Live-action narratives, animation and documentaries exploring a range of social issues by filmmakers from the United States and all over the world will be presented at New Mexico State University’s second annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival.
This year’s festival, hosted by the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies in collaboration with the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be from 6-8p.m. Monday, April 24 in the Digital Media Theater in NMSU’s Milton Hall, room 171.
M. Catherine Jonet, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies, started the film festival as an extension of her scholarship and her own artistic practice. “Doing research in film analysis and submitting my own short films to festivals made me aware of gaps that can exist between potential artistic impact and the cultural significance of short film,” said Jonet. “Often, short films are viewed as ephemeral and simply as stepping stones toward full-length films. Their concentrated visions can produce powerful cinematic encounters with groups of people and experiences mainstream film often overlooks.”
Jonet defines “feminist border arts” as a practice that addresses boundaries and challenges the limits of conventional representation. To be considered for the festival, submissions had to fit in with the mission of the festival, be up to 15 minutes in length, and in any language as long as there are English subtitles.
“It was exciting to get over 3,000 submissions this year,” said Jonet. “Last year’s festival brought in 273 entries, so for this year I expanded the festival by exhibiting selected films in three different platforms.”
Films selected as finalists for the juried and audience awards will be featured at the festival on April 24. Other selected films were featured in a showcase for Gender and Sexuality Studies students earlier in April. Additional films will be available for viewing in an online showcase at genders.nmsu.edu from April 24-May 13.
Recent master of fine arts graduate Andrea Gohl and current art graduate student Madison Manning both have film submissions that will be featured through the online portion of the festival.
“One thing that sets our festival apart from others is the value we place on audience interaction,” said Jonet. “Audience awards are selected by viewers during the festival’s major event and they carry the same weight for us as the juried awards.” Juried and audience-chosen awards will both have four judging categories: best live-action narrative, best animation, best documentary and best in festival.
“My hopes are that people will leave having gained an appreciation for short film and for the promise of cinema in prompting viewers to reflect on their own understanding about groups of people, themselves and national and world events,” said Jonet. “Roger Ebert once wrote that film is the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts. I think this festival upholds that claim. Film can be a window that allows us see out and it also permits us to see in.”
The Feminist Border Arts film festival is free and open to the public. Parking for the Digital Media Theater at Milton Hall is located in front of Corbett Center Student Union. For more information about the festival, visit genders.nmsu.edu.
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