December 2, 2022 | CULTURE | By Frances Thyer | Illustration by Liz White

During the last weekend of Block 3, Colorado College hosted the longest running women’s film festival in North America. Amplifying under-represented voices and female storytelling through a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, here are some of the films from the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival to look out for as they become available to stream online.

“Battleground,”a timely film in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, looks at three women at the forefront of the pro-life movement. Directed by visiting professor Cynthia Lowen, the film maintains an objective look into the power and persistence of the minority, all set to an eerie soundtrack.

The festival stands apart in this emphasis on minority voices; in “Sell/Buy/Date, an examination of the sex industry via the perspective of performer and comedian Sarah Jones provides a fresh take on often overlooked issues. “Body Parts,”directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, follows the evolution of sex on screen from the receiving end of the gaze: the woman’s perspective.

The lives of individual spectacular women were also on display at the festival; “Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind”is a first glace into the prolific writer’s life, as she remains fiercely private despite agreeing to the documentary by director Stig Bjorkman after refusing for sixteen years. In “MINK!”, daughter Wendy chronicles the life of Patsy Takemoto Mink in her endeavors to become the first woman of color elected to Congress and her transformational work in implementing Title IX.

Other stories of female icons included “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” as well as two radically different approaches to female resistance in Afghanistan in “With This Breath I FlyandAnd Still I Sing.” One of my personal favorites of the festival, “The Return of Tanya Tucker,” shadows Brandi Carlile and the often-forgotten country music star Tanya Tucker in a film that informally yet fluently finds the harmonious intersection of music and film.

The timeliness of topics covered also brought a sense of agency to the weekend; “Fashion Reimagined”tackles the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, an opportune topic in the context of global climate change. Given the changing attitudes on American nationalism in recent history, “The Flagmakers”eloquently questions what it means to be proud of your country. The film that bookended the festival, “Still Working 9 to 5,”had equal notes of charm and intention in revealing the inequality that women still face in the workplace, an especially appropriate call to action at a festival dedicated to uplifting women’s voices. 

The animation included in the festival also deserves mentioning, with films such as “More Than I Remember” and “Freedom Swimmer” bringing stories of survival across continents to light via art. And these films were just the tip of the iceberg, with films covering issues from health and agriculture to racism and religion. On the RMWFF site, a catalog of titles shown in the festival over the last 35 years is available in the film catalog.

Visit the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival Website at rmwfilm.org.

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