‘Directed by Women’ series brings guest filmmakers to IU Cinema

Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Over the next two weeks, special guests at the IU Cinema will include rising young filmmakers Ja’Tovia Gary and Stefani Saintonge, veteran rock ‘n’ roll documentarian Penelope Spheeris and IU alumna Hannah Fidell.

These filmmakers are coming to Indiana University Bloomington for screenings, presentations and question-and-answer sessions as part of the IU Cinema’s “Directed by Women” film series Sept. 1 to 15.

Barbara Ann O'Leary

Barbara Ann O’Leary created “Directed by Women” last year. Photo by Eric Rudd.

Barbara Ann O’Leary, a social media specialist for the cinema, came up with the idea of a “Directed by Women” global viewing party last year. She envisioned the program as a way to “appreciate the richness and variety of what women filmmakers bring into the world, become aware of the enormous outpouring of motion picture creativity by women on the planet, and expand global opportunities for screening and streaming films directed by women.”

“If you only look at Hollywood, you might think there are very few women filmmakers in the world, but the reality is, there are numerous talented women across the globe creating films and telling their unique stories,” Brittany D. Friesner, associate director of the IU Cinema, said.

“What is true though is that these works don’t often make it to the multiplex. IU Cinema has committed every public screening to women filmmakers during Directed by Women to demonstrate its commitment to spotlighting the contributions and achievements of women filmmakers to the cinematic industry, in Hollywood and beyond.”

Ja’Tovia Gary and Stefani Saintonge

Gary and Saintonge will kick off this fall’s Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series at 3 p.m. Sept. 4. An extended, on-stage interview will be conducted by Terri Francis, an associate professor in The Media School who teaches the class “Black Women Make Movies.”

Gary and Saintonge

Stefani Saintonge, left, and Ja’Tovia Gary will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 4 as a part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series.

Both directors are members of the New Negress Film Society, a group of black female filmmakers whose priority it is to “create community and spaces for support, exhibition and consciousness-raising.” The visit is presented in collaboration with the Black Film Center/Archive.

Gary’s short film, “Cakes Da Killa: NO HOMO,” won the audience award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is currently working on her first documentary film, “The Evidence of Things Not Seen.”

Saintonge recently won Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her narrative short film “Seventh Grade.” Her documentary short “La Tierra de los Adioses” was named Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto in Sonora, Mexico.

All three films will be screened as part of a short film program that begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4. Dyani Douze’s “You Cannot Haunt Your House at Will” also is featured, and she is expected to join Gary and Saintonge for the screening and question-and-answer session.

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 10 and 11. Photo by Suzanne Allison.

A director of documentaries and feature films such as “Wayne’s World,” Spheeris will take part in an on-stage interview at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. Later, she will attend a 6:30 p.m. screening of her drama “Suburbia.”

Spheeris produced, directed and edited music videos throughout the ’70s and ’80s before moving on to feature-length films.

She also will attend screenings of her “The Decline of Western Civilization” films. “The Decline of Western Civilization” (6:30 p.m. Sept. 10) documented the punk scene of Los Angeles circa 1980, focusing on mosh pits, violence and an anti-establishment viewpoint of society. The documentary followed noteworthy bands such as X, Circle Jerks and Black Flag.

“The Decline of Civilization Part II” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 10) detailed the heavy metal movement in 1988. A decade later she returned to “gutter punk” with “The Decline of Civilization Part III” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 11).

Her comedy “Wayne’s World” also will be screened at 7 p.m. Sept. 12.

Hannah Fidell

Another notable director, Hannah Fidell, will visit IU Cinema at 3 p.m. Sept. 12 for a presentation and special screening of her dramatic romance “6 Years.

Hannah Fidell

Hannah Fidell will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 12. Photo by Lauren Logan Photography.

Taissa Farmiga of “American Horror Story” and Ben Rosenfield of “Boardwalk Empire” star in the film, which made its debut at SXSW in March and was soon acquired by Netflix.

Fidell was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012 . She studied film theory at IU from 2003 to 2007.

“IU Cinema is incredibly fortunate to once again be hosting independent filmmaker and IU alumna Hannah Fidell,” Friesner said. “When Hannah offered us the opportunity to hold a special screening of her newest film and to be in attendance, we knew this was the kind of unique opportunity we wanted to offer students. Her fresh perspective on filmmaking and generous spirit of engagement will certainly make for a one-of-a-kind screening, one that we hope students will take advantage of.”

Other films

The “Directed by Women” series also includes these films:

Tickets are required for all IU Cinema films. “Directed by Women” films will be presented free of charge, with the exception of “Eden.” Tickets are not required for these Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lectures, which also are free, but seating is limited. For ticketing details, visit the IU Cinema website.

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