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LITERATURE: Women of Words
 
This collection of diverse women writers and poets showcases some of the most outspoken, talented and pioneering women in literature today. From great American writers, activists, and feminists like Tillie Lerner Olsen, Audre Lorde and Dorothy West, to Arab writer Nawal Al Saadawi from Egypt, and Asian American poets, Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong, this is an outstanding collection of great literary women.

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films in this collection

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As I Remember It
A Portrait of Dorothy West

A film by Salem Mekuria

This intimate portrait of writer Dorothy West explores the forgotten role of women in the Harlem Renaissance. From the perspective of her 83 years, the still active writer relates her memories of growing up African American, privileged and enthralled by literature. Archival footage and photographs, interviews and excerpts from her autobiographical novel, THE LIVING IS EASY, capture West's fascinating story. More


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Between the Lines: Asian American Women's Poetry
A film by Yunah Hong

BETWEEN THE LINES offers rare interviews with over 15 major Asian-Pacific American women poets. Organized in interwoven sections such as Immigration, Language, Family, Memory, and Spirituality, it is a sophisticated merging of Asian-American history and identity with the questions of performance, voice, and image. More


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Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
A film by Roberta Grossman

At only 22, Hungarian poet Hannah Senesh made the ultimate sacrifice – having already escaped Nazi-occupied Europe for Palestine and freedom, she returned, parachuting in behind enemy lines in a valiant effort to save Hungary’s Jews from deportation to Auschwitz and certain death. Captured immediately upon crossing the border into Hungary, Hannah was tortured and taken to a prison in Budapest, yet she refused to reveal the coordinates of her fellow resistance fighters - even when they also arrested her mother, Catherine. Hannah became a symbol of courage for her fellow prisoners, encouraging them to remain in good spirits, never losing faith in her Jewish identity, even as she was led out to be executed by firing squad. More

Academy Awards, Short List Best Documentary
Heartland Film Festival, Crystal Heart Award

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The Desert Is No Lady
A film by Shelley Williams in collaboration with Susan Palmer

With provocative imagery and spirited juxtapositions, THE DESERT IS NO LADY looks at the Southwest through the eyes of its leading contemporary women artists and writers, including author Sandra Cisneros. The nine women profiled are Pat Mora (poet), Sandra Cisneros (writer), Lucy Tapahonso (poet), Emmi Whitehorse (painter), Harmony Hammond (painter), Meridel Rubinstein (photographer), Nora Naranjo Morse (sculptor), Pola Lopez de Jaramillo (painter) and Ramona Sakiestewa (tapestry artist). The Southwest is a border territory - where cultures meet and mix - and the work of these nine women from Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican-American and Anglo backgrounds reflects its special characteristics. THE DESERT IS NO LADY is a vibrant celebration of the diversity of women's creativity and changing multicultural America. More


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The Edge of Each Other's Battles
The Vision of Audre Lorde

A film by Jennifer Abod

This powerful documentary is a moving tribute to legendary black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992). One of the most celebrated icons of feminism's second wave, Lorde inspired several generations of activists with her riveting poetry, serving as a catalyst for change and uniting the communities of which she was a part: black arts and black liberation, women's liberation and lesbian and gay liberation. Nowhere was this more apparent than the groundbreaking I AM YOUR SISTER CONFERENCE which brought together 1200 activists from 23 countries, including thrilling footage of the inimitable Lorde herself, and candid interviews with conference organizers. More

Black International Cinema, Berlin, Best Doc.

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Halving the Bones
A film by Ruth Ozeki

Skeletons in the closet? HALVING THE BONES delivers a surprising twist to this tale. This cleverly-constructed film tells the story of Ruth, a half-Japanese filmmaker living in New York, who has inherited a can of bones that she keeps on a shelf in her closet. The bones are half of the remains of her dead Japanese grandmother, which she is supposed to deliver to her estranged mother. A narrative and visual web of family stories, home movies and documentary footage, HALVING THE BONES provides a spirited exploration of the meaning of family, history and memory, cultural identity and what it means to have been named after Babe Ruth! More


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Mitsuye and Nellie
Asian American Poets

A film by Allie Light and Irving Saraf

This absorbing documentary examines the lives of Asian Americans through the inspirational poetry of Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong. Interviews, rare archival footage, intimate family scenes and a lively dialogue between these fascinating women underscore the different histories of Chinese and Japanese Americans but also shared experiences of biculturalism and generational difference. Ideal for literature and poetry classes, women's studies and Asian American groups. More


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No Job For A Woman: The Women Who Fought To Report WWII
A film by Michèle Midori Fillion

When World War II broke out, reporter Martha Gellhorn was so determined to get to the frontlines that she left husband Ernest Hemingway, never to be reunited. Ruth Cowan’s reporting was hampered by a bureau chief who refused to talk to her. Meanwhile, photojournalist Dickey Chappelle wanted to get so close to the action that she could feel bullets whizzing by. This award-winning documentary tells the colorful story of how these three tenacious war correspondents forged their now legendary reputations during the war—when battlefields were considered no place for a woman. More

