Mother, Lebanon & Me

A visually striking meditation on loss and a perceptive political critique, this deeply personal work has two subjects: filmmaker Olga Naccache’s ailing mother and the chaotic country where Naccache was raised. Both fell sick in 1975, the onset of incurable depression for one and a bloody civil war ushering in deep divisions for the other. In this sequel to LEBANON: BITS AND PIECES (1994), Naccache ponders the plight of the country she clearly loves while honoring the mother dear to her. Her montage draws on conversations with Naccache's mother toward the end of life, along with footage of this beautiful, accomplished woman and ardent secularist in more physically robust times. Stunning scenes of tranquil Beirut and southern Lebanon contrast with close-ups of a nation under siege from within and abroad. Recent interviews with two longtime friends—a leftist teacher of philosophy in a Christian village school and a Shiite Muslim viewing Hezbollah as Lebanon’s only hope—raise crucial questions about the nation’s identity and precarious future.
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Mrs. Goundo's Daughter

Mrs. Goundo is fighting to remain in the United States. But it’s not just because of the ethnic conflict and drought that has plagued her native Mali. Threatened with deportation, her two-year-old daughter could be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), like 85 percent of women and girls in Mali. Using rarely cited grounds for political asylum, Goundo must convince an immigration judge that her daughter is in danger. Sensitive and moving, this important film reveals how women are profoundly affected by the legal struggles surrounding immigration. As issues of asylum, international law and human rights collide with FGM and its devastating health consequences, filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater travel between an FGM ceremony in a Malian village, where dozens of girls are involved, to the West African expatriate community of Philadelphia, where Mrs. Goundo challenges beliefs and battles the American legal system for her child’s future.
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Quest for Honor

QUEST FOR HONOR, which premiered at Sundance and was shortlisted for an Academy® Award, investigates the still prevalent practice of honor killing in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
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Africa is a Woman's Name

AFRICA IS A WOMAN’S NAME provides an opportunity for three of Africa’s leading filmmakers to tell their own country’s stories through the lives of the powerful women working to create change. Veteran filmmakers Wanjiru Kinyanjui, from Zimbabwe, and Bridget Pickering, from South Africa, join Kenyan Ingrid Sinclair, director of the critically acclaimed feature film FLAME, to profile three diverse women who eloquently demonstrate the power of women. Amai Rose, a Zimbabwean housewife and businesswoman, Phuti Ragophala, a dedicated school principal in one of South Africa’s poorest communities, and Njoki Ndung’u, a human rights attorney and member of Kenya’s parliament, tell their individual stories, reflecting upon their own achievements and failures as well as needed initiatives for women and children in their respective societies. Their richly textured self-portraits reveal the gender revolution under way among sub-Saharan women of different backgrounds and origins who are determined to transform their daily realities and the conditions of their lives.
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Weapon of War

In no other country has sexual violence matched the scale of brutality reached in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During nearly two decades of conflicts between rebels and government forces, an estimated 150,000 Congolese women and girls fell victim to mass rape. That figure continues to rise. WEAPON OF WAR, an award-winning film honored by Amnesty International, journeys to the heart of this crisis, where we meet its perpetrators. In personal interviews, soldiers and former combatants provide openhearted but shocking testimony about rape in the DRC. Despite differing views on causes or criminal status, all reveal how years of conflict, as well as discrimination against women, have normalized brutal sexual violence. We also see former rapists struggling to change their own or others’ behavior, and reintegrate into their communities. A companion to FIGHTING THE SILENCE and its portraits of Congolese rape survivors, this indispensable resource provides unique insights into strategic uses of rape as a military weapon - and the motives of the men who employ it.
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THE HERETICS

