Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS

NOTHING WITHOUT US tells the inspiring story of the vital role that women have played - and continue to play - in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Combining archival footage and interviews with female activists, scientists and scholars in the US and Africa, Nothing Without Us reveals how women not only shaped grassroots groups like ACT-UP in the U.S., but have also played an essential part in HIV prevention and treatment access throughout sub-Saharan Africa. From beauty parlors in Baton Rouge to the first HIV clinic in Burundi, this film looks boldly at the unaddressed dynamics that keep women around the world at high-risk for HIV, while introducing the remarkable women who have the answers to ending this 30-year old pandemic. As the history of AIDS activism is being written, women, particularly women of color, are being written out of it. This documentary will be a step in restoring women's crucial role in the history and present-day activism around HIV as well as bolstering the work of women everywhere still fighting for their lives.
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A Revolution in Four Seasons

The Tunisian Revolution sparked the Arab Spring. But revolution was the easy part—as two women learned on the journey from protest to functioning government. Emna Ben Jemaa and Jawhara Ettis represent opposite sides of their country’s politics: One is a well-known journalist in the city, fighting for free speech. The other is a strict Islamist from a rural town, elected to help draft the new constitution. Despite their differences, both face the threat of extremists hijacking their fragile political process, and both Emna and Jawhara have to make difficult choices to balance their public political roles with their domestic environment. The film is a gripping and surprising perspective on the clash between Islam and secularism, and the political role of women in the Arab world. Offering an insightful portrait of the messy work of democracy, A REVOLUTION IN FOUR SEASONS is especially poignant in this global era of divided politics.
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Casablanca Calling

As political conflict and change sweep the Arab world, CASABLANCA CALLING highlights a quiet social revolution under way in Morocco, where 60% of the women have never attended school. For the first time, Moroccan women are trained and employed as official Muslim leaders or morchidat. Charged with teaching an Islam based on tolerance, compassion and equality, they provide vital support and guidance to communities, especially to girls and women. At the film’s heart are Hannane, Bouchra and Karima, three morchidat assigned to mosques in different parts of Morocco. CASABLANCA CALLING follows them for a year on rounds to schools and other sites to provide advice on marriage and employment; champion education for girls and women; caution against early marriage; and help resolve personal problems. Offering unique access to a story we rarely see, this illuminating documentary demonstrates how women’s empowerment through moderate Islam is transforming a nation.
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The Supreme Price

Director Joanna Lipper elegantly explores past and present as she tells the remarkable story of Hafsat Abiola, daughter of human rights heroine Kudirat Abiola, and Nigeria's President-elect M.K.O. Abiola, who won a historic vote in 1993 that promised to end years of military dictatorship. Shortly after the election M.K.O. Abiola's victory was annulled and he was arrested. While he was imprisoned, his wife Kudirat took over leadership of the pro-democracy movement, organizing strikes and rallies, winning international attention for the Nigerian struggle against human rights violations perpetrated by the military dictatorship. Because of this work, she too became a target and was assassinated in 1996. In this riveting political thriller, the Abiola family’s intimate story unfolds against the epic backdrop of Nigeria's evolution from independence in 1960 - through the Biafra War, subsequent military dictatorships and the tumultuous transition to civilian rule - through present day as Hafsat continues to face the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria's most marginalized population: women.
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Six Days: Three Activists, Three Wars, One Dream

This inspiring documentary, which follows three brave human rights defenders in Liberia, Abkhazia, Georgia and Iraq over six days, gives insight into the everyday struggle to improve the situation of women worldwide. SIX DAYS shines a necessary light on some of the most urgent and important human rights issues facing women today: girls education, honor killings, bride kidnappings and women’s health issues. Giving refuge and voice to women beaten, burned and threatened with death by their families, journalist Lanja, fearlessly challenges honor killings and domestic violence in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Nelly runs a cooperative and shelter in Monrovia, Liberia’s slums so that impoverished women can learn to read and earn money for their families. And in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, Maia, director of a women’s health group fighting for women’s sexual rights, brings medical care to women and girls in remote Caucasus villages while battling “bride kidnappings” and other archaic customs that lead to forced marriage. As it follows these three remarkable women, thousands of miles apart, SIX DAYS bears witness to their unwavering, shared commitment to women’s education, empowerment and dreams of a better life. An important film for those who wish to understand the challenges facing women in developing countries around the world and how feminism continues to help improve womens’ lives.
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Sound of Torture

