This year’s festival has expanded geographically, as well, to include filmmakers born in and/or covering West Africa, Vietnam, and India, says Mehta. On Friday afternoon, festival organizers will show the movie Firaaq, a fictionalized account set in a town in India dealing with “the aftermath of violent riots and massacres” fueled by “Hindu-Muslim relationships and tensions.” After the movie, the film’s director, Nandita Das, will give a keynote address drawing on her experience bringing human rights issues to the screen as an actor and director.
But what about Lupita? And Beyonce? And Lean In?
“There is the Lupita film In My Genes,” explains Mehta, referring to the 2009 documentary directed by recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave), which looks at the plight of an Albino woman living in Kenya.
“But a big impetus was bringing things that wouldn’t be exhibited otherwise,” she says. “Fame or popularity was not necessarily the yardstick [for] this festival’s selections.”
The Feminist and Women’s Media Festival kicks off Thursday, March 13 at 8 pm with a series of short “experimental films” at the Cable Car Cinema (204 South Main St, Providence). Admission is $5. All other screenings and events are free and open to the public. For more info, go to feministwomensmediafestival.tumblr.com.