2018 Boston Women's Film Festival

We are excited to announce our first set of films! The rest of the schedule will be posted as we finalize the program! 

FAMILY

OPENING NIGHT FILM! THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH. 7:00 PM!

 

(2018) dir Laura Steinel w/Taylor Schilling, Bryn Vale, Kate McKinnon, Brian Tyree Henry [85 min; DCP]

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Kate Stone (Taylor Schilling) is a workaholic. She hates kids. She is successful but unpopular at work. She hates most social situations because she doesn’t know what to do with her arms. And now she has been saddled with taking care of her awkward 12-year-old niece Maddie(Bryn Vale) – who she barely knows – just when a big proposal is due at work. Kate thinks this is as bad as her life can get – until Maddie runs away to become a Juggalo.

 

 

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SHIRKERS

Friday, September 28, 2018
6:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Sandi Tan (USA, 2018, 96 min.). Digital.

In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan shot Singapore’s first road movie with her enigmatic American mentor, Georges, who then vanished along with all of the footage. The 16mm film was recovered 20 years later, sending Tan, who is now a novelist living in Los Angeles, on a personal odyssey in search of Georges’s footprints. This fascinating film earned Sandi Tan the award for Best Director of a World Cinema Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.


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LITTLE WOODS

Friday, September 28, 2018
7:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Nia DeCosta (USA, 2018, 96 min.). Digital.

LITTLE WOODS is a neo-western drama set in the heart of today’s America. Ollie (Thompson) is barely making ends meet in economically depressed Little Woods, a fracking boomtown in North Dakota, by selling coffee out of the back of her truck at local job sites. She has less than a month left on her probation. Probation she received for helping the local residents access drugs and medical help across the border in Canada.

LITTLE WOODS is co-presented by the Roxbury International Film Festival.

 

 
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NARCISSISTER ORGAN PLAYER

Friday, September 28, 2018
8:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium.

Directed by Narcissister (USA, 2017, 92 min.). Digital.

One of the contemporary art world’s most acclaimed mixed-media and performance artists, the masked and merkin-clad Narcissister created this autobiographical documentary that showcases her spectacle-rich approach to explorations of gender, racial identity, and sexuality. Interweaving home movies and stories of her unique family history with footage of the visceral performances they inspired, Narcissister Organ Playeris a cinematic journey into the mind and body of a sui generis creator.

Before the film, local artist Lani Asuncion will perform her piece BLOODLESS on the stage of the Remis Auditorium. Like Narcissister, Asuncion frequently explores her heritage and intersectional identity in her work. BLOODLESS is about what lead to the annexation of the nation of Hawai’i in 1893, when Queen Lili’uokalani stepped down from power to allow the American sugar planters under Sanford Ballard Dole  (currently known as Dole Food Company) backed by the U.S. military to establish a new provincial government with Dole as president. Asuncion’s father was born and raised on one of these implemented sugar plantations, and this connection has influenced her life and work.

NARCISSISTER ORGAN PLAYER is co-presented by the Boston Underground Film Festival and by the Roxbury International Film Festival.

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KIM SWIMS

Saturday, September 29, 2018
1:30 pm – 3:25 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Kate Webber (USA, 2017, 75 min.). Digital.

This documentary follows accomplished open water swimmer Kim Chambers as she chases her biggest dream yet: to become the first woman to complete a solo swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge—a 30-mile stretch of water known for frigid temperatures, swirling currents, and the world’s largest great white sharks. Many consider it to be the hardest marathon swim in the world, and rightfully so, as only four other people (all men) have completed it. Following Kim during the physically and emotionally challenging lead-up to the swim and then the swim itself, Kim Swims presents a look into what propels her to conquer her fear, pursue her passion, and achieve her greatest potential.


YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN

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Saturday, September 29, 2018
2:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre.

Directed by Pietra Brettkelly w/Guo Pei (New Zealand, 2018, 97 min) Digital.

How did the daughter of a communist soldier and primary school teacher, raised during the Cultural Revolution, become the designer of choice for China’s one percent, positioned for global significance?

That is what filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly questions as she takes us into the world of Chinese designer Guo Pei just as she is preparing to present to the Fédération Française de la Couturein Paris in hopes of being accepted by the organization as an haute couture designer.

Guo Pei first made fashion headlines around the world when Rihanna wore her massive canary yellow gown to the Met Gala in 2015. An intricately embroidered and bejeweled piece, the product of years rather than months of work – an opulent one-off, likely only ever to be worn on a catwalk or red carpet. In YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN we learn about her inspirations, the logistics of how her designs are realized, as well as where she came from and how she first learned to sew.


