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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Davis Feminist Film Festival celebrates ninth anniversary

The annual Davis Feminist Film Festival (DFFF) is set to take place on April 10 and April 11 at the Veteran’s Memorial Center on 14th Street. This is the festival’s ninth year in production and will once again feature an array of local and international films.

This year’s festival will showcase local films on April 10 at 7 p.m. and mainly international films on April 11 at 6 p.m. The event will feature 16 short films, an interactive art piece/documentary, local food and craft vendors and a silent auction. Admission is free.

The DFFF was founded in 2005 as a fundraiser to support international internships with nonprofit grassroots feminist organizations. The festival is currently spearheaded by the Consortium for Women and Research (with the help of other on-campus organizations) and continues to gain international prestige.

DFFF focuses on showcasing films of underrepresented voices in the mainstream media. Women only make up six percent of the film industry, and this is not including women of color as well as other minorities in the U.S. The festival looks to provide a space for women, people of color (POC), LGBTQA+ people, people with disabilities, people of marginalized ages, working class people and any other groups of underrepresented people in the mainstream media to have a voice in the realm of film production.

Third-year sociology and history double major Lindy Velasco is an intern for the DFFF, and expressed that she believes the festival creates a safe space for people with underrepresented perspectives on life.

“[DFFF] is inclusive of all the things that make people individuals,” Velasco said. “I think [DFFF] is an important part of the Davis community that allows us to see [underrepresented] people’s unique take on life, and [festivals like this] should happen in other communities as well.”

DFFF usually screens 15 to 20 short films, almost all from local filmmakers in Northern California and international filmmakers. Since this is a grassroots event started in Davis, the advisory board of the festival (a panel of locals that choose films for the event) looks to showcase and support local talent both from UC Davis and the larger Northern California community.

The festival simultaneously puts an emphasis on international voices because the U.S. is one of the world’s leading influences in the international mainstream media. Non-North American voices, especially those of women, POC, LGBTQA+ people, people with disabilities, working class people and people of marginalized ages, are rarely given space in U.S. popular cinema, and DFFF wishes to fix this gap.

The DFFF receives over 100 submissions each year, and the process and criteria by which the films are chosen are taken very seriously. The film submissions are first screened by the festival’s advisory board. The chosen films are then sent to a curation class at UC Davis called “Feminist Film and Curation” where the students make the final selections for the festival.

An important criteria used for choosing films are the themes and issues covered in the submissions. DFFF is known for screening films that cover topics such as sex, gender, race, ability, age, the connection between local and global concerns and social justice.

Joanna Rullo, a third-year Ph.D. sociology candidate at UC Davis, is the director of the DFFF this year and said that the themes and issues within the submissions are more important to the advisory board than the actual production quality of the film.

“We don’t just pick the 20 best films that come in,” Rullo said. “The ‘best films’ — the slickly produced or best lit or well-acted tend to also (but not always) reflect the mainstream voice. Sometimes the film that has quality issues or could have used better equipment will make it into the festival because the message is so different, fresh and unique and reflects our educational mission.”

UC Davis professor of sociology and director of Consortium for Women and Research Laura Grindstaff is the producer of the DFFF and said she hopes university students will attend the event.

“DFFF is first and foremost fun and entertaining,” Grindstaff said. “It’s a community event that brings people together. It helps local efforts to support the arts and supports UC Davis efforts in promoting the arts. There are a lot of really important issues that get addressed in these films that can educate and inform the community while being entertained at the same time. It’s truly a great event.”

AKIRA OLIVIA KUMAMOTO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.



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