Since 2006 when Europe closed its borders, human trafficking has burgeoned in Egypt’s Sinai Desert, where Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees heading north to Israel are kidnapped, held hostage, and tortured by Bedouin smugglers demanding exorbitant ransoms for their freedom. Fleeing an oppressive military dictatorship at home, with a “shoot-to-kill” policy at the border and where only pregnant women are exempted from service, over 300,000 Eritreans have fled their homeland in North Africa. Many of these men, women and children die in Sinai’s torture camps. This powerful documentary intimately follows Swedish-Eritrean journalist Meron Estefanos and her efforts to aid the hostages and their families. From Stockholm she runs a popular online radio show, fielding calls for help from Eritrean victims and their relatives. Her activism takes her to Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Desert to seek the release of a badly abused young woman held captive with her baby and to search for another who disappeared along the Egyptian-Israeli border after her ransom had been paid. Both eloquent and harrowing, SOUND OF TORTURE spotlights one of today’s most underreported human rights violations and the one woman who is making it her mission to create change.
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Justice for Sale

JUSTICE FOR SALE follows the young, courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine Tsongo who refuses to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in her country. When she investigates the case of a soldier convicted of rape, she becomes convinced his trial was unfair and uncovers a system where the basic principles of law are ignored—and when the system fails, everyone becomes a victim. The documentary not only provides a glimpse into the failings of the Congolese judicial system but also raises questions about the role of the international community and non-governmental organizations in reforming it. Does their financial support cause justice to be for sale? And who pays the price? This is the third documentary in Dutch filmmakers Ilse and Femke van Velzen’s trilogy about the Congo, following FIGHTING THE SILENCE, about the consequences for victims of sexual violence and WEAPON OF WAR, confessions by those who perpetrated the acts. These films are essential viewing for anyone interested in the issues facing contemporary Africa.
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Poetry of Resilience

Academy® Award nominated director Katja Esson’s (FERRY TALES, LATCHING ON) exquisitely made film explores survival, strength and the power of the human heart, body and soul—as expressed through poetry. She highlights six different poets, who individually survived Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Iranian Revolution. By summoning the creative voice of poetry to tell stories of survival and witness, each reclaims humanity and dignity in the wake of some of history’s most dehumanizing circumstances. POETRY OF RESILIENCE gives us an intimate look into the language of the soul and brings us closer to understanding the insanity of war and how art will flourish, in spite of any obstacle.This film is recommended for courses in poetry studies, literature, peace and conflict studies and genocide studies.
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Sarabah

Rapper, singer and activist, Sister Fa is hero to young women in Senegal and an unstoppable force for social change. A childhood victim of female genital cutting (FGC), she decided to tackle the issue by starting a grassroots campaign, “Education Without Excision,” which uses her music and persuasive powers to end the practice. But until 2010 there’s one place she had never brought her message – back home to her own village of Thionck Essyl, where she fears rejection. SARABAH follows Sister Fa on this challenging journey, where she speaks out passionately to female elders and students alike, and stages a rousing concert that has the community on its feet. A portrait of an artist as activist, SARABAH shows the extraordinary resilience, passion and creativity of a woman who boldly challenges gender and cultural norms. It’s an inspiring story of courage, hope and change.
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Duhozanye: A Rwandan Village of Widows

During the 1994 genocidal campaign that claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans and committed atrocities against countless others, Daphrose Mukarutamu, a Tutsi, lost her husband and all but two of her 11 children. In the aftermath she considered suicide. But instead, she took in 20 orphans and started Duhozanye, an association of Tutsi and Hutu widows who were married to Tutsi men. This powerful documentary by award-winning Norwegian director Karoline Frogner recounts the story of Duhozanye’s formation and growth - from a support group of neighbors who share their traumatic experiences, rebuild their homes, and collect and bury their dead, to an expanding member-driven network that advances the empowerment of Rwandan women. Featuring first-person accounts by Daphrose and other Duhozanye widows, the film shows association members helping women victims of rape and HIV/AIDS, running small businesses and classes in gender violence prevention, and taking part in national reconciliation through open-air people’s courts where they can face, and often forgive, their loved ones’ killers.
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Umoja

