Lourdes Portillo has a decades-long film career. Her films, which tend to focus on Chicano and Latino culture and identity, range from realism to avant-garde, fiction to personal narrative, with every kind of genre-bending in between. Portillo continues her work today as a member of Xochitl Productions, a film production and distribution company that expands the dialogue around Latino and Chicano issues and identity. This past June, the Museum of Modern Art presented her work in a retrospective titled La Cineasta Inquisitiva. Here is a video montage Women Make Movies put together of some of her works, including Corpus, Columbus on Trial, Las Madres, and Señorita Extraviada. Even these snippets show the varied style of her work and how she deftly played with and melded genre. Click through for more!
The second annual Athena Film Festival kicks off on February 9 on the Barnard College campus. Founded to honor extraordinary women for their leadership and creative accomplishments, the festival will screen films made by and about women all weekend, as well as hold free (free!) workshops for filmmakers. How fun! If we lived in New York we'd definitely attend, and if you live there you should!
Women-directed horror films are finally getting the (blood) red-carpet treatment! The Viscera Film Festival, showcasing women-made horror shorts, is this Saturday, July 17th in Los Angeles. The film festival came about through the team-up of Shannon Lark, who started the Chainsaw Mafia to encourage independent filmmakers to produce (and whose email signature reads, "Never forget, if a woman can go through the process of pushing out a baby, she can make a horror film!") and Heidi Martinuzzi, a film journalist and director, and founder of Pretty-Scary.net which covered women in horror films (behind and in front of the camera). Besides the film festival, Martinuzzi and Lark are combining powers (well, websites) to make Fangirltastic.com (still under construction) to keep the spirit of Viscera alive all year-round. I asked Lark and Martinuzzi about the festival and how feminism and horror overlap.
Two-Spirit stories are more important than ever. In the past, their stories were forcibly silenced, but today, their still unheard stories put a different spin on notions like "traditional values" and issues like same-sex marriage and immigration. These stories are also a source of healing for Two-Spirits and the larger Native American community.
Through filmmaking, queer, lesbian, and bi-sexual Native American can tell their stories, and all films made during the sixteen-week workshop will premier at the 2010 Queer Women of Color Film Festival, now in its sixth year.
That's not the only cool thing QWOCMAP is currently up to. This year marks their 10th anniversary, and they're releasing a DVD of their films, Multiple Borders which focuses on queer immigration.
My introduction to this week's sm[art]ist came from an exercise in a film class I had taken. The professor was having us list off as many female directors as we could think of and, as you could imagine, the list ended up being fairly short. In addition to Jane Campion, Amy Heckerling, and Julie Taymor, Maya Deren's name came up.