By Shanda Glover
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate than by supporting and watching films by, for and about women.
The Women’s Center will be hosting the LUNAFEST Women’s Film Festival in Moscow tomorrow, March 8th. The films begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre. There will be a pre-screening reception at 6:30 p.m. with beverages by Camas Prairie Winery and complimentary appetizers by Nectar.
The festival includes six award-winning films. These address topics including women in labor, intimate relationships and personal identity. Their stories span across the globe, including stories focusing on women from Cuba, the Philippines, the United States, Finland, and Iran.
Tickets for the reception are $6 for students with valid ID, $12 for general admission. Tickets include the film screenings, appetizers, and one ticket to a raffle of gift items donated by local businesses and individuals. Admission to the films only is $3 for students and $6 for general admission. Tickets may be purchased at the Women’s Center in Memorial Gym 109 or at the door.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Breast Cancer Fund, a national nonprofit that funds research into the environmental causes of breast cancer, as well as the Betsy Thomas Memorial Gender Equality Scholarship, a scholarship provided by the Women’s Center annually for up to two deserving students.
This year’s program will certainly inspire discussion, invoke laughter, and motivate us all to find ways to support women in our communities.
For those who can’t make it (or just can’t get enough), no worries. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we are honoring female directors by extending the celebration with a whole week of film recommendations. Here is my list of seven incredibly good films directed by women around the world. Feel free to binge watch them all in one day or spread them out through the week.
Just watch them!
Title: The Headless Woman (2008)
Director: Lucrecia Martel
Synopsis: A bourgeois woman (Maria Onetto) is driving alone on a dirt road, becomes distracted, and runs over something. In the days following this jarring incident, she is dazed and emotionally disconnected from the people and events in her life. She becomes obsessed with the possibility that she may have killed someone. The police confirm that there were no accidents reported in the area and everything returns to normal until a gruesome discovery is made. Film made in Argentina.
Title: Yelling to the Sky (2011)
Director: Victoria Mahoney
Synopsis: A teenager struggles with a dysfunctional family environment as she tries to make a life for herself in this independent drama. Sweetness O’Hara (Zoe Kravitz) is the 17-year-old daughter of a troubled and ethnically diverse couple; her father (Jason Clarke), who is white, is caring but suffers from violent mood swings, while her African-American mother (Yolonda Ross) struggles with severe emotional issues and eventually abandons the household. While Sweetness is pretty and bright, she attends a school dominated by youth gangs, and she’s often the target of a band of streetwise girls led by Latonya (Gabourey Sidibe), who resent her for her light skin. While her school counselor (Tim Blake Nelson) believes she can make something of herself, Sweetness is more interested in immediate survival than her long-term future, and she allies herself with Roland (Tariq Trotter), who lures her into the world of drug dealing. Film made in New York, USA.
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Synopsis: Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women. (This film is in black and white, but it is still worth a watch) Film takes place in Iran.
Title: Pariah (2011)
Director: Dee Rees
Synopsis: At home, 17-year-old Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a sweet and soft-spoken girl who tries to follow the wishes of her straight-laced mother (Kim Wayans). However, there’s another side of her that her parents don’t know about, Alike is a lesbian, and with her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker) she slips out to downtown dance clubs where she feels free to be open about her sexuality, though she’s still working up the courage to act on her desires. Alike is torn between living the sheltered life her parents want for her, the club-hopping lifestyle Laura has already embraced, or something that lies in between. Film made in New York, USA.
Title: Wadjda (2012)
Director: Haifaa al-Mansour (First female filmmaker from Saudi Arabia)
Synopsis: A headstrong 10-year-old girl named Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) who’s determined to challenge a neighborhood boy to a bike race despite the potentially dire repercussions. When Wadjda’s mother refuses to purchase her a bike, the young girl defiantly enters a Koran reading competition to earn the money she needs to buy it herself. Once Wadjda has her bike, the only thing left to do is prove to her young friend Abdullah that girls can race bikes just as well as boys. Film made in Saudi Arabia.
Title: Girlhood (2014)
Director: Celine Sciamma
Synopsis: Marieme (Karidja Touré) starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. Film made in France.
Title: The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Director: Cheryl Dunye
Synopsis: Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who appeared in films in the 30s and was known as the Watermelon Woman. Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman’s stage name and real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a White woman and one of Hollywood’s few female directors. Film made in Pennsylvania, USA.
Throughout the week the University of Idaho Women’s blog will be posting articles about amazing feminists here in Moscow and around the country. So, check back here tomorrow for some more exciting news.
Don’t forget to go to the LUNAFEST Women’s Film Festival tomorrow at 7:30, at the Kenworthy and…
Happy International Women’s Day!