UMOJA (Kiswahili for “unity”) tells the life-changing story of a group of impoverished tribal Samburu women in Northern Kenya who turn age-old patriarchy on its head by setting up a women-only village. Their story began in the 1990s, when several hundred women accused British soldiers from a nearby military base of rape. In keeping with traditional Samburu customs, the women were blamed for this abuse and cast out by their husbands for bringing shame to their families. Learning of their plight, Rebecca Lolosoli, a tireless women’s rights advocate, helps the banished women establish a new village, Umoja, on an unoccupied field in the grass­lands. No men are allowed. Soon the women turn their fate around, launching a handicrafts business targeting the tourist trade. Their success and increasing fame incurs the men’s jealousy and wrath, setting off an unusual, occasionally hilarious, gender war. But in this award-winning documentary, which deftly blends fast-paced reportage with serious social critique, women who have reclaimed their lives clearly emerge the victors.
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Pushing the Elephant

In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo lost her family and home to the violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo. She emerged advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. In a country where ethnic violence has created seemingly irreparable rifts among Tutsis, Hutus and other Congolese, this remarkable woman is a vital voice in her beleaguered nation’s search for peace. When war came to Rose’s village, she was separated from her five-year-old daughter, Nangabire. Rose managed to escape with nine of her ten children and was eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona. Over a decade later, mother and daughter are reunited in the US where they must face the past and build a new future. As mother and daughter get to know one another, they must come to terms with a painful past, and define what it means to be a survivor, a woman, a refugee and an American. Through this intimate family portrait unfolding against the wider drama of war, we explore the long-term and often hidden effects of war on women and families, particularly those in traditional societies—financial despair, increased susceptibility to rape, and social ostracism. PUSHING THE ELEPHANT captures one of the most important stories of our age, a time when genocidal violence is challenged by the moral fortitude and grace of one woman’s mission for peace. This is a powerful first-person portrait of an indomitable woman dedicated to peace and the healing power of forgiveness. A moving, joyful and hopeful chronicle of refugee experience and acculturation in the U.S. today, PUSHING THE ELEPHANT is also an insightful portrait of the changing face of immigration in our increasingly diverse society.
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Africa is a Woman's Name

AFRICA IS A WOMAN’S NAME provides an opportunity for three of Africa’s leading filmmakers to tell their own country’s stories through the lives of the powerful women working to create change. Veteran filmmakers Wanjiru Kinyanjui, from Zimbabwe, and Bridget Pickering, from South Africa, join Kenyan Ingrid Sinclair, director of the critically acclaimed feature film FLAME, to profile three diverse women who eloquently demonstrate the power of women. Amai Rose, a Zimbabwean housewife and businesswoman, Phuti Ragophala, a dedicated school principal in one of South Africa’s poorest communities, and Njoki Ndung’u, a human rights attorney and member of Kenya’s parliament, tell their individual stories, reflecting upon their own achievements and failures as well as needed initiatives for women and children in their respective societies. Their richly textured self-portraits reveal the gender revolution under way among sub-Saharan women of different backgrounds and origins who are determined to transform their daily realities and the conditions of their lives.
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Weapon of War

In no other country has sexual violence matched the scale of brutality reached in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During nearly two decades of conflicts between rebels and government forces, an estimated 150,000 Congolese women and girls fell victim to mass rape. That figure continues to rise. WEAPON OF WAR, an award-winning film honored by Amnesty International, journeys to the heart of this crisis, where we meet its perpetrators. In personal interviews, soldiers and former combatants provide openhearted but shocking testimony about rape in the DRC. Despite differing views on causes or criminal status, all reveal how years of conflict, as well as discrimination against women, have normalized brutal sexual violence. We also see former rapists struggling to change their own or others’ behavior, and reintegrate into their communities. A companion to FIGHTING THE SILENCE and its portraits of Congolese rape survivors, this indispensable resource provides unique insights into strategic uses of rape as a military weapon - and the motives of the men who employ it.
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Africa Rising

Every day, 6,000 girls from the Horn of Africa to sub-Saharan nations are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). With fierce determination and deep love for their communities, brave African activists are leading a formidable, fearless grassroots movement to end 5,000 years of FGM. An insightful look at the frontlines of a quiet revolution taking the continent by storm, this extraordinarily powerful film is one of the first to focus on African solutions to FGM. Beautifully directed by Emmy Award® winner Paula Heredia and produced by Equality Now, AFRICA RISING travels through remote villages in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania. Weaving together dynamic footage and the poignant stories of girls personally affected by FGM, it shows how African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation. Convincing circumcisers to lay down their knives, engaging the police to implement the law, and honing leadership skills in girls, these determined activists have been working tirelessly for years to conceptualize their campaign. AFRICA RISING paints an intimate portrait of the broadly-based but little-known anti-FGM movement and shows that courageous, creative and resourceful individuals can change the course of history.
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Mrs. Goundo's Daughter

