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2015 Film Descriptions
Thursday April 30
Please be advised: The films are not rated. Some contain material that may not be appropriate for viewers of all ages.
- Thokozani Football Club: Team Spirit (22 min.)
Thembela Dick, South Africa / France
Even though same-sex marriage is legal in South Africa, black lesbians face continued violence and persecution. Thokozani Football Club is a collective portrait of a lesbian football team in the township of Umlazi (Durban) named after Thokozani Qwabe, a young footballer killed in 2007, the victim of a hate crime. The camera of Thembela Dick gives us an inside glimpse of this team that has chosen to fight homophobia but also share their love of the field, underscoring how sports can be a tool for securing community and visibility for black lesbian women.
- One Thousand and One Teardrops (17 min.)
Fateme Ahmadi, Iran / UK
On her first day of school, Louly is faced with a choice: what to wear, the ugly school uniform or whatever she wants? Luckily she is visited by a magic teardrop-keeper who helps her decide by telling the story of how Iranian women have strived to answer this question for 200 years. Drawing on cutout animation, archival footage, and motion graphics, this satirical adult fairy-tale explores religion, politics, and fashion with humor and pizzaz.
- Loneliness (12 min. 43 sec.)
Meysam Javadi and Alaleh Izad, Iran
Loneliness is an experimental film exploring the impact of veiling laws on Iranian women through three intimate portraits. The first, based on the experience of the filmmaker’s grandmother, unfolds in 1936 after the Shah’s ban on veiling; it depicts a pregnant woman who miscarries after being beaten by local militia for continuing to wear the veil. The second vignette tells the story of a young girl, post-1979 revolution, who loses her mandatory headscarf in a stream. The third looks imaginatively toward the future. A suspenseful and hypnotic film with stunning cinematography.
- Tradition Objectified (6 min. 23 sec.)
Deepa Mahadevan, Davis, CA
This thoughtful docudrama by UC Davis graduate student Deepa Mahadevan explores issues of caste, class, and gender through the figure of the classical Indian female dancer. The film highlights three stages in a dancer's learning cycle, each reflecting the number of years of training and the "embeddedness" of the dance in the dancer's body and psyche. In the last stage, dancer and dance merge in public performance, producing and reproducing an image of "ideal" femininity that future generations of girls will be expected to uphold.
- Fixed (7 min.)
Cody Wilson and Burleigh Smith, Australia
Jemimah is five years old and desperate for her dog, Tilly, to have puppies. When she learns of her parents’ plans to have Tilly spayed, Jemimah embarks on a quest to get Tilly pregnant. A clever, funny narrative about the birds, the bees, and the Internet. Superb performances by Jemimah and Tilly.
- Ngutu (4 min.)
Felipe del Olmo and Daniel Valledor, Spain
Ngutu is a newspaper street vendor who can’t seem to sell any copies. Resentful, he starts watching the passersby closely in order to improve his business model. An irreverent, comical narrative that nevertheless packs a serious message about the gulf between affluence and poverty and the power of creative epiphanies.
- Previous Scenes (28 min. 22 sec.)
Aleksandra Maciuszek, Cuba
In a small, ramshackle house full of memories, an old man, dying of emphysema, cares for his infant grandson while his daughter, the boy's mother and the family breadwinner, cares for him. The bonds between father and daughter, mother and son, and grandfather and grandson are built and rebuilt from the small acts of daily life. Inspired by the lithographs from Ars Moriendi (medieval manuals for a "good dying"), this quiet, observational film is an unadorned glimpse into the life of a poor family awaiting death while nurturing life. A visual feast, both low-key and intensely captivating.
* * * INTERMISSION * * *
- She's Beautiful When She's Angry (92 min.)
Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy, USA
She's Beautiful When She's Angry documents the buried history of second-wave feminism and the outrageous, often brilliant women who made it happen. Spanning the years from 1966 to 1972, the film highlights the founding of NOW, the emergence of more radical factions of women's liberation, and thorny controversies over race, sexual orientation, and leadership. Artfully combining dramatizations, performance, and archival imagery, She's Beautiful recounts the stories of women who, together, fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. It is a film about activists and activism, made to inspire and empower new generations of women and men to organize anew for feminism and human rights.
Friday May 1
Please be advised: The films are not rated. Some contain material that may not be appropriate for viewers of all ages.
- I Call It Love (9 min.)
Elsy Hajjar, Lebanon
An encounter ... a phone call ... rain and lightning ... a love lost in the darkness of Beirut. This artsy, experimental film speaks of the fragility of love between women in Lebanon, where same-sex relationships, largely invisible, are vulnerable to the weight of stigma and censure. Visually poetic.
- Modou Modou (11 min.)
Virginia Manchado, Spain / UK
Modou (n): a slang term for migrants from Senegal who settle in Europe. African migrant workers comprise a significant proportion of Europe’s population, but their stories are often relegated to the margins or reduced to faceless statistics. This candid, no-nonsense documentary shows the struggles and resilience of one Senegalese man in London working two jobs to better his own life and that of his family back home. Without pity or sentimentality, Modou Modou derails the myth that hard work and determination are all it takes to succeed.
- Ants Apartment (11 min.)
Tofigh Amani, Kurdistan / Iraq
Husband, wife, and child live out the ups and downs of domesticity in the middle of a desert in Iraq after the first Gulf War. A wedding ring goes missing, a fight ensues, the baby won’t stop crying. Mother and father reconcile, re-avowing their love. But all is not as it seems, and an unexpected arrival threatens to destroy the life they have built together. When the truth is uncovered, the family must grapple with a sobering new reality. A hauntingly beautiful film about life and loss in the aftermath of war.
- Cordelias (25 min.)
Gracia Querejeta, Spain
Cordelia, the tragic heroine in Shakespeare's King Lear, is given a modern twist in this funny, tightly-crafted narrative film about ten women in a Spanish prison. Each from different backgrounds and convicted of different crimes, they organize a theatrical production that serves both as therapy to their own frustrations and as a way of reintegrating into society. As the production unfolds, conflicts arise and the women must work through the traumas that brought them to prison in the first place. Master Shakespeare, meet Orange is the New Black.
- Heart to Heart (5 min. 49 sec.)
Nicolette Daskalakis, Los Angeles, CA
For the precocious Maggie Cardioid, life has always been about goals and checklists. We all have a little Maggie inside us: going through the motions and not realizing the beauty of what’s around. Or worse, doubting ourselves. After all, who could love a woman born without a heart? This charming romantic comedy by a former Davisite reminds us that it’s not the destination but the journey that counts, and yes, there is someone out there for everyone. Funny and visually playful, Heart to Heart perfectly embodies the old adage, "you complete me."
- Aabida (26 min.)
Maaria Sayed, India / UK
After Aabida loses her husband, a police inspector, to the 2011 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, everyone expects her to unravel, undone by sorrow. But Aabida, out from under thumb of her controlling spouse, does not mourn. Unapologetic, she celebrates her newfound freedom – to wear what she wants, laugh as loud as she likes, and nurture her own desires. And yet the expectations of her family, community, and faith threaten to enclose her in the end. A poignant and, at times, funny film about tradition, obligation, and the joys of Indian cooking. Exquisite cinematography.
* * * INTERMISSION * * *
- In the Turn (90 min.)
Erica Tremblay, USA
Crystal is a 10-year-old transgender girl growing up in rural Canada. Tormented at school by her peers and denied the right to play sports because of her gender, she is on the brink of despair when her mother discovers the Vagine Regime, a queer roller derby collective comprised of people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and identities. The Vagine Regime helps Crystal step out of the shadows and onto the track, as the girl begins the difficult journey from exclusion to empowerment. Crystal’s story unfolds against the backdrop of derby’s transformation from niche sport to international social movement rooted in the LGBTQ community. A powerful and uplifting documentary about hope, perseverance, and change.
- Q & A: The Friday night films will be followed by a Q & A discussion with an associate producer of In The Turn and founder of the Vagine Regime, Tori Harris Talavera aka "Injure Rogers," and Konnor Robison-Williams aka "MisterSister," one of the stars of the film.
2014 Film Descriptions
Thursday April 10
SHOWCASING LOCAL NOR-CAL TALENT! Please be advised: The films are not rated. Some contain material that may not be appropriate for viewers of all ages.
- Keep on Truckin' - interactive video project and Q&A (45 min.)
