Celebrate Women’s History Month With OVID.tv’s Diverse Collection Of Film By & About Women

March is Women’s History Month, and while we are becoming more keenly aware of the need to celebrate and amplify the voices and stories of women outside a designated month or day, this is also a great time to learn about more women making history whose stories deserve more attention.

During March, OVID.tv, the curated streaming destination for documentary and art-house films from around the world, celebrates Women’s History Month with a diverse collection of films about women. This cross-section of films includes a documentary on Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Italian photographer Tina Modotti, as well as one on professional Black tennis player, Althea Gibson. On the 2021 theme of “choose to challenge” you’ll find “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge” on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who challenged the patriarchy and other inspiring cinematic works.

You can also check out some of our favorite films and filmmakers that have previously been featured on GirlTalkHQ, including director Lorna Tucker’s ‘Ama’ which brings to light the horrific history of forced sterilization on Native American women in the 1970s, and director Kimberlee Bassford’s ‘Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority’ profiling the trailblazing life of the first woman of color in the United States Congress.

With a packed slate of films to choose from during Women’s History Month, here is a selection of 5 films directed by women or featuring stories that center female protagonists, especially women of color, that we highly recommend checking out. Some are new additions to the platform, take note of the streaming dates below:

Aya of Yop City

Directed by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, Animated Feature, GKIDS, 2013
France. Streaming Thursday, March 10.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Ivory Coast in the 1970s, Aya of Yop City is a spirited and hilarious adaptation of the best-selling series of graphic novels by co-director Marguerite Abouet.

Aya is 19, and dreams of becoming a doctor. Her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou, follow “Plan C”: Combs, Clothes and Chasing Men. But big trouble comes to town when Adjoua realizes she’s pregnant, and the father is the spoiled son of one of the richest and most feared men in the whole country. In a city where everyone knows each other, how can they possibly keep this baby under wraps?

Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death

OVID Exclusive, Streaming Premiere
A two-part series by Helen Whitney, Narrated by Sharon Stone, Bullfrog Films, Documentary, 2021
US. Streaming Wednesday, March 30.

We don’t know how. We don’t know when. But death comes for us all.

To be human is to wrestle with this truth and with the great unanswered question: How do we live with death in our eye? Do we go gently or raging against the dying light? Do we depart with equanimity or with anger? Finally, what are the stories we tell ourselves? Whether shaped by religion, science, art, the natural world, the power of love, do these narratives sustain us or do they fall away when we suddenly find ourselves ‘with skin in the game.’

‘Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death’ features fascinating, unexpected voices from various walks of life: old and young, believers and nonbelievers, the dying and the healthy, well known and obscure. However varied their backgrounds, all are unified by their uncommon eloquence and intelligence, and most important by their dramatic experience of death. Each of them has been shocked into an awareness of mortality-and they are forever changed. For them death is no longer an abstraction, far away in the future. Whether through a dire prognosis, the imminence of their own death, the loss of a loved one, a sudden epiphany, or a temperament born to question, these are people who have truly ‘awakened’ to their own mortality.

Jaha’s Promise

Directed by Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan.

Jaha’s Promise tells the story of a young woman who returns home to campaign against the brutal practices that almost destroyed her life. Jaha Dukureh was subject to female genital mutilation as a baby and when she was 15 she was taken to New York City to marry a middle-aged man she’d never met before.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed

Directed by Shola Lynch.

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, 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. Following Chisholm from her own announcement of her candidacy through her historic speech in Miami at the Democratic National Convention, the story is a fight for inclusion. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18.

Chisholm’s bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Period footage and music, interviews with supporters, opponents, observers, and Chisholm’s own commentary all illuminate her groundbreaking initiative, as well as political and social currents still very much alive today.

Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker

Directed by Joanne Grant

FUNDI: THE STORY OF ELLA BAKER reveals the instrumental role that Ella Baker, a friend and advisor to Martin Luther King, played in shaping the American civil rights movement. The dynamic activist was affectionately known as the Fundi, a Swahili word for a person who passes skills from one generation to another.

By looking at the 1960s from the perspective of Baker, the ‘godmother of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,’ FUNDI adds an essential understanding of the U.S. civil rights movement.

“FUNDI fills a gap for those who know little of the history of the black struggle [and] is a compelling portrait of an extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to struggle and to the people who take part in it.” —Harry Belafonte

“FUNDI does exactly what Ella Baker does: it gives us the courage to act on our own – and to affect the future.” —Gloria Steinem.

Be sure to head to OVID.tv, where you can sign up for a 7 day free trial and spend Women’s History Month immersed in stories by and about women.

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