FEMINIST FRIDAY: Web Series Turning Fri-Yay Into A Celebration Of Female Filmmakers.

Welcome to another Feminist Friday column! That part of the week where we go out on a high before the weekend, and catch up on our fave videos, trailers, and series of the moment! This week it’s all about celebrating the work of female filmmakers. Literally.

In fact our first video is the latest episode of a new web series from ReKon Productions in Los Angeles called #FemaleFilmmakerFriday. Created by filmmakers Kathy Sue Holtorf and Hailey Weyer, #FemaleFilmmakerFriday was built out of a desire and need to have a platform where the duo could showcase, uplift and support their fellow female filmmakers while also inspiring future generations.

In the first season they have interviewed women involved in many aspects of production (Directors, Producers, Cinematographers, Costumers) and media (Animators, Editors, Graphic Designers) and hope to connect with a wider variety of filmmakers with each upcoming episodes. They are now seven episodes into season one and plan to do 13 episodes in total in the first season.

At a time when we are still pushing to see more women represented in the Best Director categories at major awards shows, and the conversations around whether female-driven films can hold box office sales (hint: THEY CAN!) the cultural change will happen when we see more women disrupting the status quo and creating spaces for more female filmmaker voices to be heard above the fray. That’s what this web series does, and we highly recommend you subscribe and watch! The episode below is an interview with Roxy Shih, whose latest film ‘Painkiller’s is out now on Amazon Prime, Youtube and Google Play.

The second video this week is a trailer to a documentary that is both timely and revelatory. ‘Roll Red Roll’, directed by Nancy Schwartzman, is a true-crime thriller that goes behind the headlines to uncover the deep-seated and social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture at the root of high school sexual assault in America. In 2012, an incident in Steubenville Ohio involving a young woman and players of the high school football team captured the national media’s attention, shining the light on “rape culture”  and the youth of America.

At a pre-season party in small-town Steubenville, Ohio, a heinous crime took place: the assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team. What transpired would garner national attention and result in the sentencing of two key offenders. But it was the disturbing social media evidence uncovered by crime blogger Alexandria Goddard that provoked the most powerful questions about the collusion of teen bystanders, teachers, parents and coaches to protect the assailants and discredit the victim. As it painstakingly reconstructs the night of the crime and its aftermath, the award-winning ‘Roll Red Roll’ uncovers the ingrained rape culture at the heart of the incident, acting as a cautionary tale about what can happen when teenage social media bullying runs rampant and adults look the other way.

It’s also an excellent example of investigative journalism in today’s social media influenced world, where conversations about rape culture and #metoo toxicity are on the forefront of our culture. The film opens in New York March 22 and elsewhere starting April 5th. Watch the trailer below:

The final video this week is a documentary from CNN editor and producer Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, and former CNN producer and founder of Cocomotion Pictures, Contessa Gayles. ‘The Feminist on Cellblock Y’ follows Richard “Richie” Edmond Vargas, who was serving time for an armed robbery conviction at at a prison in Soledad, California. Richie (who has been released since the film has aired) led a group in prison called Success Stories, which takes a look at a classroom of male prisoners as they wrestle with vulnerability and the confines of masculine norms through the lens of theorists such as feminist theorist bell hooks.

In an interview with Women’s Media Center about the documentary, both Emma and Contessa talk about the story of Richie’s work in prison and how they first reported on it in 2008.

“What we were able to document happening in the group discussions among these incarcerated men predates the viral #MeToo hashtag, though not the years of work done by the movement founder Tarana Burke and others. But it is applicable in every way to the national conversation we’ve been having about masculinity. What are boys taught about what it means to “be a man”? How do we as individuals and as a society reward and celebrate the objectification of women? How has that become a way to prove one’s manhood? How does that contribute to rape culture? These guys were asking each other these questions [in Success Stories] and, with the help of feminist authors like bell hooks, connecting the dots between patriarchal entitlement, abuse of power, and violence—sexual and otherwise,” said Contessa.

It is the kind of ground-breaking film that shows the need for more deep-searching conversations around toxic masculinity, and how men can hold themselves accountable while making a better life for themselves as well as the women in their lives and communities.

“What the men in the documentary are learning about and what some of them are attempting to dismantle is society’s role in constructing and perpetuating harmful gender norms—roles and stereotypes that people are then instructed to perform and live within, or else face ridicule and ostracization. I think the biggest lesson to learn from the work these men are doing is that questioning the society and systems and culture around us, rather than just throwing our hands up and saying, “Boys will be boys,” is uncomfortable but necessary work for every one of us to engage in,” said Contessa. Watch and share the film below.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: 'Under The Scarf' Short Film Made As A Call-To-Action For Empathy After New Zealand Mosque Massacre - GirlTalkHQ

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