Film Studies Presents “Women and Film” Speaker Series

The Center for Film Studies will present “An Evening with Isabella Rossellini” on Nov. 10. She’ll answer questions about her illustrious career and discuss her current projects. (Photo by F. Ferri)

This fall, Wesleyan University’s Center for Film Studies will sponsor a special film and speaker series titled WOMEN AND FILM. This series is dedicated to work made by women. Each installment of the series will feature a movie helmed by a female filmmaker, to be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker herself.

Made possible by special support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, WOMEN AND FILM will comprise a wide variety of cinematic experiences, including short films, documentaries and a romantic feature film.

“I am thrilled that the Academy is sponsoring WOMEN AND FILM because I’ve wanted to do this for ages—to showcase women in charge of films and doing all kinds of wonderful things, from directing to producing to writing,”  sayd Jeanine Basinger, chair of the film studies. “These women are finding their way in a business notorious for being difficult for women to succeed in.”

The series is free to the public and will run for three Thursdays in November—skipping Thanksgiving—and the first Thursday in December. The program is as follows:

Nov. 3: THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB; Special guest speaker Robin Swicord was already an established screenwriter when she made her feature-length directorial debut with this charming ensemble piece in 2007. The story—which Swicord adapted for the screen—follows the interwoven lives of book club members who realize that their respective romantic entanglements seem to echo the plots of their beloved Jane Austen novels. Hugh Dancy, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, and Jimmy Smits are among the impressive cast.

The Center for Film Studies will present “An Evening with Isabella Rossellini” on Nov. 10. She’ll answer questions about her illustrious career and discuss her current projects.

Nov. 10: AN EVENING WITH ISABELLA ROSSELLINI; As a modern day Renaissance woman in the entertainment industry, Isabella Rossellini has performed the roles of model, actor, writer, director, and producer. She’ll answer questions about her illustrious career, discuss her current projects, and treat attendees to a presentation that samples some of her quirky and highly lauded short films, such as “Green Porno” or “Animals Distract Me.”

Nov. 17: PO-LIN: SLIVERS OF MEMORY; This stirring 2008 documentary paints a portrait of day-to-day life in pre-war Jewish communities throughout Poland. Writer and director Jolanta Dylewska—also a seasoned cinematographer and the special guest of the evening—spent years compiling amateur footage from the 20s and 30s for the making of this film. She then wove this archive material together with contemporary interviews filmed in the same Polish towns as the original footage.

Dec. 1: WOMEN, ART, REVOLUTION; Both Director Lynn Hershman Leeson and Executive Producer Sarah Peter will be on hand for the screening of this rousing documentary, a creative production in the very spirit of the Feminist Art Movement to which the film is dedicated. Using interview footage that she’s been collecting since the 1960s, Leeson traces the exhibitions of artistic feminist activists over the past four decades, bringing new light to the strategies employed by these women in the overcoming of culturally institutionalized discrimination. Her footage is especially impressive in that it chronicles the work of every significant female artist in the featured time span.

All films and introductions start on time; at 8 p.m., and will screen in the Center for Film Studies, Wesleyan University, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT 06459. Admission is free.

This film series is made possible with special support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional support for PO-LIN: SLIVERS OF MEMORY is provided by the Jewish and Israeli Studies Program at Wesleyan University.

Further information regarding these events may be found at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/filmstudies/SpecialEvents/special-events.html

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu 

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