Surviva

A refreshing weave of documentary, animation and nature montage examining the woman artist's relationship to work and community. An Artemisia and Women Make Movies co-production.
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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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Memory Pictures

A beautifully composed profile of gay Indian photographer, Sunil Gupta, and the way his work portrays issues of sexual and racial identity in relation to personal and familial history.
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Suzy Lake: Playing with Time

Photographer Suzy Lake is one of the formative feminist artists to evolve out of the heyday of the 1960’s and the Second Wave. A master of the art of self-portraiture, Lake influenced Cindy Sherman as well as a host of other female artists. Lake makes art that address politics, gender, youth, beauty and aging while reflecting on her own journey through time. SUZY LAKE: PLAYING WITH TIME tells the story of how much has changed in the worlds of feminism and art, and yet how much things remain the same. Filming for almost 4 years, filmmaker Annette Mangaard weaves a powerful portrait of the complex artist by juxtaposing powerful archival footage, still photography and interviews with Lucy Lippard, Mary Beth Edelson and Martha Wilson among others. SUZY LAKE: PLAYING WITH TIME delves into Lake’s legacy as she continues to explore the politics of gender with work that deals with the aging woman, countering notions of consumer beauty with a different and real image, celebrating stamina, maturity and experience. An essential companion piece to any discussion on the Second Wave, feminism and art.
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Water Children

In this acclaimed, hauntingly beautiful film, director Aliona van der Horst follows the unconventional Japanese-Dutch pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama as she explores the miracle of fertility and the cycle of life—sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic. When Mukaiyama recognized that her childbearing years were ending, she created a multimedia art project on the subject in a village in Japan, constructing what she calls a cathedral, out of 12,000 white silk dresses. While Mukaiyama’s own mesmerizing music provides a haunting backdrop to the film, her installation elicits confessions from its normally reticent Japanese visitors, many of whom have never seen art before—and in moving scenes they open up about previously taboo subjects. Mukaiyama’s courageous approach to a subject that remains unspoken in many cultures is explored with an elegance and sophistication that deepens our understanding of the relationship between body and mind.
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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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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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They Are Their Own Gifts

A three volume set of film portraits--Muriel Rukeyser, Alice Neel and Anna Sokolow. The poetry, painting, and dance of these three women is not artistic purism, but the product of a life conducted within social fabric. Through interviews, photographs and her own poetry readings, Muriel Rukeyser is shown as a civil rights and political activist. "This film shows beautifully how Rukeyser's courageous and independent life and her fierce and compassionate lyricism are forged to make the long poem that is her life." --Galen Williams, Executive Director, Poets and Writers. Portrait painter Alice Neel has created a psychological and spiritual history of the modern era, as it has been registered in the human face. "A dazzling portrait of an exuberant and vivacious painter." --Dr. Joyce Rosa, Professor of Art History, Long Island University. Anna Sokolow's choreography and dance draws on her early life experience with poverty and oppression. "Modern dance was originally an expression of social concern. This film illuminates both a period that needs to be recalled and a leading choreographer who grew out of that period." --Anna Kisselgoff, dance critic, New York Times.
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Artist

Internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Tracey Moffatt takes the viewer on a fast-paced journey through Hollywood's depiction of the artist. Using a wealth of clips from classic cinema bio pics and popular television sitcoms, the voyage spans centuries of art and art-making to reveal how five decades of mainstream media have perceived the creative process and creators themselves. A lively music track underscores the fervor and passion we have come to associate with artists and their typical one-dimensional representations on the large and small screen. Punctuated by recurrent gestures--the confident whisk of the paint brush, the futile laugh of frustration, and the violent destruction of one's own work--this amusing, thought-provoking array of well-known images paints an incisive portrait of the artist as a total Hollywood fabrication.
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Up in the Sky: Tracey Moffatt in New York

"UP IN THE SKY scans the universe created by the provocative and talented photographer and filmmaker Tracey Moffatt, Australia's answer to Cindy Sherman and with even more of an edge, if that's possible. An important figure in the Australian postcolonial avant-garde, Moffatt started out with visually compelling (and often disturbing) photographs and films such as NICE COLOURED GIRLS, NIGHT CRIES, and BEDEVIL that explore her own Aboriginal heritage and the complex ways that power, race and gender intersect, often violently, in everyday life. More recently, her work draws on sources as diverse as Pasolini and Mad Max films, or Victorian photography. Jane Cole's documentary is an insightful portrait of Moffatt and her work, and an invaluable framework for anyone interested in the work of this cutting edge artist." Faye Ginsburg, Director, The Center for Media, Culture, and History, New York University
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Artist on Fire