Glenda Drew and Melissa Chandon, Davis CA
Through the use of photography, video, and audio, Keep on Truckin' documents the experiences of truck drivers at stops in California's Central Valley. It portrays drivers' dreams, hopes, and aspirations as well as their challenges and adversities, including grueling schedules and long absences from home. Design professor glenda drew and artist Melissa Chandon spent many months together researching and documenting this little-known industry and the people who make it run: the result is a poignant, beautifully-crafted collage-style portrait that brings to life the sights and sounds of the long-haul experience in the US.
* * * INTERMISSION * * *
Welcome and introductory remarks by festival organizers.
- Losing Ferguson (19 min.)
Trisha Gum, San Francisco CA
After the death of her family leaves Rebecca feeling disconnected from the world, she rekindles a relationship with her imaginary childhood friend, Ferguson. But when Ferguson abruptly leaves, Rebecca is forced to confront her loss and reconnect with the real people around her. A charming and ultimately uplifting film about letting go and moving on. Amazing period costumes and set design!
- Deconstructing My Depression (9 min.)
Sally Tran, Vallejo CA
As the daughter of first-generation immigrants, Sally knows her parents sacrificed everything to live in the US. As a gender-queer individual, she knows she does not meet their expectations of a “good” Vietnamese daughter. As a survivor of sexual assault seeking therapy, she knows her depression will be seen by others as a moral failing. This intimate, experimental portrayal of a young woman's struggle with mental illness refuses to separate the personal from the political.
- Someone You Know (22 min.)
Jesse Dizard, Chico CA
One of six American women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Most commonly, women are attacked by someone they know and trust. Working with students at CSU Chico, anthropology professor Jesse Dizard interviewed counselors, police, students, and survivors to create Someone You Know, a hard-hitting documentary about the high rates of sexual assault in the US, especially on college campuses. The film explores not only the causes and consequences of sexual assault, but also what can be done about it.
- The Cinderella Project (26 min.)
Women and Gender Studies 165: Feminist Media Production (Fall 2013), UC Davis. Chapters by Brittney Cross, Parisa Esfahani, Sean Frawley, Maija Her, Selena Jilio-Ryan, Fiorella Lema, Patricia Pilas, and Wendy Schmidt. Produced and re-edited by Professor Julie Wyman.
Since the early 1960s, feminist film and video practitioners have taken media into their own hands to explore the complex issues surrounding gender, representation, and social justice. WGS 165 provides students at UC Davis with an opportunity to carry on this tradition. In Fall 2013, students collaborated to create the Cinderella Project, a collection of short films that discovers in the familiar fairytale a series of entry-points into contemporary concerns: gender identity, heteronormativity, sexuality, body image, medicalization, conformity, family dynamics, and even environmental disaster. The project is broken into eight chapters, each with its unique style and approach, and each representing a different aspect of the Cinderella story. Fragmented by design, the parts nevertheless assume a whole that enlightens and entertains, even when characters don't necessarily live happily ever after...
Q&A with participating filmmakers immediately following.
Friday April 11
SHOWCASING FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD! Please be advised: The films are not rated. Some contain material that may not be appropriate for viewers of all ages.
- How To Be a Female Director (5 min.)
Trisha Gum, USA
This short mockumentary takes a satirical look at a modern-day issue: the staggering under-representation of women film directors in Hollywood. In the guise of a 1950s public service announcement, the film follows Kay on her quest to be a motion picture director, tongue firmly in cheek.
- Juliana (19 min.)
Jana Herreros, Spain
Juliana is 80 years young. Although physically frail, her spirit is strong and her mind sound. She has just returned from her last neighbor's funeral, prompting her two daughters to decide that the time is right for Juliana to enter a retirement home. Her granddaughter Sara thinks differently, however, and engineers an alternative. A heartwarming film with stand-out performances by young and old alike.
- Dos Almas / Two Souls (16 min.)
Danielle Villegas, USA
In 1850, deep in the forest of Alta California, a young mestiza widower passes as a man for self-protection. Struggling to survive, she is approached by a local native woman offering food. Their worlds collide and Two-Spirit natures are revealed. Acted entirely without dialogue against a backdrop of stunning photography, Dos Almas explores an age-old perspective on gender variance that is both inclusive and spiritual. Shot on location in Western Washington near the Snoqualamie Tribal lands, the film features cast and crew members from the Seminole, Lakota, Comanche, and Salish/Blackfeet nations.
- Vos Papiers / ID Please (32 min.)
ID Please is a documentary about the civil status of transgender people in France. The film uses the sparse aesthetics of official ID photos to question and challenge bureaucratic definitions of gender and gendered citizenship. Unlike mainstream media representations that stigmatize gender nonconformity, ID Please lets trans people speak for themselves with humor and intelligence about the limitations and absurdities of prevailing state-sanctioned gender binaries.
- In Rahmen / Framed (5 min.)
Evgenia Gostrer, Germany
How do I present myself? How do I want to be seen? What am I proud of? Where are my personal boundaries? How far can I go? An experimental, claymation film exploring the contours and textures of the human body and soul.
- Puja Nights (14:30 min.)
Tanjil Rashid and Danile Janes, UK
Mrs. Shah lives in suburban London with her daughter Priya. They are one of 24,600 South Asian single-parent households in the city. Priya's absent father has left a void that each woman attempts to fill in opposing ways: Mrs. Shah via strict religious devotion, Priya via adulation of popular culture. When Priya's pop culture idol comes to town, their quarrel comes to a head - and both mother and daughter confront the pitfalls of their over-dependence on men. A fun and funny narrative film about mother-daughter bonding.
* * * INTERMISSION * * *
Welcome and introductory remarks by festival organizers.
- Feminism 2.013 (6 min.)
glenda drew, USA
What is feminism? What does it mean to be feminist today? Feminism 2.013 is an installation of five video portraits that gives voice to new generation of young women in the US who, far from rejecting feminism, are rediscovering and reinventing feminism to confront gender inequality and sexual violence in the contemporary moment.
- Chicas Day (10 min.)
Susan Bójar, Spain
Today is girls' day out - anything and everything is allowed: dressing-up, lounging by the pool, eating sweets. Yet all good things must come to an end, and all is not as it seems. A surprise awaits the viewer in this poignant, artful film about love, loyalty, and social class. Lovely photography and superb acting.
- Amel (23 min.)
More Raça, Kosovo
Amel is an aspiring actress seeking to change her destiny by auditioning for a role in a foreign movie. As she awaits news of the audition, we witness her daily struggles as a single mother in Kosovo. Her housekeeping wages are not enough to support her son and his itinerant father, and she is ostracized by her strict religious family. Will she get the part? If she does, will it make a difference in her life? A quiet, complex narrative about hope, disappointment, and survival.
- Good Morning, World (2:31 min.)
Dorit Weisman, Israel
Following surgery to remove a cancerous growth from her breast, the filmmaker recites a poem of praise and thanks to the everyday world around her: the hummingbirds, the trees, the distant cars, the hammock in the yard, the shampoo waiting in the shower, her own transformed body. The poem pays homage to the power of life and the strength of the individual spirit.
- Sound for Mazin (19 min.)
Ingrid Kamerling, Holland
Mazin, 12 years old, was born deaf but now faces an operation that may restore his hearing. He is excited but also fearful - how will the operation go? How will it change his experience of the world? How will it affect his relationship with his family and friends, especially his deaf playmate Sophie? A thoughtful, moving documentary about disability and difference.
- Little Vulvah and her Clitoral Awareness (4:28 min.)
Sarah Koppel, Denmark
A young girl wakes up, aroused from dreaming by singing birds. Donning springtime dress, she sets out to explore nature and discovers delights well beyond the seasons' changes. A playful, animated film about coming into sexual awareness.
2013 Film Descriptions
Thursday April 11
- Sólo sé que no sé nada / All I know is that I know nothing (14 min.)
Olatz Arroyo, Spain
Sofia is in a rut, but her life changes radically when she discovers her son's philosophy textbook. She finds Socrates and Sartre inspiring, but Rousseau is another matter. Luckily, she has ideas of her own. A well-crafted, humorous narrative about marriage, friendship, and revenge. As the adage goes, don't get mad, get even.
- Mamuu / To weave, to work (22 min.)
