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2016 Releases

 

 

absense

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  Absences (Ausencias)
A film by Tatiana Huezo

ABSENCES, by award winning filmmaker Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place), exposes the ever-intensifying phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Mexico. A boy and his father disappear one morning, snatched off the road by armed men. Left behind, alone with her daughter, Lulu, a victim who refuses to give in, decides to tell the unacceptable story: the unfillable void, the absence of loved ones, the unanswered questions and the suffocating silence. After 5 years, absence has her living in a limbo that gives way to desire, hope and the struggle to find her 9-year old son Brandon and her husband, alive. This hauntingly beautiful short film illuminates the way disappearance affects women, and broadens our awareness on disappearance and its social consequences in Mexico and Central America. More.


Guanajuato International Film Festival, Best Mexican Short Film Award



dont' tell

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  Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)
A film by Mikaela Shwer

Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Angy arrived with her mother, fleeing violence, poverty, and civil war in their native Colombia. For 20 years they live in the shadows, struggling to stay afloat financially and avoid deportation while battling a complex and inequitable immigration system. "Don’t tell anyone" is a phrase whispered often and branded deeply on the consciousness of all who are undocumented. 

SF DocFest
dreamcatcher

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Dreamcatcher
A film by Kim Longinotto

“You got any dreams you wanna catch?” Sundance award winner “Dreamcatcher” takes us into a hidden world of prostitution and sexual trafficking through the eyes of one of its survivors, Brenda Myers-Powell. A former teenage prostitute with a drug habit, Brenda defied the odds to become a powerful advocate for change in her community, and works to help women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. DREAMCATCHER lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of these young women, their families and the communities where they live in Chicago and Brenda’s unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around. More.


Sundance Film Festival, Directing Award, World Cinema Documentary

DOC NYC, Robert & Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence
dreamcatcher

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Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers

A 3-part series by Kathy KleimanJon Palfreman and Kate McMahon
In the United States, women are vastly underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, holding under 25% of STEM jobs and a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees. Great Unsung Women of Computing is a series of three remarkable documentary films that show how women revolutionized the computing and Internet technology we use today, inspiring female students to believe that programming careers lie within their grasp. More.


 
lovecov

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  Love Between the Covers
A film by Laurie Kahn

Romance fiction outsells all other genres of writing, from crime to science fiction, combined. So why is the genre so often dismissed as frivolous "scribble"? Could it be that it's because the overwhelming majority of writers and readers are women? This funny and inspiring look into a billion dollar industry turns up trailblazers who push the discussion on gender, race, sexuality and diversity at the front lines of the biggest power shift in publishing. More.

Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival



on beauty

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On Beauty
A film by Joanna Rudnick

From Emmy®-nominated IN THE FAMILY filmmaker Joanna Rudnick and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films comes a story about challenging norms and redefining beauty. ON BEAUTY follows fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who left the fashion world when he grew frustrated with having to work within the restrictive parameters of the industry’s standard of beauty. After a chance encounter with a young woman who had the genetic condition albinism, Rick re-focused his lens on those too often relegated to the shadows to change the way we see and experience beauty. More.

Cleveland International Film Festival, Jury Award, Best Documentary Short
bowen

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  The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen
A film by Jennifer Abod

An inspiring film by award winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Abod, PhD (The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde). 

The Passionate Pursuits provides a window into the life of Angela Bowen who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era, and went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist organizer, writer and professor. More.

portraits

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Portraits of a Search
A film by Alicia Calderón

More than 20,000 people disappeared in Mexico during the horrifically violent war on drugs waged by former President Calderon. With each missing person, a family is left behind in a desperate search to get answers from a government that is suspiciously ambivalent. Putting a human face on the most harrowing of statistics, director Alicia Calderon courageously captures the stories of three mothers - Natividad, Guadalupe, and Margarita - as they search for their children who have gone missing. With their lives now completely devoted to seeking out the truth, they pursue any avenue possible, in the face of an indifferent government which considers their loved ones to be "collateral casualties" of the drug war. More.

Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival

portraits

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The Room of Bones (El Cuarto de los Huesos)

A film by Marcela Zamora Chamorro
Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidos, or missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. In THE ROOM OF BONES, El Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora follows a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis. More.

Margaret Mead Film Festival

 

samediff

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  The Same Difference
A film by Nneka Onuorah

THE SAME DIFFERENCE is a compelling documentary about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on gender roles. Director Nneka Onuorah takes an in-depth look at the internalized hetero-normative gender roles that have become all too familiar within the African American lesbian and bisexual community. Onuorah shows how these behaviors reproduce the homophobic oppression and masculine privilege of the straight world, while looking for solutions in compelling discussions with community members. Self-identified studs—and the women who love them—discuss hypocrisy in terms of gender roles, performative expectations, and the silent disciplining that occurs between community members. This film features many queer celebrities, including actress Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from the critically acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, and Lea DeLaria from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, living daily with opinions about how identity should be portrayed. Onuroah’s engaging documentary shines a light on the relationships and experiences within the queer black female community, intersecting race, gender and sexuality. Required viewing for Women’s, Gender and Queer Studies. More.

Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature, NewFest LGBT Film Festival

unafraid

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  Unafraid: Voices From the Crime Victims Treatment Center
A film by Karin Venegas

A deeply personal documentary, UNAFRAID gives voice to four, diverse rape survivors and takes a historic look back at the pioneering treatment center where they now receive counseling. In her directorial debut, Karin Venegas highlights the work of two unsung feminist heroes in the movement for victims’ rights at the height of 1970s feminism and the Women’s Movement. From breaking victims’ silence to the revolutionary invention of the rape kit, this powerful film intimately explores the impact of rape and the capacity of ordinary individuals to effect change. More.

Trenton Film Festival, Best Documentary Short Award



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Voices of Muslim Women from the US South
A film by Maha Marouan and Rachel Raimist

When one thinks of the American Deep South, the image of veiled Muslim students strolling the University of Alabama campus is the last thing that comes to mind. VOICES OF MUSLIM WOMEN FROM THE US SOUTH is a documentary that explores the Muslim culture through the lens of five University of Alabama Muslim students. The film tackles how Muslim women carve a space for self-expression in the Deep South and how they negotiate their identities in a predominantly Christian society that often has unflattering views about Islam and Muslims. Through interviews with students and faculty at Alabama, this film examines representations and issues of agency by asking: How do Muslim female students carve a space in a culture that thinks of Muslims as terrorists and Muslim women as backward? More.

 




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Wilhemina's War
A film by June Cross

In much of America, progress in HIV/AIDS treatment suggests the worst is behind us, but every year 50,000 Americans are still diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS. Astonishingly, it’s one of the leading causes of death of African American women. And nearly half of the Americans with HIV live in the South, where the AIDS epidemic has taken root in rural communities. WILHEMINA’S WAR is an intimate, personal narrative that tells the story of one family’s struggle with HIV over the course of five years. Despite facing institutional and personal obstacles every step of the way, 62-year-old Wilhemina Dixon works tirelessly to combat the stigma and care for her daughter and granddaughter, both HIV-positive. More.

DOC NYC

 

     
2015 Releases

   
Alice Walker

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  Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
A film by Pratibha Parmar

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman. Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. Her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of profound social and political changes in North American history during the Civil Rights Movement. Mixing powerful archival footage with moving testimonials from friends and colleagues such as Howard Zinn, Angela Y. Davis, Gloria Steinem, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Quincy Jones, Steven Spielberg and Danny Glover, ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH offers audiences a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, intellectual, self-confessed renegade and human rights activist. More.



violence

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  Feminism Inshallah: A History Of Arab Feminism

A film by Feriel Ben Mahmoud
The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This groundbreaking documentary recounts Arab feminism’s largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today’s tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring. Moving from Tunisia to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, filmmaker and author Feriel Ben Mahmoud tracks the progress of Arab women in their long march to assert their full rights and achieve empowerment. Featuring previously unreleased archival footage and exclusive multigenerational interviews, FEMINISM INSHALLAH is an indispensable resource for Women’s Studies, Global Feminism, Middle East and Islamic Studies. More.


