International Women’s Day: My Favorite Films By and About Women

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite films by and about women. (I’ve co-opted “by” for my own purposes so I can include editing, a craft near and dear to my heart.)

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the remarkable, groundbreaking, inspiring work done by women in the industry — just many, many of the ones I love. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some I’ll kick myself for later. If I’ve left out your favorite, please comment!

Yes, this is a long list. I apologize to your bandwidth.

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True/False 2016: A Triumph Of Feminist Art

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                (Photo courtesy of http://truefalse.org/educate/high-school)

The True/False film festival is my favorite time of year. Forget Christmas or New Year’s — for three immersive, frantic days, I hop from theater to theater stuffing my eyeballs with as many documentaries as possible. That’s my idea of a holiday.

Hopefully the festival’s reputation means you’ve heard of it, but for the sake of background: True/False is the child of creators Paul Sturtz and David Wilson, and takes place not in prestigious Toronto or California, but in humble-ish Columbia, Missouri (where yours truly attended college at Stephens’ Film Department). Its yearly offerings, screened not for awards or press, but out of the proprietors’ love of cinema and their desire to share it with the community, are always challenging. Thematically, psychologically, technically. I rarely feel more inspired to create or as fulfilled as a viewer than I do after a True/False weekend, not to mention the quasi-spiritual experience of sharing those feelings with thousands of attendees. You don’t need to be a member of the industry; you just need to feel electrified by film. True/False is as much about the love as it is about the artform.

The fest has always provided women filmmakers a space to flourish alongside their male counterparts, but 2016 felt special. Maybe it was because I’d missed the last two years thanks to illness (GREAT TIMING, FLU!!), and I was more closely attuned to the presence of women-driven projects than I’d been before. Male filmmakers and subjects still make up a decent majority of True/False’s schedule, but I’m reeling from not just the diversity of female talent on display this year, but the amount. Of the ten films I could squeeze in seven were either directed by or about women, and some were both. I even missed some. Their stories were seen, their voices unabashedly heard, and nobody (to my knowledge) questioned it.

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