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2005, 85 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W05877
Nearly a decade in the making, this refreshingly honest film documents the challenges and desires of a group of young women in New Orleans by letting them film their own stories. As this diverse group of young women - two teenagers from the Desire housing projects, a single mother from the working-class suburb of Belle Chase across the river, and two girls from the most prestigious private high school in New Orleans—make short films about their own desires, this provocative film records the intimate dramas of their changing lives.

Sensitively and intelligently interweaving the girls' short videos throughout the film’s narrative, DESIRE pivots around the intimacy and risk that the two generations of filmmakers share together and with the audience. Addressing everything from sex and contraception to the impact of educational and material opportunities on their futures as women, DESIRE presents a nuanced and authentic look at modern young womanhood.


Nashville Film Festival, 2006 Reel Current Award
New Orleans FF, Best Doc & Grand Jury Prize
Indianapolis Int'l FF, Honorable Mention

  • AFI Film Festival, World Premiere
  • Go Girls! at Symphony Space
  • Southern Circuit Independent Film Tour

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    "A film so full of spirit and life you don't want it to end."
    Barbara Kopple
    Academy Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker

    “Presents the most insightful portrayal of teenaged girls' decision-making and sexuality ever available in film or print. Gustafson and the young ladies (her teenage collaborators) together capture moments that brilliantly speak to American understanding of race and class, as well as the whole process of growing – up. Poignant and touching, the film is suitable for women’s studies, sociology, American & cultural history, urban and rural history.
    Susan Tucker
    Tulane University

    “Reaches acoss all racial, ethnic and class lines to discuss teens, girls, sex, early parenthood-- and above all--choice. This is a "must see" for teens and those who love and support them.”
    Pat Pauozzi, CNM, Dr. Phd
    Healthy Teen Network

    “A touching and fully textured collective portrait. Gustafson’s understated compassion makes DESIRE an affecting coming-of-age portrait, offering an intimate look into the minor tragedies and triumphs in the lives of a handful of young women. Highly recommended.”
    Video Librarian

    "...far surpassed my expectations...a very real look into the lives of modern teenage girls. The insights provided by DESIRE can be used at many levels. Highly recommended for high schools, colleges, and adults who deal with teens."
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    "Desire casts an illuminating light on the inner world, the dilemmas, the evolving sexual identities of teenage girls. Freud didn’t know what women want – Gustafson gives us an insightful, sometimes disturbing idea of what teenage girls desire – whether it’s about going to college versus having a job, stopping to smoke, liking women instead of men, or deciding between having a baby or finish high school."
    Berenice Reynaud
    Senses of Cinema

    "A very moving, bittersweet, and intimate look at the impact of culture, class, race, and family values on young women determined to take charge of their own lives."

    “A vibrant portrait of teenage life. Viewers will identify with the young women. …A valuable discussion starter for high school collections.”
    Meghann R. Matwichuk
    School Library Journal

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    Desire 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.

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© 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