Denise Nicole Green, Canada
This collection of personal vignettes brings to light the subtle yet powerful contributions that weaving makes to individuals, families, and the broader political-economy of First Nations communities. An ongoing history of colonialism and inequality in the Pacific Northwest is the backdrop to a story of women's creative perseverance and their everyday emphasis on intergenerational knowledge exchange.
- Perfect Girl (4 min.)
Pia Tjäder, Sweden
What does femininity look like? A baby girl explores the world around her, naÏve to the media images that will shape her self-esteem as she grows up: smooth skin, flawless features, slender bodies. The baby doesn't care, but the mother is more affected, examining her own body with apparent dissatisfaction. Images outside the commercial media reveal little girls who are strong, happy, shy, angry -- all perfect just the way they are.
- More Than a Face in the Crowd (25 min.)
Samantha Chan, USA
More Than a Face in the Crowd tells the story of the filmmaker's great aunt, Jane Chung, who began acting in Hollywood during the first wave of Asian-American actors. Enduring considerable racism and opposition, early pioneers like Chung established themselves in the entertainment business yet were rarely recognized for their work. Personal archives, interviews with family, and clips from Chung's many film and television appearances paint an intimate portrait of the woman behind the career.
- (A)typical Couple (6 min.)
Maša Zia Lenárdivč and Anja Wutej, Slovenia
Tired of negative stereotypes of lesbians as boring and humorless or psychotic and predatory? This charming, quirky film is just the antidote, offering us a slice of life we can all relate to. To quote one reviewer, "Yay! Lesbian couple! Super cute!"
- The Rest of Us (2 min. 30 sec.)
Maddi Davis, Alyssa Piraino, and Danny Tayara, USA
Labels. Categories. Boxes. Bathrooms. What if you don't belong? Why should we have to choose? This clever film troubles the gender binary, offering a creative solution to the "bathroom problem."
- Plaza de Cocos (3 min.)
Julio López Fernández, El Salvador/Mexico
Next to a Salvadoran road, two young girls hawk coconuts to drive-by customers indifferent to their sense of urgency. The girls can ill-afford to be turned down, as we learn. An oblique commentary on gender, poverty, and survival.
- America's Most Unwanted (23 min.)
Shani Heckman, USA
One-half of all fosters are homeless, one-third are on welfare, and one-third enter prison within two years of leaving foster care. America's Most Unwanted is a candid documentary about three queer youth and their experiences of homophobia, homelessness, and educational marginalization in the foster-care system. A former foster herself, filmmaker Shani Heckman paints a poignant yet unsentimental portrait of a largely invisible population.
- Silent Voices (4 min. 30 sec.)
Jeeyoon Na, USA
This animated short was inspired by the sexist commentary that followed a Korean news report in which two teenage girls were reported gang-raped. Instead of expressing sympathy, readers blamed the girls for provoking the attack. Silent Voices relays the feelings of shame and despair that victim-blaming generates, as the young girl in the film gradually loses her voice and her confidence amidst the judgments of others.
- There's No Hole in My Head (14 min.)
Alison Segar, UK/USA
At age 54, Abby Hale was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. A mother, loving partner, and former medical practitioner, Abby shares with eloquence and grace what she has gained and lost as a result of this cruel disease. There's No Hole in My Head affords us insight into a condition that, although increasingly common, is rarely discussed in such an honest and open way.
- Anamnesis (4 min.)
Cat Xia, Canada/USA
Memory is fragile and can make us question reality. Its loss generates fear and insecurity. Being seen as "crazy" is especially fraught for women of color, whose capacity may be suspect even under "normal" circumstances. Anamnesis is a stop-motion short about the filmmaker's personal experience with memory loss and its potential effect on her life. Serious and playful at the same time, it asks us to reconsider what it's like to forget.
- Perfect Plastic (13 min.)
Meredith Sward, USA
The female body is a canvas for comparison and modification, with the media playing a key role in shaping notions of beauty and attractiveness. Narrow images of female beauty increase dissatisfaction with "real" bodies and lead women to seek transformation through plastic surgery. Drawing on media footage, personal introspection, and interviews with surgeons, psychologists, and academics, Perfect Plastic casts a critical eye on current beauty ideals and the industries that profit from them.
WARNING: THIS FILM CONTAINS GRAPHIC FOOTAGE OF PLASTIC SURGERIES, INCLUDING BREAST AUGMENTATION AND LABIAPLASTY
- Present Gender (8 min.)
Christine Yeakley and Lane Lewis, USA
Present Gender explores gender identity and gender expression through interviews and visual representation. Womyn and queer/trans* youth discuss their experiences and challenges with being "read" by others and asserting their own identities and desires in the face of negativity or incomprehension. Made by and about local Davisites!
Q & A with participating filmmakers immediately following.
Friday April 12
- And You Are...? (19 min.)
Jeanette Rourke and Margaret Dane / Wayward Women Films, UK
When the mind is ravaged by disease, a repository of memories and snapshots becomes the touchstone for who we think we are. In this experimental short, "The Face" (played by Rourke) leads us on an emotional journey that traces the arc of one woman's life. Sincere and beautifully acted, And You Are...? takes a personal approach to the universal themes of loss and degeneration.
- Like a Dream (9 min.)
Pia Tjäder, Sweden
Johnny and his sister Leia are playing in a seemingly nice, middle-class bedroom in a seemingly nice, middle-class home. But when Leia gets hungry and starts for the kitchen, Johnny distracts her by telling her a story about an enchanted forest. Gradually we understand that the two children use fairytales and fantasy to keep a tragic reality at bay. A lyrical, sensitive film with stellar performances from the children.
- Out of Step (6 min.)
Lynn Estomin, USA
Out of Step features the perspectives of four women veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Voice-over by the women themselves accompanies dance and musical interpretations of their emotional journey from idealistic recruits to veterans coping with PTSD. The film deals with global issues of war and peace, the effects of war and military service on women, and the connections felt by the veterans to the people deemed their "enemy."
- Hope (5 min.)
Stelana Kliris, Cyprus
To this day, approximately 2000 people are still missing from the 1963 and 1974 conflicts in Cyprus. Hope is the story of the surviving relatives, who, decades later, remain frozen in time, awaiting their loved ones' return. A true work of art that pays homage to the ravages of war on domestic life.
- We Never Returned (27 min.)
Astrid Asberger, Sweden
We Never Returned charts the efforts of a Swedish theatre project to stage the stories of four Kurdish refugees. Stories that the Swedish Migration Board hears everyday. For the Board, it takes "like five minutes" to make decisions about a person's future. Can theatre make a difference? Can a play raise compassion and empathy? Can art be a healing force for those whose stories are told, or does it simply assuage the guilt of those who are safe and privileged, having never needed to flee their homes? This touching and honest film asks, but does not answer, these questions.
- Libre Directo / Free Kick (13 min.)
Bernabé Rico, Spain
Having turned 60, Adela is living a life she never wanted. She has a lazy, selfish husband, no children, and nothing to look forward to. Then one day she gets the chance to break free and leave her old life behind. Her challenge: a direct kick from mid-field into the open goal at halftime during a professional soccer match attended by thousands of cheering spectators. Undeterred, Adela starts training for the big day. A charming, inspiring film that will have you cheering, too. Superb acting and over-the-top production values. A+
- I Am Me (2 min. 30 sec.)
Koe Sozuteki, Cody Young, and Schuyler Markey, USA
No one thing defines who we are. Like all people, queer-identified youth are complex and multi-faceted. I Am Me asks us to hold this in mind and honor the diversity of human experience. A short, sweet film with a big message.
- FEATURE FILM: Invisible (90 min.)
Michal Aviad, Israel
More than 20 years after Lily and Nira are victimized by the same serial rapist, a chance encounter brings them together. Nira, a single-mother, works as a television editor; Lily is a progressive activist defending Palestinian rights. So affected is Nira by the encounter that she begins digging into the past, stirring up memories, trying to bridge the gap between the person she once was and the person she has become. She grows increasingly preoccupied with uncovering all she can about the rapist. Lily's marriage is in crisis; she tries to prevent the trauma from resurfacing, but it penetrates every aspect of her life. She realizes she has no choice but to confront the past. What begins as a difficult journey turns into a subtle friendship that moves the two women toward healing and renewal. Leaving humiliation and guilt behind, they stop being invisible. An emotionally powerful and ultimately uplifting film, Invisible mixes fact and fiction, incorporating televised footage and recorded testimonies of real women who, like Nira and Lily, are survivors.
