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Women's Studies

Women's Studies


By Tatiana Huezo

ABSENCES, by award winning filmmaker Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place), exposes the ever-intensifying phenomenon of enforced disappearance in Mexico. A boy and his father disappear one morning, snatched off the road by armed men. Left behind, alone with her daughter, Lulu, a victim who refuses to give in, decides to tell the unacceptable story: the unfillable void, the absence of loved ones, the unanswered questions and the suffocating silence. After 5 years, absence has her living in a limbo that gives way to desire, hope and the struggle to find her 9-year old son Brandon and her husband, alive. This hauntingly beautiful short film illuminates the way disappearance affects women, and broadens our awareness on disappearance and its social consequences in Mexico and Central America.

DVD (Spanish, Color) / 2015 / () / 26 minutes

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By Mikaela Shwer

Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Angy arrived with her mother, fleeing violence, poverty, and civil war in their native Colombia. For 20 years they live in the shadows, struggling to stay afloat financially and avoid deportation while battling a complex and inequitable immigration system. "Don't tell anyone" is a phrase whispered often and branded deeply on the consciousness of all who are undocumented.

Now 24, unable to pay tuition for college and facing an uncertain future, Angy joins the youth-led New York State Youth Leadership Council (YLC) with whom she dons a bullhorn at pro-immigration rallies, telling all who will listen that she is "undocumented and proud." Rivera becomes an activist for undocumented youth with a popular advice blog "Ask Angy" and a YouTube channel boasting more than 27,000 views. She steps out of the shadows a second time to share her story of sexual abuse, an experience all too common among undocumented women. DON'T TELL ANYONE (NO LE DIGAS A NADIE) follows Rivera's remarkable journey from poverty in rural Colombia to the front page of The New York Times

DVD (Color) / 2015 / () / 75 minutes

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By Kim Longinotto

"You got any dreams you wanna catch?" Sundance award winner DREAMCATCHER takes us into a hidden world of prostitution and sexual trafficking through the eyes of one of its survivors, Brenda Myers-Powell. A former teenage prostitute with a drug habit, Brenda defied the odds to become a powerful advocate for change in her community, and works to help women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. DREAMCATCHER lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of these young women, their families and the communities where they live in Chicago and Brenda's unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around.

With unprecedented access, multi-award winning director, Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, ROUGH AUNTIES, SALMA) paints a vivid portrait of a community struggling to come to terms with some of its most painful truths and of the extraordinary woman who uses her past to inspire others to survive. With warmth and humor, Brenda gives hope to those who have none in the four magic words she offers up to everyone she meets: "It's not your fault."

DVD (Color) / 2015 / () / 98 minutes

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Director: Mary McDonagh Murphy

To everyone's surprise, fifty-five years after the publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird" Harper Lee is publishing another novel. "Go Set a Watchman" was written before Lee's beloved masterpiece, as director Mary McDonagh Murphy explains in this update of her 2011 documentary Hey Boo: Harper Lee and "To Kill a Mockingbird". Murphy's Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman brings the story up-to-date as it sifts through the facts and speculation surrounding Lee and both her novels, and includes interviews with Lee's older sister, close friends, and literary admirers, from Oprah Winfrey to Wally Lamb.

DVD / 2015 / () / 82 minutes

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By Leslee Udwin

INDIA'S DAUGHTER is the powerful story of the 2012, brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus of a 23 year old medical student, who later died from her injuries. In 2012, it made international headlines and ignited protests by women in India and around the world. This month India's government banned the film while the BBC moved their planned broadcast up by days and ignited a new controversy. BAFTA winning filmmaker Leslee Udwin, herself a victim of rape, went to India inspired by the protests against sexual assault. With an all Indian crew, Udwin got exclusive, first time on camera interviews with the rapists and defense attorney, none of whom express remorse. The defense attorney goes even further, stating that "immodest" women deserve what happens to them. An impassioned plea for change, INDIA'S DAUGHTER pays tribute to a remarkable and inspiring young woman and explores the compelling human stories behind the incident and the political ramifications throughout India. But beyond India, the film lays bare the way in which societies and their patriarchal values have spawned such acts of violence globally.

