Your Simple Guide to Berlin Feminist Film Week 2017

The Berlin Feminist Film Week is back again for its fourth consecutive year, launching on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Its mission is to increase visibility and recognize the inspiring filmmakers and storytellers who are underrepresented in the film industry, especially women, people of color and queer filmmakers. These diverse feminist stories are shared in the hope of opening dialogues with even wider audiences. Not only will Berlin festivalgoers be treated to a week of feminist films but also to interesting workshops, discussions, Q&As and a closing party.

Opening Film: In Between (Bar Bahar) 
Wed. March 8 l 21:00 – 23:00 l Babylon Kino (Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 30, 10178 Berlin)


Palestinian writer-director Maysaloun Hamoud’s first feature In Between (Bar Bahar) centers around three Palestinian women who share an apartment in a lively Tel Aviv neighborhood. Two of the women are freewheeling members of the underground scene and the other is a shy religious girl who is attending university. Hamoud’s film covers a variety of issues ranging from traditional gender and religious roles to sexuality and race.

A special preview of the hilarious new web series Mixed Messages, depicting the queer dating scene in Berlin, will also be screened. The creators of the series will lead a discussion and Q&A after the screening.


Feminist Cinema: Tel Aviv - Berlin (short film screening and discussion) 
Thu. March 9 l 18:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)

A simultaneous screening of five short films by five female directors takes place in Berlin and Tel Aviv and will be followed by a live Skype discussion with the filmmakers.
Maya Sarfaty’s Over Time (2014) introduces Na’ama, a young nurse, who has just started working with Yotam, an attractive disabled man using a wheelchair. The work day has come to an end, but the apartment door seems to be locked from the outside. What will she do?

In Leeron Revah’s No Free Lunch (2014) Sarai, an ambitious autodidact, uses some morally questionable tactics to change her fate and gain upward mobility.

A young woman addresses the camera. She speaks of a man. Her face twitches with rage and pain. She wants to be heard. She wants to be believed. There is no other story the one told in Efrat Mishori and Dana Goldberg’s short film V (2014).

Lynn is torn between her new role as a mother and her old freedom in Victoria Schulz’s short Ianus (2016).

A young father, his twelve-year-old daughter, a nightclub, two secrets and one lie are on display in Annika Pinske’s Homework (2016).


Fragility screening and Q&A with director Ahang Bashi
Thu. March 9 l 20:30 – 22:30 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Studies show that individuals traumatized by migration are susceptible to depression and anxiety disorders, and women more so than men. Documentary filmmaker Ahang Bashi shares raw and intimate footage that reveals how debilitating living with panic attacks can be. As a child, her escape from Iran to Sweden is likely at the root of her anxiety.
She will discuss her film with the audience after the screening.


A Story the World Needs to See (art exhibition from Curated By Girls) 
Thu. March 9 – Sun. March 12 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)

The progressive and provocative art collective Curated By Girls is featuring 27 artists in their A Story The World Needs to See exhibition. It explores the relationship between the body and soul, opening an honest dialogue about feminism, gender, sexuality and diversity. How do we choose to self-identify? Should it really be up to society to define what is normal, or should we decide for ourselves?


Feminist Shorts: Consent 
Fri. March 10 l 15:00 – 16:45 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Pol Penas’s documentary short Temps d’Écoute shares the Congolese point of view through the stories of five women, all sexual violence survivors, whose gender has impacted their access to health and medical services.

Kelly Gallagher’s experimental essay short film Do You Want to Go for a Drive? highlights the importance of consent by exploring pleasure, love, mutual desire, violence, vengeance and sexual agency.

The New York Times video journalist Mona El-Naggar’s short film Ladies First documents the lives of three strong Saudi women in 2015 as they are allowed to vote for the first time.

The issue of a daughter not having any claim to her father’s inheritance is shown in More Raça’s short film Home. Hava’s brothers divide the property amongst themselves and plan for her marriage.