A pioneer of feminist avant-garde cinema, Joyce Wieland has explored the crux of nationalism, feminine sexuality and ecology for more than thirty years in films such as her influential RAT LIFE AND DIET AND REASON OVER PASSION. This richly suggestive portrait surveys Wieland's involvement in structural filmmaking with Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton in the 1960s and her reinvention of women's crafts in her artwork.
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Guerrillas In Our Midst

GUERRILLAS IN OUR MIDST presents a savvy exploration of the machinations of the commercial art-world during its boom in the 1980s, and brings the Guerrilla Girls to the screen. This anonymous group of art terrorists has succeeded in putting racism and sexism on the agenda in the art-world since 1985, and their witty and creative tactics have changed the face of political and cultural activism. Interviews with key figures in the Manhattan art scene, record-breaking auction sales, exhibition openings and interviews with the Guerrillas Girls themselves combine to highlight how the myth of the heroic male painter is perpetuated.
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Sphinxes Without Secrets

Since its inception, performance art provided a forum for those artists whose work challenges the dominant aesthetic and cultural status quo. In SPHINXES WITHOUT SECRETS, performers, curators and critics unravel the mysteries of performance art and ponder the world women confront today. Performers featured in this stylish program include Diamanda Galas, Holly Hughes (one of the 'NEA Four'), Robbie McCauley and Rachel Rosenthal; intercut with appearances by many others such as Laurie Anderson, Annie Sprinkle and Reno.
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Womanhouse

WOMANHOUSE is an historic documentary about one of the most important feminist cultural events of the 1970s. Judy Chicago (best-known as the creator of THE DINNER PARTY) and Miriam Shapiro rented an old Hollywood mansion and altered its interior through decor and set-pieces to "search out and reveal the female experience...the dreams and fantasies of women as they sewed, cooked, washed and ironed away their lives." WOMANHOUSE is a fascinating historical look at feminism, its reception in the 1970s, and the ever-important relationship between art and social change.
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The Desert Is No Lady

With provocative imagery and spirited juxtapositions, THE DESERT IS NO LADY looks at the Southwest through the eyes of its leading contemporary women artists and writers, including author Sandra Cisneros. The nine women profiled are Pat Mora (poet), Sandra Cisneros (writer), Lucy Tapahonso (poet), Emmi Whitehorse (painter), Harmony Hammond (painter), Meridel Rubinstein (photographer), Nora Naranjo Morse (sculptor), Pola Lopez de Jaramillo (painter) and Ramona Sakiestewa (tapestry artist). The Southwest is a border territory - where cultures meet and mix - and the work of these nine women from Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican-American and Anglo backgrounds reflects its special characteristics. THE DESERT IS NO LADY is a vibrant celebration of the diversity of women's creativity and changing multicultural America. "An inspiring tapestry of history, imagination and daily life. I highly recommend it." - Vicki L. Ruiz, Arizona State University
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Conjure Women

CONJURE WOMEN is an exciting performance-based documentary exploring the artistry and philosophy of four African American female artists. Celebrated choreographer and dancer Anita Gonzalez was a founding member of and performer with Urban Bush Women and is now Artistic Director of Bandana Women. Robbie McCauley is a critically-acclaimed performance artist and theater director whose personal vision has consistently explored the 'herstory' of Black women. The stunning photography of Carrie Mae Weems captures a variety of images of African Americans. Vocalist and composer Cassandra Wilson (Grammy award winner for Best Jazz Vocalist) has released nine recordings of her work and was acclaimed in the New York Times as "the most important singer to come along in jazz in the last ten years." These four artists use their disciplines to reclaim their 'africanisms', an intuitive experience of what their foreparents had to deny if they were to survive. CONJURE WOMEN is a moving and entertaining record of the work of these remarkable women. It is also, as filmmaker Demetria Royals notes, "telling the story of African Americans in our own distinct and self-defined voices."
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