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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Film Festival promotes feminist dialogue and intersectionality


11th annual Davis Feminist Film Festival presents films dealing with issues of gender, race, sexuality

The 11th annual Davis Feminist Film Festival (DFFF) will take place from May 19 to May 20 at the Davis Veterans Memorial Theatre. The festival presents independent international films that deal with issues of gender, race, class, sexuality and systemic inequality, among other themes. DFFF is a grassroots event sponsored and coordinated by the Women’s Resources and Research Center (WRRC), which relies heavily on undergraduate student involvement in curating films and the festival.

Leilani Kupo, director of the WRRC, has seen DFFF grow in its international scope and its impact on the community. The WRRC’s goal in partnering with DFFF is to use films as a platform for engaging with topics such as gender and other social issues, and to use this engagement to further the WRRC’s mission of establishing and supporting gender equity at UC Davis.

“We can engage in conversations about feminism from international contexts and then use it as a platform to talk about issues that are happening in the U.S. and/or locally — Davis, Sacramento, or Northern California,” Kupo said. “DFFF allows folks to be able to connect with things they may be learning in classrooms, like theory or current events. Film is a platform that allows us to engage deeply, and to be a part of these enriching conversations about gender equity and gender disparities, the ways in which we have to continue to question what gender and the gender binary.”

Maya Sadler, a third-year economics and gender, sexuality and women’s studies double major, is one of the students involved with DFFF. Sadler helped organize the festival’s panel of experts who will be discussing Black American Womxn filmmakers — the first event of its kind to be included in DFFF.

“The panel came from the fact that we had over 400 submissions and only 8 of them were from black women. So we [wondered] why there aren’t more black women making films, but the thing is, they are — we just aren’t seeing them,” Sadler said.  “As a black woman, you grow up thinking that there is nothing you can say that is going to matter because A, it has already been said by a white person or B, you think nobody is going to care except other black women. So we want to discuss the process of deciding that your voice is worth being heard.”

Emelie Mahdavian, the director of DFFF, explained that the festival aims to be intersectional and varied in its themes. The range of perspectives that the films provide allow audience members to interpret them differently and to engage in dialogue about the nuances and messages of the films.

“I see the role of the festival in regard to the audience as one of conversation-starting. This means that we aren’t trying to put a singular feminist message across to the audience, but rather trying to select films that may spurn interesting dialogue after people leave,” Mahdavian said. “I want the audience to enjoy the films (some are funny or fun) and leave mulling questions of gender, power, politics, social action, etc. I expect people think that a feminist festival is going to “preach” — but actually, I think this year’s lineup provides such a diverse set of perspectives on feminist issues, that audiences will leave with very different experiences.”

Thursday’s portion of films includes animation, documentary, narrative and experimental films. Friday’s selection explores familial and intergenerational relationships. Doors open at 6 p.m. both evenings and films will begin at 6:30 p.m. The Black American Womxn filmmakers panel will take place at 3:45 p.m. on Friday. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the WRRC or at the door of the event for a suggested donation of $5 to $10 for students and $10 to $15 for non-students. For more information, please visit the Facebook event page or http://femfilmfest.ucdavis.edu/.


Written by: Sara Williams – arts@theaggie.org


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