golden gate

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Golden Gate Girls
A film by S. Louisa Wei

In GOLDEN GATE GIRLS author and professor S. Louisa Wei tells the story of filmmaker Esther Eng, the first woman to direct Chinese-language film in the US, and the most prominent woman director in Hong Kong in the 1930’s. A San Francisco native and open lesbian, her contribution to film history is sadly overlooked – her 11 feature films mostly lost. After the retirement of director Dorothy Arzner in 1943 and before Ida Lupino began directing in 1949, Eng was the only woman directing feature length films in the US. More.

India's Daughter


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  India's Daughter
A film by Leslee Udwin

INDIA’S DAUGHTER is the powerful story of the 2012, brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus of a 23 year old medical student, who later died from her injuries.  In 2012, it made international headlines and ignited protests by women in India and around the world.  India’s government banned the film while the BBC moved their planned broadcast up by days and ignited a new controversy. More.
     
India's Daughter


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  Inside Her Sex
A film by Sheona McDonald

While we live in a highly sexualized society, the messaging around female sexuality is distorted and rife with shame. What women should look like, who women should want, what women should desire...in fact, who women should be, is dictated to us from screens and pages and people. INSIDE HER SEX is a thought-provoking, feature-length documentary that explores female sexuality and shame through the eyes and experiences of three women from different walks of life, each brave enough to chart her own course of sexual discovery: Elle Chase, a popular sex blogger, Candida Royalle, the creator of Femme Productions Inc., a feminist, adult film company designed to speak with a woman’s voice and Samantha Allen, the ex-devout Mormon and current gender, sex, and tech writer for The Daily Beast. More.


IT WAS RAPE


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  It Was Rape
A film by Jennifer Baumgardner

U.S. sexual assault statistics are startling—and have remained unchanged for decades. The latest White House Council on Women and Girls report reveals that nearly one in five women experiences rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Among college student victims, who have some of the highest rates of sexual assault, just 12 percent report incidents to law enforcement officials. In earlier studies, 15% of sexual assault victims were younger than 13; 93% of juvenile victims knew their attacker.  More.
LEARNING TO SWALLOW

  Learning to Swallow
A film by Danielle Beverly

A haunting, riveting and ultimately empowering, portrait of a bipolar artist’s courageous and successful attempt to rebuild her life after a suicide attempt destroys her digestive system. More.
LESBIANA


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Lesbiana: A Parallel Revolution
A film by Myriam Fougère

A parallel, lesbian-feminist revolution was born out of the women’s and civil rights movements of the 60’s and 70’s. Filmmaker Myriam Fougère’s takes us on a road trip through the United States and Canada as she revisits the activists of the time who sparked this revolution to define their own culture. As active second-wave feminists, many lesbian women began to recognize that their sexual identity was not acknowledged or embraced by the traditional women’s movement. These artists, musicians, philosophers, and writers sought to establish communities centered exclusively on women where patriarchy simply did not exist. Women-only communities began to flourish in North America and around the world, resulting in a rich and vibrant culture that inspired important lesbian art, literature, and music. Told through photographs, archival footage, and contemporary interviews, Fougère’s film serves not only as a testament to the politics of the era, but also as a living yearbook and virtual reunion of these remarkable women, who laid the groundwork for generations to come. More.

