A Film Festival Celebrating Women’s History Month
This annual film festival is a collaborative effort among Women's and Gender Studies departments involved in the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (as well as select institutions/universities aligned with its mission) that features films about issues relating to gender, race, sexuality, class and/or feminism. The theme of this year’s festival is Activism.
The focus is on the intellectual investigation of these issues, so every film is accompanied by a Q&A and discussion with the film director, producer, local activists and practitioners, and/or faculty members from the host institution for each film.
****All films are free and open to the public.****
More information about each film screening and associated events are below. Click on the film ttitles for full descriptions.
Please use the scroll arrows to view the month of March for the full calendar.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. She's Beautiful takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a worldwide revolution.
Film will be followed by a discussion with Our Bodies Ourselves co-founders Joan Ditzion, Judy Norsigian, and Wendy Sanford, facilitated by Northeastern WGSS program director Suzanna Walters.
Joan Ditzion is an original founder of Our Bodies Ourselves and co-author of all nine editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves as well as Ourselves and Our Children (1978), and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause (2006). She has served as OBOS’s Board of Directors as a founder-member and is now an ex-officio board member and liaison to the Our Bodies Ourselves Founders Group. Joan has been a geriatric social worker since 1985. Her focus has gradually transitioned to issues of aging and older women and families. Joan was awarded the Alumni Special Recognition Award by the Simmons School of Social Work Alumni Association in 2012 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers in 2013.
Judy Norsigian is a co-founder of Our Bodies Ourselves who also served as executive director of the organization from 2001 – 2015. In a volunteer capacity, she now continues to advise OBOS staff and to help with fundraising for OBOS projects. An internationally renowned speaker and author on a range of women’s health concerns, her areas of focus include women and health care reform, abortion and contraception, childbirth (especially the role of midwifery), genetics and reproductive technologies, and drug and device safety. Judy has been author and editor for each of the nine editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Personal recognitions include an honorary doctorate from Boston University, being named one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association, Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Annual Recognition Award, Boston YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers, and the Massachusetts Health Council Award. Judy graduated from Radcliffe College in 1970.
Wendy Sanford is a founding member of Our Bodies Ourselves. She has co-authored and edited the many versions of Our Bodies, Ourselves over a period of 40 years, focusing especially on women’s sexuality, body image, and women loving women. She also edited and co-authored Ourselves and Our Children (1978) and contributed to Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: A Book for Teens and Young Adults on Sexuality and Relationships (1998). After receiving a degree in applied theology from Harvard Divinity School, she served as Protestant Campus Minister at Suffolk University in Boston from 1984 to 1992. In 2003, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Vermont College, and is at work on a memoir. An essay called “Pecans” won honorable mention for the Gulf Coast 2004 Nonfiction Prize, and an essay called “Bodies” was published in the Fall 2008 edition of Narrative Magazine, an online journal.
Suzanna Danuta Walters is Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University, where she is editor-in-chief of the leading international feminist journal Sign: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her work centers on questions of gender, sexuality, family, and popular culture and she is a frequent commentator on these issues for the media. She is the author of The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality (NYU Press), All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America (University of Chicago Press), Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory, Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture, and numerous articles and book chapters on feminist theory, queer, theory, and LGBT studies, and popular culture. She founded the first PhD program in gender studies at Indiana University and received her PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York in 1990.
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An excitingly fresh take on some classic themes and ideas, The Second Mother centers around Val (Regina Casé), a hard-working live-in housekeeper in modern day Sao Paulo. Val is perfectly content to take care of every one of her wealthy employers’ needs, from cooking and cleaning to being a surrogate mother to their teenage son, who she has raised since he was a toddler. But when Val’s estranged daughter Jessica (Camila Márdila) suddenly shows up the unspoken but intrinsic class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray. Jessica is smart, confident, and ambitious, and refuses to accept the upstairs/downstairs dynamic, testing relationships and loyalties and forcing everyone to reconsider what family really means.
Film to be followed by Q&A discussion with film director Anna Muylaert.
Anna Muylaert is a Brazilian screenwriter, television, and film director. Muylaert directed six short films—the most notable being A Origem dos Bebês Segundo Kiki Cavalcanti (1995) which won awards at Rio Cine e Cine Ceará—before directing her first feature film, Durval Discos (2002). It won seven awards out of fourteen nominations at Festival de Gramado, including Best Director and Best Film.
