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Ferry Tales
A film by Katja Esson
2003, 40 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W05853
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short, FERRY TALES exposes a secret world that exists in the powder room of the Staten Island Ferry--a place that brings together suburban moms and urban dwellers, white-collar and blue-collar, sisters and socialites. For 30 minutes every day, they gather around mirrors to put on their makeup – talking not as wives, mothers, or professionals, but just as themselves. Sassy and honest, they dish on everything from sex scandals to stilettos, family problems to September 11th, leaving stereotypes at the door and surprising viewers with their straight-shooting wisdom.

In broaching such topics as divorce, single motherhood and domestic violence, FERRY TALES goes beyond the surface to show us the realities of life for working women. A rare and honest look at the intersections of race and class, this heartwarming film is also a must have for women’s studies, urban studies and sociology departments. Utterly charming and often outrageous, FERRY TALES gives these unlikely heroines their moment in the spotlight.


Underdog Film Festival - First Place
Academy Award Nominee for Best Short Doc.
Annapolis Film Festival - Honorable Mention
Woodstock Film Festival - Honorable Mention

  • Exground Filmfest, Germany - European Premiere
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • New Orleans Film Festival
  • Austin Film Festival
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • Florida Film Festival
  • Palm Springs International Film Festival
  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
  • Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
  • Adelaide International Women's Film Festival
  • Frame by Frame Documentary Film Festival
  • Dallas Video Fest

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    'Esson's film gives a fantastic glimpse into one of the countless secret sub-cultures of New York. Her brilliant portrayal rethinks class and gender and turns our ideas of the suburban/urban divide on their head...with important lessons for sociology, women's studies, and urban history alike."
    K.E. Fleming
    New York University

    Highly recommended...Absorbing ...a useful addition to collections supporting urban or women’s studies.”
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “A delightful microcosm of a diverse group of women…their views of the world, race, relationships, and the challenges and the joys of the working woman in today’s society.”
    Meira Blaustein
    Executive Director, Woodstock Film Festival

    “An exploration of a floating community, both transitory and enduring, cliquish and inclusive, performative and insular, this engaging documentary gives new meaning to the notion of the transference of identity…an important contribution to the study of gendered space, racial politics, and urban class dynamics.”
    Joseph Boles
    Dept of Humanities, Arts, and Religion, Northern Arizona University

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    Ferry Tales is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

Deep discounts are available when you purchase multiple films. More details.

© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us