2012 Film Descriptions
Thursday Night April 12
- Faster! (12 min)
Marie Ullrich, USA
Jasper is a Chicago bike-messenger busting ass to make ends meet amid busy streets, hostile drivers, and surly security guards. Tough and gutsy as well as funny and vulnerable, she wins our sympathy even as she runs roughshod over people in her desperation to get ahead.
- Shoot Me (13 min)
Anna Hylander, Sweden
A young animal-rights activist on the run from the police. A grieving widow at the end of her rope with nothing to lose. Each has what the other needs. Lives intertwine and destinies are forever changed in this beautifully-crafted narrative about a fateful encounter between two strangers.
- Madres 0, 15 El Minuto (28 min)
Marina Seresesky, Spain
What does it take to be a mother? Is it possible to mother from afar - from a phone booth or internet café? Women who work thousands of miles from home to create better futures for their children tell us about the painful reality of long-distance motherhood. Poverty, immigration, and the globalization of domestic labor form the backdrop to this tender portrayal of maternal strength and sacrifice.
- A Fairytale Life (9 min)
Rohan Jones, Australia
This personal, documentary-style monologue is part testimonial, part memoir. It tells the true story of a woman infected with HIV by her "loving" partner and takes us through the range of emotions - disbelief, despair, rage, and resignation - evoked by her experience of loss and betrayal.
- Vessel For My Heart (13 min)
Ryan Willow, USA
What is your gender? When did you decide? Most of us live in communities and cultures that expect us to embrace and express one of two genders: male or female. But what if your felt sense of gender does not match societal expectations? Vessel For My Heart gives transmen, transwomen, genderqueer folk, and trans* allies a chance to share their experience of gender and to deconstruct the gender binary. A terrific trans*101 primer for creating a more just and diverse society.
- Fábrica de Muñecas (11 min)
Ainhoa Menendez, Spain
Anna works in a doll factory, gluing eyes into dolls' heads. Her entire life, inside and outside the factory, has become dull routine, mechanized and robotic. But a small change on the assembly-line has far-reaching repercussions that set her on a new course. A quirky, darkly humorous film about the line between human and machine.
- STRONG! (78 min)
Julie Wyman, USA
Assistant Professor of Cinema and Technocultural Studies (CATS) at UC Davis This intimate and compelling documentary chronicles the efforts of Cheryl Haworth to be the strongest woman in the world. As the 300-pound Olympic weightlifter prepares for Beijing 2008, she struggles with injury, confidence, and her place in a world where large women are not readily accepted. With great artistry, the film paints a sympathetic but unsentimental portrait of the emotional and physical challenges faced by female athletes who challenge assumptions about women and "normative" femininity. A true masterpiece.
Q & A with the filmmaker immediately following.
Friday Night April 13
- The Womanhood (11 min)
Yvonne LaBarge, USA
Every day thousands of girls start their period and are issued into "womanhood." What does that mean, here in the West? The Womanhood is a refreshing, playful tale of a mother explaining the "facts of life" to her daughter, which happen to include super-heroine powers! It gives new meaning to "I am woman, hear me roar" and prompts the question: what will you do when your daughter reaches womanhood?
- Fashioning Faith (23 min)
Yasmin Moll, USA
This enlightening documentary explores the little-known realm of Muslim fashion. Using interviews with Muslim women who design, create, sell, and wear fashionable clothing, the film explores the reasons why Muslim women choose modest clothing and how modesty is being redefined at the intersections of fashion, faith, and femininity.
- The Frog (7 min)
Cecilia Torquato, Sweden
The theme for theme-day at a daycare facility is The Middle-Ages; while the girls get dressed as princesses, the boys are knights with swords. But one of the princesses wants a sword. Is there space in this world for swordy princesses?
- You Shall Not Leave the Way (7 min)
Veronica Szemlová, Czech Republic
Come along on one man's journey as he keeps his eyes front, his back straight, and his path on the straight and narrow. Issues of tolerance, identity, religion, and choice are explored in this whimsical animated film. Do you like to play it safe or do you like to take risks? Do you lead, or do you follow? Remember, you only live once...
- Ovejas Azules (28 min)
Noel Gálvez, Spain
A small, rural town in Spain finds itself cancer-stricken; the likely culprit is an energy transformer. When the filmmakers' grandmother herself is diagnosed with cancer and faces immanent death, he creates Ovejas Azules (Blue Sheep) in order to pay tribute to her legacy and the town's struggles against environmental injustice. A documentary-narrative hybrid drawing on elements of magical realism, this lyrical film is simultaneously celebratory and cautionary.
- Doris (4 min)
Anna Erlandsson, Sweden
This short animated film will put a smile on your face. Doris is a cleaner at the Film Institute, and one day finds a manifesto on her way to work. Follow Doris as she "talks back" to the put-downs and injustices she experiences as a female custodian in male-dominated industry. A comment on both filmmaking and cleaning!
- On the Way to Villa (22 min)
Monir Gheidi, Iran
A contemplative, realist narrative about motherhood, family, and the rhythms of everyday life. Azadeh is a young mother and dutiful daughter feeling the weight of familial obligation. Overwhelmed by domestic demands and unable to shake feelings of depression, she journeys to the seaside to visit relatives, with children and mother in tow. There, she experiences a sense of peace and renewal. A quiet, haunting film with a message about love and reconciliation that is both subtle and powerful.
- Drained (7 min)
Sarah Greenwald, USA
A visually expressive, surreal narrative set in Boston, about a young woman who awakes early one morning inside of a dumpster. As she (and we) re-live the past 12 hours in flashes of memory, we come to realize that she has been the victim - and possibly a fatality—of sexual assault. An important and ever-timely issue treated with seriousness and care. WARNING: survivors of sexual assault may be uncomfortable watching this film.
- Gay for Pay (11 min)
Jonathan Yorde, USA
This documentary explores how LGBT sexuality is used in the media for spectacle, career advancement, and financial gain. Combining interviews with actors, experts, and activists with fast-paced montage sequences from popular media, the film presents multiple, conflicting definitions of what "gay for pay" means and invites viewers to question the heteronormative assumptions behind so-called "positive" LGBT representations.
- Ketheron's Bucket-Mending & Hymen Emporium (13 min)
Anton Gill, USA
An experimental musical comedy that exposes and pokes fun at society's "wedding night" expectations of gender, Ketheron's Bucket-Mending & Hymen Emporium will make you both laugh and think. Despite the wild-wild West setting, the film's focus on the sexual double standard and the importance of chastity to female sexuality are uncannily appropriate given the current political climate. A hilarious film, with tongue firmly in cheek.
2011 Film Descriptions
Thursday Night April 14
- Git Along Little Dogies (9 min)
Kate Lain, USA
This humorous experimental memoir tells the story of a girl struggling with gender expectations as she transitions from childhood to adulthood. Employing a "mockumentary" style, the film explores the gap between the promise of gender freedom and the reality of gender constraint in a world in which one size does not fit all.
- Camas (10 min)
Manuela Moreno, Spain
Exhilarating or disappointing, pleasurable or painful, sex is a subject about which men and women can—and often do!—differ. Expertly produced and varied in pace, mood, and perspective, these four bedroom vignettes examine the intimacies and anxieties surrounding heterosexual sex.
- Red Dust (20 min)
Karin Mak, China
After being diagnosed with cadmium poisoning, former employees of a battery factory in China unite in a quest for justice. The women must organize to save other workers from the same fate while also fighting to obtain the medical treatment they desperately need. This documentary explores sensitive labor issues in China as well as the role women play in the developing global economy.
- Exposing Homelessness (21 min)
Kerri Galwryn, USA
This film documents the experiences of three formerly unhoused women who use photography to express their thoughts and insights about homelessness in San Francisco. The documentary challenges stereotypes about homelessness and shows how artistic practice itself can be an empowering, healing force.
- Lily's Image (11min)
Susanne Stich, Ireland
Lily is a quiet girl with an unconventional family and home life. Her parents are divorced, and her Dad has a new "friend." Using her toys and her imagination, Lily grapples with her changing personal circumstances while trying to maintain the picture-perfect image of the "ideal" family. A thoughtful narrative with beautiful cinematography.
