The Rapidian

Why we need a Feminist Film Festival

The Grand Rapids Feminist Film Fest sets out to change on-screen representation.
Underwriting support from:

Grand Rapids Feminist Film Fest

FREE

Sunday, September 13, 2015

12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Wealthy Theatre

1130 Wealthy Street SE

A full day of local and international feminist short films, panels and vendors.

Visit our website for schedule of events, film titles and times and panel information.

The first film block from 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. is kid-friendly and trigger-free.

A Safer Spaces Policy will be in effect for the event, as well as trigger warnings on all films.

In the top 100 highest grossing films of 2014, women represented a total of 30% of all speaking characters, often as a wife or mother. When we break down the numbers by race and gender, the statistics are even more bleak. Out of that small 30%, only 26% were women of color-meaning only 7.8% of speaking roles were women of color- and none were lesbian or bisexual.

But that’s not an accurate representation of what our world looks like. So, we, the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Fest (GRFFF), have set out to change the perception of women- on-screen and off.

This year, GRFFF will run all day, from 12 – 8 p.m., and will feature a full day of feminist panels in the smaller Koning Theatre, in addition to showing more than 40 local and international short films in the main theatre, and hosting representatives from local organizations tabling in the lobby.

But why do all of this? Simple: sexism and misogyny are alive and well in Grand Rapids, the media and the entire entertainment industry. In the last year, Grand Valley State University became the third Michigan college to be investigated by The Department of Education for violating Title IX after a rapist was assigned a three page paper as a so-called punishment for their abuse. Several weeks ago, various groups joined in protesting in front of the Cherry Street Planned Parenthood, a clinic that provides cancer screenings, STI testing, contraceptive information – and if it really matters – no abortions. In fact, one of the protesters harassed a GRFFF organizer on her own property and would not leave.

In the last year, we learned about Bill Cosby and Josh Duggar's abusive pasts, which both involved assaulting and molesting young vulnerable women while film and television executives turned a blind eye.

Additionally, while there are a few great movies and TV shows featuring complex, dynamic female characters, the entertainment industry is still lacking women and people of color on both sides of the camera.

The Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival is a venue for showcasing women's stories, and providing a safe space for marginalized folks to enjoy a free day of entertainment and connect with other feminists in the region.

The Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival (GRFFF) is the brainchild of The Bandit Zine – a radical, collabortive publication dedicated to fighting isms. In late 2013, we (The Bandit Zine) released an issue on feminism. It received such a positive response from the community that we decided to take our zine to the screen. Hence, the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival was born.

The first GRFFF featured 30 short films from across the world. The four-hour screening drew 400+ folks to the Wealthy Theatre, and what we thought would be a one-time event grew into something bigger.

We hope to see you there!

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