Dinner with the President

Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar and co-director Sachithanandam Sathananthan request a dinner with President Musharraf as he’s facing impeachment charges and engage him in an enlightening discussion about the past and his vision for the country.
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Learning to Swallow

Learning to Swallow is an intimate, haunting 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. Patsy Desmond, a charismatic, emerging artist and “it girl” seemingly had it all: admiring friends and lovers, a prestigious work assignment with an internationally renowned artist in New York City and the potential to successfully realize her dreams in the art world. Yet in spite of this, Patsy struggled in an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. An eventual failed suicide attempt leaves Patsy unable to swallow and in a battle for her life both emotionally and physically. Over four rocky years, we follow Patsy as she struggles to accept her physical condition, overcome addiction and learns to deal with the life she now faces: recovery and healing. Her inability to eat and her emotional state transform her artistic voice in the process. Filmmaker Danielle Beverly (OLD SOUTH) captures Patsy’s raw honesty and wit even as she becomes increasingly frail. By the end of the film, hope and an undying spirit prevail. Patsy renews her pact with art and life. Required viewing for psychology courses and studies around mental health.
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Miss America

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. Combining rare archival footage, with a host of intimate interviews with distinguished commentators including Gloria Steinem, Margaret Cho, Isaac Mizrahi, former contestants and behind–the–scenes footage and photographs, the film reveals why some women took part in the fledgling event and why others briefly rejected it - how the pageant became a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.
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The Korean Wedding Chest

Ulrike Ottinger’s provocative mélange of ethnography, stunning tableaux and baroque vignettes was inspired by what she calls the “well-stocked miracle” of Korean wedding chests, assembled according to time-honored customs. This exploration of love and marriage in South Korea looks closely at ancient and present-day rituals, revealing what is old in the new and new in the old. Her inquiry leads us from shamans, temples and priests, to the enchanted maze of 21st-century Seoul, where vendors of medicinal herbs co-exist with high-tech beauty salons for wedding couples and secular marriage palaces. Using film much like a canvas, Ottinger creates a modern fairytale flush with mythological heroes, traditional rites, ancestral symbolism, dreams of eternal love, and a whole lot of Western kitsch. One of her most acclaimed documentaries, it captures the amazing phenomenon of new mega-cities and their contradictory societies caught in a balancing act.
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The Mosque in Morgantown

THE MOSQUE IN MORGANTOWN follows one woman’s campaign for change against extremism in her West Virginia mosque, throwing the community into turmoil and raising questions that cut to the heart of American Islam. When former Wall Street Journal journalist and single mother Asra Q. Nomani returns from working in Pakistan to her hometown mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia, she believes she sees signs of trouble: exclusion of women, intolerance toward non-believers, and suspicion of the West. She finds such signs particularly alarming and determined to halt the ‘slippery slope’ that she maintains leads from Islamic intolerance to violence, she begins a campaign to drag the mosque’s practices into the 21st century, triggering a heated battle between tradition and modernity. Nomani’s activist tactics alienate would-be allies in the mosque, leading many to wonder who most deserves the label of “extremist.” Director Brittany Huckabee takes a balanced view of the tensions dividing this community, exploring both sides from a neutral standpoint. This riveting Emmy® Award nominated film is not only about women’s rights in the mosque but about the struggles of a Muslim community faces as it strives to be a part of American life.
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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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Sir: Just a Normal Guy

Screened to acclaim at Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals worldwide and LBGT events across the nation, this candid and courageous portrait of more than 15-months in the female-to-male (FTM) transition of Jay Snider explores both the emotional and physical changes of this profound experience--beginning prior to hormones and concluding after top surgery. Footage shot before and after the surgery captures dramatic physical transitions, while intimate interviews with Jay, his ex-husband, his best friend and his lesbian-identified partner aptly capture the emotional and psychological shifts that occur during the process. With support from those closest to him, Jay’s experience is remarkably positive, though not without conflict. During the course of the film, he renews long-distant ties with his brother, but also faces permanent estrangement from his parents. SIR is an in-depth and humanizing exploration of the challenges, discrimination, and alienation faced by transsexuals. Jay’s conflicted feelings around queer identification are portrayed along with his significant other’s continued identification as lesbian. A much-needed look at FTM transition, the film demonstrates both the fluidity of sexual identification and that love and human resilience can triumph over deep-rooted differences.
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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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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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Women of Turkey: Between Islam and Secularism

In this thought-provoking documentary, veiled and unveiled women explore relationships between Islam and secularism in present-day Turkey, where millions of women, many of them educated and urban, wear the headscarf or hijab. For her survey, filmmaker Naccache, who was born in Turkey and raised in Lebanon, draws on historical footage and individual visits with Turkish women from across the professional spectrum. Among them are the owner of a gallery devoted to Islamic art; a left-wing journalist whose politics stem from her religious convictions; a young intellectual adhering to a spirituality based on no single religion; and the film critic and columnist for a popular online newspaper. Their wide-ranging interviews, which analyze the background and impact of controversial bans on headscarves in universities and civil service, yield fresh perspectives on Turkish women’s integration of Islamic culture and modern lifestyles, as well as their far-reaching achievements and priorities for the future.
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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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Fighting the Silence

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s seven year war was the deadliest ever recorded in Africa. During that time, more than 80,000 women and girls were raped. Only now that the country is formally at peace are the consequences of the brutality becoming truly visible. Rape is slowly seeping into everyday life. FIGHTING THE SILENCE tells the story of ordinary Congolese women and men that are struggling to change their society: one that prefers to blame victims rather than prosecute rapists. Rape survivors and their families speak out openly about the suffering they endured because their culture considers women second class citizens and rape a taboo. They give voice to thousands of other survivors and their families who have chosen to hide their grief and remain silent for fear of being rejected by their families and community. Girls and women survivors tell of the brutality they experienced. Married couples openly talk about the pain they endure. Husbands talk of the pressures that led them to abandon their wives and why they agreed to take them back. A father explains why he has given up on his daughter’s future and how he wishes he could afford to take her rapist to court. Soldiers and policemen share their (shocking) views about why rape continues to flourish despite the war having officially ended four years ago.
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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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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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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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Wired for Sex, Lies and Power Trips

An inside look at the culture of sexual harassment and bullying widespread among many teens today, this unique and compelling program examines the price that adolescents, especially girls, pay to be cool, hip and popular in our brave new wired world. Questioning and confronting their own and each other’s stereotypes and assumptions, three different groups of culturally diverse teenagers share personal stories of navigating their hyper-sexualized, high-tech environment, where the online posting of racy photos, raunchy videos, and explicit gossip and lies, is as commonplace as bombardment by provocative media messages that degrade and objectify women. In its unflinching exposé, the film takes us on a journey that includes candid personal interviews and diary excerpts, images from computer screens and youth nightclubs, and clips from short fictional films that the three group’s members have made about sexual and social pressures on their lives. Told through the authentic voices of teens, this essential tool for promoting awareness and change is must-see viewing for school and youth groups, media studies and women’s studies educators, educators, counselors, parents, and health care professionals.
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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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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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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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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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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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She Wants to Talk to You

In October 1999 filmmaker Anita Chang befriended three 13-year-old girls – Monika Rasali, Sushma Sada and Vinita Shrestha – while living in Kathmandu, Nepal. Honestly presenting themselves in front of the camera, these girls share with the filmmaker their ideas on marriage, friendship and spirituality. Their recordings provide a complex and poignant framework for three Nepali women living in the U.S. to reflect on their own struggle, exile and quest for liberation. Through verite documentary, the film offers rare insight into the lives of girls and women from a society steeped in patriarchy, tradition and caste. SHE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU speaks closely to young girls and women, as well as provokes universal introspection about the nature of happiness and oppression, and human relations and intimacy.
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Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed

This compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land.
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My Toxic Baby

This eye-opening, often amusing documentary by the director of Tiger Spirit, winner of Canada’s prestigious Donald Brittain Gemini Award, records the filmmaker’s quest for safe, sane and affordable ways to raise her child in a world embedded with toxic threats and still lead a normal life. Although new mother Min Sook Lee breast fed her daughter from birth, she used baby bottles too, only to discover that they leached a chemical byproduct linked to impaired health and serious diseases. This set in motion a journey that exposes hidden dangers in infant bath soaps, diaper rash creams, teething toys and many everyday products from an industry largely unregulated by law. For Lee, it also uncovers risks posed by our own homes and chemical contaminants we carry within our own bodies. Her search introduces us to others, including nursing mothers and parents helping to build youngsters’ natural immune systems, who are seeking alternative choices themselves and finding healthier, environment-friendly ways to rear their children. A personal essay that packs a punch, MY TOXIC BABY throws a spotlight on non-hazardous options that are available in our chemically saturated world, and further emphasizes women’s particular concerns about environmental hazards and health.
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Miss GULAG

MISS GULAG is a rare look at the lives of the first generation of women to come of age in post-Soviet Russia, where women’s unemployment and incarceration rates are very high. Shot inside a Siberian prison camp and the surrounding countryside, this absorbing documentary traces the individual paths of three young women now at different points in their lives: Tatiana, whose parole hearing and early release are captured on film; Natasha, living in freedom with her family in a remote village; and Yulia, not yet twenty and facing still more prison time. Like their individual circumstances, the shared experience of long jail sentences has made them vigilant about their own destinies. Incarceration and an environment of constant surveillance are harsh, but no less so than life outside. Yet all three women, their families, and loved ones are sustained by hope. Discovering an Internet item about an annual beauty pageant staged by women inmates of UF91-9, director Maria Yatskova (born in Moscow and living in the US since the age of five) was inspired to make MISS GULAG. The film’s compelling, moving stories of survival shed light on democracy’s darker side and offer a look at the issues facing women in post Soviet Russia.
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Arresting Ana

Sarah, a French college student runs a “pro-Ana” blog, part of a global online community of young women sharing tips on living with anorexia. Valerie Boyer is a passionate French National Assembly legislator proposing a groundbreaking bill to ban these online forums, issuing hefty fines and two-year prison sentences to their members. Eye-opening and extremely timely, ARRESTING ANA is the first film on a burgeoning movement promoting self-starvation. Pro-Ana websites are in countries around the world, but France is the first to suggest regulating them. Combining in-depth interviews of medical and academic experts with video diaries by Sarah— for whom “Ana”, short for anorexia, is a support system, friend, and motivation to stay alive—ARRESTING ANA offers unprecedented access into anorexia’s hidden underground while seeking effective solutions to ending this serious disease. This well-made documentary, which features an engrossing soundtrack and pro-Ana sites’ shocking quotes and images, is crucial for students and teachers of media studies. It also provides important insight for psychologists, social workers, sociologists, and educators on who controls women’s body issues, how young people interpret eating disorders today, and how legal and free-speech issues are contested in a new media landscape.
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El General

Past and present collide in this extraordinarily well crafted documentary when filmmaker Natalia Almada (ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY), winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s US Directing Award for documentary, brings to life audio recordings she inherited from her grandmother. These recordings feature Alicia Calles’ reminiscences about her own father—Natalia’s great-grandfather—General Plutarco Elías Calles, a revolutionary general who became president of Mexico in 1924. In his time, Calles was called “El Bolshevique” and “El Jefe Máximo”, or “the foremost chief”. Today, he remains one of Mexico’s most controversial figures, illustrating both the idealism and injustices of the country’s history. Through Alicia’s voice, this visually stunning, stylistically innovative film moves between the conflicting memories of a daughter grappling with her remembrances of her father and his violent public legacy. It draws exceptional strength from meticulously edited audio, haunting photographs, archival newsreels, and old Hollywood films, combined with an original evocative soundtrack, sweeping footage of modern-day Mexico City, and interviews with today’s working poor. EL GENERAL is a poetic and cinematic exploration of historical judgment, and a complex, arresting portrait of a family and country living under the shadows of the past.
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Africa Rising

Every day, 6,000 girls from the Horn of Africa to sub-Saharan nations are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). With fierce determination and deep love for their communities, brave African activists are leading a formidable, fearless grassroots movement to end 5,000 years of FGM. An insightful look at the frontlines of a quiet revolution taking the continent by storm, this extraordinarily powerful film is one of the first to focus on African solutions to FGM. Beautifully directed by Emmy Award® winner Paula Heredia and produced by Equality Now, AFRICA RISING travels through remote villages in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania. Weaving together dynamic footage and the poignant stories of girls personally affected by FGM, it shows how African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation. Convincing circumcisers to lay down their knives, engaging the police to implement the law, and honing leadership skills in girls, these determined activists have been working tirelessly for years to conceptualize their campaign. AFRICA RISING paints an intimate portrait of the broadly-based but little-known anti-FGM movement and shows that courageous, creative and resourceful individuals can change the course of history.
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Sin by Silence

From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women are shattering misconceptions of domestic violence. An important film that profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate initiated group and led by women, SIN BY SILENCE is an essential resource featuring more than two hours of bonus materials, including interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, and more. Created by Brenda Clubine in 1989, CWAA has changed laws for battered women, raised awareness for those on the outside, and educated a system that does not fully comprehend the complexities of domestic abuse. Like many CWAA members, Brenda’s years of inflicted abuse were never fully revealed. But because of CWAA’s work and advocacy, new laws were enacted that now allow incarcerated survivors to challenge their original conviction. With unprecedented access inside the California Institution for Women, this emotionally packed documentary tells the stories of courageous women who have learned from their past, are changing their future, and teaching us how domestic violence affects each and every person.
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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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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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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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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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My Israel – Revisiting the Trilogy

Few filmmakers have probed issues of Israeli nationalism and Israeli-Palestinian relations more completely or intimately than Tel Aviv-born Yulie Cohen. In My Israel, Cohen revisits her acclaimed trilogy My Terrorist (2002), My Land Zion (2004), and My Brother (2007) with new footage, fresh perspective, and her trademark fearlessness. For Cohen, Israel is the land of her ancestors, the land her parents fought for during the 1948 war and the land she herself served as an Air Force Officer during the Entebbe crisis. In 1978, working as an El Al stewardess, she survived a terrorist attack in London that killed a colleague and left her with shrapnel in her arm. Embarking on a difficult and emotional journey, she attempts to free the surviving terrorist who attacked her, to question the myths of the state that she grew up in, and to reconcile with her ultra-orthodox brother after 25 years of estrangement. My Israel is an account of remarkable courage and understanding set against the last turbulent decade of Israeli history, successfully combining Cohen’s 10-year oeuvre in an incisive and refreshing new way.
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Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker?