- The Rehearsal (5 min)
Doris Film, Sweden
When a young girl inadvertently discovers there is more to climbing rope than reaching the top, she shares the secret with her best friend. The Rehearsal is a charming look at innocence, discovery, and childhood bonding.
- Goals for Girls (6 min)
Ginger Gentile and Gabriel Balanovsky, Argentina
Young Argentinean girls who want to play soccer must battle deeply rooted sexism in their families and communities just to claim the time and space to enjoy sports. This short documentary shows how male peers, limited public space, and household chores can all get in the way of a girl's soccer game.
- The Witches of Gambaga (55 min)
Yaba Badoe, Ghana
This powerful documentary explores a longstanding crisis in Ghana, in which women - often those who are strong-willed and successful - find themselves accused of witchcraft. The belief in witchcraft is still widespread and exerts considerable influence on the freedom and mobility of Ghanaian women. Some of the accused leave their villages for Gambaga, a camp that provides protection in exchange for labor. With care and sensitivity, The Witches of Gambaga gives these exiled women a space to tell their own stories. Q & A with Professor Amina Mama, co-producer of The Witches of Gambaga (30 min)
Friday Night April 15
- Fish (10 min)
Asa Johannisson, Sweden
Gerd is a lonely young woman whose only friend, a goldfish, suddenly dies. When she goes out to buy another fish, she discovers a new and unexpected relationship. Fish is a whimsical tribute to those of us who have wanted and found a kindred spirit. Includes some amazing acrobatics!
- Hello Mimi (31 min)
Sik Ying Ho, Hong Kong
Mimi is a male-to-female transsexual woman in Hong Kong who decided to undergo sex-reassignment surgery at the age of 56. Although she is "dismissed" from her job and rejected by her son, Mimi nevertheless continues to fight for acceptance with gentle determination. This intimate documentary demonstrates the many hardships experienced by transgendered people every day around the world.
- Overnight Stay (8 min)
Daniela Sherer, USA
Do you think people are naturally good or bad? This question sparks the reminiscence of an elderly Jewish woman about a small act of kindness experienced on a particular evening in Krakow, Poland, in 1941. This hand-painted animated film brings warmth and sensitivity to the somber subject of the Holocaust and the Second World War.
- Long Haul (21 min)
Erin Hudson, USA
Three dynamic women truck drivers share their views on working in a male-dominated occupation and how the job affects their lives and families. This short documentary challenges preconceived notions of truck driving while seeking to better understand the pleasures and sacrifices of the women who choose to live on the open road.
- Panchito (16 min)
Arantxa Echevarria Carcedo, Spain
Manuel, a Colombian immigrant in Spain, has a tough job as a delivery driver on the busy streets of Madrid. When his motorbike breaks down he finds himself in an increasingly difficult predicament. A light-hearted yet insightful look at the challenges faced by migrant labor around the world.
- Soma Girls (27 min)
Nandini Sikand and Alexia Prichard, India
This documentary provides an inside look at a shelter for daughters of sex workers in Kolkata, India. Soma Home is a hostel that aims to provide young girls with opportunities their mothers never had: to receive an education, to think for themselves, and to escape a harsh life of poverty by taking control of their own lives. Hard-hitting and serious, but also inspirational.
- Not Sacks (9 min)
Fiona Collins, UK
Quilting and prisoners meet in this eye-opening documentary that challenges traditional notions of femininity and masculinity. Within the walls of the infamous Wandsworth Prison in south west London, prisoners learn new skills and therefore new ways of thinking about themselves. Note how the film itself is quilt-like, assembling a "patchwork" of images into a vibrant whole.
- August Moon, Safe Light (10 min)
Rose Khor, USA
This experimental narrative re-contextualizes post-World War II images of the American occupation of Japan. Using footage from the 1956 Hollywood movie Tea House of the August Moon, about US soldiers who "help" a Japanese village during the war, the film examines the intersections of race, gender, and culture in mainstream American media.
- Knock Off (11 min)
Rosanne Flynn, UK
Teenager Jude struggles to balance her pregnancy with her social and academic drive to succeed. At the center of the narrative is Jude's complicated and intense relationship with her only present parent, her father. The two clash, but then re-commit to facing the future together. A touching portrayal of love and hard choices against a backdrop of racial and gender inequality.
- Attached to You (9 min)
Carin Brack, Mia Hulterstam, and Cecilia Actis, Sweden
This playful claymation film illustrates the rich and varied experience of parenthood - from pregnancy and birth to growing up and letting go - all while emphasizing the lasting bond between parent and child.
- Prohomo (3 min)
Alayna Chamberland, Alix Hamilton, and Emilie Seguin, USA
Teens explore their queer experiences in this original rap video. Their playful, humorous rapping and rhyming reveal why it's cool to express an identity that is true to your own sense of self.
2010 Film Descriptions
Friday April 9, 2010
- Somewhere In Between (29 min)
Denise Nicole Green, Davis, California
Five men, five interwoven stories of gender nonconformity. This playful, insightful documentary uses the Burning Man Festival as a vehicle to explore how fashion, dress, and body modification can forge new visions of gender identity—and ultimately new ways of enacting masculinity.
- Royal Male, or Coppola's Spyglass (12 min)
Marianna & Daniel O'Reilly, London, United Kingdom
How does one express the struggle for identity when language cannot fully capture its complexity? Royal Male uses the filmic techniques of visual and acoustic interruption to question the gendered confines of language and to create an alternative voice.
- Last Bus (10 min)
Maria Hengge, Berlin, Germany
Inspired by the power of the ocean and a sleeping stranger, a woman responds to her intuition and takes a risk by changing course. What awaits her? A quiet, lyrical film that explores the relation between self and other, waking and dreaming. Stunning landscapes.
- The Line (24 min)
Nancy Schwartzman, New York, New York
Where is the line? In this intensely personal documentary, Schwartzman explores the contradictory definitions and understandings of rape both within the US and abroad. Interviews with legal experts, sex trade workers, and the filmmaker's own attacker highlight both the ambiguity and the charged emotional issues surrounding contemporary assumptions about rape.
- Charades (7 min)
Ann Steuernagel, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This film explores the formation of gender identity through a re-examination of the past. Questioning memory and sexuality in a "post-Prop 8" world, Steuernagel creates a fragmented, dream-like sequence using found Super-8 footage.
- Your Turn (4 min)
Sarah Grimmer, Melbourne, Australia
Esther and Joan have been playing checkers online for hours - or has it been years? Bored with waiting for Joan to make her move, Esther decides to spice things up. This charming film demonstrates how one is never too old to break routine and challenge expectations.
- Whore (21 min)
Prarthana Mohan, Los Angeles, California
Socially awkward Wendy Michaels is having trouble adapting to her new high school. As she copes with the name-calling and shaming, fellow student Peter tells her to fight back. How will both students deal with their bullies? A painful yet poignant look at the all-too-common difficulties of female adolescence.
- How She Makes It (5 min)
Ashley Marie Connor, Brooklyn, New York
This film questions the commodification of identity, and demonstrates one woman's ability to resist objectification by creating her own aesthetics. A distinctly beautiful visual vocabulary is created in this short experimental film.
- Erica (6 min)
Jia Tan, Los Angeles, California
This film offers a refreshing glimpse into the ambiguous nature of gender performativity within non-heterosexual relationships. Tan's innovative use of experimental sound, dream sequencing, and flashback creates a non-conventional space for exploring the themes of loss and desire.
- Dyke Dollar (11 min)
Laura Terruso, New York, New York
Inspired by a tradition of gay rights activism in the US, this fun, quirky comedy addresses identity politics and the queer community's contributions to the economy. We follow along as a live "Dyke Dollar" lands in the hands of two suburban teenage boys and proceeds to school them on LGBT history while charming them with her bubbly personality.
- Desigirls! (18 min)
Ishita Srivastava, Brooklyn, New York
This documentary film examines the lives of several women in the South Asian queer community of New York City. What role does their community play in helping them deal with the complex experiences of being queer in a contemporary diaspora?
