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Women's Studies


Women's Studies



DELPHINE'S PRAYERS

By Rosine Mbakam

Delphine reclines on a daybed in her bright apartment in Belgium, an empty crib beside her. "I started to work the streets like crazy," she says, matter-of-factly recounting her life story. "Selling my body."

Delphine, who is only identified by her first name, is quick-witted, engaging, passionate, and intense. Born and raised in Cameroon, at 30, she has survived a series of personal catastrophes. Her mother died in childbirth, and her father did little to care for his children. She was raped at 13, became a mother soon after, and supported herself with sex work on the streets of Douala. Now, she lives with a Belgian husband three times her age and their children, estranged from much of her family. Unable to find a job, Delphine styles hair at home and still turns to sex work from time to time to have some independence and money of her own.

In DELPHINE'S PRAYERS, she frankly shares her experiences with director Rosine Mbakam over several interview sessions, deftly switching between languages. Mbakam marks the start of each session with preparations for shooting: Delphine adjusting her makeup, tying her hair up in a scarf, or holding up a sheet to help the director adjust the white balance on her camera. The sessions are intimate-sometimes painful, sometimes funny-carried by Delphine's exuberant storytelling style and her clear bond of trust with Mbakam, whom she has known for years. In Cameroon, Delphine and Mbakam came from different cultures and classes. But they both arrived in Belgium within months of each other, neither with friends. The director gives the film over to her subject, appearing herself only in the final moments of the film, where she offers a succinct commentary on her relationship with Delphine and their experiences as West African women. Like so many of her generation, Delphine left the oppression of a patriarchal society looking for a new life in Europe-only to find herself enmeshed in sexual exploitation of a different kind.


DVD (Cameroon Pidgin; French; English With English Subtitles, Color) / 2021 / 91 minutes

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BELLY OF THE BEAST

By Erika Cohn, Angela Tucker, Christen Marquez, and Nicole Docta

Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, BELLY OF THE BEAST exposes a pattern of illegal sterilizations, modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.

When a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in California's women's prisons, they wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. With a growing team of investigators inside prison working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes -- from inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations -- primarily targeting women of color. This shocking legal drama captured over 7-years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, demanding attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2020 / 81 minutes

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CELINE ARCHIVE, THE

By Celine Parrenas Shimizu

In 1932, Celine Navarro was buried alive by her own community in Northern California. This is an attempt to uncover the real story, revealing Navarro's feminism and resistance in a time when neither was embraced, as well as the silences that haunt Filipino-American communities to this day.

THE CELINE ARCHIVE is simultaneously an act of journalism, a journey into family and community memory and archives, a love poem, a story of grief and trauma, and a seance for the buried history of Filipino-Americans. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parrenas Shimizu artfully weaves together her own story of grief with the story of the tragic death of Celine Navarro, which has become lore. In 1932, Navarro was buried alive by her own community of Filipino-Americans in Northern California, but the circumstances surrounding her death were and are unclear and have oft been spun, sensationalized, and dramatized. The filmmaker, a grieving mother with ties to the same community, finds resonance with Navarro's memory and long-lost story, and she sets out to first learn - and then tell - the truth about Navarro's death, ultimately portraying her as a feminist heroine.

Through animation, portraiture, site visits, archival materials, and interviews with scholars, family, and community members, the film shares the most widely circulated versions of the story. In one version, Celine Navarro committed adultery, but there is no proof beyond the accusations. In another, Navarro reported a crime committed by one the members of the fraternal organization Caballeros Dimas Alang, of which she was a part. The member ended up in San Quentin Prison, and for this she was labelled a traitor and punished. In a variation of this story, the crime she reported was one of gendered violence - rendering Celine a brave, pioneering feminist who refused to be silenced. A final version of her story, one that is documented by the Filipino American National Historical Society and believed by her family members, discloses that a community leader stalked and preyed upon her, ignoring Navarro's repeated refusal of his advances.

What does it mean to be descendants of violence, and in particular, gendered violence? How can women heal and make families whole? How can truth-telling help family members move through grief? Told with great care and respect for Navarro, her family, and her descendants, this film is a gift of love given to generations who have held Celine in heart and women fighting to have a voice in the face of violence.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2020 / 69 minutes

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GIRL WITH THE RIVET GUN, THE

Directed by Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly

Takes you beyond the iconic "We Can Do It" poster girl to the millions of real-life women who shook the foundations of the American workplace in WWII.

