3 student films shown at feminist film festival

The Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, taking place today, will showcase films concerning gender, social justice, local or global issues and movies created for people underrepresented in the media.

“It’s a good venue for student filmmakers to have their work shown, particularly with the theme of the festival,” said Chris Mitchell, one of the event’s coordinators.

Three student films will be showcased at the festival this year.

The committee screens the films in advance and in the past, an award is given if a particular film stands out.

Jeannie Ludlow, head of the women’s studies department and an assistant English professor, said the event is an important part of Women’s History Awareness Month because the festival recognizes the accomplishments of up-and-coming generations of people as they work to raise awareness about issues concerning gender, women’s issues and inequality in society.

“(The films) are ‘feminist’ because they are produced by young people who use their energy, resources and talents to raise awareness about some issue that they see as important to social justice or to further our understanding of women’s lives,” Ludlow said.

Robin Murray, another event coordinator, said the festival promotes the mission of the Women’s Studies Program, which is to encourage an understanding of how issues related to gender, age, race, economic status, sexual identity and nationality affect women every day.

Graduate students from Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University are entered in the contest.

The festival will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. today in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall.

A screening of the movie “Precious” will also be shown from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the Lecture Hall.

“It highlights the work of a woman author, Sapphire, and the issues faced by some African-American women in urban areas,” Murray said.

Murray believes the movie also highlights the work of black filmmakers, whether they are screenwriters or directors, along with black actors.

The movie also won two Academy Awards.

“This is an incredibly important film for a variety of reasons, including the subject matter, which is how a young African-American girl finds within herself the strength to survive multiple kinds of family and social violence and oppression,” Ludlow said.

The event is a collaboration of the Women’s Studies Department and the film studies program. It has been going on for three years.

The Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival committee receives the entries and makes the judgments on the three films entered in order to choose a winner.

Heather Holm can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected].