Girls' War

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