Built entirely by women filmmakers, THE GIRL WITH THE RIVET GUN is an unconventional animated documentary short based on the adventures of three real-life "Rosie the Riveters"-Esther Horne, Susan Taylor King and Mildred Crow Sargent. From vastly different backgrounds, these three women came of age in an America united by war but struggling with divisions of gender, economics and race.

THE GIRL WITH THE RIVET GUN serves as an entry point into a rich, layered, and adventurous rewriting of history as herstory, inspiring conversations about working women everywhere and taking viewers beyond the iconic "We Can Do It" poster girl to the millions of real-life women who shook the foundations of the American workplace-forever changing not only their own lives, but the very perception of what women can do.


DVD / 2020 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 15 minutes

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GLOW: A WILD RIDE TO HEAVEN

Director: Gabriel Baur

"Someone who glows so brightly is not going to grow old," Fellini once prophesied about Irene Staub, aka Lady Shiva, one of the greatest of all Swiss divas. Thanks to her aura and talent, many doors opened for Irene during Zurich's exuberant years between 1968 and the late 1980s. Discovered by a pioneer of Swiss fashion design, she made the break from streetwalking to being part of the fashionable art scene. Finding work as a model, she also pursued her dream of becoming a singer, starting out in a legendary Zurich underground band. But Lady Shiva lived life in the fast lane; torn between the stress and strain of success, a yearning for freedom, and self-destructive urges, she died far too young under circumstances that have never been fully explained.

Using never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with prominent contemporaries, director Gabriel Baur brings us back to a vibrant age of boundless possibilities, in which the sky seemed the only limit for people like Lady Shiva...an age that to this day still kindles a yearning in us.


DVD (German with English Subtitles) / 2020 / 100 minutes

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HER SOCIALIST SMILE

By John Gianvito

An experimental documentary essay on the political imagination of iconic humanitarian, author, and advocate for the blind Helen Keller. World famous by the age of 8 for having learned how to read and communicate through the finger alphabet, indelibly dramatized in William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller (1880-1968) remained for the course of her 87 years the most revered blind-deaf woman on the planet.

Largely omitted or minimized within the voluminous literature her life generated however was the fact that Keller had become, by time she reached her thirties, a committed believer in the principles of Socialism. The product of years of research, Her Socialist Smile resurrects the radical Keller, serving as a rousing reminder that Keller's undaunted activism for labor rights, pacifism, and women's suffrage was philosophically inseparable from her battles for the rights of the disabled.


DVD / 2020 / 93 minutes

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HYSTERICAL GIRL

By Kate Novak

In 1900, Sigmund Freud began treating a 17-year old girl he called "Dora." Her parents brought her to therapy after she accused a family friend of sexual assault. Freud's account of his sessions with Dora was the only major case history he published of a female patient. Intercutting his published text with a scripted version told from Dora's point of view, Hysterical Girl revisits this landmark case.

Woven throughout are several decades of cinema, Congressional hearings, and media coverage. What emerges is a portrait of the grip that Freud's theory of hysteria has had on popular culture over the past century and into the present day.


DVD / 2020 / 27 minutes

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PAGEANT, THE

By Eytan Ipeker

The workers of the Yad Ezer Lechaver organization are busy making phone calls. They are trying to find contestants for the 2016 editionof the Miss Holocaust Survivor beauty pageant. In another room, potential contestants are interviewed by Heli Ben-David, Grace Queen in Miss Israel 1979. In order to participate, the survivors have to retell their traumatic story one more time.

Every year since 2011, a unique beauty contest takes place in Haifa. The contestants are female survivors of the Holocaust. In the midst of this flashy spectacle sponsored by an Evangelical Christian organization, the personal traumas of the survivors remain as deep as ever. A documentary about how memory, politics and spectacle are interconnected.


DVD / 2020 / 82 minutes

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SISTERS RISING

Directed by Willow O'Feral and Brad Heck

Native American survivors of sexual assault fight to restore personal and tribal sovereignty against the backdrop of an ongoing legacy of violent colonization.

SISTERS RISING is the story of six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States.

Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as 'safe victims'. The film follows six women who refuse to let this pattern of violence continue in the shadows: a tribal cop in the midst of the North Dakota oil boom, an attorney fighting to overturn restrictions on tribal sovereignty, a teacher of Indigenous women's self-defense, grassroots advocates working to influence legislative change, and the authour of the first anti-sex trafficking code to be introduced to a reservation's tribal court. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.

SISTERS RISING is an urgent call to action, a gorgeous portrait of powerful women acting in solidarity, and a demand for tribal sovereignty and self-determination as the necessary step towards ending violence against Native women.


DVD (Color) / 2020 / 59 minutes

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UNLADYLIKE2020

By Charlotte Mangin, Sandra Rattley

UNLADYLIKE2020 calls into question American history as we know it, reaching back to the dawn of the 20th century to recognize unsung female leaders and women of color trailblazers. The series presents rich biographies of 26 trailblazing American women that everyone should know, who broke barriers in male-dominated fields over 100 years ago, such as politics, journalism, science, business, sports, and the arts, including the first woman to found a hospital on an American Indian reservation, serve in the U.S. Congress, become a bank president, earn an international pilot's license, lead scientific expeditions in the Arctic, swim the English Channel, sing opera on the main stage at Carnegie Hall, or direct a feature-length movie.

Presenting history in a bold new way, UNLADYLIKE2020 brings these extraordinary stories of daring and persistence back to life through captivating original artwork and animation, rare archival imagery, and interviews with historians, descendants, and accomplished women of today, who reflect on the influence of these pioneers.

The UNLADYLIKE2020 collection includes short documentary films ranging in length from 9 to 12 minutes profiling 26 different women. Also available is The Changemakers, an hour-long documentary highlighting the names, stories and legacies of 5 pioneers - "first women" - who organized campaigns for social change. Their profound and extraordinary achievements in politics, civil rights and suffrage, largely taken for granted by history, or absent from standard American history texts, underscore the importance of deconstructing and revising the historical record to include the contributions of women and women of color. The inspiring battles that they waged in the name of equality continue to be fought today.

THE SERIES INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING EPISODES:
Bessie Coleman (9 minutes 3 seconds)
Grace Abbott (9 minutes 5 seconds)
Maggie Lena Walker (9 minutes 40 seconds)
Lillian Gilbreth (10 minutes 21 seconds)
Ynés Mexía (9 minutes 18 seconds)
Anna May Wong (11 minutes 26 seconds)
Meta Warrick Fuller (11 minutes 25 seconds)
Louise Arner Boyd (10 minutes 00 seconds)
Lois Weber (12 minutes 13 seconds)
Williamina Fleming (9 minutes 34 seconds)
Tye Leung Schulze (10 minutes 18 seconds)
Rose Schneiderman (11 minutes 2 seconds)
Margaret Chung (10 minutes 19 seconds)
Gladys Bentley (11 minutes 52 seconds)
Annie Smith Peck (10 minutes 41 seconds)
Susan La Flesche Picotte (11 minutes 38 seconds)
Sissieretta Jones (11 minutes 9 seconds)
Queen Lili`uokalani (12 minutes 14 seconds)
Gertrude Ederle (11 minutes 55 seconds)
Sonora Webster Carver (10 minutes 2 seconds)
Mary Church Terrell (11 minutes 54 seconds)
Martha Hughes Cannon (12 minutes 23 seconds)
Jovita Idar (11 minutes 11 seconds)
Jeannette Rankin (12 minutes 39 seconds)
Zitkala-Sa (11 minutes 39 seconds)
Charlotta Spears Bass (12 minutes 34 seconds)


DVD / 2020 / 285 minutes

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UNLEARNING SEX

By Zanah Thirus

Told through a deeply personal lens, this film explores sexual assault and trauma - and how these experiences intersect with race, class, and sexual orientation - with complexity and sensitivity.