 

let's get to

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  Let’s Get the Rhythm
A film by Irene Chagall

LET'S GET THE RHYTHM invites the viewer to explore the history of hand-clapping games around the world. Through wars and migrations, across language barriers and oceans, young girls connect with each other through thousands of variants—ancient as they are global—the film chronicles these rhythmic and recreational practices. Guided by three eight-year-olds from diverse cultural backgrounds on inner-city playgrounds in New York City, the film is a charming and beautiful survey with universal insight into the budding social mind and of the empowering impact of the practice on the lives of women. The charm of their personal insight is complemented by archival footage collected by Alan Lomax and observations by folklorists, academics, musicians, ethnomusicologists and cognitive neuroscientists. LET'S GET THE RHYTHM is a delightful homage to the beauty of the beat and to storytelling among young girls and is a necessary film for Anthropology and Sociology courses. More.

manson

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  Life After Manson
A film by Olivia Klaus

Life After Manson is an intimate portrait of one of the world’s most infamous crimes and notorious killers. At 21 years old, Patricia Krenwinkel callously murdered three people at the command of Charles Manson. Now 66 years old, she continues to be demonized by the public and haunted by the suffering she caused over four decades ago. Through an exclusive interview with and never before seen footage of Krenwinkel, filmmaker Olivia Klaus (SIN BY SILENCE), frames a historically irreconcilable story through a complex emotional lens, offering insight into what led a suburban girl to commit crimes the world will never forget. More.

PLAYING WITH FIRE


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  Miss America
A film by Lisa Ades, Executive Produced by Lola Van Wagenen & Jeanne Houck

Tracking the country’s oldest beauty contest—from its inception in 1921 as a local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the country’s most popular events—MISS AMERICA paints a vivid picture of an institution that has come to reveal much about a changing nation. The pageant is about commercialism and sexual politics, about big business and small towns. But beyond the symbolism lies a human story—at once moving, inspiring, infuriating, funny, and poignant. More.
Nada


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  Nada’s Revolution
A film by Claudia Lisboa

A coming of age story in the wake of the Arab Spring, NADA’S REVOLUTION is an intimate portrait of a young, post-revolution Egyptian woman fighting for her freedom and independence in a society caught between old traditions and modernization. Amidst the political turmoil that has paralyzed Egypt for almost three years, we follow Nada’s struggle to establish herself as an independent woman and theater professional as she sets out to make her old dream come true: to work with children’s theater. When the revolution broke out in 2011, Nada–like many other young women–was full of energy and hope. But in the aftermath of the revolution and when the election of President Morsi further pushes the country into political turmoil, the situation appears hopeless. Nada is confronted with the question of how to stay true to her own dreams, while conservative ideas about gender roles and women’s freedom are hard to change. Nada’s fight is not over. More.

NEITHERHERE


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  Ni Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There)
A film by Gabriela Bortolamedi

NI AQUI, NI ALLA illuminates the challenges facing an undocumented college student and her family. Blanca, a second-year student at the University of California, Berkeley, crossed the border from Mexico into the United States with her parents when she was a child. As a student under the California DREAM Act who possess DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Blanca has temporary protection from deportation, though her undocumented parents, who live and work in California's agricultural Central Valley, do not. NI AQUI, NI ALLA paints an intimate portrait of an undocumented family as they support each other during a turning point in their lives and stay together through the distance. At a time in this country’s history where the debate around immigration is highly contested and demands to close the border are in the daily news, NEITHER HERE, NOR THERE paints a very human face on an issue that many use simply as partisan, political fodder. Essential viewing for Anthropology, Sociology and Multicultural and Immigration Studies. More.



old south


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Old South
A film by Danielle Beverly

OLD SOUTH, through a quiet unfolding story, provides a window into the underlying dynamics of race relations that influence so many American communities. In Athens, Georgia, a college fraternity traditionally known to fly the confederate flag moves to a historically black neighborhood and establishes their presence by staging an antebellum style parade. What starts with a neighborhood struggle over cultural legacies in the South, the opening of a community garden becomes a grounds for understanding, as well as a physical and emotional space for healing, offering a sense of possibility and hope for the future. More.