- Apron Outside, Woman Inside (18 min)
Claudia Brenlla, Vigo, Spain
Spanning cultures and generations, the apron stands as symbol of tradition and modernity, feminine identity, and female work. This experimental documentary explores how the apron links female ancestry and heritage to present day femininity, juxtaposing established traditions with the varied experiences of those who wear it today.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
- We, First-Person Plural (10 min)
Vika Kirchenbauer, Berlin, Germany
An intimate, experimental, autobiography that hails you, the viewer! Vika Kirchenbauer explores the longing for love and the sense of disconnection and loss that can occur in any relationship. Is "love" really possible? Can we ever really know someone else? Can we ever really know ourselves and our desires? This film dissembles traditional film structures and invites us, in turn, to question our own social hangups and barriers.
- La Mariachera (8 min)
Melissa Perez, Goleta, California
Rosa Linda is a Folklorico dancer who has been rejected by the woman she loves. In a bid to impress the woman, she assumes the role of the mariachi. Can Rosa Linda win her lover back?
- The Digital Closet (11 min)
Shante Espericueta, Cindy Flores, Margaret Gordon, Los Angeles, California
How does contemporary popular media represent the queer community? Too often, our media environment circulates hurtful, oppressive stereotypes. This documentary explores reality television, scripted dramas, and other media programming to analyze the problem of queer representation in popular culture.
- Friday (11 min)
Alexe Landgren and Frida Jonason, Gothemburg, Sweden
Write about what you did on Friday. A simple assignment, right? But it yields unexpected and emotionally-charged results for four students in this intense, well-crafted film tackling one of the most contentious gender issues of our times.
- The Molky Way (25 min)
Gonzalo Ballester, Murcia, Spain and Baragun, Iran
Is it ever too late to take the trip of a lifetime? A 73-year-old Iranian woman embarks on a long-distance expedition to visit friends and family not seen in twenty years. This quiet, thoughtful documentary captures the universal spirit of adventure with its lyrical observation of Mrs. Molky and her journey to strengthen family ties.
- Never Too Late (7 min)
Wendy Weinberg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stella and Rosie have waited 25 years to be wed, and now they are finally ready to take the plunge. Yet, Prop 8 stands in their way. Using redubbed classic archival footage, this film humorously critiques the effects of Prop 8 on California.
- The Breast Cancer Diaries (75 min)
Linda Patillo and Ann Murray-Paige, Los Angeles, California and Davis, California
When Ann Murray-Paige, mother of two young children and a local news reporter, is diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38, she sets up a video camera in her room. Murray-Paige's video diaries offer an intimate chronicle of her journey with breast cancer, punctuated with humor, poignancy, and romance. The Breast Cancer Diaries is a real-life, real-time portrayal of a tough issue that affects one in seven women worldwide.
2009 Film Descriptions
Thursday, April 16TH, 2009
- Fifty-Fifty (8 min)
Denise Nicole Green, Sarah Rebolloso McCullough, UC Davis
Join Sacramento City Rollers teammates as they school us on derby - all the while discussing how they are perceived, the changing nature of their sport, body image, costume, and appearance. Roller derby twists and subverts dominant notions of gender, sexuality, normative bodies, and sports performance. As "Spankenstein" puts it, "Derby is fifty-fifty, you can be an athlete and a sexy, ass-kicking female at the same time."
- The Future of Feminism (35 min)
Cara Holmes, Dublin, Ireland
What does contemporary feminism look like? Why do we still need it? What is Ladyfest? We hear from scholars, activists, and students in Dublin, Belfast, Copenhagen, and Berlin, as they discuss what feminism means to them. A great introduction to basic concepts of feminism, this film explores how feminism is perceived today. If you've been in doubt about the need for continuing feminist activism, including "the old consciousness-raising of the 70s," this film will re-energize you!
- Are You Black Enuf?: The Politics of Black Female Identity (12 min)
Kunti Dudakia, Hasti Barahmand, UCLA
Stereotypes of black women have created definitions of female blackness far removed from lived experience. How do black women in the US think about, and negotiate, the cultural assumptions imposed on them, and what does it mean to be "black enuf" in the 21st Century? Through interviews and media montage, this film examines the intersectional identity of black women, who face the multiple oppressions of race, sex, and class. Includes an interview with June Jordan!
- Holocaust Girls (13 min)
Jenna Feldman, Chicago, Illinois
This personal meditation on postwar female Jewishness is lushly filmed, and takes on risky territory in its imagination of Jewish female sexuality. How do young Jewish girls and women make sense of the historical and Hollywood texts about women and the holocaust, such as The Diary of Anne Frank and Sophie's Choice? A provocative film about "the complicated and sometimes irresponsible urge to daydream or fantasize about the holocaust."
- What is Honor? (15 min)
Melek Ozman, Kadin Kooperatifi, Istanbul, Turkey
The filmmaker tours four cities in Turkey, asking men and women, young and old, and people of different economic classes: "What is honor?" Through cosmopolitan and conservative perspectives, it is possible to see how the concept of honor is used as a controlling mechanism in women's lives, but also how it is being challenged. As one man answers, honor is "the name given to men's owning of women's bodies."
- A Vida Politica (12 min)
Kat Mansoor, Animal Monday Productions, Brighton, United Kingdom
This lively, richly colored, and beautifully shot film documents the dynamic political activism of four Brazilian women. Christina uses street theater to fight for abortion rights; Crueza, a domestic worker since age 10, organizes politically on behalf of Brazil's eight million domestic workers; Jane models for Daspu, a fashion label run by sex workers; and Negra Jho uses hairdressing as a way to promote black identity and the message that "beauty is politics." While each woman's story is different, political activism has transformed all of their lives, empowering others as they empower themselves.
- Shooting Women (54 min)
Alexis Krasilovsky, Los Angeles, California
This global documentary reveals camerawomen's struggles in the intensely male-dominated film industries of Hollywood, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Australia, China, France, Japan, Mexico, Senegal, and other countries. It includes secret films made by Afghani camerawomen showing women's abuse by the Taliban, the experience of a video journalist injured in Kosovo, and footage of the TV action series "Medicopter." These courageous women discuss what it takes to work and succeed at their jobs. Winner of the 2008 "Best International Documentary" at the Women of the World Festival in Sydney, Australia.
- Private Life (20 min)
Abbe Robinson, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Winner of 14 international film awards, this sexy, stylish, playful yet serious drama is set in the queer underground of 1950s England. Ruth Ackroyd leaves the monotony of her job at her father's textile mill on a Friday evening and secretly takes a train to Manchester. There, she meets a man on the station platform, and they run into a nearby bathroom together, but all is not what it seems...
- Leisure Suite (7 min)
Johanna Paulsdotter Lofstedt, Stockholm, Sweden
What's a girl supposed to do when her boyfriend is too tired to have sex? A playful look at female heterosexuality, this film depicts a woman as the subject of her own desires and fantasies rather than as an object of the male gaze. Includes a "tasteful" scene of bananas and colorful condoms!
Friday, April 17th, 2009
- Second-Hand Dolls (5.5 min)
Anthony Weeks, San Francisco, CA
This original black and white film tells the stories of two US women: Judi, a black entrepreneur in Oakland who deals in used mannequins, and Linda, a 70-year-old white ballet dancer in San Francisco. Judi and Linda disrupt conventional notions of beauty, visibility, novelty, and usefulness by repurposing and transforming women's bodies even after the society at large has overlooked or discarded them. The film poses an ecological vision, questioning the fetishization and consumption of that which is new and young.
- Leven Tussen Grenzen (Living Between Borders)(30 min)
Maja Mirkovic and Tomas Parinussa, Amersfoort, Netherlands
An intimate portrayal of two transgender people, Joli(e) and Fergus. Through their struggles regarding gender expression, body image, and sexuality, we can see how broader social structures function to create hierarchy, inclusion, and exclusion. By sharing their lives, they make a statement for the visibility of people who challenge preconceived categories of identity.
- Universal Jurisdiction: Rape as Torture (17 min)
Monika Barrios, Brujula Communicaciones, and Woman's Link Worldwide
On May 3, 2006, three thousand police entered San Salvador Atenco, Mexico to suppress a protest by the town's flower growers, which was part of a broader struggle for indigenous rights in the state of Mexico. Over 200 protesters were arrested and detained, including 47 women and five foreigners. Many of the male detainees were tortured and the women raped. Of the victims, Spaniard Christina Valls filed a criminal complaint before Spain's National Court, invoking the principle of Universal Justice. The "Atenco Case" continues to press for recognition of sexual crimes committed in the context of armed conflict as crimes of genocide, rather than as "collateral damage." A powerful, important film.