Mrs. Goundo is fighting to remain in the United States. But it’s not just because of the ethnic conflict and drought that has plagued her native Mali. Threatened with deportation, her two-year-old daughter could be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), like 85 percent of women and girls in Mali. Using rarely cited grounds for political asylum, Goundo must convince an immigration judge that her daughter is in danger. Sensitive and moving, this important film reveals how women are profoundly affected by the legal struggles surrounding immigration. As issues of asylum, international law and human rights collide with FGM and its devastating health consequences, filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater travel between an FGM ceremony in a Malian village, where dozens of girls are involved, to the West African expatriate community of Philadelphia, where Mrs. Goundo challenges beliefs and battles the American legal system for her child’s future.
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Nollywood Lady

Peace Anyiam-Fibresima of Lagos, Nigeria is an impresario of showbiz and an impassioned spokeswoman for the thriving and innovative African film industry. She is “Nollywood Lady,” an ex-lawyer, producer, filmmaker, and the founder and CEO of the influential African Academy of Motion Pictures. And she is reshaping the way Africans see themselves—and how the world sees Africans. Sharing her vision for transforming preconceptions about Africa and African images with filmmaker Dorothee Wenner, Anyiam-Fibresima takes viewers on an all-access tour to film locations, markets, and sit-downs with Nollywood professionals in the vibrant production hub of Lagos. Rounding out this insider’s primer to a dynamic $250 million industry, are several clips from the more than 1,500 direct-to-video, mostly low budget, culturally distinct, and immensely popular films Nollywood produces each year. Though some have yet to realize it, Africa’s film industry is the third largest film business on the globe (after Hollywood and Bollywood), the second largest employer in Nigeria (after oil), and a mighty enterprise uniquely captured in Nollywood Lady with humor, intelligence, and verve.
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Rough Aunties

Fearless, feisty and resolute, the “Rough Aunties” are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa. This documentary by internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE) follows the outspoken, multiracial cadre of Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka and Jackie, as they wage a daily battle against systemic apathy, corruption, and greed to help the most vulnerable and disenfranchised of their communities. Despite the harsh realities of violence, poverty, and racism in the women’s work at the Bobbi Bear child welfare organization and in the heartaches of their personal lives, the portraits that emerge on screen are filled with grace, wisdom, friendship, and a deeply stirring conviction. Neither politics, nor social or racial divisions stand a chance against the united force of the women. Once again Longinotto has managed to bring us an intimate portrait of change from Africa, this time from post-apartheid South Africa, a nation being transformed with hope and energy into a new democracy.
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Fighting the Silence

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s seven year war was the deadliest ever recorded in Africa. During that time, more than 80,000 women and girls were raped. Only now that the country is formally at peace are the consequences of the brutality becoming truly visible. Rape is slowly seeping into everyday life. FIGHTING THE SILENCE tells the story of ordinary Congolese women and men that are struggling to change their society: one that prefers to blame victims rather than prosecute rapists. Rape survivors and their families speak out openly about the suffering they endured because their culture considers women second class citizens and rape a taboo. They give voice to thousands of other survivors and their families who have chosen to hide their grief and remain silent for fear of being rejected by their families and community. Girls and women survivors tell of the brutality they experienced. Married couples openly talk about the pain they endure. Husbands talk of the pressures that led them to abandon their wives and why they agreed to take them back. A father explains why he has given up on his daughter’s future and how he wishes he could afford to take her rapist to court. Soldiers and policemen share their (shocking) views about why rape continues to flourish despite the war having officially ended four years ago.
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Iron Ladies of Liberia