A multi-layered work featuring animation, archival footage and interviews with the likes of William Burroughs, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Hell, Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker by Austrian artist Barbara Caspar and co-produced by Annette Pisacane (Nico Icon) and Markus Fischer, is a thoughtful and creative film biography/essay on the late outlaw writer and punk icon, whose formally inventive novels, published from the ’70s through the mid-’90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon. A beguiling and intensely contradictory figure, Acker is best known for books which creatively appropriated texts from Great White Male writers, retelling them in an emotionally raw, sexually blunt, and politically questioning female voice. With her conceptual art videos in the ’70s, her close-cropped dyed blond hair, her tattoos, and her piercings, Acker was a performance artist, proto riot grrl, and living link to the transgressive authors of the ’50s and ’60s US and French experimental fiction scenes. Caspar has made a film that captures the essence of both Acker the writer and Acker the person while celebrating the avant-garde legacy of an artist who forever expanded the limits of self-expression. — Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
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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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Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema

In the days before movies could talk, silent films spoke clearly of sexual politics, and in Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema, historian and writer Kay Sloan has assembled rare and wonderful footage that opens a historic window onto how women’s suffrage was represented in early American cinema. Taking advantage of the powerful new medium, early filmmakers on both sides of the contentious issue of suffrage used film to create powerful propaganda and images about women. Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema contains clips from many films from the era, including: A Lively Affair (1912); A Busy Day (1914), which stars a young Charlie Chaplin in drag portraying a suffragist; and the pro-suffragist film, What 80 Million Women Want (1913), which includes an eloquent speech from president of the Women’s Political Union, Harriet Stanton Blatch. Silent films may have passed into history, and their representations of feminists abandoning babies or stealing bicycles to attend suffragette meetings may now seem outrageous, but the struggle for gender equality and the issues surrounding representations of women in the media remain as fascinating, engaging, and relevant as ever.
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Shooting Women

Featuring more than 50 camerawomen from around the world, SHOOTING WOMEN, by pioneering filmmaker and cinema studies professor Alexis Krasilovsky, celebrates the amazing talent and unflinching spirit of image-making women from the sets of Hollywood and Bollywood to the war zones of Afghanistan.
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Nollywood Lady

Peace Anyiam-Fibresima of Lagos, Nigeria is an impresario of showbiz and an impassioned spokeswoman for the thriving and innovative African film industry. She is “Nollywood Lady,” an ex-lawyer, producer, filmmaker, and the founder and CEO of the influential African Academy of Motion Pictures. And she is reshaping the way Africans see themselves—and how the world sees Africans. Sharing her vision for transforming preconceptions about Africa and African images with filmmaker Dorothee Wenner, Anyiam-Fibresima takes viewers on an all-access tour to film locations, markets, and sit-downs with Nollywood professionals in the vibrant production hub of Lagos. Rounding out this insider’s primer to a dynamic $250 million industry, are several clips from the more than 1,500 direct-to-video, mostly low budget, culturally distinct, and immensely popular films Nollywood produces each year. Though some have yet to realize it, Africa’s film industry is the third largest film business on the globe (after Hollywood and Bollywood), the second largest employer in Nigeria (after oil), and a mighty enterprise uniquely captured in Nollywood Lady with humor, intelligence, and verve.
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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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The Feminist Initiative

The Feminist Initiative reveals the passion, pitfalls and promise of a diverse group of women working to establish the world’s first feminist political party in Sweden in the spring of 2005. Even in one of the most gender-equal societies in the world, the advancement of women’s agenda within the patriarchal establishment requires a revolution. Beginning from the innovative and inclusive decision to elect three party leaders rather than one, the film charts every trail-blazing step (and misstep) of the Feminist Initiative (F!) from their energetic start to the climactic moments of their inspiring, celebrity-supported rally. In the face of internal discord, public backlash, and a worrisome lack of funds, the Feminist Initiative forges a new path towards parliament, raising critical questions along the way about what women really want from their government and about gender differences in leadership. This is an invaluable story about the struggle to have women’s voices heard in a patriarchal, modern society, and an amazing behind-the-scenes film about what women do with power, and what power can do to women.
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Rough Aunties

Fearless, feisty and resolute, the “Rough Aunties” are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa. This documentary by internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE) follows the outspoken, multiracial cadre of Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka and Jackie, as they wage a daily battle against systemic apathy, corruption, and greed to help the most vulnerable and disenfranchised of their communities. Despite the harsh realities of violence, poverty, and racism in the women’s work at the Bobbi Bear child welfare organization and in the heartaches of their personal lives, the portraits that emerge on screen are filled with grace, wisdom, friendship, and a deeply stirring conviction. Neither politics, nor social or racial divisions stand a chance against the united force of the women. Once again Longinotto has managed to bring us an intimate portrait of change from Africa, this time from post-apartheid South Africa, a nation being transformed with hope and energy into a new democracy.
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Searching 4 Sandeep

Single, frustrated, and lonely in the middle of Sydney’s thriving gay community, director Poppy Stockell decides to “research” a light-hearted look at the lesbian Internet-dating scene. To her surprise and delight, she forges a deep online connection with an English woman, Sandeep Virdi. When their innocent flirtation turns into true attachment, Poppy sends Sandeep a camcorder and viewers watch as Poppy and Sandeep’s virtual relationship blooms into a poignant love complicated by the reality that Sandeep is Sikh, lives at home with her conservative family, and has kept her sexuality a secret. Humorous and thoughtful, Searching 4 Sandeep explores the collision of love and ethnic, religious, and sexual identity. Filmmaker Stockell raises serious questions about a new kind of global romance at odds with the cultural, social, and geographical distances between people. Will Sandeep’s family overcome their homophobia? Will the star-crossed lovers surmount the obstacles separating them? Through raw, incredibly frank footage, Searching 4 Sandeep follows the couple’s tumultuous relationship across two years, and three continents, in a touching examination of sexuality, religion, globalization, and culture seen through the lens of this uniquely modern love story.
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In Sickness and In Health

A deeply affecting film by newcomer Pilar Prassas and edited by Peter Heacock, In Sickness and In Health cuts through abstract ideologies, politics, and legalities to the human heart of the same-sex marriage debate in this amazing story of love, hope, and courage. In 2002, filmmaker Pilar Prassas began following seven couples in their effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey. Two years into filming, however, plaintiff Marilyn Maneely, mother of five, was diagnosed with the incurable, terminal disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. On the day Marilyn passed away, her life partner of 14 years, Diane Marini, was not even allowed to sign her death certificate. In traditional marriage vows, “‘til death do us part” is the phrase that follows “in sickness and in health,” but to many gay and lesbian Americans, saying these words and enjoying their subsequent rights is not an option. With a tender touch, Prassas delicately balances tragedy and triumph in this film about the civil rights issue of our time—the fight to marry, and care for, the ones we love, in sickness and in health.
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We Want Roses Too (Vogliamo Anche Le Rose)

This stunning visual masterpiece is an exuberant testament to the resolve of women of the ’60s and ’70s sexual revolution and feminist movement in Italy. Acclaimed director Alina Marazzi takes viewers on a gorgeous storytelling journey through archival footage, advertisements, and colorful images juxtaposed with the true-life struggles and first person narrations of three diverse Italian women: Anita, who is struggling with an oppressive father and the strict rules of her Catholic faith; Teresa, who must resort to a heartbreaking illicit abortion; and Valentina, a militant feminist caught between love and her commitment to the movement. The feminist slogan “We want bread, but we want roses too,” was first chanted by thousands of striking female textile workers in Massachusetts in 1912. Marazzi’s vibrant film is a celebration of women who fought for a world where both the essentials of bread and the poetry of roses have a place. The artistic and educational, personal and political converge beautifully in this fascinating film that transcends time and culture to reveal many of the universal struggles and inspirations of women’s equality.
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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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The Education of Shelby Knox

Winner of the Sundance Best Cinematography Award and the SXSW Audience Award, WMM is pleased to be finally releasing this fascinating and powerful documentary. Lubbock, Texas has an abstinence-only sex education policy in its schools and some of the highest teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the nation. Shelby Knox is a devout Baptist teenager who has pledged abstinence until marriage. When her interest in politics leads her to get involved in a campaign for comprehensive sex education in her town's public schools, and then to a fight for a gay-straight alliance, she must make a choice: Stand by and let others be hurt, or go against her parents, her pastor, and her peers to do what she knows is right. THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX is an exceptionally timely and intimate look at the cultural wars from the perspective of a young woman’s life. The support her conservative family provides is an example of how a healthy democracy could look given the time and will to listen.
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Tillie Olsen: A Heart in Action

This revelatory documentary is an inspiring homage to Tillie Lerner Olsen – a renegade, revolutionary, distinguished fiction and non-fiction writer, feminist, humanist, labor organizer and social activist. Politically active, class conscious, deeply joined to the world, Tillie countered the very core of American writing by immortalizing the lives of working class women and single mothers. Her short stories “Tell Me a Riddle,” and “I Stand Here Ironing,” galvanized the literary world and set in motion an essential new perspective on the lives of ordinary women. Filmmaker Ann Hershey tells not only the story of Olsen as a writer, but also documents her life as an activist. Extended interviews with Olsen during the last years of her life are deftly interspersed with footage from her readings, lectures and book signings as well as with archive materials and comments from notable feminists such as Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker. A perfect companion film in courses covering Olsen’s literature, this documentary is also recommended for women’s studies, labor studies, political studies and American history courses.
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Motherland

How do we decide where is home? Feeling increasingly isolated in her adopted homeland, accomplished documentarian Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (SILENCE BROKEN: KOREAN COMFORT WOMEN) travels to Cuba to unearth stories from a relatively unknown group in the Asian diaspora. On the island, she meets Martha, a woman of Korean descent who identifies herself as Cuban. Like many of her contemporary countrymen and women, Martha possesses family ties that span multiple nations, cultures and politics. Her story inspires Kim-Gibson to travel to Miami to meet Martha's émigré sister and the rest of their mulitcultural family, in a journey that reveals how very different worldviews can co-exist in one family separated by place and ideology. Asking probing questions about identity and economic and social justice, Kim-Gibson explores the ways in which we determine our ethnic, national, and cultural loyalties. The compelling stories in Motherland Cuba Korea USA weave a complex web and illuminate the search for an understanding of "motherland" in a globalized society.
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Four Wives – One Man

From Nahid Persson, the filmmaker of the award-winning Prostitution Behind the Veil, comes an intimate portrait of a polygamist family in a rural Iranian village. Persson reveals the intricacies of the relationships between the four wives, their husband, their astoundingly free-spoken mother-in-law and their numerous children. Sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking, this film follows the daily lives of the wives whose situation has turned them into both bitter rivals and co-conspirators against their abusive husband. Persson’s camera unobtrusively and beautifully captures the range of the family’s interactions – from peaceful, pastoral scenes of a family picnic, to the temporary chaos caused by a broken faucet in the kitchen, to a furtive, whispered conversation between two wives about the latest beating. The women’s work – making bread, weaving carpets, milking and herding the sheep – provide the background to their frank conversations. Avoiding sensationalism and sentimentality, this film provides unique insights into the practice of polygamy and its effect on the women involved.
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Iron Ladies of Liberia

After surviving a 14-year civil war and a government riddled with corruption, Liberia is ready for change. On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated President – the first freely elected female head of state in Africa. Having won a hotly contested election with the overwhelming support of women across Liberia, Sirleaf faces the daunting task of lifting her country from debt and devastation. She turns to a remarkable team of women, appointing them in positions such as police chief, finance minister, minister of justice, commerce minister and minister of gender. With exclusive access, directors Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge follow these “Iron Ladies” behind the scenes during their critical first year in office as they tackle indolent bureaucracy, black markets and the omnipresent threat of violent riots. Highlighting the challenges that African countries currently face, this film provides an uplifting example of women who have become the backbone of change. As the filmmakers explore a historic transition from authoritarianism to democracy, the viewer is treated to a joyous, inspirational testimony of the political power of women's leadership and diplomacy.
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My Daughter the Terrorist

This fascinating documentary is an exceedingly rare, inside look at an organization that most of the world has blacklisted as a terrorist group. Made by the first foreign film crew to be given access to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, the film offers important insights into the recently re-ignited conflict in Sri Lanka. Twenty-four-year-olds Dharsika and Puhalchudar have been living and fighting side-by-side for seven years as part of LTTE’s elite force, the Black Tigers. Their story is told through cinema verité footage, newsreel footage, and interviews with the women and Dharsika’s mother. The women describe heartbreaking traumas they both experienced at the hands of the Sri Lankan army, which led them to join the guerrilla forces. As they discuss their readiness to become suicide bombers and their abiding loyalty to the unnamed “Leader” – who they are sure would never harm civilians – grisly images of past LTTE suicide bombings provide somber counterpoints. Their curiously flat affects raise the possibility that they have been brainwashed. This even-handed documentary sheds light on the reasons that the Tamil Tigers continue their bloody struggle for independence while questioning their tactics.
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Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go

Harrowing at one moment and heartwarming the next, HOLD ME TIGHT, LET ME GO is set at England’s Mulberry Bush School, founded by Barbara Dockar-Drysdale who developed unique methods for working with children suffering through severe emotional trauma. “Longinotto, director of award-winning SISTERS IN LAW, spent a year filming these children, who are prone to sudden, violent outbursts, and their teachers, who display enormous restraint and sensitivity. The children’s problems are real, deep and stubborn — but the long arc of recovery is clear, with hope for these troubled children just over the horizon. Over the course of 30 years, Longinotto has established herself as one of the most prolific and perceptive practitioners of cinema verité. Here, she and her steady, unobtrusive camera capture an intimate and unforgettable tale of the human capacity to hurt and to heal.” – Jason Silverman, True/False Film Festival
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My Home - Your War

MY HOME – YOUR WAR offers an extraordinary look at the effect of the Iraq war through the eyes of an ordinary Iraqi woman. Shot in Baghdad over three years that span the time before, during and after the invasion of Iraq, this profoundly moving film brings a perspective that – until now – has rarely been available to U.S. audiences. This film combines insightful interviews with Layla Hassan and her family, vibrant scenes of Baghdad and intimate footage shot by Layla herself to paint a compelling picture of how the war has affected average Iraqis. As Islamic fundamentalism takes hold in the chaos of Baghdad, her shy teenage son turns to militancy, her once-progressive sister dons the veil, and whatever freedom Layla once had under Saddam Hussein’s secular rule is steadily being eroded. While facts about the Iraq war garner much U.S. media attention, My Home – Your War is a deeply compelling account of something seldom discussed: how the Iraq war has created a situation where the rise of fundamentalism is putting women’s rights increasingly at risk.
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3 Times Divorced

How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women. 3 TIMES DIVORCED is a fascinating and disturbing look at a civil and religious legal system that denies women the right to get a divorce independent of their husbands. It highlights the bind that abused women find themselves in when their immigration status is contingent upon marriage. With remarkable access and an unflinching lens that never sensationalizes, award-winning filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana captures Khitam’s astonishing courage as she faces an impossible situation with no country or court to protect her.
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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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The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo

Winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize in Documentary and the inspiration for a 2008 U.N. Resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war, this extraordinary film, shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), shatters the silence that surrounds the use of sexual violence as a weapon of conflict. Many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. Produced in association with HBO Documentary Films and the Fledgling Fund, this film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even-chillingly-the indifferent rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Harrowing moments of the film come as dozens of survivors recount their stories with an honesty and immediacy that is pulverizing in its intimacy and detail, but this powerful film also provides inspiring examples of resiliency, resistance, courage and grace. **Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing**
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Girl Inside

Following 26-year-old Madison during a crucial three years of her transition from male to female, GIRL INSIDE is a beautiful film that tracks her emotional, intellectual and spiritual journey of self-discovery that is as important as – if not more than – the physical journey of hormones and surgery. Sharing the spotlight is Vivien, Madison’s glamorous 80-year-old grandmother, who has taken on the job of advising her on all things feminine. While Vivien's attempts to school Madison in old-fashioned codes of fashion and behavior are often hilarious, the juxtaposition of two vastly different experiences of womanhood, from very different generations, raises profound issues about the nature of gender, femininity and sexuality. Sometimes funny, sometimes painful, this heartwarming coming of age story is both an intimate portrait and a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a woman. Recommended for courses in transgender and queer studies, gender studies, women’s studies and sociology.
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The Women's Kingdom

Keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture – enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities. Beautifully shot and featuring intimate interviews, this short documentary offers a rare glimpse into a society virtually unheard of 10 years ago and now often misrepresented in the media. Mosuo women control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners; they practice what they call "walking marriage." A man may be invited into a woman’s hut to spend a "sweet night," but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture – from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family. This finely wrought film is a sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society.
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A Woman's Word

Beautiful and intimate, A WOMAN'S WORD depicts the life and writings of three exceptional authors of the Arab word – Nawal Al Saadawi from Egypt, Hanan Al Shaykh from Lebanon, and Janata Bennuna from Morocco. For all three women, becoming a writer was never a choice but a necessity – a vocation fought for and hard won. In her own way, each writer struggles as an Arab woman in a society that often wants to shut down her powerful voice. Conveying the intense drive of these women to write as a way to make sense of the world, to battle their sense of alienation or to express their political dissent, this documentary shatters the clichéd image of the oppressed and helpless Arab woman too often portrayed in the media. A WOMAN'S WORD deftly weaves together interviews, family photos, voiceovers of each author reading from her work, and lingering, sensual footage of the cities each woman lives in. Each author discusses her childhood, her development as a writer, and the political and cultural forces that have shaped her life and work. By allowing the viewer to enter, for a moment, into the vibrant lives of these authors, this film offers an accessible introduction or insightful companion piece to the works of these authors.
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Belfast Girls

BELFAST GIRLS is a quiet, powerful story of two young women growing up in a city where neighbors are cut off from each other by permanent concrete and corrugated iron screens. These so-called “peace walls” have also become mental walls, dividing one community from another. Living in different worlds within the same city, Mairéad Mc Ilkenny and Christine Savage share the legacy of 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland. With insightful clarity, Swedish director Malin Andersson reveals how, in their daily struggles and triumphs, these two strong women have more in common with each other than they have differences. For 20-year-old Catholic Mairéad, childhood memories of brutal arrests of her father at night and a constant fear for her life mix with wonderings what the “other side” looks like. She has never gotten to know a Protestant in her entire life – until the day her flatmate starts a new relationship. Suddenly “the other side” has moved into her house. Christine is Protestant and walks on the other side of the wall, dreaming about a house of her own and a boy to love. When she finally finds him, he’s a Catholic. Both girls find the courage to defy the legacy of separation handed down to them, creating a more hopeful future for themselves.
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These Girls

Screened to audiences at the Cannes, Toronto, and New York film festivals, this fresh, irresistibly lively, intensely engaging documentary from widely acclaimed Egyptian director Tahani Rached (SORAÏDA, WOMAN OF PALESTINE and FOUR WOMEN OF EGYPT) follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Rached won astonishing access to the girls’ world; this vigorous, cinematic film is built upon the deep trust of its subjects and the long experience of the filmmaker. Already at a disadvantage as impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy and motherhood on the streets. While the girls’ troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness and vibrant camaraderie. Rached brings alive the pulse of Cairo’s streets, offering an unsentimental portrait that avoids traps of guilt or cheap pity. What stands out is the strength and sheer joy that these girls project. With deft skill Rached reveals an invisible world and offers a loving homage to the inspirational, fierce girls who inhabit it.
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Enemies of Happiness

"In September 2005, Afghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in 35 years. Among the candidates for 249 assembly seats was Malalai Joya, a courageous, controversial 27-year-old woman who had ignited outrage among hard-liners when she spoke out against corrupt warlords at the Grand Council of tribal elders in 2003. ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS is a revelatory portrait of this extraordinary freedom fighter and the way she won the hearts of voters, as well as a snapshot of life and politics in war-torn Afghanistan. Amidst vivid, poetic images of Joya's dusty Farah Province, the film tracks the final weeks of her campaign, when death threats restrict her movements. But the parade of trusting constituents arriving on her doorstep leaves no doubt that Joya is a popular hero. Among her visitors is a 100-year-old woman who treks two hours to offer loyalty and herbal medicine. King Solomon-style, Joya acts as folk mediator and advocate, adjudicating between a wife and her violent, drug-addicted husband and counseling a family forced to marry off their adolescent daughter to a much older man. Protected by armed guards, Joya heads to poor rural areas to address crowds of women, pledging to be their voice and ‘expose the enemies of peace, women, and democracy.’ In the presence of her fierce tenacity, we can imagine the future of an enlightened nation.” - Caroline Libresco, Sundance Film Festival
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The Sermons of Sister Jane

From Oscar and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Allie Light and Irving Saraf (Dialogues With Madwomen and In The Shadow of The Stars), in partnership with Carol Monpere, also an Emmy Award-winner, comes their latest film, The Sermons Of Sister Jane: Believing the Unbelievable. This documentary is an engaging portrait that sparkles with the courage, wit and humanity of Sister Jane Kelly, who combines her deep spiritual faith with her equally powerful commitment towards resistance and change. When Sister Jane discovered that a priest in her church was molesting young men and stealing from the congregation, and when the evidence was ignored by the church, she contacted the press, creating a scandal. Throughout the film she shares her progressive views on issues such as birth control, homosexuality, and women priests. She impels the Catholic Church to return to egalitarian roots of community. The scenes filmed at Plowshares, an organization she created to feed and serve the poor and homeless, demonstrate Sister Jane’s powerful ability to translate her faith into profoundly meaningful action. This touching documentary, skillfully produced by these acclaimed filmmakers, reveals Sister Jane’s long struggle to speak out against what she believed was wrong, and how this ongoing battle ultimately has heart-breaking results.
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The Noble Struggle of Amina Wadud

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud shocked the Islamic world by leading a mixed-gender Friday prayer congregation in New York. THE NOBLE STRUGGLE OF AMINA WADUD is a fascinating and powerful portrait of this African-American Muslim woman who soon found herself the subject of much debate and Muslim juristic discourse. In defying 1400 years of Islamic tradition, her action caused global awareness of the struggle for women’s rights within Islam but also brought violence and death threats against her. Filmmaker Safari follows this women’s rights activist and scholar around the world as she quietly but with utter conviction explains her analysis of Islam in the classroom, at conferences, in her home, and in the hair dresser’s shop. Wadud explains how Islam, with its promise of justice, appeals to the African American community. And she links the struggle for racial justice with the need for gender equality in Islam. Deeply engaging, this film offers rare insights into the powerful connections between Islam, women’s rights, and racial justice.
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They Call Me Muslim

In popular Western imagination, a Muslim woman in a veil – or hijab – is a symbol of Islamic oppression. But what does it mean for women’s freedom when a democratic country forbids the wearing of the veil? In this provocative documentary, filmmaker Diana Ferrero portrays the struggle of two women – one in France and one in Iran – to express themselves freely. In 2004, the French government instituted an "anti-veil law," forbidding Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to school. Samah, a teenager in Paris who, at 14 decided to wear the veil, explains how the law attacks her sense of identity – and does not make her feel liberated. “Who says that freedom is not wearing anything on your head?” she asks. Half a world away in Tehran, “K,” forced to wear the hijab by the Islamic regime, defiantly wears it her own way – and her translucent scarf loosely draped over her hair puts her at risk of arrest. When Ferrero films her at home, K, comfortable in a tank top and shorts, says, “They call me Muslim... But do you see me as a Muslim? What do you have in your mind for a Muslim person?” Beautifully shot and finely crafted, THEY CALL ME MUSLIM highlights how women still must struggle for the right to control their own bodies – not only under theocratic regimes, but also in secular, democratic countries where increasing discrimination against Muslims and sexism intersect.
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Black and White

BLACK AND WHITE shines a sensitive light on a subject that is too often either shunned or sensationalized: the experiences of intersex people (sometimes called hermaphrodites). This beautiful and stylish film artfully explores the potent creative collaboration between Mani Bruce Mitchell and the acclaimed photographer Rebecca Swan. Portrayed through this lens, Mitchell’s story introduces viewers to notions of fluid gender identity, challenging the rigid categories of “male” and “female.” At birth Mitchell was assigned the gender “male” but when investigative surgery subsequently revealed that “he” had ovaries, “Bruce” was renamed “Ruth” and reassigned the gender “female.” BLACK AND WHITE picks up on Mitchell’s story in 2005, weaving together her unflinching yet unexpectedly humorous insights, along with Swan’s descriptions of their creative collaboration on a book about gender identity. Documenting the way Mitchell boldly expresses her own intersex identity through the medium of art, the film challenges the viewer to see Mitchell for who s/he is. Combining intimate, present-day interviews with rich archival slides, photographs and film footage, as well as playful fragments of Super-8 stop-motion animation, BLACK AND WHITE is a stunning tribute to Mitchell’s courage and fierce commitment to change.
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Boy I Am

An important exploration of issues rarely touched upon by most films portraying female-to-male (FTM) transgender experiences, this feature-length documentary sets itself apart from other recent films on this topic. Tackling the resistance of some women in feminist and lesbian communities who view FTM transitioning as at best a "trend" or at worst an anti-feminist act that taps into male privilege, this groundbreaking film opens up a dialog between the lesbian, feminist, and transgender communities while also promoting understanding of transgender issues for general audiences. In the course of the film, three young transitioning FTMs in New York City- Nicco, Norie and Keegan- go through major junctures in their transitions, discussing everything from their relationships with their bodies, feminism, and the intersection of race and class with their transgender identity. Their stories are interspersed with interviews with lesbians, activists and theorists who engage with the often-contentious questions and issues that are raised within the queer and feminist communities but are rarely discussed openly. Situating these struggles and stories as inextricably linked to queer and feminist struggles, BOY I AM presents an empowering chronicle of queer resistance that challenges all viewers to rethink their concepts of activism and identity.
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I Was a Teenage Feminist

Why is it that some young, independent, progressive women in today's society feel uncomfortable identifying with the F-word? Join filmmaker Therese Shechter as she takes a funny, moving and very personal journey into the heart of feminism. Armed with a video camera and an irreverent sense of humor, Shechter talks with feminist superstars, rowdy frat boys, liberated Cosmo girls and Radical Cheerleaders, all in her quest to find out whether feminism can still be a source of personal and political power. In this enlightening documentary, screened worldwide, Shechter hunts down the answers to questions many women are grappling with about their roles and identities in today’s society: Is feminism dead, hibernating, or trapped below the radar? Have the goals of the ‘70s been accomplished or have feminism’s opponents appropriated and denigrated the movement beyond all recognition? If so, how did this happen? Do you have to be political to be a feminist? And do you even have to be female? With home movies clips of Shechter as a budding feminist, archival materials from old health classes, and music by Ani DiFranco, Lavababy, Gina Young, Moxie Starpark and the legendary Helen Reddy, I WAS A TEENAGE FEMINIST redefines the F-Word for a new generation.
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Leila Khaled: Hijacker

In 1969 Palestinian Leila Khaled made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. As a Palestinian child growing up in Sweden, filmmaker Lina Makboul admired Khaled for her bold actions; as an adult, she began asking complex questions about the legacy created by her childhood hero. This fascinating documentary is at once a portrait of Khaled, an exploration of the filmmaker’s own understanding of her Palestinian identity, and a complicated examination of the nebulous dichotomy between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter." When Makboul tracks Khaled down, she finds Khaled living an ordinary life in Jordan, still firm in her belief that her actions were necessary and fully justified. The film weaves together scenes with Khaled, archival footage, and interviews with the people who were on the planes Khaled hijacked. Makboul searches for a way to reconcile her understanding of the Palestinian national narrative - which now includes Khaled’s actions - with the negative image she encounters from the rest of the world of Palestinians as bloodthirsty terrorists. At the same time, she comes to know Khaled for the very real person that she is as they talk, travel together, and share meals. The result is a multi-dimensional film unlike any other in its skillful handling of the complexities that arise when liberation movements incorporate violence as a tactic.
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I Had an Abortion

Underneath the din of politicians posturing about "life" and "choice" and beyond the shouted slogans about murder and rights, there are real stories of real women who have had abortions. Each year in the US, 1.3 million abortions occur, but the topic is still so stigmatized it’s never discussed in polite company. Powerful, poignant, and fiercely honest, I HAD AN ABORTION tackles this taboo, featuring 10 women – including famed feminist Gloria Steinem – who candidly describe experiences spanning seven decades, from the years before Roe v. Wade to the present day. Filmmakers Jennifer Baumgardner (author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future) and Gillian Aldrich insightfully document how changing societal pressures have affected women’s choices and experiences. Cutting across age, race, class and religion, the film unfolds personal narratives with intimate interviews, archival footage, family photos and home movies. Arranged chronologically, the stories begin with Florence Rice, now 86, telling without regret about her abortion in the 1930s. Other women speaking out include Marion Banzhaf, who, inspired by both the Miss America protests and the Stonewall rebellion, fundraised on her campus to pay for her abortion, and Robin Ringleka-Kottke, who found herself pregnant as an 18-year-old pro-life Catholic. With heartfelt stories that are never sentimentalized, I HAD AN ABORTION personalizes what has become a vicious and abstract debate.
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Transnational Tradeswomen

Inspired by organizers at the Beijing Conference on Women in 1995, former construction worker Vivian Price spent years documenting the current and historical roles of women in the construction industry in Asia – discovering several startling facts. Capturing footage that shatters any stereotypes of delicate, submissive Asian women, Price discovers that women in many parts of Asia have been doing construction labor for centuries. But conversations with these women show that development and the resulting mechanization are pushing them out of the industry. Their stories disturb the notion of “progress” that many people hold and show how globalization, modernization, education and technology don’t always result in gender equality and the alleviation of poverty. Celebrating a range of women workers – from a Japanese truck driver, to two young Pakistani women working on a construction site in Lahore, to a Taiwanese woman doing concrete work alongside her husband – this film deftly probes the connections in their experiences. In a segment exploring the history of the Samsui women in Singapore (Chinese women who were recruited as construction laborers in the 1920's until they lost their jobs to mechanization in the 1970’s) unique archival footage and interviews with surviving Samsui offer an importation perspective on the historical and global scope of women workers’ struggles.
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Love, Honour & Disobey