- The Collection (7 min)
Keren Albala, Mountain View, California
A curious girl investigates the mysterious disintegration of her paper world, questioning the construction of knowledge. Hand-drawn stop-motion animation creates a beautifully textured environment in this original, enigmatic, and compelling film.
- Sexy, Inc: Our Children Under the Influence (35 min)
Sophie Bissonnette, Montreal (Quebec), Canada
Are girls being pushed prematurely into adulthood? This hard-hitting critique of the hypersexualization of our environment suggests moves to counteract the noxious effects of media on young people. We hear from psychologists, teachers, school nurses and doctors, as well as from girls themselves.
- Tom Boy (7 min)
Joanna Griebel, Los Angeles, California
This moody, ironic, and accomplished animation follows a young tomboy's journey as she is confronted with stark gender divisions. Can she remain true to herself?
- She Should Have Gone to the Moon (58 min)
Ulrike Kubatta, London, United Kingdom
This lyrical, dream-like film tells the story of pilot and pioneer Jerry Truhill, who was trained to become one of the first Lady Astronauts in 1961 as part of NASA's top secret Mercury 13 program. Fictional interludes interspersed with interviews of the tough-talking and sharp-witted Truhill produce a heady narrative of childhood aspirations, shattered dreams, and a lifelong battle against female stereotypes and male prejudice.
- If (2 min)
Randall Elizabeth Wilson, UC Davis
An updated, political version of the old French film "The Red Balloon." Cute and sweet, this story of an alienated girl who roams the world (aka the UCD campus) with a single red balloon among a crowd of green balloons is a metaphor for discrimination, difference, equality, and finding community.
2008 Film Descriptions
The 2005 Collection and the 2007 Collection of the Davis Feminist Film Festival are currently available at the Women's Resources and Research Center Library, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center Library and at the Shields Library Special Collections at the University of California, Davis. Additionally limited copies have been sent to universities and non-profits including the following:
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
- Feminist Film Archive, Madrid, Spain
- International Female Film Festival, Malmo, Sweden
- Stowarzyszenie Aktywne Kobiety, Sosnowiec, Poland
Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Theme: Crossing Borders
- Bhanwari the Police Woman, 2007 (7.5 min)
Going to School, New Delhi, India
At 24 years old, Bhanwari Malawat is a police constable in Rajastan, India, running the force's women's desk. This unlikely and inspiring story witnesses her change from child bride to policewoman, and the changes women create when given authority.
- Alien vs Predator, 2007 (4.5 min)
Global Action Project, New York, New York
Can the land of opportunity make good on its promises? It all depends on your immigration status. Told from the heart by youth filmmakers, this narrative follows 2 high school students in their efforts to get a university education in the U.S.
- Level Playing Field, 2004 (4 min)
Jaleen Francois • UC Davis
In black and white, and with up-close detail, this film concretely places young people at the starting line of life. As characteristics and life histories are defined, gaps appear to divide and dominate their lives.
- Europlex, 2003 (20 min)
Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders, Berne, Switzerland
The Spanish Moroccan border is no simple line. Marked by Spanish land claims in Morocco, a migrant workforce in Spain, and a transnational waterway, this convoluted borderland twists and folds the women who inhabit it. Smuggled clothing, time zones, and shipyards are glimpses from 3 stories that document border women's perception of place, time, and their own bodies.
- 200,000 Phantoms, 2007 (10 min)
Jean-Gabriel Periot, Tours, France
Architecture as never seen before. Through a focus on one distinctive building in Hiroshima, Japan, this animated documentary renders space and time visible while highlighting the atrocities of war.
- Milk, 2007 (6 min)
Lisa Siders, Denise Burge, Tracy Featherstone, Elaine Lynch, Leticia Queensbury, and Jenny Ustick, Cincinnati, Ohio
Can mother's milk could save the world? Layers of music and emotion open up the world of new motherhood. Imaginative and emancipatory.
- The Dozens, 2007 (5 min)
Lisa Siders, Denise Burge, Tracy Featherstone, Elaine Lynch, Leticia Queensbury, and Jenny Ustick, Cincinnati, Ohio
When is the sum more than it's parts? Six women visual artists discuss their motivation for artistic collaboration, in a project "meant to inspire and grow through society like a crystal formation... as a way for 'women's stories and experiences… to enter the larger world consciousness'. Warm and colorful.
- Alma, 2007 (12 min)
Yuri Makino, Tucson, Arizona
In the words of Yuri Makino herself: "As a daughter of immigrant parents (Japanese and Swiss), I have spent much of my life and film career examining cultural borders and questions of identity...Most border films portray the experiences of migrant men. Inspired by a true story, Alma is intended to give voice to the experiences of a young Latina coming of age in rural America."
- Freedom Song, 2004 (2 min)
Rachel Siegel, Portland, Oregon
What is freedom? This gentle study of a bird draws our own perception into focus.
- Oompie Ka Doompie, 2006 (18 min)
Mandy McIntosh, Glasgow, Scotland
Through a collage of 2-D and 3-D images, this film tells the story of the filmmaker's childhood in South Africa with her Scottish family. At the film's heart is the relationship between two white girls and Selina, the black woman who cares for them in the daytime. The use of collage underlines the separateness of black and white life, the naivety of the family and the repercussions their journey holds.
- Love Refugees, 2007 (27 min)
E. Beth Nelsen, Melbourne, Australia
An autobiographical story about passion and equal rights. As the most recent woman in a long line of Native Americans who have been told by the US government where they can and can't live, this filmmaker struggles to reconcile her desire to return to the USA, as American immigration policies that deny her the right to live with her partner A gentle rhapsody on human acceptance, and the difficulty between choosing between love, financial stability, and homeland.
Friday, February 29th, 2008
- Every (Text, Image, Sound, Movie): from my cell phone, 2008 (9 min)
Darrin Martin, UC Davis
A quirky foray into the treasure trove of images and sounds captured in daily life: part exposé, part exploration.
- Milagro, 2007 (5 min)
Halimat Alabi, Santa Clara, CA
Milagro - meaning "miracle" in Spanish - tells the story of a family forever changed by the gender ambiguity of their child. How invested are we in creating and enforcing gender roles? A laughable poke at heteronormativity in the confines of the middle class.
- Girl House Art Project, 2006 (16 min)
Brooke Randolph, Santa Monica/Westside, CA
Inspired by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro's 1972 "Womanhouse" art installation, Kesa Kivel joined forces with middle school girls to create an sculpture installation. The film follows the planning and display of the project: a bedroom filled with the fears and worries of a sexually harassed girl.
- Preservation, 2008 (3 min)
Jenkey Hu, UC Davis
A young girl's love of taking photos of everything except herself clashes with her mother's insistence of taking photos of the girl to preserve herself for "the future". Where does the East Asian concept of "losing face" fit in with these visual technologies?
- A Short Tale of Xuan, 2007 (12 min)
Terrie Samundra, San Francisco, CA
Xuan is a scavenger, collecting found objects and the stories that they carry. Her imagination blends with reality as she navigates through the world in between childhood and adulthood.
- I Was a Teenage Feminist, 2005 (63 min)
Therese Shechter, Brooklyn, NY
Bracing herself against a midlife crisis, 40-year old filmmaker Therese Shechter traces her footsteps back to 1970's feminism and then forward to discover the third wave - radical cheerleaders and all.
- Belgrade Pride, 2003 (20 min)
Douglas Conrad, San Francisco, CA
A touching and intimate introduction to LGBT movement in Belgrade, this film bears witness to the violence activists faced in organizing the first Pride Parade in Serbia 2001, and the subsequent struggle to move forward. Followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker.
2007 Film Descriptions
Curated by Naomi Voosen, Shelly Buchanan, Jaleen Francois and Margareta Lelea
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Theme: The Body
- Trashed Fashion (13.5 min)
Sabrina Balderama, Morgan Flores, Sara McMullen and Amanda Ornellas, UC Davis
What happens to our old clothes? "Trashed Fashion: Breaking the Cycle" advocates for consumers to prevent the flow of clothing waste into our landfills by offering alternatives to the over-consumption of fashion and the production of clothing waste. From refashioning clothes to exchanging them at clothing swaps, this video illustrates that waste prevention not only promotes sustainability, but can also foster creativity and create community.
