FEMINIST FRIDAY: The Ultimate ‘Star Wars’ Fan Video & The Heineken Video Pepsi Wishes It Made

Welcome to another edition of our weekly Feminist Friday series, where we get to share our favorite videos of the week with our readers! This week we’re geeking out, bridging the political divide, and understanding more about the inclusion of diversity in media with the videos we’ve selected.

First up, hell that no fury like a female sith scorned. Ok so that’s not the saying, but it feels like an apt underscoring to what in undoubtedly one of the best ‘Star Wars’ fan films we have ever seen. While Disney recently announced May 24, 2019 as the release date of the next film on the big screen, this short film directed by Jason Satterlund is sure to whet your appetite (although not affiliated with the official franchise in any way) in the meantime. Plus, it packs a feminist punch following on from what we have seen in ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’ with its lead females.

‘The Force and the Fury’ short film was filmed in Oregon, and was produced by Alyssa Roehrenbeck and Deborah Smith. The story follows a Jedi (Aris Juson) who crash lands on a remote, forest world. He must face off with a mysterious Sith (Deborah Smith) in a riveting duel as he seeks to discover what she’s hiding. Yes that’s right, a female villain who isn’t required to abandon any of her femininity to get the job done. This is something new in the Star Wars universe of lead characters, and it’s something perhaps Disney and Lucasfilm should take note of, especially given the nearly 50k views this film has racked up and the multiple glowing critical reviews.

“I’m also appreciative of the fact that we see a female Sith and a little bit of her journey to the Dark Side. What I would give to see more women like this on the big screen,” wrote Keisha Katchett at The Mary Sue.

“The film is a strong addition to films that embrace representation, with Smith’s powerful and nuanced portrayal of a female Sith. Satterlund created a character that turns common ‘Star Wars’ rules on its head by making the villain a female, something that has only been done previously on a small scale,” wrote Afiyah Augustine at Black Girl Nerds.

Enough said. Watch ‘The Force and the Fury’ below:

The next video is a trailer to a forthcoming web series by filmmakers Yumna Khan and Nida Chowdhry. Titled ‘Unfair & Ugly’, the series is about a South Asian Muslim family in Orange County trying to keep it together, balancing typical millennial issues with cultural sensibilities.

They are filming 6 episodes this summer to add to the growing conversation about the need for more diversity in media and entertainment, according to the Indiegogo campaign they were running.

“We’re making a show that feels real to us, full of complex human characters, each with their own sense of humor and challenges. The main storylines deal with love, careers, and generation gaps. Layered into the show are subjects like depression, racism, and gender bias,” said the filmmakers.

The title is a play on words, pointing to the “Fair and Lovely” skin whitening cream brand popular in South Asia which is reportedly a $10 billion industry. The message about lighter skin being more acceptable is something they want to stand against with this series.

“We’re told we aren’t acceptable the way that we are. We have to change and hide who we are, and present these one-dimensional ‘positive’ images of ourselves in response to the destructive narrative about us. Well, ‘Unfair & Ugly’ isn’t whitewashed. It’s raw, real, and deeply human. It explores both the beautiful and less flattering aspects of our cultures through our own eyes. We don’t need to be fair-skinned to be lovely, and we don’t need to be saints or terrorists to be represented in the media. We deserve to see our everyday selves reflected onscreen,” said the filmmakers.

Although the Indiegogo campaign is over, you can still support the project by following them on Facebook and spreading the word about ‘Unfair & Ugly’.

If you saw all the uproar around the Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner (how could you NOT?!?!) you will no doubt have some fatigue from major for-profit corporations and brands trying to get in on the political resistance movement that is happening largely in grassroots ways. But thankfully not all ad executives and brands are that tone deaf, or perhaps it took a monumental screw up of Olympic-sized proportions like the Pepsi commercial for the industry to recognize the powerful voice of the people.

In fact, it is the voice of the people which makes the following Heineken ad so great. There are no gimmicks, no celebrities, no objectification of women’s bodies, and no hiding the fact that they are selling a product. Centered around the idea of having a beer with friends, this video brings together groups of people from opposite ends of the political spectrum and puts them into a scenario where politics isn’t the first thing they talk about. In fact it isn’t talked about at all.

First, we see individual monologues from each of the participants telling the camera what they think about feminism, transgender people and climate change. Each pair (who secretly hold opposing views on those subjects but don’t know it) are asked to meet in a big warehouse and build a bar they can sit at and drink their beers together. Once the bar is built, as they sip on their cold Heineken, they watch the screen in front of them. The monologue videos start playing, and each couple is now confronted with the reality of their building partner holding the complete opposite views to them on certain topics.

You should watch the video to see what happens next, but the main takeaway from this is something very profound – that although we may all be different and disagree on politics, once you strip away labels and such identifiers, what is left is the humanity we all connect with. Bravo, Heineken!



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