The statistics are staggering. One in five women in college are sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators.From the intrepid team behind The Invisible War comes Campus Assaults, a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate.
In a tour de force of verité footage, expert insights, and first-person testimonies, the film follows undergraduate rape survivors pursuing both their education and justice, despite ongoing harassment and the devastating toll on them and their families.
Scrutinizing the gamut of elite Ivies, state universities, and small colleges, filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering reveal an endemic system of institutional cover-ups, rationalizations, victim-blaming, and denial that creates perfect storm conditions for predators to prey with impunity.
Meanwhile, the film captures mavericks Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, survivors who are taking matters into their own hands—ingeniously employing Title IX legal strategy to fight back and sharing their knowledge among a growing, unstoppable network of young women who will no longer be silent.
Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, it had been screened at the White House and hundreds of college campuses across the country. The documentary has inspired new laws in New York and California and changes in campus policies.
Film will be followed by Q&A Discussion with a representative from Brandeis’s Rape Crisis Center.
Black Lives Through the Arts: Women Take the Reel Opening Event at the Brattle Theater
March 3, 2016 4pm-9:30pm
40 Brattle Street
The opening event for the Women Take the Reel film festival is devoted to reflecting on and celebrating Black Lives through film, music, poetry, and dialogue. Each of the works presented in this program provides a different lens with which to look at topics ranging from identity, racial justice, sexuality, gender, masculinity, and more. All of the contributing artists and filmmakers will be present to talk about their works that day and will be featured in a concluding roundtable discussion and Q&A with the audience. Click here for more detailed information about the event and the performers.
4pm: Opening Reception
4:45pm: Welcome by Professor Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor of Literature at MIT
5pm: Screening of Black Men Dream by Shikeith with introduction by the filmmaker, followed by musical performance by Castle of our Skins: Seychelle Dunn (saxophone) and Adrienne Baker (flute)
6:15pm: Slam Poetry performance by Lenelle Moïse followed by screening of feature film black./womyn. by Tiona McClodden with introduction by the filmmaker
8:30pm: Roundtable discussion with Tiona McClodden, Lenelle Moïse, Shikeith, members of Castle of Our Skins and moderated by Barbara Lewis, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History and Culture at UMass Boston.
This event is co-sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, The Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University, the Gender and Cultural Studies Program at Simmons College, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University.
*Food and drinks will be available throughout the evening.
In popular Western imagination, a Muslim woman in a veil – or hijab – is a symbol of Islamic oppression. But what does it mean for women’s freedom when a democratic country forbids the wearing of the veil? In this provocative documentary, filmmaker Diana Ferrero portrays the struggle of two women – one in France and one in Iran – to express themselves freely. The film highlights how women still must struggle for the right to control their own bodies -not only under theocratic regimes, but also in secular, democratic countries where increasing discrimination against Muslims and sexism intersect.
The film will be followed by a Q&A discussion, speaker TBD.
The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could
The film will be followed by Q&A discussion with Sherene Seikaly.
Dr. Seikaly is an Assistant Professor in History at the University of California Santa Barbara. She is an historian of capitalism, consumption, and development in the modern Middle East. The most enduring concern of her scholarly research has been to explore how individuals, groups, and governments deploy both concepts and material practices to shape economy, the body, the self, and the other. Her research on Palestinian businessmen; reformers of the domestic sphere; thinkers and scientists; and British colonial officers and institutions contributes to social, cultural, and intellectual history, political economy, cultural studies, and gender studies. She is the McMillian-Stewart Lecturer at MIT this spring.
*pizza will be served at 6:30pm.
Tell Her Story and Belinda’s Petition are the first films created for Jennifer Burton’s new Half the History project, a short film series highlighting the under-told stories of women in American history. These shorts were directed by Burton and produced by Five Sisters Productions with the undergraduates in Burton’s DR 152: Producing For Film course at Tufts University. Music for Belinda’s Petition was recorded by Tufts University Kiniwe West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble with Professor David Locke. Tell Her Story introduces the diversity of historical women’s stories yet to be told. Belinda’s Petition, about the formerly enslaved Medford woman who successfully sued for reparations in 1783, is inspired and grounded by her actual petition to the Massachusetts Legislature. These films were produced with the support of the Tufts Diversity Fund, the Tisch Faculty Fellows Program, the Department of Drama and Dance, Film and Media Studies, and the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Jennifer Burton.