- Fashion Resistance to Militarism (10 min)
Kimberly Alvarenga, Oakland, CA
Offering a critical perspective, film offers explores fashion as a way of analyzing the militarization of U.S. society and culture. Looking at what camouflage means in popular culture, this film traces its use historically as well as questioning its broader implications. This is part of The Runway Peace Project and is produced, in part, by the Women of Color Resource Center.
- Even if she had been a criminal (9.5 min)
Jean-Gabriel Periot, Tours, France
Women, nationalism, war; a layering of images from after the Nazi occupation of France in 1944, focusing on the brutality and humiliation of women who collaborated with the Nazi occupation. As a means of shaming them, their hair is shaved off and they are paraded in front of a crowd.
- Bed Ballet (4 min)
Jennifer Beth Guerin, Austin, TX
This is a collaborative video exploring notions of the everyday (beds and bodies). Through the lens of enchantment, it evokes a feeling of connection and play, while simultaneously suggesting birth, death, intimacy, loss and grief. Ultimately, the Bed Ballet offers a stage for women to relate, to be seen, hopefully hinting at ways that other women can create environments in which to celebrate themselves and others.
- La Purisima (8.5 min)
Jillian Hernandez and Yesenia Serra, Miami, FL
La Purisima explores a young, pregnant Latina's quest to achieve empowerment, resist machismo culture, and create a new definition of motherhood. The film derives its title from the patron Virgen Mary of Nicaragua, which symbolizes the phenomena of "Marianismo" in Latin culture, in which the role of women is marked by unattainable moral superiority and submissiveness. The film features the first person, spoken-word narrative of Jillian Hernandez in response to her pregnancy and the gender issues that came to the forefront of her life as a result, interspersed with documentary footage of interviews gathered in the streets of Miami with a diverse group of women regarding constructions of gender and motherhood.
- Buoyant (27.5 min)
Julie Wyman, UC Davis
Poignant and witty, this film takes us for a mysterious journey looking at the evolution of theories of water. These images are paired with a look at the Padded Lilies, a synchronized swim team and a testament to a celebration of all bodies.
- Should I? Should I Not? (1.5 min)
Leslie Acosta, Smill Alix, Elizabeth Arcos, Stephanie Castillo, Luis Cruz, Diana Del Rosario, Daniela Hiches, Imani James, Judith Jimenez, Heather Urena, New York, NY
An animation made by youth in the Global Action Project (G.A.P.), this film takes a hard look at sexual pressure often faced by young women. made by a student in their program about pressures that young women face to engage in sexual activity. Since 1991, G.A.P. has been empowering youth to be media artists and community leaders.
- Bandage, Socks, and Facial Hair (34 min)
Maria Takacs, Budapest, Hungary
This film, submitted by the Budapest Lesbian Film Collective, is a documentary drama of a group of Hungarian women gathering to transform themselves into their male alter egos during the course of a day long workshop, exploring transformations they embody the sex and energy of a gender that proclaims 'it's a man's world'. By day new identities are dawned, and by night we embark on a gentle journey through the streets of Budapest.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Theme: Creating Change
- The Keeper of the Clay (10 min)
Christa Bella, Sacramento, CA
Heeding the advice of her therapist and a faithful companion, a women who was disfigured by a car crash faces the outside world for the first time since that fateful day. Exploring her new identity through a clay workshop and the words of a blind woman.
- A Garota (4 min)
Fernando Pinheiro, Brasil
'The Kid' tells the story of a child condemned for playing with a doll, through black and white film, watercolor painting and on canvas. Through symbolic and poetic language, 'The Kid" asks questions and reflects on human misery and the inequality of rent distribution, child labor, and childhood loss.
- The Witches of Gambaga (13 min)
Yaba Badoe, Accra, Ghana
Over a thousand women live in camps for witches in the northern region of Ghana, West Africa. Asara Azindow is one of them. Evicted from her village in 1997, she lost her home and restaurant when she was accused of starting a meningitis epidemic. How does Azindow's life in a women's camp in Gambaga fit into a century-old migration of women fleeing religious and communal violence?
- The Telling Takes Me Home (28.5 min)
Heather Carawan, Tacoma, WA
Social justice issues seen through a young woman's eye, using music and memory to tell the story of her parents, Guy and Candie Carawan. These folk singers carried their work from the deep south of the Civil Right's Movement into today's daunting struggle for peace. Heather Carawan's reflections on growing up are mixed with the rich musical and political landscape of her parents' views on race relations, community organizing, and the sustaining power of song. Includes footage from the Highlander Research and Educational Center, and pays tribute to musicians such as Nimrod Workman, Florence Reece, Chuck Neblett, and Matthew Jones.
- Texas Gold (21 min)
Carolyn M. Scott, Santa Rosa, CA
Diane Wilson, a fourth generation fisherwoman and mother of five, began her fight with the petro-chemical industry in 1989 when she discovered that her small Texas county had been named the most toxic place in America. Witness to the mass die-off of dolphins along the Gulf Coast and the slow death of her once thriving fishing community, Diane boldly took action. Part eco-detective, part muck-raking humorist, this "unreasonable woman" recounts the hunger strikes and civil disobedience that have made her Public Enemy No. 1 to the powerful and lawless industries that routinely spill millions of pounds of toxins into our air, soil & water.
- Gay? (3 min)
Jean-Gabriel Periot, Tours, France
A testimonial offered by Jean-Gabriel Periot about being gay.
- Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House (55 min)
Deborah Dickson, Donald Goldmacher
They're Jewish, they're grandmothers, and they're lesbians. This film traces the friendship of 2 conventional Brooklyn housewives, raising families in the late 1950s and 1960s. Years later, Connie and Ruthie recognize their love for one another and move in together, causing an "earthquake" in their working-class neighborhood. Battling their own homophobia, depression, illness, and finally the state, Ruthie and Connie lead a historic battle for domestic partners' rights in New York State, and beyond. Link to the Ruthie and Connie the Movie.
2005 Film Descriptions
Curated by Danielle Fodor and Margareta Lelea.
- The Wrong Bathroom, 2005 (15 min)
Shani Heckman, San Francisco, CA
A wry documentary that blows the stink out of an underreported civil rights issue - the struggle of gender-variant people to find safe public restrooms. Mixes interviews with local celebrities like punk rocker Lynne Breedlove and activist Bryan Burgess with reenactments of bathroom harassment.
- Love Film #1: Two Day Film, 2003 (3 min)
Jesse Johnson, New York, NY
This film is the first of a series of hand processed photogram films exploring the substance of love. subtitled for the two days spent in its production in the darkroom. a collaboration with janusz jaworski (nyc), sound by melissa constantine (minneapolis).
- Coming of Age, 2005 (7 min)
Shirley Benton, Davis, CA
A hilarious autobiographical film about a 50 year-old woman coming to grips with the aging process in a culture obsessed with the youthful beauty. Colorful, touching and personal.
- Ekletica, 2004 (17 min)
Maria Takacs, Budapest, Hungary
A lesbian opens a dance school in Budapest. What will people say? This upbeat, groovy herstory traces the emergence of gay ballroom dancing in Hungary, and features several medal-winning dancers showing how dancing allows them to celebrate their sexuality in a traditionally "hetero" artform.
- Pianista, 2005 (3 min)
Cecilia Martinez, Mexico
A bone-chilling black and white art film fusing erotica, death, and a love for Chopin. Reveals indign ation against the ceaseless, underinvestigated murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
- Lenses, 2005 (6 min)
Elyssa White, Davis, CA
A forty-year old man takes snapshots of 3 naked girls in a shower. Is this art or perversion? The filmmaker, a UCD freshman, reads a crisp, staccato spoken-word poem about the intersection of sexuality, morality, education and art criticism.
- 34 Questions and 1 Answer, 2003 (7 min)
Christine Kao, Davis, CA
An autobiographical essay about a daily onslaught of questions about race, culture, gender, and ideology that one woman is forced to answer as she claims her identity by her own terms, not those dictated by media and society.
- Letters From Home, 2004 (16 min)
Nat Smith, San Francisco, CA
A documentary about family, gender, and misperception, overlaying the harsh advice of a mother's letters over the gritty visuals of the everyday life of her trans-son. Raw, edgy, and honest, this film reminds us of the universal challenges of family pressure.