Feminist Shorts: Parenting
Fri. March 10 l 17:00 – 18:07 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


This short film program deals with parenting issues in Mexico, France, Canada, the UK and the US.
Maimouna Doucouré’s short film MAMAN(S) tells the story of 8-year-old Aida who lives in a suburb of Paris. The daily routine of her family is disturbed after her father returns home with another woman.

Landscapes of Girlhood from director Tracey Francis is a short abstract film that shows a glimpse into the lives of four young women from a special educational needs school in South East London.
The Scottish documentary Where We Are Now is a direct look into the evolving relationship between a young woman and her transgender parent. Director Lucie Rachel shows what might be in store for their family once she decides to transition.

Gloria Mercer’s Canadian short film Bombing revolves around Sophie, an unmotivated comedian, who struggles to adjust after her estranged young daughter comes back into her life.

Pronouns is writer/director Mike Paulucci’s short about a teenager from the South Side of Chicago who decides to reveal their true self during a slam poetry performance.

Director Sarah Clifton’s film La Madre Buena is the tale of a Mexican mother torn between her political views and fulfilling her son’s one birthday wish – to have a Donald Trump piñata.


No Kids for Me, Thanks! (Maman? Non merci!) – screening and discussion with director 
Fri. March 10 l 19:00 – 21:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Filmmaker Magenta Baribeau travels to Belgium, France and Québec (Canada) to talk with childfree women ranging in age from 30 to 70. While trying to understand their life choices, and her own, Magenta delves into the social stigma of rejecting motherhood in Western society. A discussion and Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening.


Witching Feminist Friday: The Love Witch screening & The Witch Within (ritual/performance) 
Fri. March 10 l 21:30 – 00:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Shot on 35mm and in Technicolor, The Love Witch has a distinct retro aesthetic that is reminiscent of films from the 60s and 70s. Director Anna Biller explores female desire and desperation through the gorgeous young witch’s potions that leave a trail of broken hearts in her wake.  

An interactive ritual and performance featuring Elle Peril, Christine Crook, Aggie Davies and Zlena Van Lunarem will occur during this program.


The Learning Identity – The Leading Body (workshop/lecture demonstration)
Sat. March 11 l 10:00 – 11:30 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Dancer Sarah Balzat discusses the question of identity, personal experience and leadership. Movement will be used to discover different aspects and meanings of leadership. No dance experience is necessary. Free entrance!


Cake and Fairytales talk 
Sat. March 11 l 12:00 – 13:30 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Screenwriter Antonia Roeller examines how women are portrayed in fairytales using Mirror Mirror, The Princess and the Frog and Frozen as examples. Rosa Negra Vegan Catering provides delicious cake at an extra cost.


Queer Shorts
Sat. March 11 l 14:00 – 15:38 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Kelly Gallagher’s film More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters is an experimental animated documentary recognizing the activism of Lucy Parsons, a radical socialist, anarchist and US labor organizer who fought against racism, sexism and capitalism.

Diaspora/situations is a French video project compiling interviews with women, queer and trans people of color. Director Tarek Lakhrissi shows them discussing the impact of diasporas on their bodies.

NYC’s transgender women, dealing with homelessness and disease, are front and center in Sasha Pezenik’s documentary I Am Her. A church offers help and understanding but it might not be enough.
Francy Fabritz’s German short Etage X is about an accidental meeting in an elevator that pushes two older women to their limits and forces them to improvise.


Feminist Voices for the Earth (Feed the Green screening & lecture)
Sat. March 11 l 16:00 – 17:30 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Professor Jane Caputi’s documentary Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth features prominent feminist thinkers and activists who discuss ecofeminism and what alternative solutions there might be. The links between men’s violence against women and violence against the Earth will be discussed.


Strolling with Cecile Emeke (screening and director Q&A)
Sat. March 11 l 19:00 – 21:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Strolling is a powerful web documentary series directed by British-Jamaican filmmaker Cecile Emeke. She walks around the streets of London, Paris and Amsterdam in the company of black women and men discussing various issues affecting the black diaspora. Later she continues this series on the streets of Italy and the US. Aïcha Diallo will moderate a Q&A with Cecile Emeke after the screening.


Below Her Mouth
Sat. March 11 l 22:00 – 23:32 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


An unexpected romance intensifies over the course of a weekend for two women whose chance encounter began innocently enough. Attraction, desire and the female gaze are on full display. Director April Mullen and writer Stephanie Fabrizi shot their daring and sexy film Below Her Mouth with an all-female crew.


ZYKLUS1 by Joanna Gröning (art project)
Sun. March 12 l 11:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


The artist and psychotherapist Joanna Gröning presents her art project ZYKLUS1 to promote an open conversation about menstruation and the hidden work that women do while trying to fit in.


Feminist Shorts: Struggles
Sun. March 12 l 16:00 – 17:40 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Israeli filmmaker Kerem Blumberg’s short One Last Night covers the last night that Noa and Orr have together before Orr leaves for Berlin. They both get arrested, and Noa must decide what to do about their relationship.

Lookout is Noa Gusakov’s film about Timmy, a female lookout in the Israeli military. To distract herself from her work, she fantasizes and treats a puppet as a companion. Things are fine until she has to deal with the real world.

Cleo Samoles Little’s short film Knock Down Ginger shows how a prank can go terribly wrong for a gang of British girls hanging out on a public housing estate.

The German short film Funke from director Tanja Egen revolves around Paula, a woman in her early 30s living out her days in Berlin. She receives a letter saying that she owes 10,000€, and when she can’t resolve the issue she is forced to cross the line.

Acting White from director Mayowa Osinubi questions what it means to “act white” in the context of contemporary America. She breaks down the racial stereotypes that are too often taken at face value.


Hooligan Sparrow and discussion
Sun. March 12 l 19:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


Young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows renegade activisit Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) and her associates to Hainan Province in southern China to seek justice for six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. They use hidden cameras to avoid detection and smuggle the footage out of China to continue their fight for human rights.

Following the screening there will be a panel discussion, which gives insight into being a human rights activist in Somalia, Iran and Germany.


Feminism on Two Wheels (Ovarian Psycos)
Sun. March 12 l 21:30 – 23:00 l Agora Rollberg (Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin)


The bicycle served as an important symbol for female independence, and it remains vital to feminist and environmental activism.

The documentary Ovarian Psycos follows a group of young women of color, bicycle warriors, who ride at night through East LA while fighting back against gender stereotypes. Filmmakers Kate Trumbull-Lavalle and Joanna Sokolowski take an in-depth look at the activism of these proud and badass women.

The Cycologic filmmaking team comprised of Emilia Stålhammar, Veronica Pålsson and Elsa Lövdin documents the trials and tribulations of Amanda Ngabirano’s efforts to get a bicycle lane in the capital city Kampala, Uganda. Amanda is a passionate cycling advocate and urban planner who will do whatever it takes to get more support for her cause.


Prevenge
Mon. March 13 l 20:30 – 22:00 l Griessmühle  (Sonneallee 221, 12059 Berlin)


Prevenge is a British revenge comedy film written by, directed by and starring a seven-month pregnant Alice Lowe. In her directorial debut, Lowe portrays a pregnant woman who is urged by her unborn child to slash up anyone who crosses her path.


Berlin Feminist Film Week 2017 – Official Closing Party
Tue. March 14 l 20:00 l ACUD Club (Veteranenstrasse 21, Berlin Mitte)

There’s no better way to close out Berlin Feminist Film Week than by attending the official closing party. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the beats of DJ PAM BAM! A secret boundary-pushing guest will play a live set, so don’t miss out.


By Lindsay Bellinger 

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