We’re always happy to discover more LGBT films and film festivals, and it’s pretty awesome to discover there is one that is specifically for lesbians. And no, it’s not in LA or NYC or Miami where you might expect to find it. Cinema Systers Film Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend in rural Paducah, Kentucky, and features live music, a feminist art show, a dance party, meals, and other events in addition to the film festival itself. To date it is the only all-lesbian film festival in the USA, and this year’s line-up includes features, shorts, and a documentary that caught our attention in particular.
The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Brown, by filmmaker Jennifer Abod.
“The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen” is a window into the life of an inspiring woman who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era. She went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist, a writer and a professor at Cal State Long Beach. Her story reveals how the challenges of race, class, gender, age and sexuality influenced her decisions and strategies for survival. In the film, Bowen urges all of us to follow our dreams, but not for ourselves alone.”
Black lesbian stories are not told as often as they should be, so it’s very cool to see this one in the line-up. It’s also refreshing to see a an entire festival giving lesbian filmmakers a platform.
From the Cinema Systers website:
Lesbians have been an acutely under-represented voice in the film industry. The mission of this festival is to strengthen, enrich and connect this diverse community of women/womyn, and provide an outlet for their art. We intend to build bridges among audiences, filmmakers and the community at large through the exhibition of Lesbian produced films and other events scheduled throughout the weekend.
Funded in part by a grant from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, the three day festival was organized by Laura Petrie, who spoke to NPR about Cinema Systers when it debuted last year. Petrie has high hopes that lesbians will find a home at the festival in the coming years. “I want them to talk about the films. I want them to talk about the camaraderie they felt here in Paducah, the acceptance that they gained here in Paducah and know that Kentucky is the place they can come to and celebrate being themselves,” she told NPR in a radio interview you can listen to HERE.
The films will be screened at Maiden Alley Cinema, known for hosting the River’s Edge International Film Festival, in downtown Paducah.
Last-minute road trip, anyone?