Domestic violence in all forms—from physical abuse to forced marriages to honour killings—continues to be frighteningly common worldwide and accepted as “normal” within too many societies. Getting to the heart of current multicultural debates, LOVE, HONOUR, & DISOBEY reveals the issues around domestic violence in Britain’s black and ethnic minority communities through the eyes of the Southall Black Sisters, a small group of women who have been working to combat abuse for more than 25 years. This powerful documentary combines chilling testimony from those abused with a forceful analysis of the issues that make domestic violence an even more difficult experience for minority women, who generally wait longer to report abuse and seek help. Also astutely examined are the roles of culturally sensitive policing, religious fundamentalism and the attitudes of minority communities themselves in continuing to endanger the lives of many women. This important film is essential viewing for those who wish to further their understanding of domestic violence within ethnic minority communities, including teachers, social workers, police, lawyers, health workers and other professionals working in this realm.
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That Paradise Will Be Mine

Why would a woman in one of the most liberal Western European countries choose to become a Muslim and faithfully follow the demands of her new conviction – including wearing the veil? This eye-opening film follows the lives of three women dealing with the consequences of their choice to convert to Islam. Rather than pressing the women for the reasons behind their choice, director Merel Beernink takes a close look at their day-to-day lives, letting them speak candidly about how they feel in their new cultural and religious context. Issues of marriage and relationships loom large for all three women. Astrid, who had a brief but unhappy arranged marriage, is now living with her parents and looking for a husband. Inge is considering a move to Cairo to marry her Egyptian fiancé. Rabia is married to a Muslim man and struggling with matters such as polygamy and homosexuality. Their perspectives are complemented by revealing and often touching interviews with their parents. Capturing these women’s struggle to reconcile the expectations of their families and friends with the demands of their new conviction, Beernink’s intimate portraits offer fascinating insight into the choices made by these women to lead a different kind of life.
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Linda & Ali

LINDA AND ALI provides a nuanced and intimate look into the life of a traditional Muslim family in Doha, Qatar. But Linda and Ali’s 20-year marriage is far from traditional. Linda was brought up Catholic in Arizona and met Ali – a Shiite Muslim from Qatar – at college in the 1980’s. Shot during the American invasion of Iraq, this poignant film shows how Linda and Ali struggle to surmount their cultural differences while raising their seven children in a lively, loving home. Unlike many foreign wives, Linda adopted the Shiite Muslim traditions of her husband, and swathed in black, she looks like any other Qatari woman. Within the four walls of their comfortable home, however, Western and Middle Eastern ideals, ethics and attitudes often collide. Linda enrolls her daughters in gymnastics classes, clashing with local morals, but she has yet to convince the girls that a “love marriage” such as hers is preferable to an arranged marriage. Filmmaker Lut Vandekeybus hones in on surprising and candid family discussions about issues such as second wives, religion and Qatari society in general, painting a fascinating portrait of a family living at the complex intersection of gender roles, nationality and religion. For two years, Vandekeybus was given extraordinary access to a culture rarely open to outsiders, and the resulting film offers viewers a unique opportunity to view Muslim culture through Linda’s eyes and counteract the often distorted images of Islamic culture and Muslim people provided by the mainstream media
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Far From Home

While busing may be a rapidly fading memory in most American schools, it continues to be a reality for more than 3,000 Boston students every year. FAR FROM HOME spotlights Kandice, an insightful, precocious African-American teenager participating in METCO, a voluntary Boston school integration program. Since kindergarten, she has risen before dawn each day to be bused to Weston, an affluent, predominantly white suburb. Now in her last two years of high school, she takes us inside her personal triumphs and daily negotiations: serving as the first black class president, playing the college admissions game, defying stereotypes she feels from white society, living up to her family’s tradition of activism. Kandice’s grandfather, a civil rights activist murdered in 1968, helped found the busing program and her mother was among the first black students bused to the suburbs in the late 1960s. Through cinema verité and interviews, the film weaves together Kandice’s current school life with a family history that has been profoundly shaped by racially integrated educational experiences. With more than fifty years separating Kandice’s story from the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, this compelling film illustrates the ways in which a truly desegregated education system is still an unachieved goal in this country.
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Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

In this insightful documentary, filmmaker Sonali Gulati explores complex issues of globalization, capitalism and identity through a witty and personal account of her journey into India’s call centers. Gulati, herself an Indian immigrant living in the US, explores the fascinating ramifications of outsourcing telephone service jobs to India—including how native telemarketers take on Western names and accents to take calls from the US, UK and Australia. A fresh juxtaposition of animation, archival footage, live action shots and narrative work highlight the filmmaker’s presence and reveal the performative aspects of her subjects. With fascinating observations on how call centers affect the Indian culture and economy, NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT raises important questions about the complicated consequences of globalization.
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God Sleeps in Rwanda

Uncovering amazing stories of hope in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, Academy Award-Nominee GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA captures the spirit of five courageous women as they rebuild their lives, redefine women’s roles in Rwandan society and bring hope to a wounded nation. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide left the country nearly 70 percent female, handing Rwanda’s women an extraordinary burden and an unprecedented opportunity. Girls are attending school in record numbers, and women now make up a large part of the country’s leadership. Working with two cameras and no crew except for their translator—a genocide survivor herself—the filmmakers uncover incredible stories: an HIV-positive policewoman raising four children alone and attending night school to become a lawyer, a teenager who has become head of household for her four siblings, and a young woman orphaned in her teens who is now the top development official in her area. Heart-wrenching and inspiring, this powerful film is a brutal reminder of the consequences of the Rwandan tragedy, and a tribute to the strength and spirit of those who are moving forth. ** Emmy Winner for Best Documentary and Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short!**
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Everyone Their Grain of Sand

This award-winning documentary reveals the struggles of the citizens of Maclovio Rojas in Tijuana, Mexico as they battle the state government’s attempts to evict them from their homes to make way for multi-national corporations seeking cheap land and labor. Filmmaker Beth Bird followed the fiercely determined residents for three years as they persistently petitioned the state for basic services like running water, electricity and pay for their teachers, only to be met with bureaucratic stonewalling. Eventually, several community leaders are targeted for persecution, and one is arrested while others are forced into hiding. Balancing these stories of hardship, Bird also captures intimate scenes of daily life in Maclovio Rojas, revealing hard-won triumphs such as the building of a school by hand and the graduation of an elementary school class. This compelling and ultimately inspiring documentary is an eye-opening look at the human cost of globalization and a moving testament to the power of grassroots activism.
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The Gender Chip Project

Essential viewing for students, educators, counselors, policy makers and parents, THE GENDER CHIP PROJECT is being hailed as an important resource for addressing the disparity of representation of women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Although women comprise the majority of undergraduates in America, only 20 percent are earning degrees in engineering and computer science. With statistics like these—and controversies such as the firestorm created when a prominent university president suggested women lack innate abilities in math and science—it’s clear that the road to success in the high-stakes STEM professions is not an easy one for young women. THE GENDER CHIP PROJECT illustrates this challenge as it follows five extraordinary women majoring in the sciences, engineering and math at Ohio State University. Meeting regularly throughout their four years of school, they create a community to share their experiences and struggles as women stepping into traditionally male domains, and find support in dialog with their female professors. Now chaptered for easier use, the DVD shows how these extraordinary students are finding their own way to navigate and succeed in these male-dominated areas of study.
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The Lost Tribe

While ex-Mormon-lesbian-atheist Sue-Ann Post has carved out a name for herself as a stand-up comic in Australia, she has been estranged from her family ever since she decided to abandon her Mormon upbringing. When she publicly demanded to be excommunicated from the Mormon church on a national TV talk show, she got what she asked for—leaving her completely ostracized from her Mormon community. This highly engaging doc follows Post as she journeys to Salt Lake City where she has been invited to speak at the Affirmation Conference—an annual gathering of gay and lesbian Mormons and ex-Mormons who are trying to reconcile their faith with their homosexuality. As cynical as she has become about her former religion, Post finds herself struggling with conflicting emotions that she had buried for years, while realizing that she has finally found her own lost tribe. Hilarious and moving, THE LOST TRIBE offers fascinating insights into the Mormon faith, and reveals the often explosive intersection of sexuality and religion.
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The Grace Lee Project

When award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. As an adult, however, she moved to New York and then California, where everyone she met seemed to know "another Grace Lee." But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were nice, dutiful, piano-playing bookworms? Pursuing the moving target of Asian American female identity, the filmmaker plunges into a clever, highly unscientific investigation of all those Grace Lees who break the mold, including the fiery social activist Grace Lee Boggs, the rebel Grace Lee who tried to burn down her high school, and the Silicon Valley teenager Grace Lee who spends evenings doing homework, playing piano, and painting graphic pictures of death and destruction. This refreshing film reveals the intriguing contradiction of the “Grace Lee” persona—simultaneously impressive and forgettable, special and generic, an emblem of a subculture and an individual who defies categorization. With wit and charm, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT challenges the cultural investments made in the idea of Grace Lee, all the while sending her a love letter.
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Sisters in Law

Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival, SISTERS IN LAW is the story of two women in Cameroon determined to change their community.
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Night Passage

Made in homage to Kenji Miyazawa’s children’s sci-fi classic MILKY WAY RAILROAD, NIGHT PASSAGE is the latest experimental feature from celebrated filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha and artist Jean Paul Bourdier (REASSEMBLAGE, THE FOURTH DIMENSION, A TALE OF LOVE, SHOOT FOR THE CONTENTS, SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM). This provocative digital tale tells the story of three young friends traveling for a brief moment together on the train between life and death. Their journey into and out of the land of ‘awakened dreams’ occurs on a long ride on a night train. Ingeniously framed through the train window, filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha and artist Jean Paul Bourdier create whimsical and sensual dreamscapes, which is matched by an equally beautiful and other-worldly music score. Once again, Minh-ha shifts the way she engages with the form and the spirit of the cinema—to challenge and provoke her audience.
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Women in Struggle

WOMEN IN STRUGGLE presents rare testimony from four female Palestinian ex-detainees who disclose their experiences during their years of imprisonment in Israeli jails and the effect it has had on their present lives and future outlooks. Once content in their lives as sisters, wives and mothers, each of the women became active members for the national fight for Palestinian independence, but their “crimes” differed markedly–one woman was detained in a peaceful protest while another was arrested for her participation in a bombing. Their painful recollections provide a fascinating personal perspective on their motives for political involvement, reveal their struggles in prison, and define the difficulties they have faced readjusting to life in Palestinian society. Though the women are now free, they continue to feel imprisoned by the current climate of the Intifada, by the “war on terror” and by the recently built “security” wall. With horrifying stories of torture suffered while in Israeli detention, the film brings to the forefront the hot-button issue of human rights abuses in prisons—and its particular implications for women prisoners. It also grapples with timely and difficult questions—what politicizes an individual? Are people born to fight, or do their circumstances force them to do so? Presented without narration, WOMEN IN STRUGGLE does not categorize its subjects as heroes or criminals, instead letting the women’s voices stand on their own to add another layer to the complex discourse on Israel.
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Desire

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 films 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.
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In My Father's Church

Charissa is a lesbian who wants a church wedding, but it doesn’t seem to help that her dad is the pastor of the town’s United Methodist Church. While he has been quietly supportive of his daughter’s lesbian relationship, Charissa’s father knows he would put his career at risk if he chose to officiate at her marriage ceremony. In 1999, the Methodist church took a firm stand by suspending a pastor for officiating a same sex union—and the clashes between clergy and gay couples have been making headlines ever since. Compelling and honest, IN MY FATHER'S CHURCH is a poignant exploration of the intersection of homosexuality and religion, from the perspective of someone who has much at stake. Though disappointed by her father’s resistance to marry her, Charissa and her bride-to-be Kelly continue to make their wedding plans—finding support in surprising places, and eventually are married by Charissa’s uncle. This emotionally charged story of one woman’s attempt to reconcile her love, faith and family brings to life the deep conflicts that gay marriage has caused in many churches—and for many individuals trying to maintain their faith while preserving their own identities.
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Freedom Road

FREEDOM ROAD is a barren stretch that leads in and out of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. Yet for some of the women incarcerated there, freedom has been redefined through the power of the pen. A testament to the profound influence of arts and education, Lorna Johnson’s compelling film features six female prisoners who are part of a unique memoir-writing workshop called “Woman is the Word.” Reading classic autobiographies such as INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL by Harriet Ann Jacobs and THE CANCER JOURNALS by Audre Lorde, the women are empowered to claim the events of their own lives and retell their own stories—ultimately liberating them from long-held secrets and silence. Moving interviews with the women inmates, their instructors and family members combined with verité footage of their fascinating classroom discussions reveal how poverty, under-education, domestic abuse have had a role in the destiny of many women in the program. Ultimately, the film examines the devastating cycle of imprisonment for the poor and underprivileged, and points to an inspired embodiment of prison reform.
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A Knock Out

Boxing champion Michele Aboro grew up in South London, where life for a girl was never easy, let alone for a mixed-race lesbian girl. Thanks to her tenacious spirit and an uncanny talent for combat sports, she put her difficult past behind her and managed to sign a contract with the biggest boxing promoter in Europe. She won all 21 fights, 18 of them with a knockout - an exceptional achievement in women’s boxing. But despite her spectacular record in the ring, her career came to a sudden halt when her promoter broke her contract under the belief that she was not "promotable." Refusing to vamp up her image and pose naked in magazines, this undefeated world champion was abandoned by an industry more interested in selling sex than sport. A KNOCK OUT interweaves Aboro’s personal story with interviews with boxers whose wild success strikes a painful contrast with Aboro's struggles. Searching for logic behind Aboro’s case, this poignant documentary captures a universal story of fighting for one's identity and offers a probing look at the intersection of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and the increased commercialization of women's sports.
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My Sister, My Bride

As the issue of gay marriage grips the country, this touching documentary follows the heartwarming and historic journey of two Jewish lesbians as they seek to celebrate their commitment to one another. Partners for five years, Farrell and Caren simply want to officially acknowledgment of their relationship like any other couple in love. Supported by their temple community in Nevada, the women put their own personal twist on a Jewish affirmation ceremony by creating their own: a B’rit Ahuvah. Two years later, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom orders the County Clerk to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, Farrell and Caren travel from Nevada with baby in tow to be married at San Francisco City Hall in a civil ceremony. Together with thousands of other hopeful couples, they participate in what has become a defining moment in the ongoing struggle for equality in this country. A story of love, marriage and the Constitution, MY SISTER, MY BRIDE personalizes the current legal debates and serves as a testament to the sheer determination of couples and families fighting for their right to love.
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Heaven’s Crossroad

HEAVEN'S CROSSROAD traces an impressionistic journey through Vietnam exploring the nuances and complexities of “looking” cross-culturally. Structured in a series of observational yet stylized vignettes, this visually driven experimental documentary investigates shifting relationships of voyeurism and intimacy, while linking the observer with the observed. Takesue’s mesmerizing cinematography captures sweeping country landscapes and cities in motion, provoking questions about what it means to truly see another culture. HEAVEN'S CROSSROAD charts a singular journey yet it also explores common desires which surface through travel: the desire to be transported to another place; to communicate beyond language; the desire to arrest time and repossess a moment, a glance, a feeling, an encounter—transforming mundane events into moments of surprising beauty and an utterly new way of seeing.
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Troop 1500

Their mothers may be convicted thieves, murderers and drug dealers, but the girls of Troop 1500 want to be doctors, social workers and marine biologists. With meetings once a month at Hilltop Prison in Gatesville, Texas, this innovative Girl Scout program brings daughters together with their inmate mothers, offering them a chance to rebuild their broken relationships. Intimately involved with the troop for several years, the directors took their cameras far beyond meetings to explore the painful context of broken families. Powerful insight comes from interviews shot by the girls themselves, which reveal their conflicted feelings of anger and joy, abandonment and intimacy—as well as the deep influence their mothers still have on them. An estimated 1.5 million children have incarcerated parents and 90 percent of female inmates are single parents. Their daughters are six times more likely to land in the juvenile justice system. TROOP 1500 poignantly reveals how an inspired yet controversial effort by the more than 90-year old Girl Scouts organization is working to help these at-risk young girls deal with their unique circumstances and break the cycle of crime within families.
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Summer of the Serpent

This beautiful short drama exquisitely explores the unlikely bond that develops between two people from different worlds. Eight-year old Juliette sits at the side of the local pool waiting for another lonely summer day to pass when an unexpected pair of Japanese newcomers arrives. Fascinated by the mysterious black-clad woman and her yakuza assistant, Juliette transforms an ordinary day into an imaginative adventure, embarking on a surreal journey of discovery. Tender and beautifully hypnotic, Summer of the Serpent raises provocative questions about difference and desire. It also artfully explores representations of Asians on film, Asian masculinity, and cross-cultural encounters through the story of one young woman’s burgeoning sexuality.
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The Phantom of the Operator

This wry and delightful found-footage film reveals a little-known chapter in labor history: the story of female telephone operators’ central place in the development of global communications. With an eye for the quirky and humorous, Caroline Martel assembles a dazzling array of clips – more than one hundred remarkable, rarely seen industrial, advertising and scientific management films produced in North America between 1903 and 1989 by Bell and Western Electric – and transforms them into a dreamlike montage documentary. As the first agents of globalization, this invisible army of women offered a way for companies to feminize and glamorize what was a highly stressful, underpaid and difficult job. Not merely "Voices with a Smile," telephone operators were shooting stars in a universe of infinite progress, test pilots for new management systems, and the face of shrewd public relations campaigns. As the work of operators has been eclipsed by the advent of automated systems, this artful piece of labor history also offers an insightful comment on women’s work, industrialization and communications technology. Refreshing and hilarious, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERATOR provides a wry yet ethereal portrait of human society in the technocratic age.
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I Wonder What You Will Remember of September

Cecilia Cornejo presents a haunting personal response to the events of September 11, 2001, informed and complicated by her status as a Chilean citizen living in the U.S. With evocative imagery from both past and present, Cornejo weaves together her own fading childhood memories, her parents vivid recollections of the September 11, 1973 coup in Chile that brought the notorious dictator Augusto Pinochet to power; and post-9/11 conversations with her own young daughter. The resulting montage thoughtfully explores how personal and collective histories intersect, as well as how trauma is lived, supposedly erased, and passed on from one generation to the next. The filmmaker also alludes to what she believes is a deep contradiction within the American consciousness, one that makes it possible to view the 9/11/01 attacks as tragedy, while failing to interpret “outside” events such as the Chilean coup or the invasion of Iraq as such. Cornejo’s mesmerizing experimental film provides a striking new context with which to view the World Trade Center attacks— from the point of view of an immigrant whose home country has endured its own tragedies.
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Highway Courtesans

This provocative coming-of-age film chronicles the story of a bold young woman born into the Bachara community in Central India – the last hold-out of a tradition that started with India’s ancient palace courtesans and now survives with the sanctioned prostitution of every Bachara family’s oldest girl. Guddi, Shana and their neighbor Sungita serve a daily stream of roadside truckers to support their families. Their work as prostitutes forms the core of the local economy, but their contemporary ideas about freedom of choice, gender and self-determination slowly intrude on the Bachara way of life. HIGHWAY COURTESANS follows Guddi from the ages of 16 through 23 as she turns her world upside down, incurring the wrath of her fathers and brother as she struggles with tradition, family and love in hopes of realizing her dreams. In probing beyond the surface of a world of paradoxes, HIGHWAY COURTESANS resists easy moralizing and reveals the very real costs – financial, social and personal – for breaking with tradition. As a community hangs in the balance between traditional and contemporary values, this gripping documentary raises universal questions about sex, the roles of women, and the right of one culture to judge another.
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Buoyant

Julie Wyman’s ebullient experimental documentary intertwines the story of the Padded Lilies, a troupe of fat synchronized swimmers, Archimedes, the Greek mathematician obsessed with floating bodies, and the inventor of the “Drystroke Swimulator” to investigate, proclaim and celebrate the fact that fat floats! As the Padded Lillies prepare for their appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", BUOYANT follows their rigorous training and strategizing as they promote their message of body-acceptance, fat-empowerment, and fitness at any size. A school-marmish voiceover moves on to tell the story of Archimedes, classical Greek mathematician and discoverer of pi, as he tackles one of his more difficult problems: how to measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object. The final vignette, performed by Wyman herself, captures the trials and tribulations of the inventor at work on the “Drystroke Swimulator” (patent pending) -- a contraption designed to allow its user to swim outside of water. Giddy and irreverent, moving fluidly between color and black and white, video and film, handheld and locked-down camera styles, Buoyant draws attention to its own surface and leaves us with the exuberant possibility of a fat body that literally and culturally rises, like cream, to the top.
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The Peacekeepers and the Women

Winner of the Arte-Documentary Award for Best German Documentary, this chilling investigation examines the booming sex-trafficking industry in Bosnia and Kosovo, and boldly explores the disturbing role of the UN peacekeeping forces and the local military in perpetuating this tragic situation. In 1995, the UN set up a free trade zone in Bosnia, hoping to bring peace to the troubled region. Instead it lured the thriving business of human trade—where women from villages in Moldova, the Ukraine and Romania are sold by the hundreds into prostitution. In a shocking indictment, the film reveals that affluent peacekeeping forces have been some of the burgeoning industry’s most solvent customers, allowing the sex trade to get a foothold in the region and paving the way for its expansion. Jurschick confronts UN officials and aid workers, goes on a raid with international police, and reveals the tragic stories of the trafficked women themselves to unravel the many layers of this complicated crime scene.
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Girl Wrestler

GIRL WRESTLER follows 13-year-old Tara Neal, a Texas teenager who upsets traditional expectations by insisting that girls and boys should be able to wrestle on the same mat. Zander follows Tara through a crucial period in her wrestling career—the last year that she is allowed to wrestle boys under state guidelines. When Tara enters high school, her opportunities to compete will virtually disappear because so few girls wrestle. Over the course of the season, she deals with family conflicts, pressures to cut weight and fierce policy debates over Title IX. Tara represents a modern kind of girlhood, one that physically embodies feminism by literally placing girls into grappling competition with boys. This eye-opening film shows us how the gender roles we have constructed affect real adolescents as they crash against the boundaries of those norms. Ultimately, Tara’s story is a direct and immediate chronicle of such broader cultural issues as the social construction of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating disorders, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning and value of sport in American culture.
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Tomboys!

Are tomboys tamed once they grow up? This lively and inspiring documentary explodes that archaic myth with the stories of proud tomboys of all ages: African-American teenager Jay Gillespie; Massachusetts firefighter Tracy Driscoll, lesbian artist Nancy Brooks Brody and the inimitable political activist Doris Haddock, aka “Granny D”, whose walk across America in support of campaign finance reform has gained global attention. Interviews with these feisty women are intercut with personal photographs and archival footage to celebrate tomboys of all ages. Exploring the myriad ways gender identity is constructed from a very young age, TOMBOYS makes the connections between rebel girl and spirited women gloriously clear. With additional commentary by girls’ studies pioneer Carol Gilligan, these tales of energy and enterprise are a revelation to us all.
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Ferry Tales

Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short, FERRY TALES exposes a secret world that exists in the powder room of the Staten Island Ferry.
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Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer's Story

Who are you if you can’t remember who you are? Ann Hedreen’s mother started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at the barely-old age of 60. Though it started with small signs—forgetting what she was doing and losing her way home—the irreversible disease would change her and her family's lives forever. Emmy-nominated QUICK BROWN FOX combines their moving personal journey with an insightful look at the science and politics of Alzheimer’s—a disease that now affects more than 18 million people worldwide. Devastated and angry about her mother's decline, Hedreen began an uncompomising pursuit of information about possible causes and cures, volunteering as a long-term test subject at an Alzheimer's research center in Washington and interviewing prominent doctors and researchers to gain insight into the politics of funding and stem-cell research. Interweaving these experiences with Super 8 home movies, 1950s medical films and heartbreaking interviews with her family, Hedreen’s film bravely confronts the disease that has mangled the mind of her once brainy mom, and raises profound questions about the importance of memories in defining ourselves.
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Women Like Us: Women in Iran

Filmmaker Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri returns to Iran after 20 years as an expatriate to present this intimate and revealing portrait of five ordinary Iranian women: a nurse, a journalist, a rice farmer, a religious college graduate and a piano teacher. Against a backdrop of Islam, revolution and war, they share their views on the veil, the relationship of Iranian women to the West and the long-ranging impacts of the 1979 Revolution on the status of women in their country. What emerges is an image of Iran that resists easy classification, a nation in flux at a unique historical moment, still reeling from the residual effects of the Iran-Iraq war but poised for a new future. An important and timely look at contemporary Iran, WOMEN LIKE US offers surprising insights into the changing role of women in the Middle East from a perspective that rarely makes it to international headlines.
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Search for Freedom

SEARCH FOR FREEDOM traces the dramatic social and political history of Afghanistan from the 1920s to the present through the stories of four remarkable women: Princess Shafiqa Saroj, sister of the beloved progressive King Amanullah (1919-1929); Mairman Parveen, the first woman to sing on Afghan radio; Moshina, a war widow and survivor of a Taliban massacre; and Sohaila, an exiled medical student who ran underground schools for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women) during the Taliban regime. Through their personal stories, a surprising portrait of Afghanistan’s history emerges. Stunning archival footage from the early 20th century captures a time of remarkable progress and freedom for women that belies most Western perceptions. Other historical footage and Jahnagir’s incisive commentary reveal women’s realities and resilience under near constant occupation, first with the Soviet invasion, then under the mujahadeen and more recently under the repressive Taliban. Defying and clarifying the image of Afghan women as mere victims, SEARCH FOR FREEDOM offers a nuanced portrait of women who find choices where none are offered, who continue to find hope in the face of exile and isolation.
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Love

“The clinch that signals the fade-out in so many movies is just the beginning of Love, as Moffatt and editor Hillberg turn their energetic montage technique (introduced in Artist and Lip) to the cinema’s most obvious and most multifarious subject. As it turns out, Bette Davis and the Bond girls have a lot in common. A wealth of clips, from chaste black-and-white Hollywood classics to more full-flooded fare from the ‘60s and ‘70s, show women’s love, lust, longing and revenge. Without commentary or condescension, the film remakes the age-old story of a boy and girl in love with exhilaration and irony.” -Patricia White, Associate Professor & Chair, Film and Media Studies Department of English Literature, Swarthmore College
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La Cueca Sola

On September 11, 1973, a military coup in Chile brought Augusto Pinochet to power, and over the next 17 years, thousands of women and men were taken from their homes- never to return. Since that time, Chilean women have danced the country’s traditional courtship dance alone, and LA CUECA SOLA has become a symbol of women’s struggle against the dictatorship. After 30 years in exile, critically acclaimed filmmaker Marilu Mallet returns to Santiago to meet with five Chilean women from three generations who suffered under the dictatorship and have emerged as heroes under democracy. Isabel Allende, Monique Hermosilla, Estela Ortiz, Carolina Toha and Moyenei Valdes all lost a father, a husband, or a friend, but have surmounted their grief to bravely speak out, each in their own way- from political action to vocal performance. Intimate interviews reveal the women’s shocking experiences under the dictatorship, while inspiring footage of their current work highlights their passion to rebuild. Illustrating throughout with a wealth of archival images, Mallet paints a vivid portrait of the country’s painful past and offers insight on Chile’s situation today. Important historically, socially and politically, this moving film expresses both the courage of women and the vitality of a nation.
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The Blonds

Albertina Carri’s second feature is a look at Argentina’s recent history from the perspective of a generation forced to mourn those of whom they have no recollection. Carri, who lost her parents to Argentina’s brutal military junta when she was three years old, travels through Buenos Aires with her crew to unravel the factual and emotional mysteries of her parents’ life, disappearance and death. Traces of Carri’s family emerge, colored by sharply conflicting perspectives. Who were the Carris? How did they disappear? Were they blonde, brunette, parents, heroes or merely a fiction of those who remember them? Crossing the line between documentary and fiction filmmaking, Carri enlists an actor, her parents’ former comrades, fading photographs and happy Playmobil dolls to investigate her parents’ untimely end. In the end, merging fact, rumor and imagination, Carri succeeds in reconstructing both her parents' history and her own construction of them. Emotionally fraught and intellectually provocative, THE BLONDS has resonance far beyond the tragic history of Argentina’s dirty war.
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Afghanistan Unveiled

Filmed by the first ever team of women video journalists trained in Afghanistan, this rare and uncompromising film explores the effects of the Taliban’s repressive rule and recent U.S.-sponsored bombing campaign on Afghani women. None of the fourteen journalist trainees had ever traveled outside Kabul. Except for one, none had been able to study or pursue careers while the Taliban controlled their country. Leaving Kabul behind for the more rural regions of the country, the filmmakers present heartbreaking footage of Hazara women whose lives have been decimated by recent events. With little food and no water or electricity, these women have been left to live in caves and fend for themselves, abandoned in the wake of the U.S. invasion. While committed to revealing such tragedies to the world, the filmmakers also manage to find moving examples of hope for the future. A poetic journey of self-discovery, AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED is a revelatory and profound reminder of the independent media’s power to bear witness and reveal truth.
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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS Celebrates the life of legendary African American actress, poet and political activist Beah Richards, best known for her Oscar nominated role in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER.
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For a Place Under the Heavens

Acclaimed director Sabiha Sumar, recent winner of the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for her feature Silent Waters, offers an insightful perspective on Pakistan in this finely crafted personal film. Beginning with the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Sumar traces the relationship of Islam to the state in an effort to understand how women are coping with and surviving the increasing religiosity of civil and political life in her country. Raised in a more secular time, she struggles to comprehend how religious schools have expanded at once unthinkable rates and presents chilling footage of a mother encouraging her toddler to be a martyr when he grows up. Mixing political analysis with interviews with activist colleagues, noted Islamic scholars and Pakistani women who have chosen to embrace fundamentalism, Sumar’s provocative questions dramatically capture the tension between liberal and fundamentalist forces that are shaping life in contemporary Pakistan. “Less an ethnography than a philosophical and historical inquiry into the meaning of gender within Islam, it provides a witty, incisive, and important reflection on the "parameters" of gender hierarchy and, indeed, the "truth" of law, both secular and religious. Required viewing to understand some of the specific ideological conundrums within the sexual politics in Pakistan.” Joseph Boles, Northern Arizona University
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The Ladies Room

Directed by the acclaimed Iranian actress Mahnaz Afzali and filmed entirely inside a ladies washroom in a public park in Tehran, this absorbing documentary shatters Western preconceptions of Iranian women. Populated by addicts, prostitutes, runaway girls and others who simply enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere, the ladies room becomes one of the few places where women feel comfortable enough to smoke cigarettes, discuss taboo subjects and remove their veils. In a series of frank and intimate conversations, these diverse women debate everything from drugs and family abuse, to sex, relationships and religion. Maryam is an epileptic who reveals the brutal circumstances that drove her to heroin addiction and self-mutilation; Sepideh describes her fraught relationship with her mother and her struggle to get back on her feet; and the old woman who runs the bathroom alternately offers tough love and a shoulder to cry on. Raw and provocative, this engrossing film is a remarkable verite look at the hidden lives of Iranian women.
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Sisters of the Screen

Beti Ellerson’s engaging debut explores the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora.
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The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde

This powerful documentary is a moving tribute to legendary black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde, One of the most celebrated icons of feminism's second wave.
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Europlex

The fourth in Ursula Biemann's critically acclaimed series of video essays that investigates migration across borders, EUROPLEX, a collaboration with Angela Sanders, tracks the daily, sometimes illicit, border crossings between Morocco and Spain- a rare intersection of the first and third worlds. Paying off officials to look the other way, workers smuggle contraband across the border, sometimes crossing up to 11 times a day. In a now common scenario of global economics, Moroccan women work in North Africa to produce goods destined for the European market. And in perhaps the most surreal example of border logic, domesticas commute into a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, losing two hours as they step into the European time zone. With a mesmerizing soundtrack and a dizzying blend of video footage, digital graphics and text, the film exposes a fascinating, often hidden layer in the cultural and economic landscape between Europe and Africa- revealing the new rules and profound implications of globalization.
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Paradise Lost

Arab Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana grew up in Paradise (Fureidis in Arabic), a small fishing village overlooking the Mediterranean. One of the few Arab communities remaining after the 1948 war, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it, and today it is a place defined by silence and repression. This thought-provoking and intimate film diary follows the director’s attempt to recreate the village’s lost history, including the story of her childhood hero Suuad, the legendary local “bad girl” who was imprisoned as a PLO activist in the 1970’s and banished from the community. The director’s frustration builds as her questions are resisted, and her hopes soar when she finally meets Suuad, now a Doctor of Law living in the UK. Stunning cinematography and evocative music underscore the power of Mara’ana’s film, whose lyrical, emotionally charged tone is strikingly honest and straightforward. Presenting the rarely heard voice of an Arab Israeli, this important film offers valuable insight into the contradictions and complexities of modern womanhood and national identity in the Middle East.
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War Takes

With conflicts raging on nearly every continent, war now regularly transcends the battlefield into everyday life - whether its increased security at airports or infringements on personal privacy. In WAR TAKES, Colombian filmmakers Adelaida Trujillo and Patricia Castaño turn the cameras on themselves to portray the tough realities of civil life in the violent, war-ravaged country of Colombia. Partners in an independent media company, they struggle to balance their family, business and political lives: reporting from dangerous parts of the country; managing their company as the economic situation worsens; parenting young children amid threats of violence and kidnapping; and rethinking their political views as war moves closer to the city. The filmmakers skillfully incorporate coverage from local television, archival footage, and narration to provide insightful analysis and historical background - including U.S. involvements in the region. Powerfully intimate and often humorous, their chronicle reveals how life goes on in Colombia - however surreal - against the terrifying backdrop of war.
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Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders

In 1965, when three women walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C., they had come a very long way. Neither lawyers nor politicians, they were ordinary women from Mississippi,and descendants of African slaves. They had come to their country’s capital seeking civil rights, the first black women to be allowed in the senate chambers in nearly 100 years. A missing chapter in our nation’s record of the Civil Rights movement, this powerful documentary reveals the movement in Mississippi in the 1950’s and 60’s from the point of view of the courageous women who lived it – and emerged as its grassroots leaders. Their living testimony offers a window into a unique moment when the founders’ promise of freedom and justice passed from rhetoric to reality for all Americans. Through moving interviews and powerful archival footage, STANDING ON MY SISTERS' SHOULDERS weaves a story of commitment, passion and perseverance and tells the story of the women fought for change in Mississippi and altered the course of American history forever.
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The Trickle Down Theory of Sorrow

Veteran experimental filmmaker Mary Filippo tackles issues of work, class and gender roles in this visually captivating and provocative autobiographical piece. At the core of this engaging autobiographical film is an interview with Filippo’s mother, as she recounts incidents of exploitation and gender discrimination she experienced working in jewelry factories in the 1940’s and 50’s. The filmmaker contrasts her mother’s quiet acquiescence with her own attitudes about the social injustices of her culture through a striking montage of images and audio clips - moving the viewer to consider connections between consumerism and global labor practices, motherhood, money and happiness. While her mother's attitude toward the social injustices she endured is one of resignation, Filippo’s is one of assumed but uncollected responsibility.
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Thunder in Guyana

THUNDER IN GUYANA is the remarkable tale of Janet Jagan, a young woman from Chicago who married Guyanese activist Cheddi Jagan, and set off for the British colony to start a socialist revolution. For more than fifty years, the couple fought tirelessly to liberate the country from colonial rule and exploitation—despite battering by the international press, imprisonment and the intervention of world figures including Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy. Free and fair elections were instituted in the early 90's, and Janet Jagan was elected president of Guyana in 1997, the first foreign-born and first woman to serve in the role. Historian Suzanne Wasserman (Jagan’s cousin) creates a rich historical portrait combining interviews with friends and family, excerpts from Janet’s letters, archival photographs and footage, and video captured during Janet’s dramatic presidential campaign. The film, with cinematography by Sundance Award winner Debra Granik, illuminates the life of an extraordinary woman and the complex history of the little understood country of Guyana.
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My Terrorist

In 1978, filmmaker Yulie Cohen was wounded in a terrorist attack by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A stewardess for the Israeli airline El Al, she was attacked along with other crewmembers when getting off the bus to the hotel in London. In a remarkable twist of faith, twenty-three years later Cohen began questioning the causes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and started to consider helping release the man who almost killed her, Fahad Mihyi. From the time she was a young girl, Cohen considered herself a staunch Israeli nationalist. Growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood in Israel (where her neighbors included future Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Arik Sharon, and military hero Moshe Dayan), she patriotically served in the military. After working as an Israel coordinator on a film shoot and visiting the occupied territories, Cohen came to realize that both Israelis and Palestinians played a role in perpetuating the cycle of hostility and bloodshed. It was her goal to stand up as a survivor and call for reconciliation on each side. An inspiring story of forgiveness, Cohen’s poignant documentary is a moving testimony of human compassion and a call for peace.
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Maggie Growls

MAGGIE GROWLS is a portrait of the amazing, canny, lusty, charming and unstoppable Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995), who founded the Gray Panthers (the nation’s leading progressive senior advocacy organization) in 1970 after being forced to retire from a job she loved at the age of 65. Her outrage and determination fueled a political chain reaction that forever changed the lives of older Americans, repealing mandatory retirement laws and proving that “old” is not a dirty word. Out of what Ralph Nader called “the most significant retirement in modern American history,” Maggie created one of the most potent social movements of the century – one that was committed to justice, peace and fairness to all, regardless of age. Her defiant “panther growl” and dramatic slogan “Do something outrageous every day” launched nothing less than a contemporary cultural revolution, both in terms of redefining the meaning of age and through her insistence on “young and old together.” "Maggie Growls" looks at the forces that shaped the movement as well as its leader, using Maggie’s life as a lens through which to examine the intertwined issues of social reform and aging in America. This inspiring documentary is an important addition to courses in American Studies, History, Women’s Studies, Gerontology and Sociology. This film is a presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
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Simon & I

SIMON & I is an intimate and inspiring portrait of black South African gay rights activist Simon Nkoli, who died of AIDS in 1998, and his fellow activist and protégé, Bev Ditsie. Chronicling two remarkable decades of activism, their story charts the history of the gay and lesbian liberation movement in South Africa and presents a personal account of the devastating AIDS epidemic in Africa. Bev unfolds their unique relationship using a mixed format of interviews, archival images and newspaper clips, while speaking honestly about the challenges they faced and the difficult issue of sexism within the gay rights movement. Their hard work and unyielding determination moved South Africa to become the only country in the world to include sexual orientation in its constitutional Bill of Rights. An homage to a great figure in the gay and lesbian rights movement, SIMON & I is equally a tribute to an enduring friendship and bond between two remarkable leaders.
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Shouting Silent

SHOUTING SILENT explores the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic through the eyes of Xoliswa Sithole, an adult orphan who lost her mother to HIV/AIDS in 1996. Xoliswa journeys back home in search of other young women who have also lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS and are now struggling to raise themselves (and, in many cases, their siblings) on their own. Sithole lyrically interweaves their unsettling stories with highly stylized imagery to help convey her own painful memories and document the grim statistics of HIV infection in Africa. These testimonials powerfully demonstrate how entire generations of young people are growing up without their parents and chronicles the devastating impact the AIDS pandemic is having on orphaned children in South Africa. An arresting and timely piece, SHOUTING SILENT is also a cinematographic gem that artistically and meditatively captures how these young women are quickly slipping through the cracks of society.
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The Day I Will Never Forget

THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET is a gripping feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto that examines the practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya and the pioneering African women who are bravely reversing the tradition. In this epic work, women speak candidly about the practice and explain its cultural significance within Kenyan society. From gripping testimonials by young women who share the painful aftermath of their trauma to interviews with elderly matriarchs who stubbornly stand behind the practice, Longinotto paints a complex portrait of the current polemics and conflicts that have allowed this procedure to exist well into modern times. Demystifying the African tradition of female circumcision, Longinotto presents Nurse Fardhosa, a woman who is single-handedly reversing the ritual of female circumcision one village at a time by educating communities about its lasting emotional and physical scars. Also profiled are an inspiring group of runaway girls who are seeking a court injunction to stop their parents from forcing them to go through with the practice. Through their words the full implications of breaking with tradition are made clear, as is the incredible courage of the women and girls who risk social ostracism by taking a stand against the practice.
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Love & Diane

Jennifer Dworkin’s groundbreaking documentary LOVE & DIANE presents a searingly honest and moving examination of poverty, welfare and drug rehabilitation in the United States today. Filmed in New York City over a five-year period, Dworkin documents the struggles of three generations of the Hazzard family as they face a myriad of emotional, financial and personal challenges. LOVE & DIANE is at its heart a highly charged story about a mother and daughter searching for love, redemption and hope for a new future. While caught in a devastating cycle of teen pregnancy and the bureaucracy of an over burdened welfare system, they demonstrate an inspiring resiliency and ability to find strength during the most desperate times. Without falling into stereotypes of welfare and poverty, LOVE & DIANE casts a fair, non-judgmental eye on the Hazzard’s and presents a forgotten, but very real, side of the American experience. This film is a presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
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Through the Skin

In this highly personal experimental autobiography, emerging filmmaker Elliot Montague presents a daring meditation on the experience and trauma of growing up androgynous. Incorporating home movies with vintage health public service announcements, along with his own performance pieces, Elliot jarringly discloses the conflicts between his changing female body with that of his gender and sexual identity. Through a montage of images set against a dissonant soundtrack, he speaks about the misunderstandings and tensions his identity struggle caused his family and the depression that later resulted. In scenes where Elliot binds his breasts, he painfully discloses how his parents sent him to a psychologist who diagnosed him with bi-polar disorder – a diagnosis that later proved to be incorrect. Exploring the complexities and implications of feeling androgynous in a female body, THROUGH THE SKIN presents more than a personal testimony on the transgender experience, it provokes universal questions on the meaning of gender.
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Speaking Out: Women, AIDS and Hope in Mali

The fourth installment of Joanne Burke’s critically acclaimed NEW DIRECTIONS series on women's empowerment in developing countries, SPEAKING OUT presents a compelling case study on the impact of AIDS on women from Mali and the devastating effects the epidemic is having in Africa today. This critically acclaimed documentary profiles a remarkable HIV and AIDS support project in Bamako, Mali, sponsored by The Center for Care, Activity and Council for People Living with HIV (CESAC), and three brave women who tirelessly work on behalf of the infected community. Risking social ostracism and family rejection, Aminita, Oumou and Aissata are among a small group who dare to speak publicly about their HIV+ status. They help others with HIV, particularly women, by joining AFAS, the women's association for the support of widows and children of AIDS. Through their advocacy work they hope to demonstrate to the Mali government the desperate need for a more pro-active HIV and AIDS strategy. With the help of CESAC, these inspiring women are proving that an HIV+ diagnosis is not the end of life, but the start of a positive future for all African men and women.
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Adio Kerida (Goodbye Dear Love)

Distinguished Anthropologist Ruth Behar (recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship) returns to her native Cuba to profile the island’s remaining Sephardic Jews and chronicle her family’s journey to the U.S. as Cuban-Jewish exiles. Highlighting themes of expulsion and departure that are at the crux of the Sephardic legacy, Behar seeks reconciliation with Cubans on the island and advocates for the possibility of return and renewal. She debunks myths about the country’s Jewish community and unravels the influence of interfaith marriage, Afro-Cuban santería, tourism and the embargo on contemporary Cuban-Sephardic cultural identity. The result is a bittersweet, lyrical, and often humorous portrait of modern-day Cuba that few know exists today. Narrated by Elizabeth Peña.
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Reconstruction

Filmmaker Irene Lusztig unearths a dark family secret in search of answers and reconciliation in her breakthrough feature documentary, RECONSTRUCTION. In communist Romania 1959, Lusztig’s maternal grandmother, Monica Sevianu, took part in a failed bank robbery (known as the Ioanid Gang bank heist) and was condemned to life in prison. Forty years later, the filmmaker returns to Bucharest to reassemble the pieces of her shocking story and construct a portrait of her estranged and enigmatic grandmother. The title of the documentary derives from a bizarre government propaganda film that reenacts the crime and trial of the robbery and shockingly stars the actual members of the Ioanid Gang – including Monica Sevianu. This surreal docu-drama incorporates interviews, contemporary footage shot in Bucharest and rare archival images, Lusztig reveals a mesmerizing family story spanning three generations about the subversive crime of six Jewish intellectuals, while presenting a compelling and complex examination of modern-day Romania.
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For My Children

In October 2000, as the second Palestinian Intifada erupts, Israeli filmmaker Michal Aviad begins an exploration about both the moral and mundane dilemmas she faces every day in Tel Aviv. What begins with deceptive simplicity-a tender scene of sending the children off to school-quickly becomes a profound study of vulnerability and anxiety. Small acts like crossing the street are charged with inescapable fear. As the nightmare of violence escalates over the coming months, Michal and her husband Shimshon ask the quintessential Diaspora Jewish question, "When is it time to go?" The question reverberates through a stream of images-public and private, home video and historic archival footage-as her parents and extended family recount their own journeys to Israel from Europe, escaping death and the Holocaust, and from America, out of ideological commitment to Israel. Their stories are told with vivid, beautiful detail-at a bucolic family picnic, during a vacation on the California coast-and with a degree of candor and intimacy rarely seen in Israeli cinema. "I don't want to be an immigrant," says Shimshon, a political activist whose profound feelings about displacement and exile are interwoven with TV images of war, children asleep in their beds, grandma making pasta and the sounds of sirens. Tanks roll over the hills as tea is being made in the kitchen in a cosmic seesaw between blissful domesticity and the nightmare of public life, in this deeply moving and riveting video essay. -Deborah Kaufman
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Children of the Crocodile

This documentary tells the story of two young Timorese-Australian activists – one a high profile human rights worker, the other a performance artist and lesbian – and their personal journey to further the cause of peace in the homeland they were forced to flee. Although merely infants when their families left East Timor to seek political asylum in Australia, Cidalia Pires and Elizabeth Exposto carry on their parents’ human rights work promoting the Timorese struggle. Their tireless activist efforts are documented through two amazing years in East Timor’s history - from the joy of voting for freedom in August 1999 to the rage at the destruction that followed and time of renewed commitment and hope. Their country’s independence fulfills their lifetime dream, but it also brings hard choices and painful returns for them both. Cidalia, in particular, faces the additional challenge of being an openly gay Timorese woman in a culture heavily steeped in tradition and conservative gender roles. CHILDREN OF THE CROCODILE tells a story which is personal yet universal - about ideals, identity, and the strength of an exile community that is committed to furthering the cause of peace in their native land.
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Amazonia

In this highly personal and visually evocative testimonial, critically acclaimed South Asian filmmaker Nandini Sikand poignantly presents her sister’s triumphal recovery from the emotional and physical scars of breast cancer. Lyrically incorporating poetry, experimental video and Super-8 montage, this moving piece looks at the myth of Amazonian women - warriors who were said to have cut off their right breast to become better archers - and compares their legendary battles to the war being waged against breast cancer. As Sikand’s sister reads passages describing her fight with the disease, the geography of her body is explored and compared to the scarred landscape of the urban environment. Traversing the pulsating and dizzying streets, the city and body become one to highlight women’s lives as triumphant urban warriors. Moving and inspiring, this short experimental film is a tribute to all women who have struggled with breast cancer.
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All Water Has a Perfect Memory

ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY is a poignant experimental documentary that explores the effects of tragedy and remembrance on a bi-cultural family. At seven months old, filmmaker Natalia Almada lost her two-year-old sister, Ana Lynn, in a drowning accident at her childhood home in Mexico. Inspired by an essay written by Toni Morrison, in which she speaks of the Mississippi River’s ability to conjure memories, this moving piece serves as a meditation on the cultural and gender differences between the filmmaker’s North American mother and Mexican father in the face of their daughter’s death. Through personal recollections narrated by each family member, including her brother, Almada incorporates Super-8 home movies, photographs and fabricated images to weave together a touching and moving visual memory of Ana Lynn.
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Señorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman

SENORITA EXTRAVIADA, MISSING YOUNG WOMAN tells the haunting story of the more than 350 kidnapped, raped and murdered young women of Juárez, Mexico.
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Some Real Heat

SOME REAL HEAT explores the small and relatively new world of female firefighters in San Francisco and their upward climb to gain access to a male-dominated field. Armed with axes, chainsaws, muscle, heart and determination, six daring women demonstrate how they single-handedly turn gender roles upside down by putting their lives on the line everyday in one of the riskiest jobs around. As they passionately talk about the tools of the trade, overcoming their fears and helping others, they reveal the fascinating history of women fire fighters and the gender bias that barred them from officially entering the U.S. Fire Department until 1974. They also explain the important role women paramedics play in fire departments and the surprising number of medical emergencies that they attend to on a weekly basis – a number that far outweighs actually putting out fires. Uncovering the myth and reality of this dangerous profession, this inspiring piece intimately delves into the strength and character that distinguishes these women as true modern-day heroes.
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Georgie Girl

Meet Georgina Beyer, the latest “it” girl of New Zealand politics. A one-time sex worker of Maori descent turned public official, Georgina stunned the world in 1999 by becoming the first transgendered person to hold national office. Born George Beyer, this unlikely politician grew up on a small Tarankai farm and later became a small-time celebrity on the cabaret circuit in Auckland. With charisma, humor and charm, Beyer unapologetically recounts her fascinating life story, shares how she overcame adversity and discloses the reasons she decided to run for office in a mostly all white, conservative electorate. Incorporating an unbelievable montage of colorful archival images dug up from Georgina’s days as an exotic dancer, theatre and television performer, this absorbing documentary breaks down stereotypes and promotes greater understanding of transgendered people.
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Escuela

There are over 800,000 students enrolled in migrant education programs in the United States and, of those, only 45-50% ever finish high school. ESCUELA, the sequel to Hannah Weyer’s critically acclaimed documentary LA BODA, personalizes these glaring statistics through the honest portrait of a teenage Mexican-American farm worker, Liliana Luis. ESCUELA is a clear-eyed view into the lives of contemporary Mexican American migrants and their struggles to educate their children while obtaining employment. Centered around the life of Liliana, a daughter entering her first year of high school, Hannah Weyer follows the back-and-forth movement of the family between their home in Texas near the borderlands and the California agricultural fields. Despite the best efforts of the school systems to accommodate students like Liliana, the social and emotional life of this young woman is constantly in flux. This is an important work revealing the difficulties of girl life on the border in a way that no textbook could. - Joe Austin, Popular Culture Studies, Bowling Green University
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Africa, Africas

A rare collection from the emerging voices of African documentary filmmaking, this unique series daringly explores the social and cultural realities experienced in Africa today – including the infiltration of Western beauty standards, territorial displacement and high unemployment. FANTACOCA by Agnes Ndibi (23 minutes) presents the disturbing cultural phenomenon of skin bleaching in Cameroon and the challenge it is now posing on notions of black pride and identity. THE RIVER BETWEEN US by Maji-da Abdi (18 minutes) documents the alarming effects of war on a community of Ethiopian women and children who were forcibly relocated into refugee camps. LAAFI BALA by Fanta Regina Nacro (20 minutes) demonstrates the glaring causes of wide-spread unemployment and poverty in Burkina Faso, where few institutional resources and government support are available, and the debilitating effects this is having on women and youth.
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Silent Song

“In SILENT SONG Schogt deftly conjures an elaborate dialogue around issues of memory in its various forms - personal, historical, filmic… [her] rich and nuanced economy of style is brilliantly illustrated here as these meditations lead to the most basic, yet most cogent statements on the nature of memory itself. Perhaps more importantly, Schogt points to the unstable nature of the recorded image, one that history has come to rely on.” - Barbara Goslawski, Independent Film Critic and Curator, Toronto
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Beyond Voluntary Control

Acclaimed filmmaker Cathy Cook (THE MATCH THAT STARTED MY FIRE) breaks new cinematic territory by devising a new visual language that explores the psychological and emotional effects of physical confinement in her latest film, BEYOND VOLUNTARY CONTROL. Stimulating the senses through haunting and poetic images, the film imaginatively conveys the obsessions, phobias and illnesses constricting personal freedom. While lyrically meditating on the limits of the body, Cook incorporates the evocative movements of modern dancer, David Figueroa, and blends a mesmerizing soundtrack set to the poems by Emily Dickinson and Sharon Olds. Through Figueroa’s gestures and dance, along with a moving interview of Cook’s own mother suffering from Parkinson’s, the film succeeds in humanizing and reconciling the effects of physical metamorphosis and stasis. Through artistry and visual astuteness, BEYOND VOLUNTARY CONTROL innovatively investigates the limits of human physicality and movement.
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Remote Sensing

In Biemann’s film, she traces the routes and reasons of women who travel across the globe for work in the sex industry. By using the latest images from NASA satellites, the film investigates the consequences of the U.S. military presence in southeast Asia as well as European migration politics. This essay takes an earthly perspective on cross-border circuits, where women have emerged as key actors and expertly links new geographic technologies to the sexualization and displacement of women on a global scale. By revealing how technologies of marginalization affect women in their sexuality, REMOTE SENSING aspires to displace and resignify the feminine within sexual difference and cultural representation.
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Sisters in Resistance

“This compelling documentary shares the story of four French women of uncommon courage who, in their teens and twenties, risked their lives to fight the Nazi occupation of their country. Neither Jews nor Communists, they were in no danger of arrest before they joined the Resistance. They could have remained safe at home. But they chose to resist. Within two years all four were arrested by the Gestapo and deported as political prisoners to the hell of Ravensbruck concentration camp, where they helped one another survive. Today, elderly but still very active, they continue to push forward as social activists and intellectual leaders in their fields. The film captures their amazing lives, and reveals an uncommon, intense bond of friendship that survives to this day.” - Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
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Closer

An experimental documentary which has at its heart a poignant character study of a 17 year-old lesbian living in Newcastle, England, CLOSER innovatively explores the process of documentary filmmaking and boldly challenges traditional forms of storytelling. Produced without a script and in close collaboration with the subject, Annelise Rodger, the filmmaker presents a hypnotizing array of montages and fictive sequences to introduce the day-to-day happenings of this extraordinary person. From the streets of Newcastle – where we find Annelise speaking frankly to the camera about her experiences as a young lesbian – to the emotionally charged reenactment of her coming out to her mother, this highly original film provides a rare auto-portrait where fiction and documentary collide. In the end what emerges is not only a remarkable encounter with a young woman, but also a story that has broader implications about being young, being at the cusp of adulthood, and finding one's identity. A Bridge & Tunnel Production.
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Ramleh

A timely and powerful look at the ideological, cultural and political conflicts in contemporary Israel, this highly original documentary profiles three seemingly disparate women residing in the town of Ramleh. Located in the heartland of the Israel, this former Palestinian territory serves as a microcosm of the beliefs, biases and conflicts of women living in the country today. Profiled in this compelling documentary are Sima and Orly, two ultra-orthodox Jewish women who rediscover religion and enthusiastically support the conservative “Shas” party, the third largest political party in Israel; Svetlana, a single-mother and recent immigrant struggling to establish herself in her new country; and Gehad, a young Muslim teacher and law student attempting to find a sense of national identity in a predominately Jewish state. Filmed between the general elections in 1999 and the 2001 elections, Ramleh demonstrates the profound cultural and political divisions barring these women from living together as a united community, as well as reveals how their political landscape helped sow the seeds of the intifada in 2000. It similarly raises the question of whether each woman and the communities they represent will ever peacefully reconcile their search for tradition, religion and homeland.
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Uphill All the Way

UPHILL ALL THE WAY is the astounding true story of five troubled teenage girls who face the challenge of their lives: a 2,500-mile bicycle journey along the United States Continental Divide. The girls are students at the DeSisto School, a rehabilitative high school in Massachusetts for drug addicts, victims of sexual abuse, and juveniles that have had run-ins with the law. Despite the emotional risks posed by their unstable backgrounds, they sign up for the bike trip as an opportunity to prove individually and collectively that they can reach once unfathomable heights. If finished, the trek will be the first time in their lives the girls have set a goal and met it. Over the course of three months, they mature in ways that are visible, thought provoking and completely unexpected. Rather than portray these girls as victims, UPHILL ALL THE WAY highlights their resilience and ability to persevere despite great emotional and physical barriers. Providing much-needed alternatives for young women to learn how to improve their self-esteem, this unique documentary is an inspiration for every viewer – both young and old – to accomplish great feats in their lives. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.
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My Left Breast

“Every once in a while someone comes up with a film that sends us a clear signal that it's time to re-evaluate our lives. The film MY LEFT BREAST is not just for women living with breast cancer--it's for everyone.” – Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Incorporating a unique blend of wit, wisdom and resilience, filmmaker Gerry Rogers bravely recounts her story of breast cancer survival to share with the world that life, indeed, can continue with full force and vigor. Shortly after being diagnosed at age 42, Rogers began to document her ordeal on camera in an attempt to confront her own questions and fears about breast cancer. Rather than present a somber and morose meditation on this difficult experience, she decides to invoke humor to frankly reflect on the meaning of this disease on her life, as well as on the lives of her friends and family. The result is a one-of-kind approach to positively coping with a potentially fatal disease. Rather than merely chronicling how one copes with an infirmity, MY LEFT BREAST serves as a model for overcoming every challenge and obstacle in life with clarity and honesty. In the same vein as the most highly regarded films on health, such as COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER, this powerful film intimately embraces the emotional challenges of disease, demonstrates acceptance and, above all, affirms life.
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Between the Lines: Asian American Women's Poetry

BETWEEN THE LINES offers rare interviews with over 15 major Asian-Pacific American women poets. Organized in interwoven sections such as Immigration, Language, Family, Memory, and Spirituality, it is a sophisticated merging of Asian-American history and identity with the questions of performance, voice, and image. This engaging documentary serves as poetry reading, virtual anthology, and, perhaps most importantly, moving testimony about gender, ethnicity, aesthetics, and creative choice. The carefully edited interviews and poems read reflect the filmmaker's desire to show both individual voice and diversity within the Asian-American women’s community. Theoretically as rich as the images and poems provided, there is also an implicit conversation in the film about the possibility and usefulness of an Asian-American women’s aesthetic/poetic. Using carefully selected archival images, historical footage, and brilliant photography as the scrim through which we hear the poets, BETWEEN THE LINES provides important and lively viewing for literature, history, ethnic and women’s studies classes.” - Joseph Boles, Visiting Scholar, Center for Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr
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Filming Desire:

“In this bold documentary Marie Mandy asks the question: how do women directors film love, desire, and, especially, sexuality? In rare interviews with many of the leading women directors working in the world today – including Sally Potter, Agnès Varda, Catherine Breillat, Doris Dörrie, Deepa Mehta, Moufida Tlatli, Safi Faye, and Jane Campion – FILMING DESIRE: A JOURNEY THROUGH WOMEN'S CINEMA directly engages the sexual politics of cinematographic choice. Powerfully illustrated with film clips from their own work, the directors discuss the reality of an explicit women’s point of view, the possibility of a women’s cinematic language, and the desire in their films to ‘fantasize and dream a new image of themselves’. While discussing how their depictions of sexuality and relationships are correctives, they also reflect on the sexual differences in selection of image, shot, and story. The film also provides a virtual anthology of the debates about the body, sexuality, power, and passion one sees in contemporary feminist and film theory: the body in representation and image; as a subject of censorship; as the vehicle of desire and love; as the contested ground of cinematic production; and as part of women’s identity and voice. Explicit, funny and beautifully edited, FILMING DESIRE weaves an intriguing essay that is international in scope and reflective of the great diversity of women filmmakers. Essential viewing for classes in women’s studies, film studies, sexuality, body image, and feminist theory.” – Joseph Boles, Visiting Scholar, Center for Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr
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Runaway

