Celebrate 50 Years
College of Arts and Sciences

"How to Love Your Virginity" Movie Poster 

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 "Abuelas" Movie Poster

Women Make Movies Festival
Weekend of January 31, 2014

Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. The IPFW Women's Studies Program and International Studies with the support of the Cinema Center are sponsoring a festival the weekend of January 31, 2014.

Friday, January 31 ~ 8:30 PM

How to Lose Your Virginity

Female virginity. The US government has spent 1.5 billion dollars promoting it. It has fetched $750,000 at auction. There is no official medical definition for it. And 50 years after the sexual revolution, it continues to define young women’s morality and self-worth.

This hilarious, eye-opening, occasionally alarming documentary uses the filmmaker’s own path out of virginity to explore its continuing value in our otherwise hypersexualized society. Layering vérité interviews and vintage sex-ed films with candid self-reflection and wry narration, Shechter reveals myths, dogmas and misconceptions behind this "precious gift." Sex educators, porn producers, abstinence advocates, and outspoken teens share their own stories of having - or not having - sex.

In a culture where "Be sexy, but don’t have sex" is the overwhelming message to young women, the film goes through the looking glass to understand a milestone almost everyone thinks about but no one actually understands.

A Girl Like Her

From 1945-73, 1.5 million unmarried young American women, facing enormous social pressures, surrendered babies to adoption. Lacking sex education and easy access to birth control, they were forced into hiding while pregnant and then into “abandoning” their infants. In her latest film, Ann Fessler, Professor of Photography at Rhode Island School of Design, reprises the subject of her award-winning The Girls Who Went Away (National Book Critics Circle; Ballard Book Prize), which Ms. readers named an all-time best feminist book.

Drawing on interviews with 100 women, Fessler lets them have their say and brings hidden history to light. We hear only their voices, which detail wrenching experiences against images from vintage newsreel and educational films reinforcing stereotypes of women’s roles following WWII. This gripping documentary will help today’s students grasp what life was like before the sexual and feminist revolutions had fully dawned.

Saturday, February 1 ~ 4:00 PM

Abuelas: Grandmothers on a Mission

In 1985, the Academy Award® nominated film LAS MADRES: THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO profiled the Argentinian mothers’ movement to demand to know the fate of 30,000 “disappeared” sons and daughters. Now three decades later, Argentina’s courageous Grandmothers, or “Abuelas”, have been searching for their grandchildren: the children of their sons and daughters who disappeared during Argentina’s “dirty war.” The women in ABUELAS are seeking answers about their children that nobody else will give — answers about a generation that survived, but were kidnapped and relocated to families linked with the regime that murdered their parents.

Argentine filmmaker Noemi Weis beautifully documents the grandmothers’ painstaking work and its results - dramatic, inspiring and sometimes controversial - as the women make contact with grandchildren who have grown up living lies created by their adoptive parents. Their tireless work continues today: the justice they are seeking for their children’s murder, their drive to find their grandchildren, and their international status speaking out for family reunification.

Forbidden Voices

Their voices are suppressed, prohibited and censored. But world-famous bloggers Yoani Sánchez, Zeng Jinyan and Farnaz Seifi are unafraid of their dictatorial regimes. These fearless women represent a new, networked generation of modern rebels. In Cuba, China and Iran their blogs shake the foundations of the state information monopoly, putting them at great risk.

This film accompanies these brave young cyberfeminists on perilous journeys. Eyewitness reports and clandestine footage show Sánchez's brutal beating by Cuban police for criticizing her country's regime; Chinese human rights activist Jinyan under house arrest for four years; and Iranian journalist and women's advocate Seifi forced into exile, where she blogs under a pseudonym. Tracing each woman's use of social media to denounce and combat violations of human rights and free speech in her home country, FORBIDDEN VOICES attests to the Internet's potential for building international awareness and political pressure.

Sunday, February 2 ~ 2:00 PM

The Grey Area

THE GREY AREA is an intimate look at women’s issues in the criminal justice system and the unique experience of studying feminism behind bars. Through a series of captivating class discussions, headed by students from Grinnell College, a small group of female inmates at a maximum women’s security prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, share their diverse experiences with motherhood, drug addiction, sexual abuse, murder, and life in prison. The women, along with their teachers, explore the “grey area” that is often invisible within the prison walls and delve into issues of race, class, sexuality and gender.

The number of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades, two thirds are mothers and are incarcerated for non-violent offenses and more than 80% have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault at some point in their lives. THE GRAY AREA is an important look into the complex factors behind these statistics and how feminism sheds light and brings hope to those incarcerated. This is an excellent film to prompt discussion in women’s studies, courses that include prison reform or violence against women, American studies and sociology.

Women in Struggle

WOMEN IN STRUGGLE presents rare testimony from four female Palestinian ex-detainees who disclose their experiences during their years of imprisonment in Israeli jails and the effect it has had on their present lives and future outlooks. Once content in their lives as sisters, wives and mothers, each of the women became active members for the national fight for Palestinian independence, but their “crimes” differed markedly–one woman was detained in a peaceful protest while another was arrested for her participation in a bombing.

Their painful recollections provide a fascinating personal perspective on their motives for political involvement, reveal their struggles in prison, and define the difficulties they have faced readjusting to life in Palestinian society. Though the women are now free, they continue to feel imprisoned by the current climate of the Intifada, by the “war on terror” and by the recently built “security” wall. With horrifying stories of torture suffered while in Israeli detention, the film brings to the forefront the hot-button issue of human rights abuses in prisons—and its particular implications for women prisoners. It also grapples with timely and difficult questions—what politicizes an individual? Are people born to fight, or do their circumstances force them to do so?

All films are free, open to the public, and shown at the Cinema Center