Birthright: A War Story

BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America.

Read Civia Tamarkin's director's statement here.
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Faces of Harassment

FACES OF HARASSMENT is an experiment in storytelling about trauma. When the hashtag #MyFirstHarassment swept across Brazil, it showed not only the widespread experience of sexual harassment and assault, but a widespread hunger to bring it out of the shadows. FACES OF HARASSMENT amplifies this movement, by opening space for women to speak their own truth. The film was shot in a mobile storytelling van, parked in rich and poor neighborhoods alike across São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and open to any woman. The van was a free, autonomous space, where women spoke to the camera directly, no interviewer or other influence present. FACES OF HARASSMENT offers an honest and unflinching look at the scourge of sexual harassment and assault - and at the radical possibilities for dignity and healing that can happen when women are free to speak completely for themselves.
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Men: A Love Story

After spending nearly a decade as a journalist documenting young women sold as slaves into the sex trade, award winning filmmaker Mimi Chakarova (THE PRICE OF SEX) sets out on a journey across the United States to explore how men feel about women and love. Piecing together a rich tapestry of vignettes, woven from stories shared by men of different races, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds, Chakarova weaves a stunningly honest and unapologetic portrayal of masculinity in America. With a diverse set of subjects from tiny blues bars of the Deep South to hedge funds of Manhattan and from ranchers in New Mexico to farmers in the Midwest, MEN: A LOVE STORY is a poignant and at times unforgettable dark comedy that reveals a deeper multilayered understanding of maleness, sexuality and gender performance in America today.
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What Happened to Her

WHAT HAPPENED TO HER is a forensic exploration of our cultural obsession with images of the dead woman on screen. Interspersing found footage from films and police procedural television shows and one actor’s experience of playing the part of a corpse, the film offers a meditative critique on the trope of the dead female body. The visual narrative of the genre, one reinforced through its intense and pervasive repetition, is revealed as a highly structured pageant. The experience of physical invasion and exploitation voiced by the actor pierce the fabric of the screened fantasy. The result is recurring and magnetic film cliché laid bare. Essential viewing for Pop Culture, Women’s and Cinema Studies classes.
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Girl From God’s Country: The History of Women in Film and Other War Stories

GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY is the untold story of the first female independent filmmaker and action-adventure heroine, Nell Shipman (1892-1970), who left Hollywood to make her films in Idaho.
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Ovarian Psycos

Riding at night through streets deemed dangerous in Eastside Los Angeles, the Ovarian Psycos use their bicycles to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicated to recruiting an unapologetic, misfit crew of women of color. The film intimately chronicles Xela as she struggles to strike a balance between her activism and nine year old daughter Yoli; street artist Andi who is estranged from her family and journeys to become a leader within the crew; and bright eyed recruit Evie, who despite poverty, and the concerns of her protective Salvadoran mother, discovers a newfound confidence. The film Ovarian Psycos rides along with the Ova’s, exploring the impact of the group’s activism, born of feminist ideals, Indigenous understanding and an urban/hood mentality, on neighborhood women and communities as they confront injustice, racism, and violence, and take back their streets one ride at a time.
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A Revolution in Four Seasons

The Tunisian Revolution sparked the Arab Spring. But revolution was the easy part—as two women learned on the journey from protest to functioning government. Emna Ben Jemaa and Jawhara Ettis represent opposite sides of their country’s politics: One is a well-known journalist in the city, fighting for free speech. The other is a strict Islamist from a rural town, elected to help draft the new constitution. Despite their differences, both face the threat of extremists hijacking their fragile political process, and both Emna and Jawhara have to make difficult choices to balance their public political roles with their domestic environment. The film is a gripping and surprising perspective on the clash between Islam and secularism, and the political role of women in the Arab world. Offering an insightful portrait of the messy work of democracy, A REVOLUTION IN FOUR SEASONS is especially poignant in this global era of divided politics.
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Girls' War

As the forces of ISIS and Assad tear through villages and society in Syria and Northern Iraq, a group of brave and idealistic women are taking up arms against them—and winning inspiring victories. Members of “The Free Women’s Party” come from Paris, Turkish Kurdistan, and other parts of the world. Their dream: To create a Democratic Syria, and a society based on gender equality. Guns in hand, these women are carrying on a movement with roots that run 40 years deep in the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. GIRL’S WAR honors the legacy of Sakine Cansiz, co-founder of the PKK who was assassinated in Paris in 2013, and reflects on the sacrifices made by all of the women in the movement, who have endured jail, rape, war, and persecution in their quest to liberate their lives and sisters from male dominance. With scenes of solidarity, strength, and love amongst these brave women soldiers, GIRL'S WAR is a surprising story of Middle Eastern feminism on the front lines.
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Black Girl in Suburbia