DVD (Color, Hindi) / 2015 / () / 62 minutes

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By Laurie Kahn

Romance novels comprise over a billion dollars a year in book sales, outselling science fiction, fantasy, and mystery combined. So why is the genre so often dismissed as frivolous "scribble" rather than elevated as a radical literary form that pushes the envelope on gender, race, and diversity? The heroic characters, prolific writers, and voracious readers that dominate romantic fiction are primarily women. Witty and intelligent, these lovers of the written word form a collaborative, supportive, and dynamic community where readers and writers inspire one another. Emmy Award Winning director Laurie Kahn (Tupperware!) takes a comprehensive look at what goes into publishing a romantic novel, from the author's inspiration and writing process to the photo shoots for those distinctive cover designs. Speaking with literary scholars, romance fanatics, aspiring writers, and award-winning authors, including Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Beverly Jenkins, and Radclyffe, this documentary offers fascinating insights into this female-centric literary world.

DVD (Color) / 2015 / () / 84 minutes

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By Danielle Beverly

OLD SOUTH, through a quiet unfolding story, provides a window into the underlying dynamics of race relations that influence so many American communities. In Athens, Georgia, a college fraternity traditionally known to fly the confederate flag moves to a historically black neighborhood and establishes their presence by staging an antebellum style parade. Through the perspective of local resident Hope, OLD SOUTH follows the neighborhood struggle over three years, while both communities fight to preserve their historical legacies against an ever evolving cultural backdrop in the South.

DVD (Color) / 2015 / () / 54 minutes

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By Joanna Rudnick

From Emmy-nominated IN THE FAMILY filmmaker Joanna Rudnick and Chicago's Kartemquin Films comes a story about challenging norms and redefining beauty. ON BEAUTY follows fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who left the fashion world when he grew frustrated with having to work within the restrictive parameters of the industry's standard of beauty. After a chance encounter with a young woman who had the genetic condition albinism, Rick re-focused his lens on those too often relegated to the shadows to change the way we see and experience beauty.

At the center of ON BEAUTY are two of Rick's photo subjects: Sarah and Jayne. In eighth grade Sarah left public school because she was bullied so harshly for the birthmark on her face and brain. Jayne lives with albinism in Eastern Africa where society is blind to her unique health and safety needs and where witch doctors hunt people with her condition to sell their body parts. We follow Rick as he uses his lens to challenge convention and media's narrow scope of with the help of two extraordinary women.

DVD (Color) / 2015 / () / 31 minutes

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By Alicia Calderon

More than 20,000 people disappeared in Mexico during the horrifically violent war on drugs waged by former President Calderon. With each missing person, a family is left behind in a desperate search to get answers from a government that is suspiciously ambivalent. Putting a human face on the most harrowing of statistics, director Alicia Calderon courageously captures the stories of three mothers - Natividad, Guadalupe, and Margarita - as they search for their children who have gone missing. One mother constantly retraces the last steps of her son, combing empty fields for his body; another travels all the way to Washington, DC, to plead for US intervention; and the last simply tries to forget the emptiness and raise her now-motherless grandson. In one of the most powerful documentaries about the human casualties of the Mexican narco-wars, these women's stories are among the many that stand for truth and justice for the 26,000 missing people in Mexico today. With their lives now completely devoted to seeking out the truth, they pursue any avenue possible, in the face of an indifferent government which considers their loved ones to be "collateral casualties" of the drug war.

DVD (Spanish, Color, With English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 74 minutes

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By Marcela Zamora Chamorro

Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidos, or missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. In THE ROOM OF BONES, El Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora follows a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis.

DVD (Spanish, Color) / 2015 / () / 60 minutes

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Director: Peter Sanders

Altina is the provocative portrait of an American trendsetter whose free spirit defied convention. A woman ahead of her time, Altina Schinasi was born in 1907 in New York City; the daughter of a tobacco tycoon and decedent of Sephardic Jews, she upended the expectations that accompanied her position. Altina was a paradox: simultaneously seductive and reserved, her genteel upbringing was in sharp contrast to the bold sexuality of her art and her life.

In addition to creating whimsical works of art and sculpture, Altina invented the glamorous Harlequin 'cat's-eye' eyeglasses, worn by the likes of Lucille Ball and Peggy Guggenheim, and as well directed an Oscar-nominated documentary about Nazi brutality told through the drawings of German expressionist artist George Grosz. Altina's life was anchored in the social and political issues of the time: helping Jewish refugees escape the Holocaust; providing aid and shelter to friends who were targeted by Joseph McCarthy's Un-American Activities campaign; and being involved early on in the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr.

DVD / 2014 / () / 80 minutes

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Director: Alain Margot

They are known around the world as the topless female activists who fight corrupt and patriarchal political systems. Their weapon of choice is their bodies- which they place front and center in protests around the streets of Kiev, where the group began, and all across Europe.

Oksana Shachko is FEMEN's creative backbone. As a teenager, her fascination with religious painting led her to consider entering a convent, but in the end she used her many talents to create FEMEN and devoted herself to a life of activism.

With I am FEMEN, director Alain Margot paints a portrait of the bewitching and many-faceted Oksana, while also revealing the stories of the brave young women around her who put their bodies on the front line in the fight for justice and equality.

DVD (Russian and French with English Subtitles) / 2014 / () / 94 minutes

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By Claudia Lisboa

A coming of age story in the wake of the Arab Spring, NADA'S REVOLUTION is an intimate portrait of a young, post-revolution Egyptian woman fighting for her freedom and independence in a society caught between old traditions and modernization. Amidst the political turmoil that has paralyzed Egypt for almost three years, we follow Nada's struggle to establish herself as an independent woman and theater professional as she sets out to make her old dream come true: to work with children's theater. When the revolution broke out in 2011, NadaˇVlike many other young womenˇVwas full of energy and hope. But in the aftermath of the revolution and when the election of President Morsi further pushes the country into political turmoil, the situation appears hopeless. Nada is confronted with the question of how to stay true to her own dreams, while conservative ideas about gender roles and women's freedom are hard to change. Nada's fight is not over.

DVD (Color, Arabic) / 2014 / () / 60 minutes

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Director: Stefan Liberski

Based on Amelie Nothomb's bestselling novel, Tokyo Fiancee is an entertaining romantic comedy that will appeal to fans of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation.

The young, pixie-like Amelie is in love with all things Japanese, which prompts her to buy a one-way ticket to Tokyo in order to completely immerse herself in Japanese culture. She offers to work as a French tutor, and soon finds herself enjoying a passionate relationship with her only student, the charming Rinri. As the two explore the joys (and awkwardness) of their first real romance and the colorful city around them, many cultural barriers fall...but some still remain.

This utterly charming romantic comedy played in the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and seduced audiences in Europe with its whimsical style and its playful look at misunderstandings, complications and the problems that arise from cultural stereotypes. Pauline Etienne, as Amelie, is winsome and wonderful as the enthusiastic young woman on a cross-cultural adventure of the heart.

DVD (English, French and Japanese, with English subtitles) / 2014 / () / 100 minutes

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By Karin Venegas

A deeply personal documentary, UNAFRAID gives voice to four, diverse rape survivors and takes a historic look back at the pioneering treatment center where they now receive counseling. In her directorial debut, Karin Venegas highlights the work of two unsung feminist heroes in the movement for victims' rights at the height of 1970s feminism and the Women's Movement. From breaking victims' silence to the revolutionary invention of the rape kit, this powerful film intimately explores the impact of rape and the capacity of ordinary individuals to effect change.

Although frequently referenced in popular culture, few audiences know of the rape kit's feminist origins. UNAFRAID is the first film to address the grassroots genesis of this important tool, which not only made it easier to convict in the criminal justice system but which helped shape our very cultural acceptance of rape as a serious crime, worthy of prosecution and compassionate treatment.

Together, UNAFRAID's collage of voices aims to lift the stigma that traps victims in silence ˇV and to remind its audience that social change is indeed possible. Essential viewing for Criminal Justice, Law and Women's Studies Classrooms.

DVD (Color) / 2014 / () / 44 minutes

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Directed by Lisa Davis Larry

The scars left by violence never go away. "When the Shooting Stops" portrays the journeys of four families after violent gun deaths or injuries change their lives forever. Each surviving family member takes a unique path of healing; some toward acceptance, some forgiveness, some actively promoting peaceful conflict resolution, and some having little resolution at all. In a variety of ways, many of them positive, the families give meaning to their own lives and to the life that was lost to violence.

The four families include: filmmaker Lisa Davis Larry's family involving her grandfather, Charles Caplin, a store owner killed during an armed robbery; Colonel (Ret.) and Mrs. Wilbert Bryant, the parents of Lisa Bryant, a cum laude Princeton University graduate and Army officer, who was shot and killed by an Army sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the Hawkins family who lost two adult sons, Joe Hawkins and Gerald Roberts, in separate shootings; and the family of Gilbert Salinas, who survived a permanently debilitating shooting at a party, and his wife, Cindy who is herself a survivor of a drive-by shooting at age 12 while retrieving her mail.

Although violent news stories of shooting victims and grieving families can be seen every day, the personal stories of the families' recoveries are rarely made known. "When the Shooting Stops" puts faces, personalities, hopes and dreams to the survivors of gun violence, providing insights and actions that help the healing process while revealing the true cost of violence.

DVD / 2013 / () / 30 minutes

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By Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore

This lively film spotlights a largely overlooked movement in early feminist history. Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends began delivering each other's babies in 1970 in rural Tennessee. With Ina May as their leader, the women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up and, with their families, founded an entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. They grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books, and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation's approach to childbirth.

Ina May led the charge away from isolated hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, with nearly one-third of all US babies born via C-section, she fights to preserve her community's hard-won knowledge. With incredible access to the midwives' archival video collection, the film captures the unique sisterhood at The Farm Clinic from its heyday into the present, and showcases childbirth in a way most people have never seenˇXunadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring.

DVD / 2012 / () / 95 minutes

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From a terraced house in East London the Sharia Council presides over hundreds of cases every year, mainly marital disputes. The Sharia Council is a parallel legal system that remains unknown to many people, although it has existed for years. This documentary takes us inside the workings of Sharia law in a Western society, especially as it affects women seeking divorce. What can the Muslim legal system offer couples in conflict?

Presiding over the court are two Sheikhs who are both respected members of the Muslim community with an intimate knowledge of Islamic law. Their rulings are not recognized by British law but for the Muslim community their judgments carry the word of God. In one case, we meet Imran who approaches the Sharia court for a ruling or "fatwa" that he believes can save his marriage to Nasira. Imran had married a second wife in Pakistan, whereupon Nasira left him and taken their three children to another city. It is now up to the court to decide what the future will be for this unhappy couple.

DVD / 2008 / () / 48 minutes

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This powerful documentary presents the stories for five courageous women; women who balance age-old traditions with new roles as creators of social change. They confront oppression and injustice, determined to create a better life for their children and their communities. For them, the personal and the political have become one. In their voices you will hear their passion and commitment. In their hearts you will see their will to create change. First, we meet Barbara Cummings, who as an aboriginal child was displaced from her family. Today this author ("Take This Child"), and recipient of the "Aboriginal of the Year" award, is an aboriginal rights' activist in Australia's Northern territory and played a crucial role in the establishment of Karu, the Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agency in Darwin. Next we meet Sandra Gonzalez, a union organizer in Guatemala. As a single mother, she has faced long working hours, low wages and sexual harassment; also during a labor strike she has even received death threats. Despite all of this, she and her co-workers hold steadfast and win the worker's rights they have been seeking. Next we meet Mara Kimele, whose family for three generations has made considerable contributions to Latvia theatre. Here she presents excerpts from her play, "The Book of Ruth," a parable showing the courage of Latvian women, who have had to face struggles with communism and capitalism. Next, we meet Tam Goosen, who grew up in the slums of Hong Kong, immigrated to Canada, where she experienced racism first-hand. Today she is an advocate for education and activist against racism, and inspiration to her daughter, who is carrying on her mother's activism. Lastly, we meet the internationally renowned lawyer and activist, Asma Jahangir, who was the founder of Pakistan's first all-women law firm. Though she faces death threats constantly, she continues to challenge human rights' abuses.

DVD / 2007 / (Junior High, Senior High, College, Adult) / 92 minutes

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Estelle Freedman, Professor of History, and Director of the Program in Feminist Studies, discusses the role of women in early 20th century political and social history.

DVD / 2004 / (Junior High, Senior High, College, Adult) / 30 minutes

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As more and more women seek various occupations available to them in the professional world, the more they know about these professions the better their chances for success and equality. Here three well-known authors, Liane Enkelis, Karen Olsen and Marion Lewenstein, provide an insightful look - both written and photographic - into the lives of 15 businesswomen in a variety of professions.

DVD / 2004 / (Senior High, College, Adult) / 60 minutes

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This program documents the experiences of 120 young people who traveled across India, giving "jathas," or performances, linking literacy and the promotion of women's leadership.

DVD / 2004 / (Intermediate, Junior High, Senior High, College, Adult) / 30 minutes

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By Janet McIntyre and Amy Wendel

The film documents the daily experience of Kiren who coaches her high school basketball team, Amnah who has a black belt in Karate, and Tavasha who is cutting a CD of original rap songs. Their traditional clothing allows them to understand prejudices and to speak out about their faith, especially after 9/11, when people spat upon, pushed and threatened them. They are quite happy that their dress allows men to look at them as people instead of as sex objects. The film follows the girls from a Harlem recording studio to a Brooklyn mosque, revealing typical teenagers suddenly caught in a tug-of-war between religious extremism and the American dream.

DVD / 2003 / () / 22 minutes

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