Marceline. A Woman. A Century

MARCELINE. A WOMAN. A CENTURY is a fascinating portrait of the persevering French filmmaker, writer, and Holocaust survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (1928-2018). Marceline was only 15 when both she and her father, a Polish Jew from Lódź, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She survived but her father didn’t, and Marceline had to find radical and unconventional ways to heal after the tragedies of the war. In 1961, she appeared in Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s landmark film Chronicle of a Summer, which gave birth to the term cinema verité. Later she married the legendary Dutch documentary director Joris Ivens, traveled with him to Vietnam, and co-directed films such as 17th Parallel: Vietnam in War (1968) and How Yukong Moved the Mountains (1976). Filmed as she was nearing 90 years old and living in Paris, MARCELINE. A WOMAN. A CENTURY spans the broad arc of her life from Holocaust survivor to political activist to combatively critical filmmaker. Looking back on the momentous events she experienced and filmed such as the Algerian and Vietnam Wars and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, MARCELINE is a thought-provoking chronicle of a remarkable witness of the 20th century.
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The Rest I Make Up

Maria Irene Fornes was one of America's greatest playwrights and most influential teachers, but many know her only as the ex-lover of writer and social critic Susan Sontag. The visionary Cuban-American dramatist constructed astonishing worlds onstage, writing over 40 plays and winning nine Obie Awards. At the vanguard of the nascent Off-Off Broadway experimental theater movement in NYC, Fornes is often referred to as American theater's "Mother Avant-Garde." When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off. The duo travels from New York to Havana, Miami to Seattle, exploring the playwright's remembered past and their shared present. Theater luminaries such as Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson, and others weigh in on Fornes's important contributions. What began as an accidental collaboration becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting.
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Regarding Susan Sontag

REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Endlessly curious, passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. This beautifully constructed documentary tracks Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words as read by Patricia Clarkson. From her early infatuation with books to her first experience in a gay bar; from her early marriage to her 15-year relationship with legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is a fascinating look at a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, illness, and terrorism continue to resonate today. REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast nationwide on HBO.
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LaDonna Harris: Indian 101

LADONNA HARRIS: INDIAN 101 from Comanche filmmaker Julianna Brannum, chronicles the life of Comanche activist and national civil rights leader LaDonna Harris and the role that she has played in Native and mainstream America history since the 1960s. In this new verite style documentary, Brannum, the great niece of Harris, celebrates her life and the personal struggles that led her to become a voice for Native people and her contemporary work to strengthen and rebuild indigenous communities and train emerging Native leaders around the world. Harris’s activism began in Oklahoma, fighting segregation and assisting grassroots Native and women’s groups. In Washington LaDonna introduced landmark programs and legislation returning territory to tribes, improving education and healthcare for Native Americans, ending job discrimination against women, and targeting other pressing issues of the time. For over three decades, “Indian 101,” her course for legislators, combatted ignorance about America’s most marginalized population. Using interviews, archival footage and photographs, this film justly celebrates one of the most important women leaders in Native American and U.S. history.
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Violette Leduc: In Pursuit of Love

The French author and memoirist Violette Leduc was a controversial pioneer. Her taboo-breaking memoir, La Bâtard, (The Bastard), became an enormous literary success. Through her work, she confronted the experience of being an illegitimate child, homosexuality, abortion, and explored with intensity and total candor the reaches of female desire – all scandalous, indecent subjects for macho 1950s France. A contemporary of Sartre, Cocteau and Genet and published by Albert Camus, she was encouraged to write by Simone de Beauvoir, whom Leduc was in love with. De Beauvoir secretly awarded her a pension for 15 years until Leduc had her own successful following. After decades of toiling in obscurity, Leduc would go on to publish the lesbian classic Thérèse and Isabelle. Director Esther Hoffenberg uses rare archival footage of Leduc, interviews with friends and scholars, and the author’s own words to rediscover the impact of Leduc’s work and sketch the controversial woman behind them and one of lesbian literature’s giants.
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Salma