Tracing the influence of the Women’s Movement’s Second Wave on art and life, THE HERETICS is the exhilarating inside story of the New York feminist art collective that produced “Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics” (1977-92). In this feature-length documentary, cutting-edge video artist/writer/director Joan Braderman, who joined the group in 1975 as an aspiring filmmaker, charts the collective’s challenges to terms of gender and power and its history as a microcosm of the period’s broader transformations. On the road with her camera crew from New Mexico to Italy, Braderman reconnects with 28 other group members, including writer/critic Lucy Lippard, architect Susanna Torre, filmmaker Su Friedrich, and artists Ida Applebroog, Mary Miss, Miriam Schapiro, and Cecilia Vicuña. Still funny, smart and sexy, the geographically dispersed participants revisit how and why they came together and the extraordinary times they shared—supporting and exploring women’s art and demanding the right to be heard. Enlivened by striking digital motion graphics, THE HERETICS intercuts interviews with archival film clips, video and stills from the period, texts and images from “Heresies” magazines, and footage of completed artworks and works-in-progress. An exuberant, multi-layered collage, the film brings the Heresies collective—and its strategies for unlocking the potential in women’s lives—vividly to the screen.
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A Crushing Love

A CRUSHING LOVE, Sylvia Morales’ sequel to her groundbreaking history of Chicana women, CHICANA (1979), honors the achievements of five activist Latinas—labor organizer/farm worker leader Dolores Huerta, author/educator Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, writer/playwright/educator Cherrie Moraga, civil rights advocate Alicia Escalante, and historian/writer Martha Cotera - and considers how these single mothers managed to be parents and effect broad-based social change at the same time. Questions about reconciling competing demands are ones that highly acclaimed filmmaker Sylvia Morales, a working mother of two herself, pondered aloud as she prepared this documentary. Historical footage and recent interviews with each woman reveal their contributions to key struggles for Latino empowerment and other major movements of our time. Both they and their grown children thoughtfully explore the challenges, adaptations, rewards, and missteps involved in juggling dual roles. Scenes of Morales at work and at home, often humorously overlaid with her teenage daughter’s commentary, bring the dilemma up to date. Chicana continues to be used in classrooms more than thirty years after it was made; A CRUSHING LOVE is a memorable sequel which offers us indelible portraits of unforgettable women, including one of Morales herself.
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Unveiled Views

In this revealing documentary five extraordinary women talk about their occupations, aspirations, and the rights and status of women in their Muslim countries. Bosnian Alma Suljevic risks her life daily clearing the landmines near Sarajevo that are war’s deadly legacy, then sells minefield earth in European art galleries so that she can continue her work. Eren Keskin, a longtime human rights activist and lawyer with music conservatory training, fights to change Turkey’s legal practices that perpetuate violence against women. Veteran filmmaker Rakshan Bani-Ehmad, true to her credo that art must “look, observe, and discover”, frequently pushes Iran’s censorship rules to the limit. Surrounded by conflict since childhood, young Afghani writer Moshagan Saadat creates brave, profoundly moving and memorable poems. And renowned Pakistani dancer Nahid Siddiqui, once forced to live outside her homeland when her work was banned, continues to perfect, renew, and teach her art form. Captured by Spanish filmmaker Alba Sotorra, who hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to shoot UNVEILED VIEWS, these self-portraits of hope, heroism, and pride challenge conventional Western stereotypes about women in the Islamic world.
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Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador)

For Spaniards—and for the world—nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. Visually stunning and beautifully crafted, ELLA ES EL MATADOR (She is the Matador) reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena, the acclaimed Maripaz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity, confronting both bull and social code. But what emerges through this mesmerizing film is their truest motivation—a sheer passion for bullfighting, in the pursuit of a dream.
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Women of Faith

This absorbing documentary examines women’s decisions to lead religious lives in the Roman Catholic tradition in the post-feminist era. Throughout history, nuns were given certain advantages over other women, while still oppressed within their vocational pursuits. They were taught to read and write, encouraged to pursue music, literature, art, philosophy and spirituality, and officially allowed to escape marriage’s powerless role of wife. But why would a woman choose a nun’s life today? Individual interviews with seven women provide answers—and explore how rebellion can happen within and outside the Church, how women in the Church reconcile conflicting, religious, personal, and political beliefs, and how they view official Church positions on contraception, homosexuality, and women’s ordination as priests. The diverse group includes Poor Clares, contemplative nuns who spend most of their days in prayer, Maryknolls who have served in Central America, and a Roman Catholic Womanpriest. Both timely and insightful, the film provides a rare look at their experiences and current controversies over tradition, change and power within the Catholic Church.
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Antonia Pantoja