Sexual assault and trauma -- and how these experiences intersect with race, class, and sexual orientation -- are rarely discussed in our society. Zanah Thirus's bold new film, UNLEARNING SEX, explores these topics with complexity and sensitivity, simultaneously raising awareness and opening the door for important conversations. Thirus bravely takes us on her six-month journey through sexual trauma therapy and the reclamation of her body in hopes of lending strength and inspiration to others. While told through a deeply personal lens, including intimate audio recordings of Thirus's therapy sessions, the film tells a story that is at once unique and universal. The addition of video interviews with a neuroscientist, sex educators, and therapists lend expert insight into sexual trauma, misconceptions surrounding sexual assault, consent, intersectionality, and sex education. This film will inspire people of all backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and races to speak candidly about this sensitive issues.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2020 / 81 minutes

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WITHOUT A WHISPER

A film by Katsitsionni Fox

WITHOUT A WHISPER - KONNON:KWE uncovers the hidden history of the profound influence Indigenous women had on the beginnings of the women's rights movement in the United States.

Before the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, European colonial women lacked even the most basic rights, while Haudenosaunee women had a potent political and spiritual voice and authority in all aspects of their lives. The contact that the early suffragists had with Haudenosaunee women in New York state shaped their thinking and had a vital impact on their struggle for equality that is taken for granted today. The film follows Mohawk Bear Clan Mother Louise Herne and Professor Sally Roesch Wagner as they seek to correct the historical narrative about the origins of women's rights in the United States.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2020 / 27 minutes

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ABORTION HELPLINE, THIS IS LISA

By Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Mike Attie

At the Philadelphia abortion helpline, counselors field nonstop calls from women and teens who are seeking to end a pregnancy but can't afford to, illustrating how economic stigma and cruel laws determine who has access to abortion in America.

ABORTION HELPLINE, THIS IS LISA, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Shorts at AFI Docs 2020, is a powerful short documentary that exposes how economic stigma and cruel legislation determines who in America has access to abortion.

At a women's health fund in Philadelphia, phone counselors-all called Lisa to protect their anonymity-arrive each morning to the nonstop ring of calls from people who are seeking to end a pregnancy and can't afford to. In 1976, only three years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, the Hyde Amendment was enacted with the explicit intention of denying poor individuals-those receiving Medicaid-access to abortion. By giving voice to those affected by discriminatory policies, the film exposes how legislation like the Hyde Amendment ties access to abortion to economic status and denies reproductive justice.

As we head into election season, ABORTION HELPLINE, THIS IS LISA is an essential tool for helping Americans understand the brutal legacy of the Hyde Amendment and why its repeal has become a litmus test for progressive politicians.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2019 / 13 minutes

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BLACK FEMINIST

By Zanah Thirus

BLACK FEMINIST is a lively and illuminating documentary that explores the double-edged sword of racial and gender oppression that Black Women face in America.

Frustrated by the lack of intersectionality in the women's movement and the misogyny plaguing the Black liberation movement, filmmaker Zanah Thirus set out to shine a light on the complexities and power of Black feminism. Featuring interviews with a wide range of scholars, writers, business owners, veterans and comedians including former Ebony Editor-in-Chief Kyra Kyles, professor Carrie Morris, and author Tami Winfrey Harris, the film lays bare the everyday lived experiences of Black Women everywhere.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2019 / 53 minutes

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BREACH OF TRUST

Directed by Mishal Mahmud

Told from the point of view of women advocating for accountability and change, this compelling documentary by USC Graduate Mishal Mahmud examines the sexual assault scandal at the University of Southern California, detailing crimes committed by former gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall and exposing the active cover-up on the part of the administration.

The high-profile sexual assault scandal at the University of Southern California involving Dr. George Tyndall, the only full-time gynecologist in the school's student health clinic from 1989 to 2016, first made headlines when journalists Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton exposed horrific abuses in a 2018 LA Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative report. USC recently announced it would pay $1.1 billion to patients, making it the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history. Told from the point of view of the women and sexual assault survivors advocating for change, BREACH OF TRUST offers an inside-look at the abuse, as well as the institution's complicity.

Despite hundreds of accusations and reports of misconduct, Tyndall continued his medical practice for decades, treating more than 17,000 women, without being held accountable. After USC supervising nurse Cindy Gilbert reported Tyndall to the campus rape crisis center in 2016, Tyndall was finally suspended and placed on paid leave. Anchored by stories of the survivors and Gilbert's whistleblower account, this film chronicles the timeline of Tyndall's crimes and his ultimate downfall. Director and USC graduate Mishal Mahmud compassionately brings the voices of hundreds of women to the forefront, allowing space for them to speak up and be heard.

BREACH OF TRUST offers important insight into an all-too-familiar story of male predators employed by high-profile universities (such as Larry Nassar at the University of Michigan and Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University) who used their positions of power to target students - and the administrations' ensuing complicity in allowing the abuse to go unaddressed and unpunished.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2019 / 24 minutes

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NICE CHINESE GIRLS DON'T: KITTY TSUI

By Jennifer Abod

Nice Chinese Girls Don't is a portrait of Kitty Tsui -- an iconic Asian American lesbian, poet, artist, activist, writer, and bodybuilder who came of age in the early days of the Women's Liberation Movement in San Francisco.

In Nice Chinese Girls Don't, Kitty Tsui recounts her emergence as a poet, artist, activist, writer, and bodybuilder in the early days of the Women's Liberation Movement in San Francisco. She narrates her experience of arriving to the States as an immigrant from Hong Kong by way of her own original poetry and stories.

Tsui wrote the groundbreaking Words of a Woman Who Breathes Fire, the first book written by an Asian American lesbian. She is considered by many to be one of the foremothers of the API, Asian Pacific Islander, lesbian feminist movement.

In 2018, APIQWTC, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community honored her with the Phoenix Award for lifetime achievement. In 2019, her alma mater, San Francisco State University inducted Tsui into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Her forthcoming books include Nice Chinese Girls Don't, Battle Cry: Poems of Love & Resistance, and Fire Power: Poems of Love & Resilience. Tsui currently lives in Oakland, California, and is writing a screenplay, Unmasked.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2019 / 20 minutes

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NORMAL GIRL, A

Directed by Aubree Bernier-Clarke
By Shawna Lipton, Pidgeon Pagonis

A NORMAL GIRL brings the widely unknown struggles of intersex people to light through the story of intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis.

Activist Pidgeon Pagonis was born intersex, not conforming to standard definitions of male or female, and experienced genital mutilation as a child. Now Pidgeon is fighting the medical establishment, seeking to end medically unnecessary surgeries and human rights abuses on intersex people in the United States and around the world.

An estimated 1.5% of the population is born with intersex traits. While most of these babies are healthy, their bodies are treated as a medical emergency. It is common practice for doctors to perform genital surgeries on intersex infants--often with disastrous results including total loss of genital sensation, lifetime synthetic hormone dependence, and being assigned a gender with which they do not identify.

Through the story of Pidgeon's remarkable journey and fight for bodily self-determination, A NORMAL GIRL brings the widely unknown struggles of intersex people to light.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2019 / 14 minutes

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SUNKEN ROADS: THREE GENERATIONS AFTER D-DAY

Director: Charlotte Juergens

Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day tells a story of inter-generational friendship, offering a new perspective on D-Day by presenting the memories of 90-year-old men through the eyes of a 20-year-old woman.

The film follows Charlotte, a young woman who joins eight D-Day veterans on a road trip to retrace their steps from World War II. The veterans come to see Charlotte as a granddaughter, trusting her with their stories and confronting the trauma that still haunts them 70 years after the war.


DVD (English, French with English Subtitles) / 2019 / 94 minutes

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THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL

By Alexe Poukine

Ada, just 19 years old, went to the house of a young man she knew. She didn't fight back, and it all happened very quickly, but the trauma remains.

With humility and frankness, the powerful documentary That Which Does Not Kill tackles the delicate and intimate matter of rape. Filmmaker Alexe Poukine's approach is novel: she has different people read Ada's account. It is an appropriation that creates a trusted space for speaking out, and other heartbreaking stories soon emerge.

By exploring the diversity of experiences and perspectives, the film examines stubborn prejudices without sanctimony or condescension, provoking the sort of collective introspection - and discussion - the #MeToo movement has necessitated.


DVD / 2019 / 95 minutes

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VITALINA VARELA

By Pedro Costa

Portuguese director Pedro Costa has continually returned in his films to the Fontainhas neighborhood, a shantytown on the outskirts of Lisbon that's home to largely immigrant communities. Not merely a chronicler of the poor and dispossessed, Costa renders onscreen characters that exist somewhere between real and fictional, the living and the dead.

His latest, a film of deeply concentrated beauty, stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in a truly remarkable performance. Reprising and expanding upon her haunted supporting role from Costa's Horse Money, she plays a Cape Verdean woman who has come to Fontainhas for her husband's funeral after being separated from him for decades due to economic circumstance, and despite her alienation begins to establish a new life there.

The grief of the present and the ghosts of the past commingle in Costa's ravishing chiaroscuro compositions, a film of shadow and whisper that might be the director's most visually extraordinary work. (synopsis courtesy of the New York Film Festival)


DVD / 2019 / 124 minutes

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AMA

Directed by Lorna Tucker

The untold story of the involuntary sterilization of Native American women by the Indian Health Service well into the 1970s.

Ama tells an important and untold story: the abuses committed against Native American women by the US Government during the 1960s and 70s. The women were removed from their families and sent to boarding schools. They were subjected to forced relocation away from their traditional lands and, perhaps worst of all, they were subjected to involuntary sterilization.

The result of nine years painstaking and sensitive work by filmmaker Lorna Tucker, the film features the testimony of many Native Americans, including three remarkable women who tell their stories - Jean Whitehorse, Yvonne Swan and Charon Asetoyer - as well as a revealing and rare interview with Dr. Reimert Ravenholt whose population control ideas were the framework for some of the government policies directed at Native American women.

It is estimated over a twenty-year period between 1960 and 1980 that tens of thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Due to poor record keeping during this era the number may in fact be much higher. Many of these women went to their graves having suffered this incredible abuse of power.

The film ends with a call to action - to back a campaign to get a formal apology from the US government, which would then open the door for the women to bring a lawsuit.


DVD / 2018 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 74 minutes

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ARCHIVETTES, THE

By Megan Rossman

For more than 40 years, the Lesbian Herstory Archives has combated lesbian invisibility by literally rescuing history from the trash.

Founded in the 1970s in a New York City apartment, The Lesbian Herstory Archives is now the world's largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. For more than 40 years, the all-volunteer organization has striven to combat lesbian invisibility by literally rescuing history from the trash.

Frustrated by misogyny and homophobia within academia, Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle co-founded the archives for those conducting research, both professional and personal. Over the years, the organization has witnessed many of the major milestones in LGBTQ+ history and has weathered several storms. Today, with its founders in their seventies, the archives are facing new challenges, including a change in leadership and the rise of digital technology.

Exploring the fascinating origins of the organization, THE ARCHIVETTES is a tribute to second-wave feminism and intergenerational connection, as well as an urgent rallying cry for continued activism in a politically charged moment.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2018 / 61 minutes

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CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE

Directed by Rosine Mbakam

Sabine attaches a hair weave and gets to work. Her hands move quickly and precisely, as she tightly braids the hair in front of the sign in her salon promising African, European, and American-style coiffure. Sabine is a larger than-life personality crammed into a tiny, glassed-in shop in the largely immigrant Brussels district of Matonge. Here, she and her employees fit extensions and glue on lashes while watching soaps, dishing romantic advice, sharing rumors about government programs to legalize migrants, and talking about people back home in West Africa.

At the start of CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE, filmmaker Rosine Mbakam stands outside the salon, filming. Sabine calls her in, warning her it's unsafe out in hallway of the cramped urban mall. Mbakam sets up in the shop-and stays, filming over the course of a year, becoming a regular fixture and presence. This cinematic "chamber piece" takes place entirely inside the tiny salon, seemingly not much larger than a take-out stand, making skillful use of its many mirrors.

More than a place for women to get their hair done, Jolie Coiffure serves as a community hub for West African women-many from Cameroon, like Sabine. Fueled by endless cans of soda and cups of McDonald's coffee, she recruits for a tontine-an investment scheme paying each member a yearly annuity, organizes accommodation for a pregnant woman who lacks immigration papers, and, in quieter, more introspective moments, tells her own harrowing journey to Belgium after working as a domestic under terrible conditions in Lebanon.

Though she has created a home in her own space, Sabine remains an outsider in Belgium. Students and tourist groups made up only of white people walk past, pausing at the window and gawking. (At one point, Sabine urges Mbakam to turn her camera on them so they'll go away; the director obliges.) When word has it that the immigration police are coming through, she hurriedly turns off all the lights and quickly vanishes out the door.

CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE is a highly revealing documentary, capturing the day-to-day lives and concerns of immigrant West African women in a space they can call their own.


DVD (French with English Subtitles, Color) / 2018 / 70 minutes

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CITY DREAMERS

Director: Joseph Hillel

Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Denise Scott Brown - four trailblazers who became accustomed to being the only woman in the room. Each has an extensive list of accomplishments in architecture, planning and landscape architecture dating back 60+ years and has taught, mentored and inspired generations of professionals. Since the 1950's, they have worked for and collaborated with some of the leading figures in architecture, from Le Corbusier to Louis Kahn and Mies van der Rohe, while finding their own voices in the male-dominated world of architecture. How have they envisioned our cities?

Through original interviews, archival material and stunning cinematography, filmmaker Joseph Hillel uncovers how each of these independent thinkers has been working, observing and thinking about the transformations shaping the city of today and tomorrow. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, the insights of these forward-looking women who have built social and environmental values into their work seem more relevant now than ever.


DVD (English, French, With English Subtitles) / 2018 / 81 minutes

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GULYABANI

By Gurcan Keltek

Set against the backdrop of the most violent period of post-Republic Turkey, Gulyabani from acclaimed filmmaker Gurcan Keltek (Meteors) tells the harrowing story of Fethiye Sessiz, a famous clairvoyant from Izmir, Turkey.

Through her diary entries and letters to her estranged son, the film relays her survival from abuse, kidnapping and violence. As Sessiz recounts her story in a hypnotic voiceover, stark, desaturated images of trees and water blend into footage of the Anatolian desert, ancient religious sites, and elliptical reenactments of Sessiz's childhood memories.

Blending documentary and experimental fiction, Sessiz's memories are interspersed with short texts from Terry Eagleton and W.G. Sebald. The film's ominous imagery draws in richly coloured shots of the Turkish landscape and found Super 8 footage, eventually giving way to an unforgettable final sequence of increasingly abstract monochromatic images where memories of the future and fragments of the past converge.


DVD / 2018 / 34 minutes

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BREAST ARCHIVES, THE

Director: Meagan Murphy

Real women reveal their breasts and uncover personal truths in this gently provocative documentary exploring embodiment, womanhood, and the power of being seen.

The Breast Archives features nine women's personal stories of empowerment. Baring their breasts and their hearts, the women share the unique journeys they've made with their bodies, from their formative years of hiding, shame, and disconnection to adulthood and the discovery of what it means to be a powerful woman. As the women slowly reconnect with their body-based stories they find a reservoir of strength and wisdom that lies within their breasts.


DVD / 2017 / 57 minutes

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FINE LINE, A (EDUCATIONAL VERSION)

Directed by Joanna James

Explores why less than 7% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women, when traditionally women have always held the central role in the kitchen.

Featuring intimate interviews with world-renowned chefs like Dominique Crenn, Lidia Bastianich, Cat Cora, Elena Arzak, Elizabeth Falkner, Maria Loi, Sylvia Weinstock, Michael Anthony and others, A FINE LINE explores pressing issues faced by women in the culinary arts and across all industries, including sexual and workplace harassment, access to capital, unequal pay, and lack of paid family leave and affordable childcare.

An uplifting American success story about perseverance, family, and food, A FINE LINE follows the personal story of Valerie James, a small town restaurateur with a larger than life personality who raised Joanna as a single mother on a mission to do what she loves while raising two kids and the odds stacked against her.


DVD / 2017 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 56 minutes

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HAPPY HOUR

By Ryusuke Hamaguchi

A powerful affirmation of the immersive potential of cinema. HAPPY HOUR is a slow-burning epic chronicling the emotional journey of four thirtysomething women in the misty seaside city of Kobe. As they navigate the unsteady currents of their work, domestic, and romantic lives a sudden, unexpected rift opens between that propels each to a new, richer understanding of life and love. Filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi's wise, precisely observed, compulsively watchable drama of friendship and midlife awakening runs over five hours, yet the leisurely duration is not an indulgence but a strategy to create a novelistic space for everyday moments to become charged with possibility that yields a subtle emotional intensity rarely possible in a standard-length film. HAPPY HOUR is far more than just an ordinary melodrama. It is a spectacularly complex and fiercely poetic rendering of the details of daily life in which ideas and feelings are swayed by the unseen forces of friendship and love and buffeted by the weight of deception, loyalty and tradition.

Winner of awards at major international festivals - including Locarno, where stars Sachie Tanaka, Hazuki Kikuchi, Maiko Mihara and Rira Kawamura shared the Golden Leopard for Best Actress - HAPPY HOUR has brought new attention to the work and career of one of Japan's most talented young directors.


DVD (Japanese, With English Subtitles) / 2017 / 317 minutes

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HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405

By Frank Stiefel

An extraordinary and innovative documentary, Heaven is a portrait of artist Mindy Alper, whose renowned and astonishing body of work reveals a lifetime of struggle with debilitating mental illness.

Alper has suffered through electro shock therapy, multiple commitments to mental institutions and a 10-year period without speech. Her only consistent means of communicating has been to channel her hyper self-awareness into drawings and sculpture of powerful psychological clarity.

Through an examination of her work, interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight and a half foot papier-mache bust of her beloved psychiatrist, we learn how she has emerged from a life of darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust and laughter.


DVD / 2017 / 40 minutes

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TRACKING EDITH

Director: Peter Stephan Jungk

When she wasn't working as a Soviet agent, she was taking photos of workers and street children in Vienna and London, documenting poverty and social deprivation. Being a secret agent doesn't seem to have come naturally to the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart. But she did manage to recruit Kim Philby, and act as one of the architects of the Cambridge Five, the Soviet Union's most successful spy ring in Great Britain.

Edith was director Peter Stephan Jungk's great aunt, his mother's cousin; in Tracking Edith he tries to unravel the truth about his great aunt's life - a spy with a conscience and hidden family secrets.


DVD / 2017 / 92 minutes

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BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Director: Garrett Zevgetis

Off a dirt road in rural Maine, a precocious 20-year-old woman named Michelle Smith lives with her mother Julie. Michelle is quirky and charming, legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with big dreams and varied passions. Searching for connection, Michelle explores love and empowerment outside the limits of "normal" through a provocative sex-positive community. Michelle's joyful story of self-discovery celebrates outcasts everywhere.


DVD / 2016 / 91 minutes

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TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN, THE

By Rosine Mbakam

Rosine Mbakam left Cameroon at 27 to live in Belgium. Seven years later-having studied film and married a European-she returns, accompanied by her son. Motivated by a desire to better understand her past and the place she grew up, Rosine is nonetheless surprised by the revelations her mother and other women make in startlingly intimate conversations.

THE TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN opens with Rosine making what she calls a journey into darkness-to the village of her birth, and later to the capital city of Yaoundé, where her mother now lives most of the year. In the village of Tonga, her mother, Ma Breh, shares memories of the horrors of the war against French colonizers, and of daily life for a Cameroonian woman in an arranged marriage-a fate Rosine herself barely escaped, leaving the family of an angry ex-fiance behind.

Rosine accompanies her mother, aunts, and other women while they go about daily tasks: cooking fish, serving kokistew to a crowd, and selling goods at a thriving market stall. Like many immigrants, she finds herself distant from her home country, yet drawn to its rituals and memories. She goes through a dusty suitcase of her late father's documents, asks if she has damaged family traditions by marrying a white man, teaches her son to say "I love you grandma" in Bamikele, and asks her mother to do a traditional post-birth ritual several years after the fact.

As she spends more time with her mother and the women around her, Rosine reveals the strength of their solidarity and their ability to face adversity-whether hiding for their lives from French soldiers or being committed to a man for marriage at age eight. This world of women's work and women's struggles is one that surrounded her in her early years, but she couldn't recognize it-or its complexity-until she had been away from the social structures of her country.

THE TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN is a sharply observed, nuanced and powerful feature documentary debut that captures the relationship between a woman and her mother-and subtly expresses the dislocation of emigration.


DVD (French, Bamileke, With English Subtitles, Color) / 2016 / 76 minutes

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LIFE AND TIMES OF ROSIE THE RIVETER, THE

Remastered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The U.S. entry into World War II created an unprecedented demand for new workers. Notions of what was proper work for women changed overnight. Thousands of posters and billboards appeared calling on women to "Do the Job He Left Behind." Rosie the Riveter was born -- the symbol of working women during World War II. Women found themselves doing "men's work" and they did it so well that production levels rose despite the military call-up of millions of male workers. When the war was over, Rosie wanted to stay. But neither the structure of the American economy nor the dominant view of women's place in society sustained such hopes.


DVD (Closed Captioned) / 65 minutes

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