For many Black girls raised in the suburbs, the experiences of going to school, playing on the playground, and living day-to-day life can be uniquely alienating. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA looks at the suburbs of America from the perspective of women of color. Filmmaker Melissa Lowery shares her own childhood memories of navigating racial expectations both subtle and overt-including questions like, "Hey, I just saw a Black guy walking down the street; is that your cousin?" Through conversations with her own daughters, with teachers and scholars who are experts in the personal impacts of growing up a person of color in a predominately white place, this film explores the conflicts that many Black girls in homogeneous hometowns have in relating to both white and Black communities. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA is a great discussion starter for Freshman orientation week and can be used in a wide variety of educational settings including classes in sociology, race relations, African American Studies, Women's Studies, and American Studies.
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Siberian Love

In rural Siberia, romantic expectations are traditional and practical. The man is the head of the household. The woman takes care of the housekeeping and the children. But filmmaker Olga Delane doesn’t agree. While she was born in this small Siberian village, as a teenager she migrated to Berlin with her family, and 20 years of living in Germany has changed her expectations. SIBERIAN LOVE follows Delane home to her community of birth, where she interviews family and neighbors about their lives and relationships. Amusing and moving, this elegant film paints a picture of a world completely outside of technology, a hard-farming community where life is hard and marriage is sometimes unhappy—but where there are also unexpected paths to joy and family togetherness. Through clashing ideals of modern and traditional womanhood, SIBERIAN LOVE is a fascinating study of a country little known in the US and of a rural community that raises questions about domesticity, gender expectations, domestic abuse, childcare, and romance. Excellent for anthropology, women's studies, sociology, Russian and Eastern European Studies.
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Inside the Chinese Closet

The complexities of gay life in modern China collide at the event where Andy and Cherry first meet—a “fake marriage fair” in Shanghai, where a new, cosmopolitan generation of gay men and lesbian women seek to make a deal with a spouse of the opposite sex. Homosexuality has only recently become legal in China, but morally and practically, life is still difficult. People in Andy and Cherry’s generation, the result of the “one child” policy, are under an unbearable pressure to meet the demands of their parents and grandparents. To these elders, who carry the trauma of the great famine and the limits of the Cultural Revolution, their gay children’s search for love and happiness in the city is unintelligible. INSIDE THE CHINESE CLOSET is a humorous and compassionate portrait of modern gay life, the eternally difficult relationship between parents and children, and the social, cultural, and moral beliefs in flux in China today.
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Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers

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. The Computers features the extraordinary story of the ENIAC Programmers, six young women who programmed the world’s first modern, programmable computer, ENIAC, as part of a secret WWII project. They programmed ENIAC without programming language (for none existed), and harnessed its power to perform advanced military calculations at lighting speeds. However, when the ENIAC was unveiled in 1946, the Programmers were never introduced and they became invisible. This stunning documentary features rare footage and never-before-seen interviews with the ENIAC Programmers. 70 years later, this is their story. The Coders tells the story of two extraordinary women, Sarah Allen and Pavni Diwanji whose technologies revolutionized the Internet: Sarah co-invented Flash, the first multimedia platform supporting video, graphics, games and animation for the internet, while Pavni invented the Java servlet to allow web applications to respond quickly to requests from users everywhere. In The Future Makers, Andrea Colaço, a young MIT PhD, shares her dream of a world in which we interact with our smart devices using natural hand gestures, not static keyboards or touchpads. She invented 3D “gestural recognition technology” and co-founded 3dim to develop and market it. In 2013, 3dim won MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Prize and launched Andrea towards her dream of innovation and changing the world.
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There Goes the Neighborhood

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD intimately follows an extended Black family of View Park-Windsor Hills, California as they experience changes due to gentrification and reflect on their shifting community.
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PROFILED

Profiled knits the stories of mothers of Black and Latino youth murdered by the NYPD into a powerful indictment of racial profiling and police brutality, and places them within a historical context of the roots of racism in the U.S. Some of the victims—Eric Garner, Michael Brown—are now familiar the world over. Others, like Shantel Davis and Kimani Gray, are remembered mostly by family and friends in their New York neighborhoods. Ranging from the routine harassment of minority students in an affluent Brooklyn neighborhood to the killings and protests in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri, PROFILED bears witness to the racist violence that remains an everyday reality for Black and Latino people in this country. Moving interviews with victims’ family members are juxtaposed with sharply etched analyses by evolutionary biologist, Joseph L.Graves, Jr, (The Race Myth) and civil rights lawyer, Chauniqua D. Young, (Center for Constitutional Rights, Stop and Frisk lawsuit). PROFILED gives us a window on one of the burning issues of our time.
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The Revival: Women and the Word