“RUNAWAY is a powerful and heart-breaking documentary about a group of young runaway girls who are taken to a women's shelter in Tehran, Iran. The film focuses on the sufferings of young girls who struggle to free themselves from the tyrannical and abusive power of their families, mainly their fathers, brothers, and stepfathers. The sisterly feelings of the girls towards each other, their spiritual strength, their courage to rebel, and their wit are shown with a great degree of compassion and empathy in the film. The filmmakers have beautifully criticized the patriarchal system of family and the destructive power of male family members over the lives of their daughters and sisters. One can imagine that the issue of confinement and abuse goes beyond the issue of class when it comes to the problem of domestic violence and the desire to control women through anger, aggression and madness.” - Mehrnaz Saeed, Colombia College Chicago
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The Fourth Dimension

Acclaimed filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha ventures into the digital realm with her stunning new feature, THE FOURTH DIMENSION, an incisive and insightful examination of Japan through its art, culture, and social rituals. As is the case with Trinh's previous films, her new film is a multi-layered work addressing issues around its central theme: the experience of time, the impossibility of truly "seeing," and the impact of video on image-making. THE FOURTH DIMENSION is an elegant meditation on time, travel, and ceremony in the form of a journey. In her first foray into digital video, Minh-ha deconstructs the role of ritual in mediating between the past and the present. She explains, "Shown in their widespread functions and manifestations, including more evident loci such as festivals, religious rite and theatrical performance, 'rituals' involve not only the regularity in the structure of everyday life, but also the dynamic agents in the world of meaning." With its lush imagery, Minh-ha's Japan is viewed through mobile frames, with doors and windows sliding shut, revealing new vistas as it blocks out the old light. “Trinh T. Minh-ha’s newest essayistic work and her first videotape, cuts an intricate key for unlocking this elusive culture. Her tack finds great visual pleasure in the everyday, composing and decomposing the social landscape, while constructing a poetic grid of temporalities, symbolic meaning, and ritual. In THE FOURTH DIMENSION, Trinh’s lyrical narration guides us through ‘Japan’s likeness,’ the perfected framing of the sacramental familiar.” - Steve Seid
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New Directions: Women of Guatemala

Part of the new generation of Mayan women, Maria Del Carmen Chavajay and Micaela Chavajay, are two sisters who head the Health Promoter Group of San Pedro La Laguna, a group of seventy-five women that provides health education and treatment in remote areas of rural Guatemala. In a region where doctors are few or non-existent and where the cost of medical care is prohibitively high, these dedicated women address the diverse health problems that seriously affect individuals, their families and the community as a whole. Expanding their efforts beyond the health sphere, they also tackle grave social and economic injustices facing Mayan women in particular and reveal how indigenous women are changing the conditions of their lives.
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Writing Desire

"Ursula Biemann’s WRITING DESIRE is a video essay on the new dream screen of the Internet and how it impacts on the global circulation of women’s bodies from the third world to the first world. Although under-age Philippine 'pen pals' and post-Soviet mail-order brides have been part of the transnational exchange of sex in the post-colonial and post-Cold War marketplace of desire before the digital age, the Internet has accelerated these transactions. Biemann provides her viewers with a thoughtful meditation on the obvious political, economic and gender inequalities of these exchanges by simulating the gaze of the Internet shopper looking for the imagined docile, traditional, pre-feminist, but Web-savvy mate. WRITING DESIRE delights in implicating the viewer in the new voyeurism and sexual consumerism of the Web. However, it never fails to challenge pat assumptions about the impossibility for resistance and the absolute victimization of women who dare to venture out of the third world and onto the Internet to look for that very obscure object of desire promised by the men of the West. This film will promote lively discussion on third world women, the sex industry, mail order brides, racism and feminist backlashes in the West, and on women’s sexuality, desire, and new technologies." --Gina Marchetti, Ithaca College
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Women Organize!

WOMEN ORGANIZE! is an inspirational, half hour film that portrays women organizers across the U.S. who are involved in the global struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. In this film, we meet five women organizers of various backgrounds, peek at the campaigns they wage, and watch as they begin to pick up the tools to document their own transformative work. From working with high schools girls in a low-income neighborhood in Oregon to speaking out for Black lesbians and gays against homophobia or working with Asian immigrant women factory workers in California for decent working conditions, WOMEN ORGANIZE is an important film that should be used in women’s and ethnic studies classes and community based organizations.
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The Walnut Tree

Through a striking combination of documentary and experimental approaches, THE WALNUT TREE examines Holocaust memory, the family, and the role of photography in history. As its point of departure, the film shows three girls in Dutch costumes posing for their father's camera. This sweet but fleeting moment, made static in a snapshot, is contrasted with live-action images of railway tracks--tracks that carried the death transports--now blurred by the passage of time. Fragments of an interrupted childhood emerge in the matter-of-fact narration by the filmmaker's mother, recounting the fate of the family's photo album, her parents' walnut tree, and her final memories of her mother and father in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. A follow-up to her award-winning ZYKLON PORTRAIT, Elida Schogt's latest film is an eloquent mediation on survival and the stories called forth from within and beyond the frame.
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Subrosa

SUBROSA traces a young woman's journey to Korea, the land of her birth, to find the mother she's never known. This exquisitely crafted drama probes the idealized, often false constructions of cultural and maternal identities wrought by the adoptee's return. SUBROSA tracks the unnamed heroine from a sterile adoption agency office to seedy bars and motel rooms on neon strips, then to a stark U.S. army camp town and the bustling flower markets of Seoul. Though her path to self-destruction and ultimate self-revelation ironically and tragically mirrors that of her imagined biological mother, the past remains elusive to her, the secret intact. Originally shot on digital video, the film captures the grit and garishness of an alien urban landscape while plumbing the melancholy dream space where the character retreats even as she searches for her very life. Brimming with surreal, breathtaking, elegiac imagery, this sensuously rendered tale of loss, love and longing resonates long after its shocking conclusion.
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Macho

In 1998, Managua, Nicaragua became host to one of the most publicized and controversial cases of sexual abuse to hit modern day Latin America. At the epicenter of the scandal stood none other than Nicaraguan Sandinista leader and ex-President Daniel Ortega. Revered as a revolutionary hero and symbol of military strength, Ortega was accused on multiple charges of rape and battery by his stepdaughter, Soilamerica Narvaez. Despite Ortega's eventual acquittall--he was granted immunity from prosecution as a member of the legislature--a group of pioneering men rallied around the episode to organize a radical campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Their efforts eventually led to the formation of the internationally acclaimed organization, Men Against Violence. MACHO, a film by Lucinda Broadbent, provides an in-depth profile of Men Against Violence and its ground-breaking work towards eliminating attitudes of male chauvinism (known as machismo in Spanish) that have perpetuated violent acts against women in Nicaragua and Latin America. The film strongly demonstrates that despite living in one of the most destitute countries in Latin America, this group has succeeded in providing a model that is used by men worldwide to discuss issues of violence and advocate for the rights of women. MACHO offers a rare glimpse at the methods used by Men Against Violence to discuss the abuse of power and the damage it causes families and communities. It also is a powerful film that challenges assumptions about "machismo" and its continued application to Latino culture. In the end, MACHO demonstrates that violence against women and sexual abuse is a worldwide epidemic that needs to be addressed by all men in every country.
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Gaea Girls

"This fascinating film follows the physically grueling and mentally exhausting training regimen of several young wanna-be GAEA GIRLS, a group of Japanese women wrestlers. The idea of them may seem like a total oxymoron in a country where women are usually regarded as docile and subservient. However, in training and in the arena, the female wrestlers depicted in this film are just as violent as any member of the World Wrestling Federation, and the blood that’s drawn is very real indeed. One recruit, Takeuchi, endures ritual humiliation not seen on screen since the boot camp sequences of FULL METAL JACKET. In DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, Kim Longinotto cinematically explored the previously unexplored world of the Tehran divorce courts. Working with co-director Jano Williams, Longinotto has been given access to shoot an insider’s verité account of this closely guarded universe." - Chicago Film Festival
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A Boy Named Sue

Julie Wyman's compelling documentary chronicles the transformation of a transsexual named Theo from a woman to a man over the course of six years. The film successfully captures Theo's physiological and psychological changes during the process, as well as their effects on his lesbian lover and community of close friends. Taking full advantage of the unlimited access she received into an extraordinarily personal process, Wyman carefully composes a moving story about gender identity, relationships, and how even things that seem permanent can change. "A BOY NAMED SUE is one of the best videos to date on female-to-male transsexual experience. Wyman spent six years taping Sue's transformation into Theo and then organized a huge archive of material into a moving, informative and smart rendering of what a difference sex reassignment surgeries can make not only to the transsexual himself but also to all those in his immediate circle. Theo is a great subject and Wyman is a talented and imaginative documentarian. If you are looking for a sensitive and sophisticated representation of transsexual experience, look no further." Judith Halberstam, University of California, San Diego
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The Basement Girl

Abandoned by her lover, a young woman finds comfort and safety in her basement apartment. Mundane routines, a diet of junk food and the warmth of the television insulate her from the pain and betrayal of her ill-fated relationship. Eventually, THE BASEMENT GIRL emerges—transformed and ready to "make it on her own". This latest film by Midi Onodera (TEN CENTS A DANCE, SKIN DEEP) breaks new cinematic territory by employing multiple formats from traditional 16mm film to toy cameras including a modified Nintendo Game Boy digital camera and the Intel Mattel computer microscope. "Midi Onodera's latest film is a witty and wonderful meditation on how women translate the images that surround them (from Bionic Woman to That Girl!, from Barbra Streisand to Maya Deren). The film is funny and touching at the same time, as it looks at familiar texts in new contexts. For anyone interested in women and visual culture, this is an absolute must-see." Judith Mayne, Ohio University
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Grrlyshow

An 18 minute explosion of fringe feminism and print media, The GRRLYSHOW is a powerful and rebellious message from new voices often left unheard. Filmmaker Kara Herold examines the girly Zine revolution and culture in such a way that the film intellectually and stylistically addresses anyone's question concerning whether or not feminism has reached it's 3rd wave: the postmodern. By interweaving head-shot interviews, clips from the zines and 1950's television-esque vignettes, Herold clearly illustrates feminism's ability to exist subversively within a system that generally doesn't give women their own voice . The GRRLYSHOW successfully brings to the surface alternative voices and projects that are vital to the continuation and expansion of feminism. An excellent film for mass communication, women's studies and pop culture courses. "A perky peek at the alternative media community where self-publishing gals are doin' it for themselves. Aware, irreverent, entertaining, even brilliant, these zine creators relish the irony that to speak in one's unique unfettered voice is to touch others more powerfully than with the traditional blanded-down mainstream mag approach. Viva the grrly zines!" Al Hoff, Pittsburgh City Paper & Creator, Thrift Score zine
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900 Women

“The Louisiana Correctional Institute is located in the swamps of southern Louisiana in the small town of St. Gabriel. Built in 1970 to house an increasing population of female convicts, today it houses the state's most dangerous female prisoners and often exceeds its population capacity of 900. 75% of these are mothers and one fourth of them are serving sentences of fifteen years or more. The prison compound has a surreal quality; there are no searchlight-capped towers or barbed wire fences. Filmmaker Khadivi delivers a striking, sensitive portrait of life in this deceptively peaceful atmosphere, which is filled with stories of life on the streets, abuse, freedom, childbirth and motherhood. Six women - a grandmother, a young high school student, a pregnant woman, a recovering heroin addict, a prison guard, and the only woman on death row - were brave enough to share their frustrations and hopes. Produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Jonathan Stack ("The Farm").” - Human Rights Watch Film Festival Catalogue
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Blind Spot: Murder by Women

Because murder by women is still relatively rare--only one out of eight murders in the United States is committed by a woman--women's own stories provide unique insights into the circumstances leading to these violent acts. In this absorbing documentary, intimate one-on-one interviews with six women murderers are combined with re-enactments of their background experience and visual re-creations of their interior lives. Sharing and reflecting on their memories, fantasies, dreams, and anger, the six women candidly describe their actions as perpetrators in detail and address the issue of having taken a life. Interspersed between their separate stories are their individual reflections on coping strategies, and life and relationships in prison. From the Academy and Emmy-award winning filmmakers responsible for DIALOGUES WITH MADWOMEN, BLIND SPOT is a provocative and riveting encounter with throw-away children, out-of-control adults, and the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of murder.
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Hammering It Out

“This spirited documentary spotlights the experience of women in the building trades, specifically those women involved in the Century Freeway Women's Employment Project in Los Angeles. Framed by the story of a community-initiated lawsuit that resulted in hundreds of women getting trained to work on a billion-dollar freeway project, the film evolves into a primer on the feminist issues of equality, identity, and changing gender roles. Powerful testimonials by the women workers tell stories of the often unspoken gendered specifics of discrimination in the building trades: sexual harassment at the jobsite; negotiations about childcare and worker benefits; and the translation of affirmative action policy to the traditional practices of contractors and the historical conventions of the male worksite. The film demonstrates the importance of providing opportunity, embracing equity, and abandoning sexist traditions which deny talented women workers the right to support their families on a par equal with men. It also serves as a cautionary tale that warns that unless laws, policies, and conventions are changed, women workers may be forced out of their chosen professions, like the Rosie the Riveters, by bias and expediency.” Joseph Boles, Northern Arizona University
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La Boda

In an intimate portrait of migrant life along the U.S.-Mexican border, Hannah Weyer’s new film LA BODA delves into the challenges faced by a community striving to maintain their roots in Mexico, while pursuing the “American Dream” across the border. Weyer’s camera follows Elizabeth Luis during the weeks before her marriage to Artemio Guerrero, interweaving the anticipation of the upcoming wedding with candid stories that explore the architecture of the Luis family. For 22-year-old Elizabeth, migrant life has meant shouldering responsibilities beyond those of an average young adult. Along with her seven siblings, she has contributed to the family income throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, often forced to sacrifice school for fieldwork and social life for travel as she and her family move between Texas, California and Mexico. LA BODA tells the timeless story of a young woman’s coming of age, while also confronting negative stereotypes of the migrant community with the real life biography of a Mexican-American family bridging the gap between countries and culture.
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The Children We Sacrifice

Shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States, and screened in 18 countries, this evocative, visually powerful documentary is about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian girl child. By interweaving survivors' narratives, including the producer's own story, with interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, and with statistical information, as well as poetry and art, THE CHILDREN WE SACRIFICE discloses the many layers of a subject traditionally shrouded in secrecy. Insights into the far-reaching psychological, social and cultural consequences of incest are accompanied by thoughtful assessments of strategies that have helped adult women cope with childhood trauma. The film also analyzes social and cultural resistance in South Asia and the Diaspora to dealing with incest's causes and its effects on its victims. This personal and collective letter from South Asian incest survivors and their advocates is both a validation of their struggle and a compelling charge to protect future generations of children better.
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