When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up for 25 years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. During that time, words were Salma’s salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper and, through an intricate system, was able to sneak them out of the house, eventually getting them into the hands of a publisher. Against the odds, Salma became the most famous Tamil poet: the first step to discovering her own freedom and challenging the traditions and code of conduct in her village. As with her other work (PINK SARIS, ROUGH AUNTIES, SISTERS IN LAW), master documentarian Kim Longinotto trains her camera on an iconoclastic woman. Salma’s extraordinary story is one of courage and resilience. Salma has hopes for a different life for the next generation of girls, but as she witnesses, familial ties run deep, and change happens very slowly. SALMA helps us understand why the goal of global education of girls is one the most critical areas of empowerment and development of women worldwide.
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Ulrike Ottinger - Nomad from the Lake

This intimate personal portrait of Ulrike Ottinger, a unique, influential voice in women’s cinema for over four decades, begins at the lakeside city of Constance, where she was born and started her career. Describing key moments in her life, including the impact of student protests in Paris and her move from painting to filmmaking, Kramer traces Ottinger’s artistic development. Excerpts from her films, notably Madame X; Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press; Johana d’Arc of Mongolia; and documentaries shot in Asia (recently released by WMM), explore her luxuriant cinematic style combining fact and fiction in opulent, idiosyncratic images. Interviews with collaborators and friends offer further insights into Ottinger’s singular body of work. A richly rewarding close-up of the woman director who, along with Margarethe von Trotta and Helke Sander, helped launch New German Cinema on world screens, ULRIKE OTTINGER—NOMAD FROM THE LAKE is an indispensable companion for any Ottinger film.
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The LuLu Sessions

Unlike anyone you've ever met, LuLu is a hard-living, chain-smoking rebel with a tender heart; poet with a potty mouth; farm girl; former cheerleader; world-class biochemistry pioneer; and beloved professor. Aka Dr. Louise Nutter, she has just discovered a new anti-cancer drug when, at 42, she learns she has terminal breast cancer. Reminiscent of Peter Friedman and Tom Joslin’s SILVERLAKE LIFE, THE LULU SESSIONS, via video diary, records the journey S. Casper Wong shared with her mentor, best friend, and on-again-off-again lover over the last 15 months before LuLu died. Her compelling film chronicles how the two women test the limits of their bond and take on life's ultimate adventure, shedding old presumptions and values while adopting new ones in the process. Reflective, intensely honest, and surprisingly humorous, this unforgettable documentary makes life’s last journey accessible in ways rarely seen before on screen.
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Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words

Anna May Wong knew she wanted to be a movie star from the time she was a young girl—and by 17 she became one. A third generation Chinese-American, she went on to make dozens of films in Hollywood and Europe. She was one of the few actors to successfully transition from silent to sound cinema, co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, Anthony Quinn and Douglas Fairbanks along the way. She was glamorous, talented and cosmopolitan—yet she spent most of her career typecast either as a painted doll or a scheming dragon lady. For years, older generations of Chinese-Americans frowned upon the types of roles she played; but today a younger generation of Asian Americans sees her as a pioneering artist, who succeeded in a hostile environment that hasn’t altogether changed. Yunah Hong’s engrossing documentary is an entertaining and imaginative survey of Wong’s career, exploring the impact Wong had on images of Asian American women in Hollywood, both then and now. Excerpts from Wong’s films, archival photographs and interviews enhance this richly detailed picture of a woman and her extraordinary life.
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Sweatshop Cinderella: A Portrait of Anzia Yezierska

In the forefront of early twentieth-century American literature about immigrant women’s lives, Anzia Yezierska’s work includes short fiction, novels, and essays, and her output spans 50 years. SWEATSHOP CINDERELLA, by award-winning filmmaker/historian Suzanne Wasserman, vividly depicts this Jewish immigrant writer’s amazing story. Arriving from Poland around 1890, Yezierska’s family settled on the Lower East Side, where she toiled in sweatshops and laundries, studying English at night. Defying her parents, she pursued her education and became a teacher. Twice married and divorced, she also had a daughter. At the urging of philosopher John Dewey, with whom she fell in and out of love, Yezierska devoted herself full-time to writing stories and novels in Yiddish-English dialect that won awards and rave reviews. Soon Hollywood, which turned two of her works into movies, beckoned her to write screenplays. When disenchantment with that world set in, she returned to New York, writing and publishing her best work between 1922 and 1950. Using archival stills and footage, silent film excerpts, letters, newspaper clippings, and interviews, this is a major contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Yezierska and her work.
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Antonia Pantoja

Antonia Pantoja (1922-2002), visionary Puerto Rican educator, activist, and early proponent of bilingual education, inspired multiple generations of young people and fought for many of the rights that people take for granted today. Unbowed by obstacles she encountered as a black, Puerto Rican woman, she founded ASPIRA to empower Puerto Rican youth, and created other enduring leadership and advocacy organizations in New York and California, across the United States, and in Puerto Rico. Recognized for her achievements in 1996, Dr. Pantoja was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon civilians in the US. In this important documentary, Pantoja’s compelling story is told through never-before-seen home movies, archival footage, and personal passionate testimony from Pantoja herself and some of her countless protégés, as well as her life partner. Highlighting major landmarks in Pantoja’s biography and long, productive career, the film shows her profound commitment to transforming society, her pivotal role in the Puerto Rican community’s fight to combat racism and discrimination, and her pioneering work in securing a bilingual voice in the US. An eloquent tribute to a remarkable woman, the film sheds new light on the Puerto Rican community’s far-reaching triumphs.
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El General

Past and present collide in this extraordinarily well crafted documentary when filmmaker Natalia Almada (ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY), winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s US Directing Award for documentary, brings to life audio recordings she inherited from her grandmother. These recordings feature Alicia Calles’ reminiscences about her own father—Natalia’s great-grandfather—General Plutarco Elías Calles, a revolutionary general who became president of Mexico in 1924. In his time, Calles was called “El Bolshevique” and “El Jefe Máximo”, or “the foremost chief”. Today, he remains one of Mexico’s most controversial figures, illustrating both the idealism and injustices of the country’s history. Through Alicia’s voice, this visually stunning, stylistically innovative film moves between the conflicting memories of a daughter grappling with her remembrances of her father and his violent public legacy. It draws exceptional strength from meticulously edited audio, haunting photographs, archival newsreels, and old Hollywood films, combined with an original evocative soundtrack, sweeping footage of modern-day Mexico City, and interviews with today’s working poor. EL GENERAL is a poetic and cinematic exploration of historical judgment, and a complex, arresting portrait of a family and country living under the shadows of the past.
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Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the US presidency and was the driving force behind Title IX, the landmark legislation that transformed women’s opportunities in higher education and athletics. Mink was an Asian American woman who fought racism and sexism while redefining US politics. Her tumultuous, often lonely political journey reveals what can be at stake for female politicians that defy expectations, push limits and adhere to their principles. Mink encountered sexism within her own party, whose leaders disliked her independent style and openly maneuvered against her. And her liberal views, particularly her vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, engendered intense criticism. A compelling portrait of an iconoclastic figure that remains seldom spotlighted in history books, this film illuminates how Mink’s daring to remain “ahead of the majority” in her beliefs enabled groundbreaking changes for the rights of the disenfranchised. A woman of the people as well as a pioneer, a patriot and an outcast, Patsy Mink’s intriguing story embodies the history, ideals and spirit of America.
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Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker?

A multi-layered work featuring animation, archival footage and interviews with the likes of William Burroughs, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Hell, Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker by Austrian artist Barbara Caspar and co-produced by Annette Pisacane (Nico Icon) and Markus Fischer, is a thoughtful and creative film biography/essay on the late outlaw writer and punk icon, whose formally inventive novels, published from the ’70s through the mid-’90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon. A beguiling and intensely contradictory figure, Acker is best known for books which creatively appropriated texts from Great White Male writers, retelling them in an emotionally raw, sexually blunt, and politically questioning female voice. With her conceptual art videos in the ’70s, her close-cropped dyed blond hair, her tattoos, and her piercings, Acker was a performance artist, proto riot grrl, and living link to the transgressive authors of the ’50s and ’60s US and French experimental fiction scenes. Caspar has made a film that captures the essence of both Acker the writer and Acker the person while celebrating the avant-garde legacy of an artist who forever expanded the limits of self-expression. — Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
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The Sermons of Sister Jane

From Oscar and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Allie Light and Irving Saraf (Dialogues With Madwomen and In The Shadow of The Stars), in partnership with Carol Monpere, also an Emmy Award-winner, comes their latest film, The Sermons Of Sister Jane: Believing the Unbelievable. This documentary is an engaging portrait that sparkles with the courage, wit and humanity of Sister Jane Kelly, who combines her deep spiritual faith with her equally powerful commitment towards resistance and change. When Sister Jane discovered that a priest in her church was molesting young men and stealing from the congregation, and when the evidence was ignored by the church, she contacted the press, creating a scandal. Throughout the film she shares her progressive views on issues such as birth control, homosexuality, and women priests. She impels the Catholic Church to return to egalitarian roots of community. The scenes filmed at Plowshares, an organization she created to feed and serve the poor and homeless, demonstrate Sister Jane’s powerful ability to translate her faith into profoundly meaningful action. This touching documentary, skillfully produced by these acclaimed filmmakers, reveals Sister Jane’s long struggle to speak out against what she believed was wrong, and how this ongoing battle ultimately has heart-breaking results.
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Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Following Chisholm from her own announcement of her candidacy through her historic speech in Miami at the Democratic National Convention, the story is a fight for inclusion. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Period footage and music, interviews with supporters, opponents, observers, and Chisholm's own commentary all illuminate her groundbreaking initiative, as well as political and social currents still very much alive today.
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A Woman's Word

Beautiful and intimate, A WOMAN'S WORD depicts the life and writings of three exceptional authors of the Arab word – Nawal Al Saadawi from Egypt, Hanan Al Shaykh from Lebanon, and Janata Bennuna from Morocco. For all three women, becoming a writer was never a choice but a necessity – a vocation fought for and hard won. In her own way, each writer struggles as an Arab woman in a society that often wants to shut down her powerful voice. Conveying the intense drive of these women to write as a way to make sense of the world, to battle their sense of alienation or to express their political dissent, this documentary shatters the clichéd image of the oppressed and helpless Arab woman too often portrayed in the media. A WOMAN'S WORD deftly weaves together interviews, family photos, voiceovers of each author reading from her work, and lingering, sensual footage of the cities each woman lives in. Each author discusses her childhood, her development as a writer, and the political and cultural forces that have shaped her life and work. By allowing the viewer to enter, for a moment, into the vibrant lives of these authors, this film offers an accessible introduction or insightful companion piece to the works of these authors.
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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS, the directorial debut of actress LisaGay Hamilton, celebrates the life of legendary African American actress, poet and political activist Beah Richards, best known for her Oscar nominated role in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. While Richards’ struggled to overcome racial stereotypes throughout her long career onstage and onscreen in Hollywood and New York, she also had an influential role in the fight for Civil Rights, working alongside the likes of Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois and Louise Patterson. After performing with Richards in Jonathan Demme's Beloved, Hamilton was compelled to get her inspiring story on film, and began the project with Demme as co-producer. Hamilton’s intimate interviews capture Richards’ feisty passion and enduring elegance, and are woven together with a cache of archival material of her work as an actress and activist, including riveting performances of some of her most famous poems. Enlightening and moving, the film is a fitting tribute to Richard’s life of integrity, leadership and service to the two cultures she loved so deeply—the arts and the African American community.
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Visions of the Spirit

This intimate and inspiring portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker explores the compassion, insight and strength that have made her one of the most admired women in the United States. Filmed at Walker’s California home, in her Georgia hometown, and on location with the film crew of THE COLOR PURPLE, VISIONS OF THE SPIRIT shows us Walker as mother, daughter, philosopher, activist and of course, writer. Featherston’s film explores the roots of Walker’s southern African American feminist consciousness through in-depth conversations with the writer and members of her family. African American feminist literary scholar Barbara Christian places Walker in the history of African American literature, archival footage of the civil rights movement provides background for Walker’s political vision. A perfect introduction to the writer for literature, African American and women’s studies classes, libraries and general audiences.
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Remembering Thelma

Guggenheim Award-winning filmmaker Kathe Sandler provides viewers with a lively profile of dance instructor and performer Thelma Hill. The film contains rare footage of original Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the New York Negro Ballet of the 1950s.
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Syvilla

A portrait of Syvilla Fort focusing on the beauty of her choreography, the virtuosity of her dancing, and her role as teacher of a generation of African American dancers.
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