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I AM NOT A WITCH

Saturday, September 29, 2018
4:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Rungano Nyoni (UK/France/Germany/Zambia, 2017, 93 min.). Digital.

Set in present-day Zambia, this surreal parable follows a 9-year-old girl who is accused of witchcraft and promptly sent to a “witch camp” – an open-air prison where so-called witches are tethered to spools of ribbon to prevent them from flying away. Although she has few spoken lines, young actress Margaret Mulubwa is a magnetic presence, commanding the screen at every moment. Part anthropological dissection, part absurdist social satire, I Am Not a Witch is a genre-splicing tour de force from first-time director Rungano Nyoni.

I AM NOT A WITCH is co-presented by the Roxbury International Film Festival.


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NETIZENS

Saturday, September 29, 2018
4:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Cynthia Lowen (USA, 2018, 96 min.). Digital.

Filmmaker Cynthia Lowen’s (Bully) latest documentary continues her investigation of the complex psychology of contemporary America. This powerful film focuses on three women and their war against the internet’s most malevolent forces: online, physical, and emotional harassment. Carrie Goldberg is an attorney who started her own practice when she was unable to find one that fits her concerns as a survivor of both domestic violence and cyber abuse from a boyfriend of four months. Tina Reine is a successful business woman who struggles to regain control over her life and career after a former lover creates a vicious blog dedicated to shaming her. Anita Sarkeesian, known for her web videos “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” was at the center of the ‘Gamergate’ controversy and is a constant subject of harassment. They battle a justice system that refuses to see digital abuse as a crime – and challenge the idea that cyber harassment exists ‘only’ online. Lowen’s documentary examines not just social and institutional indifference (though the #metoo movement is changing much of this) but also the strategies that women are forced to create in order to navigate a culture that all too often doesn’t understand the cruelty and vindictiveness that can be experienced on the internet.

NETIZENS is co-presented by GlobeDocs Film Festival.


FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

ALL ABOUT NINA

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Saturday, September 29, 2018
7:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Eva Vives (USA, 2018, 97 min.). Digital.

Meet Nina (Winstead). She’s a funny, filthy, feminist comedian. She doesn’t do relationships but she does puke after every gig. In order to fully break from an abusive lover, she moves to LA to audition for a prestigious comedy show a-la Saturday Night Live. While there she meets Rafe (Common), and her commitment to not being committed is challenged by his determined pursuit – and their obvious chemistry.

Anchored by a knockout performance by Winstead and with echoes of recent performances by Tig Notaro and Hannah Gadsby, ALL ABOUT NINA is an excellent contemporary romantic dramedy with a hard-bitten edge.


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MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS

Saturday, September 29, 2018
9:30 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Mouly Surya (Indonesia, 2017, 93 min.). Digital.

In Indonesian with English Subtitles.

MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS is a feminist Spaghetti western from Indonesia – complete with soaring guitar score and strange, surreal touches. After surviving an encounter with a band of rapist thieves, Marlina (Timothy) leaves her remote home on a mission to confess to her crimes. She travels on foot, by bus, and, fittingly, by horse as she carries the severed head of her rapist with her in a sack.

The film is gruesome, funny, and beautiful, deftly navigated through the shifting tones by filmmaker Mouly Surya. It is a revelation and the perfect example of the kinds of wonderful surprises we will see as more and more diverse voices are able to contribute to the film industry.

MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS is co-presented by the Boston Underground Film Festival


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JAMILIA

Sunday, September 30, 2018
1:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Aminatou Echard (France, 2018, 84 min.). Digital. Kirghiz, Uzbek, Russian, English, French with English subtitles.

JAMILIA, the debut documentary feature from French director Aminatou Echard, begins with a woman’s voice describing the self-confident and strong-willed Jamilia. She is the protagonist of Chingiz Aitmatov’s eponymous Soviet-era novel. In the novel, Jamilia breaks with tradition and leaves her arranged marriage to elope with her great love. Echard uses the heroine as a jumping-off point to enable women in Kyrgyzstan to tell their own stories. It quickly becomes clear that, for these women, Jamilia represents the possibilities of self-determination. No longer simply a character, Jamilia has become a symbol for personal conflicts, longing, and desire for contemporary Kyrgyz women.

Shot is stunning, beautiful Super-8, with separately recorded audio, Echard’s film juxtaposes the gorgeously composed visuals of day-to-day life with the powerful voices of the women of Kyrgyzstan. At once connecting literature, reality, past and the present, Echard’s film is a testament to the importance of women’s stories.


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DAISIES

Sunday, September 30, 2018
1:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Věra Chytilová (Czechoslovakia, 1966, 74 min.). 35mm. Czech with English subtitles.

