first of 10 films, each of which will be preceded by a different short film (all done by women) that constitute the festival running at the American Film Institute through March 17.
Textile designer Frankie Welch held an early evening party for the festival participants and planners at her Watergate apartment. Then there was a party in the Kennedy Center atrium and two screenings of "Old Enough" at the AFI Theater at the Kennedy Center.
The Silvers were at the Welch party during the first screening.
"Everybody's laughing -- at all the right moments," reported Michael Carr, a former president of Women in Film and Video.
"Oh, I'm so glad I'm not there!" said Dina Silver.
In a field that has long shunned women, the festival highlights films that do get made by women. This year's 10 were selected from 900 screened films. Festival programmer Karen Jaehne scours the world for them. "It means sometimes seeing 20 minutes of one and walking out," she says, "and sometimes seeing one and spending a month trying to find the director."
Among the guests at Welch's were actress Ellen Burstyn, the honorary chair of the festival, and production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein.
Von Brandenstein was production designer for "Amadeus" and just finished the movie "A Chorus Line." Her work in "Amadeus" got her an Oscar nomination. "I'm glad just to be going," she said. "What it does just to be nominated, especially in the technical fields, is quite a lot."
"Women are breaking through all the barriers," said producer Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, president of Women in Film and Video. "They're coming from in front of the camera to behind the camera. There are the Jessica Langes, the Sally Fields."
And now the Silvers -- who grew up with film. Their mother is writer-director Joan Micklin Silver. Their father, Raphael Silver, is a director and producer.
The Silvers said both of their parents assiduously avoided interfering in their film. "They never came to the set," said Marisa Silver. "I think each was there for an hour."
And the sisters say they have no problem working together. "We're still sisters," said Marisa. "We both wanted to make the best movie. It's spared us a lot of those ego battles."
And though they are young and rising stars, they were once again reminded that there's someone always rising behind you when Sarah Boyd, one of the stars of "Old Enough," walked into the party.
"I almost didn't recognize you," said Dina Silver. "You look so grown up." She laughs. "You know you're getting older when you start saying things like that."
Dina says she's 27. Marisa says she's 24.
"I'm 15," Boyd says playfully.