Antonia Pantoja (1922-2002), visionary Puerto Rican educator, activist, and early proponent of bilingual education, inspired multiple generations of young people and fought for many of the rights that people take for granted today. Unbowed by obstacles she encountered as a black, Puerto Rican woman, she founded ASPIRA to empower Puerto Rican youth, and created other enduring leadership and advocacy organizations in New York and California, across the United States, and in Puerto Rico. Recognized for her achievements in 1996, Dr. Pantoja was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon civilians in the US. In this important documentary, Pantoja’s compelling story is told through never-before-seen home movies, archival footage, and personal passionate testimony from Pantoja herself and some of her countless protégés, as well as her life partner. Highlighting major landmarks in Pantoja’s biography and long, productive career, the film shows her profound commitment to transforming society, her pivotal role in the Puerto Rican community’s fight to combat racism and discrimination, and her pioneering work in securing a bilingual voice in the US. An eloquent tribute to a remarkable woman, the film sheds new light on the Puerto Rican community’s far-reaching triumphs.
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Say My Name

In a hip hop and R&B world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of SAY MY NAME speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on a vibrant tour of urban culture and musical movement, from hip hop’s birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside, to Philly, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and L.A., and points in between. Featuring interviews and musical performances from a diverse cast of women that includes Remy Ma, Rah Digga, Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Estelle, as well as newcomers Chocolate Thai, Invincible and Miz Korona, this powerful documentary delves into the amazing personal stories of women balancing professional dreams with the stark realities of poor urban communities, race, sexism, and motherhood. The more than 18 artists featured in SAY MY NAME battle for a place in a society that creates few chances for women. From emerging artists filled with new creativity, to true pioneers like MC Lyte, Roxxanne Shante, and Monie Love, these are women turning adversity into art.
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Mountains that Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama

Thirteen years, two radical activist all-stars-one conversation. Internationally renowned scholar, professor and writer Angela Davis and 89-year-old grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama spent over a decade conversing intimately about personal histories and influences that shaped them and their overlapping experiences. MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING offers the gift of these two remarkable women’s lives, sharing the pair’s recorded exchanges in 1996 and 2008. The film’s unique format honors the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Intercut with compelling period footage, Davis and Kochiyama’s cogent observations, keen analyses, and steadfast resolve to create a more equitable, humane world offer inspiring lessons in empowerment and community building for current and future generations.
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Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the US presidency and was the driving force behind Title IX, the landmark legislation that transformed women’s opportunities in higher education and athletics.
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Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

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. Narrated by Academy Award® Nominee Joan Allen, BLESSED IS THE MATCH is a truly moving memorial that brings to life this Holocaust heroine through interviews with Holocaust historians, eyewitness accounts from those on the rescue operation as well as in the prison, rare family photographs and the writings of Hannah and her mother. The film recreates Hannah’s perilous and heartbreaking mission, reconstructs her defiant months in the Gestapo prison and – through Hannah’s diary entries and poetry – looks back on the life of a talented and complex girl who came of age in a world descending into madness.
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Middle of Everywhere