 


PLAYING WITH FIRE


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Playing With Fire: Women Actors Of Afghanistan

A film by Anneta Papathanassiou
In Afghanistan, women deciding to be actors make a dangerous choice. Banned under Taliban rule (1994-2001), Afghan theater is experiencing a comeback with many women at the forefront. But with powerful forces of Islamic fundamentalism, a resurgent Taliban, and patriarchal traditions in play, actresses often face the harshest criticism and are even sometimes viewed as prostitutes. Socially ostracized, and pressured to abandon their careers, they receive beatings and death threats for them and their family. Some are forced to flee the country and some are even killed. More.


violence

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  Private Violence
A film directed and produced by Cynthia Hill

PRIVATE VIOLENCE explores a simple but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the U.S., at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex) partners. Through the eyes of two survivors—Deanna Walters, a mother who seeks justice for the crimes committed against her at the hands of her estranged husband, and Kit Gruelle, an advocate who seeks justice for all women—we bear witness to the complex realities of intimate partner violence. Their experiences challenge entrenched and misleading assumptions, providing a lens into a world that is largely invisible; a world we have locked behind closed doors with our silence, our laws and our lack of understanding. PRIVATE VIOLENCE begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: "Why does he abuse?" "Why do we turn away?" "How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?"  More.


SUSANSONTAG

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Regarding Susan Sontag
A film by Nancy Kates

REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Endlessly curious, passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. This beautifully constructed documentary tracks Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words as read by Patricia Clarkson. More.

 

 

dragon


Slaying the Dragon and Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded
SLAYING THE DRAGON (1988) by Deborah Gee, SLAYING THE DRAGON: RELOADED (2011) by Elaine H. Kim

SLAYING THE DRAGON is a comprehensive look at media stereotypes of Asian and Asian American women since the silent era. From the racist use of white actors to portray Asians in early Hollywood films, through the success of Anna May Wong’s sinister dragon lady, to Suzie Wong and the ’50s geisha girls, to the Asian-American anchorwoman of today, this fascinating videotape shows how stereotypes of exoticism and docility have affected the perception of Asian-American women. Produced by Asian Women United, this invaluable resource has been widely used by universities and libraries. 

SLAYING THE DRAGON: RELOADED is a 30-minute sequel to SLAYING THE DRAGON. RELOADED looks at the past 25 years of representation of Asian and Asian American women in U.S. visual media — from blockbuster films and network television to Asian American cinema and YouTube — to explore what’s changed, what’s been recycled, and what we can hope for in the future. More.

 

suzy lake

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Suzy Lake: Playing with Time
A film by Annette Mangaard

Photographer Suzy Lake is one of the formative feminist artists to evolve out of the heyday of the 1960’s and the Second Wave. A master of the art of self-portraiture, Lake influenced Cindy Sherman as well as a host of other female artists. Lake makes art that address politics, gender, youth, beauty and aging while reflecting on her own journey through time. SUZY LAKE: PLAYING WITH TIME tells the story of how much has changed in the worlds of feminism and art, and yet how much things remain the same. More.



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Violette Leduc: In Pursuit of Love
A film by Esther Hoffenberg

The French author and memoirist Violette Leduc was a controversial pioneer. Through her work, she confronted the experience of being an illegitimate child, homosexuality, abortion, and explored with intensity and total candor the reaches of female desire – all scandalous, indecent subjects for macho 1950s France. A contemporary of Sartre, Cocteau and Genet and published by Albert Camus, she was encouraged to write by Simone de Beauvoir, whom Leduc was in love with. De Beauvoir secretly awarded her a pension for 15 years until her own successful following. More.



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  Winning Girl
A film by Kimberlee Bassford

From award-winning Hawaiian filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford (PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY) comes WINNING GIRL, an inspirational film that follows the four-year journey of Teshya Alo, a part-Polynesian, teenage judo and wrestling phenomenon from Hawai‘i. Teshya is only 16 years old and 125 pounds, but on the judo and wrestling mats, she dominates women twice her age and pounds heavier! Now Alo has her sights set on taking the Olympic gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships - and in doing so would be the first to accomplish that feat. WINNING GIRL tells the dynamic story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of puberty and growing up with an entire family dedicated to a single dream. A great companion piece to any discussion on Title IX and gender. More.
     
 


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