Women's Film Festival kicks of Friday

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BRATTLEBORO >> In an industry dominated by men, women's voices are rarely heard in films and documentaries. The Women's Freedom Center seeks to change all that each year with films written, directed or produced by women. Now celebrating its 25th Women's Film Festival, 38 films – 17 documentaries, 7 feature films and 14 shorts – by and about women will be screened at the New England Youth Center March 11 through 20. The festival kicks off with a fun-filled gala reception of champagne and hors d'oeuvres on Friday at 7 p.m. Come dressed up or come as you are, whatever makes you feel fabulous. At 8 p.m. the reception is followed by the screening of the first documentary of Mavis Staples' life through archival mater, newly filmed interviews and live performances of this gospel/soul singer who was an extraordinary force behind social justice, civil rights.

For two weekends a broad cross section of topics by women worldwide are set to screen at NEYT, topics that are fascinating to men and women.

Shari, an advocate at the Women's Freedom Center - a domestic violence shelter - said, "Keeping this festival going for 25 years is a remarkable collaborative effort serving as a benefit for the Women's Freedom Center, formerly the Women's Crisis Center, and also exists to shift norms, but we have a long way to go."

Over the last 20 years 95 percent of films are still being made by men, tales told from a man's perspective even though women make up 50 percent of the students in filmmaker schools. Unless you sat through the credits at the end you wouldn't realize that. The institutions that provide the funding are held by white, straight, men who make endless profit in films with hyper-violence, old stereotypes, and where women are sexualized.

This festival draws attention to that. The media shapes our social conscience and these Hollywood messages of sexism are what these girls (and boys) see. It harms us all. The bottom line is women have the right to tell their own story.

This year's lineup includes some phenomenal films regardless of who made them that cover a whole gamut of women's lives. Oscar-nominated "Mustang" about five sisters in rural Turkey who fight back to keep their freedom. A great conversation starter "Dark Side of the Moon" broaches the subject of postpartum depression, and the final movie of the event "Chuck Norris vs. Communism" about the black-market of Western films smuggled through the Iron Curtain for movie fans.

To see short descriptions , view trailers or purchase tickets go to www.womensfilmfestival.org. Gala tickets for "Mavis!" are $30 each and five-movie passes at $35 each may be purchased online. The five-movie passes cannot be used for the opening night film. The five -movie passes may also be purchased at Everyone's Books in Brattleboro and World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Mass. or by calling the Women's Freedom Center at 802-257-7364.

Films are screened New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St., Brattleboro.

Women's Film Festival schedule:

Friday, March 11

8 p.m.: Opening Night. "Mavis!"

Saturday, March 12

12 p.m.: "Grace Under Pressure"; "A Courtship"

2 p.m.: "Cailleach"; "Coming Back to the Hoop"

4 p.m.: "Finding June"; "Driving with Selvi"

6 p.m.: "Mustang"

8 p.m.: "The Face of Ukraine"; "Olmo and the Seagull"

Sunday, March 13

12 p.m.; "Catch It"; "The Gnomist"; "The Empowerment Project"

2 p.m.: "Raising Ryland"; "Dark Side of the Full Moon"

4 p.m.: "KERS"; "Hardy"

6 p.m.: "Liz in September"

8 p.m.: "Junana (Seventeen)"; "Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light)"

Friday, March 18

6 p.m.: "While You Weren't Looking"

8 p.m.: "The Wonders"

Saturday, March 19

12 p.m.: "The Gnomist"; "Love Between the Covers"

2 p.m.: "Marathon"; "Don't Tell Anyone"

4 p.m.: "Women In Sink"; "Horizons/Horizontes"

6 p.m.: "Flying Solo"; "From This Day Forward"

8 p.m.: "Can I Stay?"; "First World Problems"

"Something Better to Come"

Sunday, March 20

12 p.m.: "Joanna"; "Suzy Lake: Playing with Time"

2 p.m.: "Dukhtar"

4 p.m.: "Stuff "

6 p.m.: "Dreamcatcher"

8 p.m.: "The Face of Ukraine"

"Chuck Norris vs. Communism"

Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.


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