After surviving a 14-year civil war and a government riddled with corruption, Liberia is ready for change. On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated President – the first freely elected female head of state in Africa. Having won a hotly contested election with the overwhelming support of women across Liberia, Sirleaf faces the daunting task of lifting her country from debt and devastation. She turns to a remarkable team of women, appointing them in positions such as police chief, finance minister, minister of justice, commerce minister and minister of gender. With exclusive access, directors Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge follow these “Iron Ladies” behind the scenes during their critical first year in office as they tackle indolent bureaucracy, black markets and the omnipresent threat of violent riots. Highlighting the challenges that African countries currently face, this film provides an uplifting example of women who have become the backbone of change. As the filmmakers explore a historic transition from authoritarianism to democracy, the viewer is treated to a joyous, inspirational testimony of the political power of women's leadership and diplomacy.
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The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo

Winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize in Documentary and the inspiration for a 2008 U.N. Resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war, this extraordinary film, shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), shatters the silence that surrounds the use of sexual violence as a weapon of conflict. Many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. Produced in association with HBO Documentary Films and the Fledgling Fund, this film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even-chillingly-the indifferent rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Harrowing moments of the film come as dozens of survivors recount their stories with an honesty and immediacy that is pulverizing in its intimacy and detail, but this powerful film also provides inspiring examples of resiliency, resistance, courage and grace. **Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing**
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Sisters in Law

Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival and screened to acclaim at more than 120 festivals around the world, SISTERS IN LAW is the bestselling documentary from internationally renowned director Kim Longinotto, co-directed by Florence Ayisi. In the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But two women determined to change their community are making progress that could change their country. This fascinating, often hilarious doc follows the work of State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba as they help women fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent. Six-year-old Manka is covered in scars and has run away from an abusive aunt, Amina is seeking a divorce to put an end to brutal beatings by her husband, the pre-teen Sonita has daringly accused her neighbor of rape. With fierce compassion, the two feisty and progressive-minded women dispense wisdom, wisecracks and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted. A cross between “Judge Judy” and “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” SISTERS IN LAW has audiences cheering when justice is served.
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God Sleeps in Rwanda

Uncovering amazing stories of hope in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, Academy Award-Nominee GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA captures the spirit of five courageous women as they rebuild their lives, redefine women’s roles in Rwandan society and bring hope to a wounded nation. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide left the country nearly 70 percent female, handing Rwanda’s women an extraordinary burden and an unprecedented opportunity. Girls are attending school in record numbers, and women now make up a large part of the country’s leadership. Working with two cameras and no crew except for their translator—a genocide survivor herself—the filmmakers uncover incredible stories: an HIV-positive policewoman raising four children alone and attending night school to become a lawyer, a teenager who has become head of household for her four siblings, and a young woman orphaned in her teens who is now the top development official in her area. Heart-wrenching and inspiring, this powerful film is a brutal reminder of the consequences of the Rwandan tragedy, and a tribute to the strength and spirit of those who are moving forth. ** Emmy Winner for Best Documentary and Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short!**
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Europlex

The fourth in Ursula Biemann's critically acclaimed series of video essays that investigates migration across borders, EUROPLEX, a collaboration with Angela Sanders, tracks the daily, sometimes illicit, border crossings between Morocco and Spain- a rare intersection of the first and third worlds. Paying off officials to look the other way, workers smuggle contraband across the border, sometimes crossing up to 11 times a day. In a now common scenario of global economics, Moroccan women work in North Africa to produce goods destined for the European market. And in perhaps the most surreal example of border logic, domesticas commute into a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, losing two hours as they step into the European time zone. With a mesmerizing soundtrack and a dizzying blend of video footage, digital graphics and text, the film exposes a fascinating, often hidden layer in the cultural and economic landscape between Europe and Africa- revealing the new rules and profound implications of globalization.
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Sisters of the Screen

Exploring the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora, Beti Ellerson’s engaging debut intersperses interviews with such acclaimed women directors as Safi Faye, Sarah Maldoror, Anne Mungai, Fanta Régina Nacro and Ngozi Onwurah with footage from their seminal work. With power and nuance, Ellerson also confronts the thorny question of cultural authenticity by revisiting the legendary 1991 FESPACO (Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou), in which diasporian women were asked to leave a meeting intended for African woman only. This film is both a valuable anthology and a fitting homage to the pioneers and new talents of African cinema.
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Simon & I

SIMON & I is an intimate and inspiring portrait of black South African gay rights activist Simon Nkoli, who died of AIDS in 1998, and his fellow activist and protégé, Bev Ditsie. Chronicling two remarkable decades of activism, their story charts the history of the gay and lesbian liberation movement in South Africa and presents a personal account of the devastating AIDS epidemic in Africa. Bev unfolds their unique relationship using a mixed format of interviews, archival images and newspaper clips, while speaking honestly about the challenges they faced and the difficult issue of sexism within the gay rights movement. Their hard work and unyielding determination moved South Africa to become the only country in the world to include sexual orientation in its constitutional Bill of Rights. An homage to a great figure in the gay and lesbian rights movement, SIMON & I is equally a tribute to an enduring friendship and bond between two remarkable leaders.
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Shouting Silent

SHOUTING SILENT explores the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic through the eyes of Xoliswa Sithole, an adult orphan who lost her mother to HIV/AIDS in 1996. Xoliswa journeys back home in search of other young women who have also lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS and are now struggling to raise themselves (and, in many cases, their siblings) on their own. Sithole lyrically interweaves their unsettling stories with highly stylized imagery to help convey her own painful memories and document the grim statistics of HIV infection in Africa. These testimonials powerfully demonstrate how entire generations of young people are growing up without their parents and chronicles the devastating impact the AIDS pandemic is having on orphaned children in South Africa. An arresting and timely piece, SHOUTING SILENT is also a cinematographic gem that artistically and meditatively captures how these young women are quickly slipping through the cracks of society.
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The Day I Will Never Forget

THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET is a gripping feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto that examines the practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya and the pioneering African women who are bravely reversing the tradition. In this epic work, women speak candidly about the practice and explain its cultural significance within Kenyan society. From gripping testimonials by young women who share the painful aftermath of their trauma to interviews with elderly matriarchs who stubbornly stand behind the practice, Longinotto paints a complex portrait of the current polemics and conflicts that have allowed this procedure to exist well into modern times. Demystifying the African tradition of female circumcision, Longinotto presents Nurse Fardhosa, a woman who is single-handedly reversing the ritual of female circumcision one village at a time by educating communities about its lasting emotional and physical scars. Also profiled are an inspiring group of runaway girls who are seeking a court injunction to stop their parents from forcing them to go through with the practice. Through their words the full implications of breaking with tradition are made clear, as is the incredible courage of the women and girls who risk social ostracism by taking a stand against the practice.
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Speaking Out: Women, AIDS and Hope in Mali

The fourth installment of Joanne Burke’s critically acclaimed NEW DIRECTIONS series on women's empowerment in developing countries, SPEAKING OUT presents a compelling case study on the impact of AIDS on women from Mali and the devastating effects the epidemic is having in Africa today. This critically acclaimed documentary profiles a remarkable HIV and AIDS support project in Bamako, Mali, sponsored by The Center for Care, Activity and Council for People Living with HIV (CESAC), and three brave women who tirelessly work on behalf of the infected community. Risking social ostracism and family rejection, Aminita, Oumou and Aissata are among a small group who dare to speak publicly about their HIV+ status. They help others with HIV, particularly women, by joining AFAS, the women's association for the support of widows and children of AIDS. Through their advocacy work they hope to demonstrate to the Mali government the desperate need for a more pro-active HIV and AIDS strategy. With the help of CESAC, these inspiring women are proving that an HIV+ diagnosis is not the end of life, but the start of a positive future for all African men and women.
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Africa, Africas

A rare collection from the emerging voices of African documentary filmmaking, this unique series daringly explores the social and cultural realities experienced in Africa today – including the infiltration of Western beauty standards, territorial displacement and high unemployment. FANTACOCA by Agnes Ndibi (23 minutes) presents the disturbing cultural phenomenon of skin bleaching in Cameroon and the challenge it is now posing on notions of black pride and identity. THE RIVER BETWEEN US by Maji-da Abdi (18 minutes) documents the alarming effects of war on a community of Ethiopian women and children who were forcibly relocated into refugee camps. LAAFI BALA by Fanta Regina Nacro (20 minutes) demonstrates the glaring causes of wide-spread unemployment and poverty in Burkina Faso, where few institutional resources and government support are available, and the debilitating effects this is having on women and youth.
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New Directions

NEW DIRECTIONS is award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke's series about women's empowerment in developing countries. Each one spotlights the critical role women are playing as community based leaders: providing education, inspiration and practical assistance to other women in their countries. WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE (1997, 30 minutes) focuses on a group of five daring women who have taken up the challenge of creating their own future in the traditionally male field of carpentry. At its center is Fatima Shoriwa, an inspiration to many of her countrywomen. Owner of a thriving carpentry business, she also openly advocates education, family planning, safe sex practices, and economic self-sufficiency to achieve women's full voices in their own destinies. In Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest slum, Duang Prateep, a foundation created and run entirely by women, provides empowering choices and role models to the area's residents. WOMEN OF THAILAND (1997, 30 minutes) centers on Rotjana Phraesrithong, a remarkable young social worker who first came to Klong Toey as a poor, ill-educated country girl of twelve. As it follows Rotjana in her work with the women and children of Klong Toey, the film reveals how her innovative programs promote schooling for children and provide AIDS and health eduction. WOMEN OF GUATEMALA (2000, 30 minutes) is a compelling portrait of Maria Del Carmen Chavajay and Micaela Chavajay, part of the new generation of Mayan women. They head the Health Promoter Group of San Pedro La Laguna, a group of seventy-five women that provides health education and tackles the grave social and economic injustices facing Mayan women in Guatemala. In a region where doctors are few or non-existent and where the cost of medical care is prohibitively high, these dedicated women share the aspirations, insights and experiences that underscore the important contributions of Mayan women--and their roles as future leaders--in Guatemalan women's struggle for empowerment. The fourth installment of the series, SPEAKING OUT: WOMEN, AIDS AND HOPE IN MALI (2002, 55 minutes) profiles a remarkable HIV and AIDS support project in Bamako, Mali, sponsored by The Center for Care, Activity and Council for People Living with HIV (CESAC) and three brave women who tirelessly work on behalf of the infected community.
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New Directions: Women of Zimbabwe

From award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke's series about women's empowerment in developing countries, WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE focuses on a group of five daring women who have taken up the challenge of creating their own future in the traditionally male field of carpentry. At its center is Fatima Shoriwa, an inspiration to many of her countrywomen. Owner of a thriving carpentry business, she also openly advocates education, family planning, safe sex practices, and economic self-sufficiency for women. The group's other four members are Fatima's apprentices, who range in age from seventeen to twenty-three. Shown at work as mutually supportive members of a collaborative team, at home with their children, and on visits to their families in rural Zimbabwe, all five offer unique insights into the choices and changes in their lives as well as the traditional customs and roles that have shaped their experience.
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Women's Lives and Choices

This important and timely series deals with women's health and the social, cultural and economic factors underlying reproductive choices. VENTRE LIVRE (Ana Luiza Azevedo) paints a grim picture of life for women in Brazil where sterilization and abortion are often the only forms of birth control available. RISHTE (Manjira Datta) explores the practice of male sex preference in India and its ramifications for women. THE DESIRED NUMBER (by the award-winning director of THE BODY BEAUTIFUL Ngozi Onwurah) uses the Ibu Eze ceremony in Nigeria to highlight how family planning issues often conflict with traditional family values. The series was produced by Daniel Riesenfeld for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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The Desired Number

THE DESIRED NUMBER uses the Ibu Eze ceremony in Nigeria to highlight how family planning issues often conflict with traditional family values. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, yet has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. The Ibu Eze ceremony, which celebrates women who have given birth to large numbers of children, is perhaps the only recognition a woman will receive for her efforts. Contrasting with the festivities are views of community members who raise the idea that praising large families without considering quality of life is not necessarily a blessing for women.
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Out in South Africa

In 1994, Barbara Hammer was invited to South Africa to present a retrospective of her 77 films and videos at OUT IN SOUTH AFRICA, the first gay and lesbian film festival on the African continent. While in South Africa she taught several groups of people how to use video, and to record each other in interviews about life as a lesbian or gay man living in the townships. OUT IN SOUTH AFRICA is the result of Barbara Hammer’s journey and those interviews; a profoundly moving portrait of lesbian and gay life in a country juggling its spirit of optimism with the legacy of apartheid—both sexual and racial.
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Warrior Marks

WARRIOR MARKS is a poetic and political film about female genital mutilation from the director of A PLACE OF RAGE, presented by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of THE COLOR PURPLE and POSSESSING THE SECRET OF JOY. Female genital mutilation affects one hundred million of the world’s women and this remarkable film unlocks some of the cultural and political complexities surrounding this issue. Interviews with women from Senegal, Gambia, Burkino Faso, the United States and England who are concerned with and affected by genital mutilation are intercut with Walker’s own personal reflections on the subject.
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Women of Niger

Niger is a traditionally Islamic country where authorized polygamy and Muslim fundamentalism clash with the country’s struggle for democracy. In elections in 1993, men voted by proxy for their different wives and daughters. Women who speak out about their rights have been physically attacked and ex-communicated by the ayatollahs. Working together, women are the most ardent defenders of democracy, which offers the best hope of winning the equal rights which are still denied them. Critical viewing for those interested in women’s human rights and the impact of fundamentalism.
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Monday’s Girls

This fascinating documentary, by the filmmaker of THE BODY BEAUTIFUL, follows two young Nigerian women’s different experiences of a traditional rite of passage. Young virgins, irabo, spend five weeks in “fattening rooms”, emerging to dance before the villagers and to be married. The girls wear heavy copper coils on their legs to enforce inactivity as they are waited on and honored by their families. One of the young village women, Florence, is keen to take part. But Akisiye, who returns from the city at her father’s behest, is not certain she wants to. Combining voice-over and interviews, MONDAY'S GIRLS documents tradition, modernity, dissent and contradiction in African women’s lives.
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Pain, Passion and Profit

From the director of Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, PAIN, PASSION AND PROFIT is an inspirational look at women entrepreneurs through the eyes of the Body Shop founder, Anita Roddick, who has always maintained a strong commitment to the idea of “profits with principles.” Several women in Africa who have successfully developed small-scale business enterprises in their own communities provide a focus for Roddick to pose questions about how the role and status of women affects their enterprises and how those enterprises provide a means of community and economic development for women. PAIN, PASSION AND PROFIT gives an in-depth look at global feminism and economic development as well as a personal and spirited view of the connections between the experiences of women entrepreneurs in the First and Third Worlds.
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The Body Beautiful

This bold, stunning exploration of a white mother who undergoes a radical mastectomy and her Black daughter who embarks on a modeling career reveals the profound effects of body image and the strain of racial and sexual identity on their charged, intensely loving bond. At the heart of Onwurah’s brave excursion into her mother’s scorned sexuality is a provocative interweaving of memory and fantasy. The filmmaker plumbs the depths of maternal strength and daughterly devotion in an unforgettable tribute starring her real-life mother, Madge Onwurah.
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Sidet: Forced Exile

During the past two decades, more than two million refugees have left Ethiopia. Famine, poverty and political strife as well as the religious persecution caused by Eritrea’s annexation have already cost countless lives. Narrated by Salem Mekuria, an Ethiopian filmmaker in the US, this lucid documentary presents the life stories of three women refugees in neighboring Sudan. It traces the attempts of individual women to survive displacement, resettlement camps and ineffectual bureaucracy. An astute, politically sophisticated analysis of social and economic crisis from the perspective of Third World women.
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Angola Is Our Country

Angolan women are rarely heard describing the impact of South Africa’s undeclared war against their country. This moving documentary, produced in conjunction with the Organization of Angolan Women (OMA), highlights the contribution women make to the reconstruction of a country where war has consumed more than half the national budget and produced at least a million internal refugees.
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Naked Spaces

Shot with stunning elegance and clarity, NAKED SPACES explores the rhythm and ritual of life in the rural environments of six West African countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkino Faso, Togo, Benin and Senegal). The nonlinear structure of NAKED SPACES challenges the traditions of ethnographic filmmaking, while sensuous sights and sounds lead the viewer on a poetic journey to the most inaccessible parts of the African continent: the private interaction of people in their living spaces.
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Reassemblage

Women are the focus but not the object of Trinh T. Minh-ha’s influential first film, a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal. Through a complicity of interaction between film and spectator, REASSEMBLAGE reflects on documentary filmmaking and the ethnographic representation of cultures. “With uncanny eloquence, REASSEMBLAGE distills sounds and images of Senegalese villagers and their surroundings to reconsider the premises and methods of ethnographic filmmaking. By disjunctive editing and a probing narration this ‘documentary’ strikingly counterpoints the authoritative stance typical of the National Geographic approach.” — Laura Thielan
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Your Children Come Back to You

Alile Sharon Larkin's first film is a contemporary allegory about values and assimilation. The film literalizes the meaning of a "mother country" by means of the story of a young girl, Tovi, torn between two surrogate mothers: one comfortably bourgeois, the other nationalist.
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