#SHEDOCS: Online Film Festival Marches into March

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March marches in with the second annual #SheDocs, an online film festival showcasing 12 documentaries highlighting extraordinary women and their accomplishments in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The fest is presented by ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead campaign, sponsored by Eileen Fisher, Inc., and features a host of Independent Lens films at the center.

Running March 1st-31st, the festival presents a collection of films by prominent independent filmmakers, with a special focus on women working to transform their lives, their communities, and the world. All 12 films are available free online on the Women and Girls Lead website. The films will be supported by nationwide online social screening events to inspire dialogue and deeper connection with the films.

“ITVS is thrilled to again be working with Eileen Fisher, Inc. as lead sponsor of Women and Girls Lead’s #SheDocs online film festival,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. “Last year’s festival attracted over 122,000 online viewers and we expect more this year as we offer a dynamic new slate of films to inspire further conversation worldwide.”

The 12 feature-length and short films featured in the #SheDocs online film festival were selected as extraordinary examples of leadership exemplified by women across the U.S and abroad from the Women and Girls Lead collection of 50 films.

Trailer

This year’s films are:

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth (by Pratibha Parmar), which tells writer-activist Walker’s inspiring story coming from a background of poverty and violent racism;

From Steve James (director of Hoop Dreams, the International Documentary Association’s pick for the all-time greatest documentary), comes The Interrupters, an acclaimed film in its own right about Chicago men and women like Ameena Matthews, a former gang member-turned-activist, trying to “interrupt” shootings and protect their communities from the violence they once employed;

Duane Baughman’s Bhutto, an intimate look at one of the most fascinating and significant world leaders of our time, Benazir Bhutto, who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms;

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman and at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation;

Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of a dictator in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003;

Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, the story of a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957;

The Graduates (Girls Hour), by Bernardo Ruiz, looks at three adolescent Latinas fighting through many different obstacles to obtain their high school diplomas;

Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen’s acclaimed, powerfully hopeful The Revolutionary Optimists, which looks at child activists bringing about change in Calcutta;

and Kind-Hearted Woman [watch], David Sutherland’s portrait of Robin Poor Bear, a 32-year-old divorced single mother and Oglala Sioux woman living on North Dakota’s Spirit Lake Reservation.

Revolutionary Optimists

Revolutionary Optimists

Short Films

Also on tap during the fest are three short films:

Good Country People, by Tanya Edwards, is about a Jamaican woman forced to drive a cab in order to make money for her family, in Spanish Town, Jamaica, one of the island’s oldest and poorest rural communities; Not Another Word, by Cherien Dabis, looks at three generations of Arab women in a family conflict over their plans for the future of the granddaughter who refuses to get married; and Paola Mendoza’s Half of Her, which is set in a cramped tenement building in New York City’s Chinatown, where a woman about to give birth struggles against an oppressive husband.

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

Online Events

In addition to the 12 films streaming online, #SheDocs invites viewers to watch and discuss films together online via a number of scheduled OVEE Online Social Screenings throughout March. In partnership with the national PBS Series American Masters, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth kicks off the first online social screening on Monday March 3rd, 3pm PST / 6pm EST, featuring filmmaker Pratihba Parmar and other special guests chatting alongside the film.

Watch and review all 12 of these feature and short films, beginning March 1st, at www.womenandgirlslead.org.

About Craig Phillips

ITVS Interactive Editor, based in San Francisco.
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