South Dakota is America’s heartland—waving cornfields, hard-working farmers, family values and a population of 750,000, the majority of whom identify as conservative and anti-abortion. Native daughter Rebecca Lee returns home in 2006 on the brink of a historic state vote: House Bill 1215 could make South Dakota the first state to outlaw most abortions since Roe vs. Wade passed almost 30 years earlier. In The Middle of Everywhere, Lee discovers the debate to be complex, with both sides claiming compassion for women and the same desire to stop the need for abortion. When 1215 fails to pass, Lee sets out to uncover what would make a self-proclaimed pro-life state vote against the very measure that would end most legal abortions. South Dakotans appear conflicted in their beliefs: passing the Pharmacist Refusal Law, allowing pharmacists and doctors the right not to dispense birth control if doing so goes against their religious views, yet voting along pro-choice lines to keep abortion safe and legal. Was the vote a simple misunderstanding of what it means to be pro-choice? Was it a deeply-held resentment against government intrusion into people’s private lives? Whatever the final reason, The Middle of Everywhere reveals that the issue goes beyond the simple choices of being for or against abortion to the much deeper question of what values we hold dear as Americans and as humans beings.
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Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad)

Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half-Jewish, half-Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half-Turkish, half-Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she urges her feminist, pacifist, activist mother, Mary Rosenthal, to share their diverse family history. But, as she and Mary weave their way through the family’s multiethnic fairytales, they bump unexpectedly into the silence around old prejudices concerning the estranged Egyptian-Jewish branch of their family living in Israel since 1948. Bravely inspired to further challenge the boundaries between cultures, religions, and nationalities that are used to divide people, Kamel embarks on an amazing personal journey with her mother and nephew to Israel and Italy, confronting with an open heart, fears and prejudices along the way.
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License to Thrive: Title IX at 35

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” In June of 1972, Congress passed a piece of legislation called Title IX of the Education Amendments, to provide educational access and opportunity for women and young girls throughout the United States. Although most closely associated with sports, no other piece of legislation since the 19th Amendment has been more crucial to opening doors and creating leadership opportunities for women in all arenas including education, science, math, finance, entertainment, the arts, business, law, and politics. License to Thrive: Title IX at 35 is a smart and highly-entertaining exploration of the unique history of the Title IX legislation and its critical role over the past 35 years in creating female leaders. From the classroom to the boardroom to the courtroom to the green room to the locker room, women are making their mark via the impact of Title IX.
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The Sari Soldiers

Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties.
When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women: Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist shaping the protests to reclaim democracy. The Sari Soldiers delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on opposing sides of the conflict and the democratic revolution reshaping their country’s future.
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Bloodlines

Bettina Goering, grandniece of Hermann Goering, has long tried to bury the dark legacy of her family history. Painter Ruth Rich, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, cannot resolve her deep-rooted anger over the suffering of her parents and the loss of an older brother in the Holocaust. Bettina seeks out Ruth in an attempt to confront her enormous guilt and her fear that the capacity for evil is in her blood. When the women meet, their hidden guilt and rage clash in a series of intimate and extraordinary meetings. Provocative and deeply moving, BLOODLINES by Cynthia Connop follows Ruth and Bettina as they face the past in their quest to heal the future. Their meetings are interspersed with individual interviews, powerful images from Ruth’s paintings and archival photos. This contemporary film brings to light, in a way never before seen, the unwritten cost of war and genocide on future generations of both victims and perpetrators. Given recent events in Darfur, Rwanda and Serbia, this film provides relevant and timely insight into the difficult process of reconciliation and forgiveness, and the long-term consequences of hatred.
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After the Rape

In 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from a remote part of the Punjab, was gang-raped by order of her tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from another clan. Instead of committing suicide or living in shame, Mukhtar spoke out, fighting for justice in the Pakistani courts—making world headlines. Further defying custom, she started two schools for girls in her village and a crisis center for abused women. Mukhtar, who had never learned to read but knew the Koran by heart, realized that only a change in mentality could break brutal, archaic traditions and social codes. Her story, included in the bestseller “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and the subject of Mukhtar’s own memoir, “In the Name of Honor”, has inspired women across the globe. Revealing the progress and fruits of Mukhtar’s labor, this powerful documentary tracks the school’s profound impact on the girls and families of Meerwala and shows how the crisis center empowers women seeking its help. An important look inside Pakistan, where the impact of Islamic fundamentalism is revealed and how women are fighting its oppressive and violent impact.
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