One of the most anarchic films of all time, Věra Chytilová’s absurdist farce follows the maniacal exploits of two freethinking young women. Believing the world to be “spoiled,” they embark on a series of pranks in which nothing—food, clothes, men, war—is taken seriously. Presented in a new 35mm print, Daisies is an aesthetically and politically adventurous film that is widely considered one of the great works of feminist cinema.

For this special brunch time screening, we will be selling mimosas and pastries in Taste Café to enjoy while you watch (no food fights, please)!


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EVA & CANDELA

Sunday, September 30, 2018
3:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre 

Directed by Ruth Caudeli (Colombia, 2018, 93 min.). Digital.

EVA AND CANDELA is a portrait of two strong, independent women drawn together by a powerful attraction and their shared desire to take on the movie world. As the years pass, their relationship changes from one of passion to logistics.

EVA AND CANDELA, director Ruth Caudeli’s first feature film, is adept at balancing the hope and bitterness that pulls at the edges of a struggling relationship. The film jumps back and forth between Eva and Candela falling in love to their future relationship, all within the timeline of the making and release of the film that they have made together.

EVA AND CANDELA is co-presented by Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival.


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WHAT THEY HAD (SNEAK PREVIEW SCREENING)

Sunday, September 30, 2018
4:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Elizabeth Chomko (USA, 2018, 98 min.). Digital.

From first-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko comes this affecting tale of a family in crisis, following a woman named Bridget (Hilary Swank) as she returns home to Chicago when her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother (Blythe Danner) wanders out into a blizzard. Together with her brother (Michael Shannon), Bridget must convince her father (Robert Forster) to put Ruth in a nursing home and face the end of their life-long love affair.


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DEAD PIGS

Sunday, September 30, 2018
5:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Directed by Cathy Yan (China, 2018, 130 min.). Digital.

This black comedy from Chinese-American writer/director Cathy Yan follows the intertwining fates of 5 disparate people caught in the inexorable tides of a rapidly-modernizing Shanghai. Central is Candy (Wu), a feisty salon owner who refuses to sell her family home to a developer, and Old Wang (Yang), a pig farmer who has lost the one way for him to pay back his debt to a gangster. Alongside this irascible pair, a romantic busboy (Lee), a disenchanted rich girl (Li), and an ex-pat American architect (Rysdahl) struggle to find their places in contemporary China… and all the while, a mysterious stream of pig carcasses floats silently towards the city.

Catch up with this director’s debut feature before she breaks big – Yan is currently at work on the first big-budget, all-female superhero team-up movie, Birds of Prey!

DEAD PIGS is co-presented by the Boston Asian-American Film Festival.


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ON HER SHOULDERS

Sunday, September 30, 2018
6:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium

Directed by Alexandria Bombach (USA, 2018, 94 min.). Digital.

At only 23-years-old, Nadia Murad’s life is a dizzying array of important undertakings—giving testimony before the UN Security Council, visiting refugee camps, soul-baring media interviews, emotionally draining speeches, and an endless succession of one-on-one meetings with top government officials. It all takes an enormous toll, but Nadia has already endured unspeakable hardships: born in a village in Northern Iraq, she survived the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis and escaped sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS to become a relentless beacon of hope for her people. With a formal precision and elegance that matches Nadia’s demeanor, filmmaker Alexandria Bombach follows this strong-willed young woman, who once dreamed of opening a beauty salon in her village, as she fights to bring ISIS to justice and save her people from extinction. On Her Shoulders was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where Alexandria Bombach won the award for Best Documentary Director.

ON HER SHOULDERS is being co-presented by The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.


CLOSING NIGHT FILM

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WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY

Sunday, September 30, 2018
8:00 pm
The Brattle Theatre

Molly Shannon plays Emily Dickinson in the dramatic comedy WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY. The poet’s persona, popularized since her death, has been that of a reclusive spinster – a delicate wallflower, too sensitive for this world. This film, however, explores her vivacious, irreverent side that was covered up for years – most notably Emily’s lifelong romantic relationship with another woman (Ziegler).

The film is told from the perspective of Mabel Loomis Todd (Seimetz) who published Emily’s poetry after her death along with editor T.W. Higginson (Gelman). Todd used this volume as an opportunity to posthumously force Dickinson to conform to a repressive status quo. Irreverent and surreal – and reminiscent of an extended Drunk History episode without the drinking – WILD NIGHTS reminds us that the persona of an artist is as much a creation as the artwork itself and that history is often more story, than fact. You will never look at Emily Dickinson the same way again.

WILDS NIGHTS WITH EMILY is co-presented by Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival.