FEMINIST FRIDAY: These Film Festivals Are Showing How Media Has The Power To Change The World

Monica Lozano Photography for the Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase | Facebook.com

Welcome to another Feminist Friday column! That part of our week where we share a handful of our fave videos of the moment with our readers. We pick an intersectional feminist theme which is all part of our mission to break down stigma around the word “feminism” and show why it is needed more than ever in our world today.

This week it’s all about how film festivals, especially the more independent events, are becoming an important landscape to share media, content and stories that have the power to change the world. We’re all familiar with the bigger, global festivals like Cannes, Sundance, Toronto etc, which can often seem like an elite or hard-to-reach goal for many independent and up-and-coming filmmakers. This is why we love to support events and organizations that champion the work of female filmmakers, as well as minorities and underrepresented voices.

First up, the Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase, taking place on September 21, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. According to the description on their website, “Femme Frontera was founded in 2016 by six female filmmakers [Angie Reza Tures, Ilana Lapid, Iliana Sosa, Jazmin Harvey, Jennifer Lucero, and Laura Theresa Bustillos Jáquez] from the U.S.-Mexico border region of El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. We advocate for the amplification of films made by women from border regions across the globe.”

The Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase began as a celebration of films made by women filmmakers from the U.S.-Mexico border region. Since then, they have expanded to include powerful short films from around the world, whose stories challenge perceptions about women, border communities, immigrants, people of color, the LBGTQ community, and other marginalized communities. In 2019, Femme Frontera will host its first annual Children’s Showcase as part of its additional programming. Watch a trailer for the September event, and be sure to check out the website for info on screenings and how you can submit your film in the future.

The second film festival is held annually in Chicago, Illinois. Black Harvest, which began in 1994, is a celebration of independent films that tell the stories and explore the images, heritage, and history of the worldwide Black experience. Held at the Gene Siskel Film Center from August 3 – 29, this year’s milestone 25th anniversary will showcase seventeen new feature films—fictional and documentary—plus scores of new short films, and personal appearances by more than forty filmmakers, including producers, directors, and actors. This year will also see a focus on the female gaze both in front of and behind the camera.

“Not only are almost one-third of this year’s films directed by women, but the dreams, challenges, and fates of women of color are front and center in films including Rashaad Ernesto Green’s PREMATURE; Jordan Riber’s Tanzanian-set FATUMA; Robert Rippberger’s STRIVE, co-starring Danny Glover; and Numa Perrier’s JEZEBEL, in which a young woman seeks fulfillment as an Internet sex worker,” says a description on the website.

Head to the website for this year’s full lineup and how you can submit your film in the future.

The final event we’re highlighting this week is the 6th annual Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, held from August 22-24 at the Let Live Theater in West Hollywood. Founded by Hollis McLachlan, the mission of the film festival is to “provide filmmakers, actors, and stories of diverse backgrounds with a place to showcase their voice without judgment or insincere reflection; free of stereotypes and degradation. Our goal is to establish a true multicultural experience represented by the world’s independent film community,” according to the website’s description.

With the focus being “inspire, embrace, empower”, this year’s lineup will showcase short films, the diaspora of multicultural American stories, comedy, documentaries, and much more. Watch the 2019 trailer below, then head over to the website to see the full schedule and info on how you can submit your film in the future.

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