Primas

PRIMAS is an evocative and poetic portrait of two Argentine teenage cousins who come of age together as they overcome the heinous acts of violence that interrupted their childhoods. When Rocío was 10 years old, she was dragged from her bike by a stranger, raped, set on fire and left for dead. Now a teenager, she still grapples with memories of the nightmarish assault that left her body scarred. Together with her cousin Aldana, who was sexually abused for years by her own father, she lives, laughs and shares her story. Traveling through Argentina and Montreal, the two cousins embark upon a program of theater, dance, and circus that helps them process complex emotions. Little by little, they manage to rebuild the lives that were so brutally stolen from them and free themselves from the shadows of their past. A humanistic exploration of familial love, creativity, and courage in the wake of sexual violence, PRIMAS is a moving tribute to the deep strength of resilient women.
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The Rest I Make Up

Maria Irene Fornes was one of America's greatest playwrights and most influential teachers, but many know her only as the ex-lover of writer and social critic Susan Sontag. The visionary Cuban-American dramatist constructed astonishing worlds onstage, writing over 40 plays and winning nine Obie Awards. At the vanguard of the nascent Off-Off Broadway experimental theater movement in NYC, Fornes is often referred to as American theater's "Mother Avant-Garde." When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off. The duo travels from New York to Havana, Miami to Seattle, exploring the playwright's remembered past and their shared present. Theater luminaries such as Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson, and others weigh in on Fornes's important contributions. What began as an accidental collaboration becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting.
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Service: When Women Come Marching Home

Women make up 15 percent of today's military. That number is expected to double in 10 years. SERVICE highlights the resourcefulness of seven amazing women who represent the first wave of mothers, daughters and sisters returning home from the frontless wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Portraying the courage of women veterans as they transition from active duty to their civilian lives, this powerful film describes the horrific traumas they have faced, the inadequate care they often receive on return, and the large and small accomplishments they work mightily to achieve. These are the stories we hear about from men returning from war, but rarely from women veterans. Through compelling portraits, we watch these women wrestle with prostheses, homelessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma. The documentary takes the audience on a journey from the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq to rural Tennessee and urban New York City, from coping with amputations, to flashbacks, triggers and depression to ways to support other vets. An eye-opening look at the specific challenges facing women veterans with a special focus on the disabled, SERVICE can be used for courses in military studies, women’s studies, peace and conflict courses and veteran support groups.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Dialogues with Madwomen

"I was always so afraid that someone would ask me (where I was when JFK was shot), and I would have to say I was in a mental institution", says director Allie Light. This moving and informative film features seven women--including the filmmaker--describing their experiences with manic depression, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, euphoria and recovery. Candid interviews are enriched with dramatic reenactments and visualizations of each woman's history, emotions, and dreams--the private symbols of madness and sanity. The social dimensions of women and mental illness are revealed in testimony about sexual assault, incest, racism and homophobia, the abuses of the medical establishment, family, and church. Acknowledging that "madness" is often a way of explaining women's self-expression, this film charges us to listen to the creativity and courage of survivors. Produced by the Academy Award winning filmmakers of IN THE SHADOWS OF THE STARS, DIALOGUES WITH MADWOMEN is a ground-breaking film about women and mental illness.
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Acting Our Age: A film About Women Growing Old

An invigorating antidote for American culture's one-dimensional image of older women, this classic film offers empowering insights about women and aging for every generation. Personal portraits of six ordinary women in their 60's and 70's who share their lives. In candid interviews that tackle a range of thought-provoking topics, including self-image, sexuality, financial concerns, dying, and changing family relationships, members of the group display both a vibrant strength of spirit and inspiring zest for life.
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