THE REVIVAL: WOMEN AND THE WORD chronicles the US tour of a group of Black lesbian poets and musicians, who become present-day stewards of a historical movement to build community among queer women of color. Their journey to strengthen their community is enriched by insightful interviews with leading Black feminist thinkers and historians, including Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Nikki Finney, and Alexis Deveaux. As the group tours the country, the film reveals their aspirations and triumphs, as well as the unique identity challenges they face encompassing gender, race, and sexuality. This is a rarely seen look into a special sisterhood - one where marginalized voices are both heard and respected.
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Footprint: Population, Consumption and Sustainability

FOOTPRINT takes a dizzying spin around the globe, witnessing population explosions, overconsumption, limited resources, and expert testimony as to what a world straining at its limits can sustain. We spend time with indigenous health workers, activists, and the ordinary people in the Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan and Kenya, women who all challenge the idea that our world can continue to support the weight of humanity’s footprint on it. FOOTPRINT offers unprecedented access to the people on the ground who are all in their unique way challenging the status quo and making us rethink what’s really at stake. There are surprising revelations on who are the players standing in the way of solutions and those pushing for it, without losing sight of the array of possible solutions that open up when we take the time to ask this critical question of how many of us there are in the world and what the Earth can sustain if we are to all live a dignified life.
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The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen

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. For six decades Bowen has influenced and inspired untold numbers, speaking out as strongly for the Arts, and Black and Women’s Rights as she has for LGBTQI Rights. Candid, compelling, and inspiring, PASSIONATE PURSUITS depicts Bowen's life across the decades, with archival footage, timeless musical selections, photographs and interviews. Bowen’s stories reveal how the challenges of race, class, gender, age, and sexuality played into her decisions and strategies for survival. PASSIONATE PURSUITS is important to anyone who wants to know more about the experiences and complexities of black women’s lives and the emergence of Black Feminism.
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Heather Booth: Changing the World

Renowned organizer and activist Heather Booth began her remarkable career at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Through her life and work, this inspiring film explores many of the pivotal moments in progressive movements that altered our history over the last fifty years, from her involvement with Fannie Lou Hamer and the Freedom Summer Project, to her founding of the JANE Underground in 1964, to her personal relationships with respected leaders such as Julian Bond and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Featuring interviews from close friends, clients, political colleagues and current Midwest Academy students, HEATHER BOOTH: CHANGING THE WORLD explores Heather’s legacy in progressive politics and organizing. At a time when many are wondering how to make their voices heard, when civil and women's rights are under attack, Lilly Rivlin’s acclaimed documentary is an empowering look at how social change happens.
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Deep Run

Executive produced by Susan Sarandon, DEEP RUN is a powerful verité portrait of trans life in rural North Carolina. Exiled by her family and rejected by an ex-partner, 17-year-old Spazz has no one to lean on for support. But when Spazz falls in love again and summons up the courage to become Cole, a strong-willed trans-man, his candid humor and steadfast, all-inclusive Christian beliefs counter the bigotry he experiences daily. This deeply personal documentary reveals rebirth and courage within America’s deeply conservative Bible Belt as Cole struggles to find a church that will affirm his identity and the couple's relationship. With a small group of supportive friends, relatives, and his girlfriend, Ashley, Cole's search for love and belonging leads him to a radical revision of what faith and church can be. An intimate study of young outsiders in an insular Christian community, DEEP RUN explores the intersection of modern identity and faith in the American South. Essential viewing for LGBTQIA Audiences, Queer and Gender studies classes.
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Love Between the Covers

LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS was selected as the #1 choice of all 2015 videos by the American Library Association's Booklist Review. 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. In LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS Emmy Award® Winning director Laurie Kahn (TUPPERWARE!, A MIDWIFE'S TALE) turns her insightful eye towards another American pop culture phenomenon: the romance industry. Creating online empires and inventing new markets are authors like Beverly Jenkins, a pioneer of African American romance, Len Barot (aka Radclyffe, L.L. Raand), a surgeon and lesbian-romance legend who started her own publishing house, and the incomparable Nora Roberts. This documentary offers fascinating insights into the history and popularity of this female-centric literary world.

Book LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS filmmaker Laurie Kahn to speak at your university
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Wilhemina's War

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. Emmy award winning journalist and Professor June Cross finds Wilhemina, a one woman army fighting against a systemic dehumanization that’s the result of centuries of racism, and lack of access to drugs and treatment. Her story touches upon many of the structural issues that contribute to the alarming rising trend of HIV-positive women in the South: lack of education, lack of access to quality healthcare, lack of transportation, and silence and stigma in the local church congregations. This urgent documentary lays bare the intersection of poverty, race and politics with women’s health and security in the rural south, while showing determination in the face of adversity, and the triumph of the human spirit. Essential viewing for African-American Studies and Public Health courses.
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