LaDonna Harris: Indian 101

LADONNA HARRIS: INDIAN 101 from Comanche filmmaker Julianna Brannum, chronicles the life of Comanche activist and national civil rights leader LaDonna Harris and the role that she has played in Native and mainstream America history since the 1960s. In this new verite style documentary, Brannum, the great niece of Harris, celebrates her life and the personal struggles that led her to become a voice for Native people and her contemporary work to strengthen and rebuild indigenous communities and train emerging Native leaders around the world. Harris’s activism began in Oklahoma, fighting segregation and assisting grassroots Native and women’s groups. In Washington LaDonna introduced landmark programs and legislation returning territory to tribes, improving education and healthcare for Native Americans, ending job discrimination against women, and targeting other pressing issues of the time. For over three decades, “Indian 101,” her course for legislators, combatted ignorance about America’s most marginalized population. Using interviews, archival footage and photographs, this film justly celebrates one of the most important women leaders in Native American and U.S. history.
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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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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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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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Without a Whisper

WITHOUT A WHISPER - KONNON:KWE is the untold story of the profound influence of Indigenous women on the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States.
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Paulette

PAULETTE follows the historic campaign of Paulette Jordan, the first Native American candidate – as well as the first woman -- to win the Idaho Primary for Governor.
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Heather Booth: Changing the World

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

Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American woman who lived in Harlem for more than 40 years and had a long history of activism on a wide range of issues. Through extensive interviews with family and friends, archival footage, music and photographs, YURI KOCHIYAMA chronicles this remarkable woman’s contribution to social change through some of the most significant events of the 20th century, including the Black Liberation movement, the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, and the Japanese American Redress movement. In an era of divided communities and racial conflict, Kochiyama offered an outstanding example of an equitable and compassionate multiculturalist vision.
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Councilwoman

COUNCILWOMAN follows the first term of Rhode Island Councilwoman Carmen Castillo as she balances her day job as a hotel housekeeper with the demands of public office.
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Step by Step: Building a Feminist Movement, 1941-1977

"****Proving beyond a doubt that feminism began well before the 1960s, and that its players were not just the white middle class, this inspiring film follows the lives of eight Midwestern women, six of whom became founders of NOW. Set against a backdrop of decades of war, prosperity and reform, their stories beautifully illustrate the continuity and diversity of 20th-century feminism, as the participants describe the labor, civil rights, and political movements of the '40s and '50s that led them to take independent action for women. Using well-chosen archival footage, stills, music, and primary-source narration, producer Joyce Follet of the University of Wisconsin and consulting producer Terry Rockefeller (EYES ON THE PRIZE and AMERICA'S WAR ON POVERTY) offer a first-rate, panoramic-yet-personal view of the women on feminism's front lines." K.Glaser, Video Librarian
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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 trans 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 transgender people.
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The Supreme Price

Director Joanna Lipper elegantly explores past and present as she tells the remarkable story of Hafsat Abiola, daughter of human rights heroine Kudirat Abiola, and Nigeria's President-elect M.K.O. Abiola, who won a historic vote in 1993 that promised to end years of military dictatorship. Shortly after the election M.K.O. Abiola's victory was annulled and he was arrested. While he was imprisoned, his wife Kudirat took over leadership of the pro-democracy movement, organizing strikes and rallies, winning international attention for the Nigerian struggle against human rights violations perpetrated by the military dictatorship. Because of this work, she too became a target and was assassinated in 1996. In this riveting political thriller, the Abiola family’s intimate story unfolds against the epic backdrop of Nigeria's evolution from independence in 1960 - through the Biafra War, subsequent military dictatorships and the tumultuous transition to civilian rule - through present day as Hafsat continues to face the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria's most marginalized population: women.
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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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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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I Am the Revolution

A Portrait of Three Women in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq Leading the Fight for Gender Equality
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A Revolution in Four Seasons

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

REBEL HEARTS is a captivating documentary about the abolitionists Sarah and Angelina Grimke and the anti-slavery movement of the early 19th Century. Daughters of a wealthy slave-holding family from Charleston, SC, the Grimke sisters astonished everyone-family, friends and abolitionists-when they left the South to become the first female agents of the anti-slavery movement. Their passionate rhetoric and fiery speaking style led them to the front ranks of the abolitionist movement and set the stage for the establishment of the women's rights movement. A combination of interviews - - including one with historian Gerda Lerner - - dramatic performances and rare archival footage creates a lively portrait of these extraordinary women and their contribution to American history.
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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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