Burton is Professor of the Practice in film studies at Tufts University. With her four sisters, she also helms the independent film company Five Sisters Productions. Her films include Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens (premiering in April), The Happiest Day of His Life (MTV/Logo), a new comedic web series on ageism (Old Guy), and Manna From Heaven (MGM/SONY).Back to List.
Mutantes sheds light on a feminism that was little talked about in France. This documentary comprises of a series of interviews conducted in the USA, Paris and Barcelona, and documents from the archives about the political action of sex workers, queer activists and post-pornographic performances.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Sarah L. Leonard and Jo Trigilio.
Sarah L. Leonard is Associate Professor of History at Simmons College in Boston. Her areas of academic interest include modern European history, cultural and intellectual history, cultural theory, and German history. Her book, Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: The Matter of Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century Germany, was recently published University of Pennsylvania Press as part of their "Material Texts" Series. She is currently researching a new project on photography and the history of emotions in nineteenth-century Germany.
Jo Trigilio is the Program Director of the Gender & Cultural Studies at Simmons College in Boston and teaches in the departments of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies. Professor Trigilio has a special interest in the intersection of theory and practice. They specialize in oppression/liberation theories, including feminist and gender theories, race theories, sexuality theories, and queer theory.
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Her Story is about two trans women in Los Angeles who have given up on love, when suddenly chance encounters give them hope. Violet is drawn to Allie, a reporter who approaches her for an interview, while career-driven Paige meets James, the first man she’s considered opening up to in years. Will they risk letting what they are stand in the way of being loved for who they are?
Trans women in the media have long been punchlines, killers, indications of urban grit, pathetic tragedies, and dangerous sirens. Rarely have they been complex characters who laugh, struggle, and grow, who share strength in sisterhood, who seek and find love. Her Story depicts the unique, complicated, and very human women we see in queer communities, and explores how these women navigate the intersections of label identity and love.
Co-written by Jen Richards and Laura Zak, directed by Sydney Freehand (Drunktown’s Finest), with cinematography by Bérénice Eveno, and produced by Katherine Fisher/Speed of Joy Productions, Her Story features predominantly LGBTQ women, on and off-screen. With this project we have the opportunity to positively shift cultural perceptions of trans and queer women. We invite you to join us in helping to make visible the lives of women who too often are made invisible.
Film will be followed by Q&A conversation with stars Angelica Ross and Laura Zak, moderated by Professor Stephan Pennington.
Angelica Ross is the Executive Director and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a creative design firm and training academy that aims to empower, educate, and employ the trans community through the use of technology while promoting innovation, independence and entrepreneurship.
Laura Zak is a writer, actor, producer, and activist. She served for eight years as Campaigns’ Manager for Eve Ensler’s V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. She is the co-creator and star of Her Story.
Stephan Pennington is Assistant Professor of Music and the 2015 faculty recipient of the Tufts University Multicultural Service Award, presented annually to faculty and staff members whose activities define “Tufts as a multicultural environment in which race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, and sexual orientation are not barriers to the full enjoyment of community membership."
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Regarding Susan Sontag is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. The documentary explores Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words, read by actress Patricia Clarkson. From her early infatuation with books and her first experience in a gay bar; from her marriage in adolescence to her last lover, Regarding Susan Sontag is a fascinating look at a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, illness, and terrorism still resonate today. More than any other thinker of her day, Sontag was watched, viewed, photographed and stared at. She was gazed at, and she looked back, very carefully, particularly at language and metaphor and at photography and what she called “the ecology of images.”
Film will be followed by Q&A discussion with director Nancy Kates.
Nancy Kates is an independent filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is best known for her film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, a full-length documentary she made with co-producer Bennett Singer about Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights leader.
This event is co-sponsored by the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, Cinematic Migrations, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and the MIT Program in History, Theory, and Criticism.
*pizza will be served at 6:30pm.