2012 History Makers Awards, Best Use of Archive in a History Production, Nominee

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Nu Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China
A film by Yue-Qing Yang

In feudal China, women, usually with bound feet, were denied educational opportunities and condemned to social isolation. But in Jian-yong county in Hunan province, peasant women miraculously developed a separate written language, called Nu Shu, meaning "female writing." Believing women to be inferior, men disregarded this new script, and it remained unknown for centuries. It wasn't until the 1960s that Nu Shu caught the attention of Chinese authorities, who suspected that this peculiar writing was a secret code for international espionage. Today, interest in this secret script continues to grow, as evidenced by the wide critical acclaim of Lisa See’s recent novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, about Nu Shu. More


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The Poetry Deal: A Film with Diane di Prima
A film by Melanie La Rosa

She remains the most famous woman poet of the Beat Generation; her friend Allen Ginsberg called her “heroic in life and poetics.” THE POETRY DEAL is an impressionistic documentary about legendary poet Diane di Prima. Still actively writing in her late 70s in San Francisco, where she is poet laureate, di Prima is fierce, funny and philosophical. She is a pioneer who broke boundaries of class and gender to publish her writing, and THE POETRY DEAL opens a window looking back through more than 50 years of poetry, activism, and cultural change, providing a unique women’s perspective of the Beat movement. More


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Poetry of Resilience
A film by Katja Esson

Academy® Award nominated director Katja Esson’s (FERRY TALES, LATCHING ON) exquisitely made film explores survival, strength and the power of the human heart, body and soul—as expressed through poetry. She highlights six different poets, who individually survived Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Iranian Revolution. By summoning the creative voice of poetry to tell stories of survival and witness, each reclaims humanity and dignity in the wake of some of history’s most dehumanizing circumstances. More

Woodstock Film Festival *Winner Best Short Doc
IDA DocuWeeks, Los Angeles *Academy Award Qualification

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Sweatshop Cinderella: A Portrait of Anzia Yezierska
A film by Suzanne Wasserman

In the forefront of early twentieth-century American literature about immigrant women’s lives, Anzia Yezierska’s work includes short fiction, novels, and essays, and her output spans 50 years. SWEATSHOP CINDERELLA, by award-winning filmmaker/historian Suzanne Wasserman, vividly depicts this Jewish immigrant writer’s amazing story. More


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Tillie Olsen: A Heart in Action
A film by Ann Hershey

This revelatory documentary is an inspiring homage to Tillie Lerner Olsen – a renegade, revolutionary, distinguished fiction and non-fiction writer, feminist, humanist, labor organizer and social activist. Politically active, class conscious, deeply joined to the world, Tillie countered the very core of American writing by immortalizing the lives of working class women and single mothers. Her short stories “Tell Me a Riddle,” and “I Stand Here Ironing,” galvanized the literary world and set in motion an essential new perspective on the lives of ordinary women. More


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Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker?
A film by Barbara Caspar

A multi-layered work featuring animation, archival footage and interviews with the likes of William Burroughs, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Hell, Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker by Austrian artist Barbara Caspar and co-produced by Annette Pisacane (Nico Icon) and Markus Fischer, is a thoughtful and creative film biography/essay on the late outlaw writer and punk icon, whose formally inventive novels, published from the ’70s through the mid-’90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon. More


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A Woman's Word
(Palabra de Mujer)

A film by Silvia G. Ponzoda

Beautiful and intimate, A WOMAN'S WORD depicts the life and writings of three exceptional authors of the Arab word – Nawal Al Saadawi from Egypt, Hanan Al Shaykh from Lebanon, and Janata Bennuna from Morocco. For all three women, becoming a writer was never a choice but a necessity – a vocation fought for and hard won. In her own way, each writer struggles as an Arab woman in a society that often wants to shut down her powerful voice. Conveying the intense drive of these women to write as a way to make sense of the world, to battle their sense of alienation or to express their political dissent, this documentary shatters the clichéd image of the oppressed and helpless Arab woman too often portrayed in the media. More

San Diego Women Film Festival, Jury Award



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Equity in Education


The films in this essential collection inspire social change in education. Learn about the role and impact of Title IX, examine gender disparities in math and science, and follow the personal story of an insightful high-school student whose life has been shaped by busing and school integration. See the full collection here.

Behind the Lens:
Women in Cinema

This extraordinary collection features titles that celebrate the lives and achievements of immigrants in the U.S. and explore ongoing struggles of immigrants today.

Shooting Women

As directors, producers, actors, and screenwriters, women have utilized the power of film to create and transform their stories and images. From sexual politics as a cinematic subject in SUFFRAGETTES IN THE SILENT CINEMA and as a cinematographic choice in FILMING DESIRE to interviews with women directors around the globe in SHOOTING WOMEN and SISTERS OF THE SCREEN, this collection presents a look at women’s crucial contributions to cinema’s history and global reach.


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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us