“Do It Your Damn Self!!” (DIYDS!!) National Youth Film Festival is the longest running youth-produced festival in the country, drawing over 800 youth and adults to public screenings every year. Founded in 1996 by six Cambridge teens who felt misrepresented in the media and wanted to dosomething about it, the festival is a champion of social-justice and issue- focused youth filmmakers who want to see change and make it happen. DIYDS!! is a product of the Community Art Center’s Teen Media Program. The Teen Media Program, founded in 1970, has encouraged generations of teens to share their stories. With photography, video and filmmaking as a tool of expression, they have incited positive change in their lives and the world around them. Their experience with media technology and professional production skills have empowered them to move forward withself-assurance and dignity. The Community Art Center’s Teen Media Program youth understood that, “if you want something done, you gottado it your damn self.” This audacious motto became the mission of the festival where youth producers from all over the world are given a venue to be heard and appreciated by a wide audience.
Film will be followed by Q&A discussion and after party!
Loreta Janeta Velazquez was a 19th century woman of many disguises. Havana-born and New Orleans-raised, she was a rebel from the start, a precocious Cuban tomboy who idolized Joan of Arc. One of the 1000 women who fought in the Civil War, she altered her sex, her ethnicity, and her identity in order to become a Confederate soldier (alias Lieutenant Harry Buford), to spy for the Confederacy then to become a double agent for the Union. She exposed her secret in a memoir, The Woman in Battle, which chronicles her often tragic life. Yet for the last 150 years, her story has been dismissed as a hoax. Rebel unlocks this mystery with a non-traditional approach that plays with form and style. Loreta risked being tried for treason for her masquerade and was ultimately branded a liar and erased from history. In Loreta’s search for family, nation, and identity, she instead became a fascinating illustration of the politics of memory.
The film will be followed by a Q&A discussion with producer, director and VMA professor María Agui Carter.
María Agui Carter is an award-winning filmmaker, scholar, and President of Iguana Films, a film and New Media company working in Spanish and English language productions. She is a graduate of Harvard University, and former staff producer for WGBH Boston. Ms. Agui Carter was the only woman director commissioned for Discovery En Español's Director's Showcase series with her dramatic film Cleats, and her work has premiered at film festivals including Tribeca (Chevolution, Writer) and the LA Latino film festival (Cleats, Writer/Director).
An Open Secret is about 5 child actors whose lives were turned upside down by multiple predators & convicted sex offenders. The film looks at the lives of these children betrayed and abandoned by a system that essentially funnels them towards sexual predators without any oversight or regard for their safety. It documents not only these young people’s experiences, but also how some have emerged stronger for their speaking out. It begs the question of why children working in entertainment aren’t afforded the same protections they are afforded at school, and argues for more effective treatment and stronger penalties for child sex offenders.
The film will be followed by a Q&A panel discussion including producer Matt Valentinas.
The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.
The film will be followed by a Q&A discussion with Professor Betty Blythe. Professor Blythe received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Washington in 1983. She has been on the faculties of the University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, and Florida International University before coming to Boston College. Professor Blythe’s scholarly interests include child and family welfare, global gender inequality, and methodologies for evaluating the outcomes of social services.
Professor Blythe is a founding board member of the International Initiative for Children, Youth, and Families. She has implemented and evaluated intensive family preservation programs in the US, several European countries, and Israel. Professor Blythe has provided pro bono consultation to local and national governments as they implement decentralized, local decision making, citizen involvement, and results-based accountability measures to inform the planning of services for marginalized communities. Her current research focuses on trafficking and barriers to education for Roma youth.
Oriented is a feature documentary that follows the lives of three gay palestinian friends confronting their national and sexual identity in Tel Aviv. Khader is a Tel Aviv "darling" from a prominent Muslim mafia family living with his Jewish boyfriend David--a local LGBT nightlift impresario--and their dalmation Otis. Fadi is an aredent Palestinian nationalist who finds himself falling in love with an Israeli "Zionist." Naim must confront his family with the truth about his sexuality. All three are confilcted by their desire for change in the face of a seemingly hopeuless situation. Meanwhile, a war is brewing...
WOMEN TAKE THE REEL is a FREE roaming film festival SPONSORED BY: MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies; the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies; Boston College Women's and Gender Studies Program; Boston University Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; Brandeis University Women's and Gender Studies Program; Northeastern University Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; Simmons College Department of Women's and Gender Studies; Tufts University Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; UMass Boston Women's and Gender Studies Department; Emerson College Department of Visual and Media Arts; and Lesley University.
The Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139